Niche Designer

An Exploration of Niche Site Design and Development
Jan
13

Niche Marketing Products

So far I have not paid a single penny for any niche site building products. I have a total of 9 sites right now, and they were all hand coded lovingly by me. However, now I’m tired and frustrated, and not feeling quite so lovingly about the whole thing. Google penalized me, my server went down yesterday, and thus I’m in a rather cynical bout. So I figured that if I bought software that made the process easier, maybe I could create sites faster, see more profits, and feel less cynical in general. I want something that can create large sites fast. And I want it to be customizable. I know php, so I’ll probably want to tinker under the hood. I don’t want a program that’ll blow up if i try to change something. Also, I just can’t see spending over $100 for software, no matter how much you convince me I’ll gain it all back. So far I’m looking at Content Creator Pro but I’m not sure I like the fact that it’s browser based. I’ve looked into XSite Pro too, but it seemed like it was little to basic for my tastes. Does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions? Any php coders out there who have a favorite?

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Jan
13

Why a fixed width column has higher CTR

I have found more evidence that appears to prove my narrow column over full screen design theory found in my design that sells post. Eyetools Research of CSS Zen Garden shows the difference in how users read web pages based on design. The content of the two sites are exactly the same. Only the CSS has changed, which makes it a perfect experiment! You can see in the picture below that the original layout(left) gets much less attention than the version 145(right). I would hypothesize that Version 145’s use of the fixed width column has a lot to do with its increased attention. In the picture below you can see how the narrow column seems to guide the eye toward the content and thus focus the user’s attention. Eyetracker Results for CSS Zen Garden

One example of a narrow column layout I used can be seen on my Wholesale Silk Fabric Site. I got the layout from OSWD and it is getting a really high CTR so far.

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Jan
12

Design that Sells

The aspect of niche marketing that I am most interested in is how the design of a size correlates to its ability to sell, or in my case it’s CTR (Click Through Rate). Since I have a heavy background in science (I’m a biochem dork), I love experiments. That’s how I think of my niche sites, as experiments. I do something, I wait and watch. I take notes on a spread sheet of every little detail. Then I try to change ONE thing based on my observations. I wait more, take more notes. If that change was a success I bask in glory for 5 seconds only to start the process over. If it didn’t work, I scratch it and go back to the previous version. I’m sure lots of niche marketers do this. From what I see, it’s the only way to survive.

My Results so far:

  • Give them less options. I know it looks nice to have extra stuff and more options, but everything extra you add to the page is one more click that doesn’t result in cash.
  • Narrower is better. I know most of the web uses larger than 800X600, but I find that my sites which have a set narrow column intended for a 800X600 screen (usually 760px or less) do better. This is likely connected to the first point about less options. The narrow column guides the users’ eyes and gives them a definitive space on the screen to concentrate. Note: I’ve been reading about eye-tracker tests, and not only is it very interesting, but I think it could prove valuable to niche site creators.
  • Use color to your advantage. Contrasting colors can help you define your content. Use two colors that contrast to call attention to a special section of your site (like your ads) or to your narrow column of content. One great example of what I am talking is a template by Bo Bang of Marketing Syndrome. I used this high CTR template on my Sump Pumps site, which is an idea I also got from Bo Bang. You can see how this template calls attention to the ads by negative contrast. The Ads aren’t a color that sticks out (their white in fact). Instead, the header above and the content below contrast against the plain white of the ads to make them stick out.
1
Jan
09

Peakclick- An Adsense Alternative

PeakClick- an ALternative to Adsense

One of the most important business strategies is to diversify. Thats why I have been looking for an alternative to Google Adsense. Don’t get me wrong, I like adsense, and it’s probably the best. But just in case, I want to have income streams from different places. While searching for an alternative I found PeakClick. I couldn’t find much info about it or reviews, but I figured I’d give it a try. They give 70% and they pay every 15 days. They immediately approved me (and I think they immediately approve everyone- so this is a good option if your starting out) but then I also have to get in touch with them by email and explain where my traffic comes from before getting paid. I’m not exactly sure what that’s about, but they seem eager for you to email them about questions, problems, advice, anything. Customer service is always nice, and I’m assuming they are small so can handle responding personally to their members. Another thing I like about them is there stats. Take a look at a piece of their stats program:
Image of Stats Program for PeakClick
I’d say their stats are a step above Adsese. Plus their user interface is pretty, which is always nice. I’m going to add it to a site or 2 to experiment and then I’ll post a full review once I have enough data to give an intelligent opinion of PeakClick.

p.s. They give you lots of options to earn money. I’m not sure how much you can make off of them (for instance I’d question if the toolbar actually generates money). One of those options is to refer other webmasters to the program. Once you do, you get 5% of their income every month. So, the links in this post go to my referall code as a disclaimer. If you do choose to sign up with my referall, then I would be greatly appreciative.

7
Jan
05

Hola!

Since this is my first post, I will share a little bit about myself and what I hope to achieve with this blog. My name is Kelli, and I am a “designer” for lack of a better, ubiquiously understood term. Currently I work for a company making lots of designs for niche sites. Now I am starting to do a few on my own and I hope that I can one day stay home with my boyfriend and my dachshund and have a viable online empire.

I have learned quite a bit about design in relation to niche marketing sites/blogs and I hope to learn more about the non-design issues. As I began making these sites on my own I discovered that the community among webmasters who do this is remarkable. I hope that I can share with you what I have learned and thus further advance the community.

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