This is a excellent guest post by my Welsh buddy Greg Walker, who owns one of the Top Poker Strategy Resources on the web, The Poker Bank – This site is a great example of how to dominate a tough niche. Thanks again for writing this Greg, you are the man!
I honestly had absolutely no idea about what to write about when Randy asked if I would be interested in writing a guest post for his blog. I had a few things in mind that I considered writing about, but none of them would really work well for a healthy 750-word-or-so blog post.
On the other hand, collecting these thoughts and tips together should work okay for a more wholesome post that you will find to be more interesting (and hopefully useful too). So, apologies for the lack of direction and focus in this article, but I guess that explains the aptly named title.
1) Simple is almost always better.
There have been countless times where I have laboured over review page layouts and the way I display content on my pages. This usually results in about an hour or so of my time spent toying with CSS to get it looking “just right” or as close as I can get to “perfect”. However, I’ve come to realise that 95% of the time the simple option is so much better.
The “content over design” idea has been hammered home so many times that we just gloss over it, but seriously, it couldn’t be truer. The more complicated a layout gets the harder it is to develop and the more likely it is to mess up at some point. So why spend time working on something complex when it will look just as well and be easier to manage in a much simpler form?
Not only is the simple method often better, it’s so much easier too. Try it.
2) Breadcrumb navigation.
Breadcrumb navigation is so handy from a usability perspective, but I rarely see it being used on Poker affiliate websites. I had never implemented it up until about a month ago, but I’m so glad I did. I had to update about 250 or so pages on my Texas Hold’em website by hand, but it was worth it.
But why should you bother?
Because it makes your website easier to use and it will help to keep your visitors flowing around your site.
It probably won’t be all that effective for 20 page mini-sites, but I would definitely recommend using it on websites with 50+ pages. It’s the little things that add up, so whilst it may seem like a trivial improvement it’s one that will improve pageviews and make your site a more enjoyable one to use.
It probably helps with SEO too.
3) Get involved with poker.
I’ve read a few times on the forums that affiliates should avoid spending time playing poker so that they can focus on working on their websites. I strongly disagree.
I’m all for time management, but distancing yourself from the source of your whole business just doesn’t make sense. There are seriously so many content ideas that can come from just playing poker and getting involved in the poker community.
If you don’t play poker or do not visit poker forums I really feel as though you’re depriving yourself from an awesome goldmine of potential content ideas. Sure, you can sit within the same webmaster circles re-using tired ideas and article titles if you like, but that’s not for me. I don’t know about you but I like to try and do things and write about stuff that hasn’t already been passed around in the forums amongst affiliates.
The real innovative stuff that will really distinguish you and your site from every other run-of-the-mill website comes from the getting involved with the very thing that your whole website is based around.
4) Stumble Upon is actually really useful as a tool.
Install Stumble Upon in Firefox and start stumbling through the “Web Development” category.
You may have only seen Stumble Upon from a marketing perspective, but believe it or not it’s actually a genuinely useful tool for finding quality information.
You can find some really cool tips and expose yourself to ideas that you wouldn’t have otherwise found just by browsing around the cream of the web development websites out there. Who would have thought that Stumble Upon was good for anything other than bringing in lots of low converting traffic?
5) Write a to do list for the next day every day.
Get a whiteboard or use a todo.txt file, anything that allows you to jot down tasks easily and strike them off as you go along. If I can refer you to point #1 again, simple is almost always better, so don’t worry about looking for some fancy online task management solution.
I always find that if I don’t write a to do list for the next day I just end up checking stats like a fiend and playing on Farmville all day. Heck, if I didn’t chalk up this blog post on my whiteboard last night you probably wouldn’t be reading it for at least another week. At least I would have definitely known that I’d made $2.38 from Carbon Poker this month though, right?
6) Have fun whilst you write.
I can’t confirm that I’m sitting here nursing a semi as I write this very article, but I am enjoying writing these tips and I hope that’s evident from my insanely awesome writing style.
There seems to be the innate idea that you have to be formal/boring when you write about anything that is going to be published on the Internet. Why not spice it up and put some personality in to your work? Even if you are rehashing the same shit over again at least it will actually be a pleasure to read.
Remember that these are your websites and you can do whatever the fuck you want with them. There is no unwritten code of conduct that says you have to appeal to 100% of the visitors to your site.
If you’re trying to appeal to everyone your content is going to be boring.
7) If you don’t see your site becoming a success it probably won’t.
Basically, if you don’t see your site becoming successful or earning X amount of money then it probably won’t, even if it does have the potential to do so.
(There is no conclusion, I just couldn’t think of a better way to section off this final part of the article).
I had better wrap up this article pretty sharpish as I’m verging on breaching the “too long to read in less than 5 minutes” threshold, as we all know that none of us would dream of procrastinating for more than 5 minutes at a time.
I hope you found this random assortment of thoughts and tips useful. I better head off now though anyway, I need to harvest my Pumpkins on Farmville before they wilt.