When you’re planning on doing an Adwords campaign to sell affiliate products, you need a mini-site to boost your quality score (for more info, see my post on Adwords quality scores).
But how do you make a mini-site?
Search around for information, and you’ll see some software programs that are supposed to create the sites for you, and some graphics, and some templates. Unfortunately, a lot of the templates are nothing more than single page sales letter templates, not mini-sites. A mini-site is a small collection of pages hooked together with navigation links, not just a single page.
The software programs sound better, after all you fill out the information, click a button, and the mini-site is made for you. How much easier could it be? What the sales letters for those programs typically leave out is that it’s up to you to provide the graphics for the site. So if you’re doing a mini-site about dog grooming, you need to provide relevant graphics of dogs looking like they’ve just been to a spa.
And even if you do that, you still have to upload the files to your hosting account via FTP, insert Google Analytics code for tracking, etc.
Personally, I find it much easier to just create my mini-sites with WordPress.
Sure, WordPress is a terrific overkill for managing such a small web site, but if you’re already using WordPress for your blog then you have a base of experience to draw from to slap up a small web site quickly.
Here are the steps I go through to use WordPress in this way.
If you haven’t done this before, do a Google search for help. I’m assuming you’re probably already running a WordPress blog, and can manage this step. Install using a different database than you use for your regular blog.
Install Sticky Menu Plugin
The sticky menu plugin is a terrific plugin that lets you specify exactly what should be in a listing of links. Many WordPress themes default to the main navigation links showing all the pages in your site. You often don’t want all the pages to show, so the sticky menu plugin lets you control this.
Install Google Analyticator
The Google Analyticator plugin takes care of adding your Google Analytics tracking code to all the pages on the site. I recommend not tracking admin visits.
Install Google XML Sitemaps Plugin
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin creates a sitemap.xml file in the format expected by Google and Yahoo. This makes your site seem more professional, and will help to get the content indexed.
Install Psychic Search Plugin
I’ve mentioned the Psychic Search plugin before. It lets you know what people are using the search box on your site to look for, and not finding. That may indicate new pages you should create.
Install A Contact Form Plugin
There are a few good ones of these. Lately I like to use the secure form mailer plugin. A contact form is important for your mini-site to improve your Adwords quality score.
Install a Caching Plugin
I use WP-Super Cache. A caching plugin will help reduce server load, and you’ll hardly ever be changing the site, so it can benefit from caching quite a bit.
Create A Landing Page For Each Keyword
Create a content filled landing page for each Adwords keyword you want to target. The content must be unique, and helpful. Do not try to sell a product! Provide useful information that will start to condition the visitor to want the product when they finally click through to the sales page.
Making a landing page for each keyword allows you to get the best quality score possible for that keyword in Adwords.
Install A Niche Appropriate Theme
One of the great things about WordPress is that there are tons of free themes available, for a wide variety of niches. Pick one that fits your niche and install it, and your site automatically looks good.
I recommend not putting Adsense or other ads on the site. This will boost your quality score, and helps to keep from losing visitors to competing affiliates. Also, don’t bother with plugins that deal with posts, because you won’t have any posts on this blog.
Using WordPress to create your mini-site can take a frustrating process and make it into an hour’s worth or work or less.