Recently there’s been a spate of interest in adding original content to AOM. It seems to be an issue many people struggle with, both in terms of how to do it, and where to put it. So we’re going to hopefully look at ways to create unique content for your store, why it’s important to do so, and where to install it in your site.
There are many reasons why your store needs to have as much original content as you can stuff into it. Firstly, it makes visitors to your site feel welcome. Someone is there to guide them around the site, explain where things are, and most importantly suggest things they want to purchase, even if they don’t know they want to buy anything at all. Unique content is the voice in their head that speaks to them, helping them decide what they want, and offering suggestions for more things to buy.
Secondly, content makes your site stand out; it gives it a unique voice. You can take a humorous tone, or an engaging one, or a supportive one. Endowing a site with its own personality helps customers remember it, and might help sway them back if they’re shopping around. Along with your color scheme and layout choices, content provides atmosphere; something special that other sites can approach, but can’t quite copy exactly.
Finally, original content provides an SEO boost that lets your site appear less like a clone of many others, especially to search engines. Any site that offers something unique will stand a better chance 0f being accepted as a valid shopping site, rather than just another cookie-cutter list of Amazon products. Over the years, the big ‘G’ has shown less and less patience with boring, unremarkable sites. They demand originality, and can easily choose to delist any site that can’t deliver.
All too often, people use AOM to put up a site, then complain that they have no traffic. They wait for months for the site to be indexed, all the while doing nothing. Then they get angry when it’s suggested to them that they need to add content. It bears repeating over and over that any online store script (like AOM, Amazon’s own aStore, etc.) is only a tool; a step towards having an online presence. It is not the end all and be all by itself. The most successful affiliates are not the ones who create a store in an afternoon, then sit on their hands waiting for the money to roll in. They are constantly working to improve their sites.
AOM provides you with a framework, like a house. Put it into an empty field, make a few choices, and it will deliver a structure to you, complete with walls, a roof, even paint inside and out, ready to live in. What it can’t provide are the things that make a house into a home – furniture; decor; personal items. You wouldn’t live in an empty house, no matter how well it was constructed. It would be sterile; devoid of personality; cold and desolate. It would lack the ‘personal’ touch.
So with all of that said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Where in AOM can you add content? Here’s a list, in no particular order:
- Home Welcome HTML – Found at the top of the Body section only on the home page.
- Custom HTML – A Home Page option that allows you to enter HTML/text (no products displayed).
- HTML/PHP File – Another Home Page option that uses an external file to display on the home page (again, no products).
- Home Welcome File – Similar to the Home Welcome HTML, but uses an external file to display on the Home Page.
- Category Descriptions – Will display text or HTML at the top of the first page of any Category (except URL categories).
- Subcategory Descriptions – Similar to #5, but for Subcategories (except URL subcats).
- Shopping Cart Instructions – Displays text or HTML above the cart contents on the View Cart page.
- Shopping Cart Instructions 2 – Same as #7, but displays below the cart contents.
- Site Disclaimer – Displays with (or in place of) the Disclaimer at the bottom of every page.
- Powered By (Full version only) – Also at the bottom of every page, in place of the ‘Powered by Associate-O-Matic‘ link.
- Custom Boxes – Allows you to display text or HTML in a multitude of locations (Eight on any page, plus three more options for Category pages, or seven on Item pages; plus eight types of pages (Home Page, Category Pages, Subcategory Pages, Item Pages, Shopping Cart Page, Search Result Pages, Custom Pages or 404 Pages) as well as just the first page for any option.
Next month, we will look at creating content to put into these various areas.