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Set Up Your eCommerce Site Affiliate Program

Set Up Your eCommerce Site Affiliate Program

Do you want to generate more traffic, leads, customers, and sales for your eCommerce website – without paying advertising or marketing costs upfront? An affiliate program is an answer. 

What Is an Affiliate Program for an Ecommerce Website?

An affiliate program is a win-win way to market your eCommerce website and its products.

By offering an affiliate marketing program, you are inviting other businesses to promote your products in exchange for a commission. Your affiliates already have (or are actively developing) relationships with people who want your products. This allows you to tap into new sources of traffic to generate sales and pay only after a sale, lead, or click has been generated.

By getting affiliates to promote your site, you also can boost your eCommerce site’s search engine ranking. The more traffic to your site – and the greater the number of sources — the better your SEO results.

3 Ways to Compensate Ecommerce Affiliates

There are 3 common ways to track your affiliate marketing results and compensate affiliates: By sales, by clicks, and by leads.

  • If you want to generate a huge amount of traffic, paying affiliates for every click they can generate makes sense. 
  • If you’re trying only to drive revenue and minimize your payouts, pay only when a sale is generated. 
  • Want to fall somewhere in between? Set up your affiliate program to pay for every lead that’s generated – think an email opt-in, new followers on your social media channels, or downloading content. Then have a plan in place to nurture those new leads until they purchase from you.

5 Basic Steps to Creating an Affiliate Program 

Affiliate Partnership

A lot goes into creating a thriving, profitable affiliate program for an eCommerce website. Let’s distill it down to 5 general steps:

Step 1: Create Stellar Products

The reason affiliate marketing works is that your affiliate partners are lending you their authority. By promoting your eCommerce website, they are vouching for you and assuring their subscribers that your products are awesome.

Don’t disappoint them.

Make sure that your products live up to the claims you make about them. In fact, make sure your products are as great as they can be. You don’t want refund requests and complaints – nor does your affiliate.

Step 2: Identify Your Commission Structure

Decide whether you are paying affiliates for sales, clicks, or leads – and how much you’ll pay.

Ecommerce affiliate commissions typically range between 8 and 15 percent. To know how much to charge, investigate what your competitors offer, and calculate what you can afford to invest. A chief financial officer – either your own or a fractional professional – can be of great service here.

Step 3: Pick an Affiliate Platform or Plugin

Your platform or plugin will do the heavy lifting of tracking each sale, click or lead back to its source, as well as keeping track of how much you owe each affiliate. Accuracy, real-time reporting, and the ability to set up a commission structure the way you want are the most important features to look for.

Affiliate marketing

Step 4: Recruit Affiliates

If you have great products, affiliates will find you naturally. But to speed up the process, research businesses, thought leaders, and content publishers whose audiences would be a natural fit for your products. Approach them about joining your affiliate program.

Step 5: Market to Your Affiliates

If you want affiliate marketing to be a strong marketing strategy, communicate regularly with your affiliates, and find ways to keep them engaged and excited. You could do a weekly newsletter to your affiliates featuring a top product, create sales and special offers that they can promote to their lists, and even run contests to reward your top affiliates.

Need Help? Give Us a Call

These 5 steps to set up an affiliate program on your eCommerce website are broad. There are many decisions and steps required to build a successful affiliate program that increases website traffic, leads, customers, and revenue. If you’d like professional help, schedule a complimentary, no-obligation strategy session here or by calling us at 703-757-2209.

About the Author: Sharon Muniz is the president of NCN Technology, an IT consulting firm that specializes in helping eCommerce businesses increase sales and revenue with user-friendly, responsive websites. She is passionate about using software technology to diagnose weaknesses and improve processes and profitability. To request a complimentary affiliate marketing strategy session, call 703-757-2209 or contact us here.

Why DevOps? Answering your Questions about DevOps and Web Development

Why DevOps? Answering your Questions about DevOps and Web Development

Who, What, and Why DevOps? Answering your Questions about DevOps and Web Development

Businesses adopting DevOps is on the rise from 10% in 2017 to 17% in 2018. And with the new trends making it easier, faster, and safer to enjoy the many benefits DevOps has to offer any business.

Not every business is aware of what DevOps does or why they should jump on the bandwagon. We want to help your business grow and succeed and DevOps can help you do just that.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the who, what and why of DevOps.

What DevOps Is

DevOps is an umbrella term for the culture, mindset, and processes used to shorten the life cycle of software development and produce better products. DevOps automates processes between software development teams and operations.

This helps both departments to build, test, and release software more quickly and reliably. The faster feedback enables teams to deliver features, updates and fixes more frequently.

There are five steps that a company can take to implement DevOps into their business best practices. And done correctly, there is a myriad of benefits.

Why DevOps Is Beneficial

Finding ways to increase productivity is always at the forefront of any successful company. There are a few ways DevOps increases productivity:

Shorter Development Cycles and Faster Innovation

It’s difficult to know if an application is successfully operational when you’re getting a biased response from development and operations teams. Joining development and operations enables the team to create better applications that are ready to use more quickly.

Reduce Failures, Reflections, and Recovery Time

Getting feedback from operations is a primary reason it can take longer to develop.  When operations are more engaged in production; development lifecycle timelines can be reduced.

Development teams can get the feedback they need to improve the functionality and finetune the products as per the product owner’s requirements. This can reduce the number of builds and development iterations by collaborating amongst the two divisions.

Increased Efficiency

Automation means there’s less of a chance of human error coming into play, which translates into increased efficiency. And there are ways to automate DevOps tasks such as:

  • Reducing manual work, automated compilation
  • Automating the process of testing code

Software engineers have more time to focus on tasks additional tasks.

Accelerations Tools Increase Efficiency

But DevOps also uses accelerations tools which can also increase efficiency in the following ways:

  • Use build acceleration tools to compile code more quickly
  • Avoid delays by embedding parallel workflows in the continuous delivery chain
  • Speed up testing and deployment operations by implementing scalable infrastructures such as cloud-based platforms
  • Increase team access to hardware resources

DevOps also lets teams use one environment for better efficiencies and reduced risks.

Increased Cooperation and Collaboration

Since all teams are working together, their increased communication leads to an increase in cooperation.

Teams can now collaborate and develop better ideas faster than ever.

Save Money

The DevOps cycle helps reduce costs through efficiencies and reduced project risks.

Work With Us

Why DevOps? Because it helps your company achieve a better end product in less time.

DevOps can help you anticipate and share unplanned work proactively. And we can help you improve your processes today. Click here to contact us and to learn how we can help.

Senior Living Marketing Strategies: 5 Best Practices

Senior Living Marketing Strategies: 5 Best Practices

Senior living marketing requires a unique approach. That’s because you’re not just selling a product. You’re presenting a way of life that shows it’s never too late to enjoy the quality of life.

You’re also showing families their loved ones will be in good hands. That’s an important responsibility.

In the following article, we’ll be showing you what to do to make sure everyone is enthusiastic about your facility. Let’s begin!

1. Highlight Your Amenities

According to the National Council for Aging Care, independent living is the top living arrangement choice for today’s seniors. But seniors have choices. To “sell” them on your particular brand, you have to feature the amenities that are going to appeal to that sense of independence.

Take stock of what your best ones are. Place them front-and-center on your website. Make sure you’re showing off both in-house and nearby amenities as well as any transportation choices.

2. Discuss Meal Plans

Who doesn’t love to eat? An enjoyable meal goes a long way into establishing quality-of-life. Promote the kitchen schedule, and update your menus every day or week so seniors know what to expect each day.

Also, make this information prominent on your site so family members and seniors can easily keep up with things. This gives peace of mind that your facility is providing proper nourishment and delicious food options, and it will aid your digital marketing efforts.

3. Talk About the Options to Maintain Independence

Certain health limitations do come with aging. What healthcare assistance options do you have to assist? Promoting those through your site gives prospects the information they need to make a decision.

From a marketing standpoint, it helps you know the type of prospect you have up front. This gives you the ability to better promote any relevant services, and it gives the prospect full disclosure about what you can do for them.

4. Spare No Detail in Your Living Quarters

Your web design should provide a full experience of what it’s like to live at your facility. Consider options like 360-Degree Video to give the prospect a fully immersive experience. This helps you show up rooms, layout, bathroom and shower quality, and space in a way that’s less-limited from standard image posting.

5. Master Your Web Appeal

With best practice Nos. 1-4, we covered the must-have content you need to feature in your marketing. Now let’s talk about the rest.

Your website is your greatest marketing tool, so it needs to load quickly, navigate easily, and be mobile-friendly. Beyond that, there’s social networking.

Social networks are where most of your prospects and their family members will be the most active online. Secure your brand identity on the platforms you plan to use.

Facebook and Instagram are particularly effective for facilities because you can directly target your audience,  they emphasize visual marketing components And there’s a lot of people using them.

Check your branding on your networks-of-choice to maintain consistency and ensure they are featured prominently on your website’s home page.

Senior Living Marketing Is About Visualization

You must go beyond simply telling prospects who you are and what you have to offer. It’s about helping them visualize themselves at your facility. Contact NCN Marketing today if you’re ready to master your senior living marketing touch.

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) sound similar, but what are they and why are they different? Surely our users are our customers and therefore they are the same thing – except, of course, they’re not.

In previous articles, we have talked about the importance of this aspect of your website; whether you are rejuvenating an existing one or preparing a completely new website. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate. So, what is the difference between CX and UX?

What is User Experience?

The UX is how people interact with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction and generally refers to the digital interface, i.e. your website’s usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension, visual hierarchy, etc.. All of these elements combine to create the UX, whether positive or negative. UX is measured with metrics like success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete tasks, and clicks to completion. The ultimate goal of your website’s UX should be to provide efficient and enjoyable solutions.

What is Customer Experience?

CX has a greater scope. It encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand; an umbrella concept encompassing all channels and all products within the same brand, and how the user feels about them. It might be measured in overall experience, the likelihood of continued use, and possibility of recommending to others. In essence, UX is part of a broader CX, but CX contains some aspects outside of a product that UX does not.

Good UX

A good digital user experience gives a user/customer the ability to:

  • Find information on a website quickly and easily
  • Complete a desired task with ease
  • Search web pages with ease

Good CX

A comprehensive customer experience might include:

  • A professional, helpful, satisfying interaction with the organization/company representatives
  • An overall positive experience with that organization/company and everything associated with it

Why they are both important

You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers in completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

You can see how UX is really a component of CX, and each play an important role in the overall success of a program, the reputation of your brand, and customers’ loyalty to your brand. Failures in either area leads to a bad customer experience overall. Think about this as you develop products and services, and make sure to have the customer in mind.


Remember, always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists; it’s aimed at meeting a client’s needs in order to grow your business.

Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check from our article on building a new website:

  • Review who your target audience is, and make sure your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s topical in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with UX.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Also consider the overall branding of your company and ensure there is seamless identification from website, store, and products to staff and stationery. In order to have a positive, subtle influence on CX, it all needs to have the same look and feel–unified parts of your company.

4 Ways UX Improves CX

Have no doubt about the importance of UX, it is one of the strongest overall influences on the CX. Here are four UX techniques that can have a direct impact and improvement in CX:

  1. Easy customer feedback

Make sure your communication with your users is as easy and open as possible; don’t bury the customer helpline in a hard-to-find place. Create clear and readily visible calls-to-action, or even ask for feedback. Customers enjoy being heard, but it’s up to you to open that line of communication. From a UX position, the aggregate feedback will also reveal insights for product improvement.  

  1. Provide responses to feedback

As much as we have suggested that customers appreciate being heard; the complementary part of that is giving them feedback that their comments are being implemented, or at least were read. And remember to keep the tone consistent from product and website through to your customer support responses.

  1. Combine channels in the right context

A multi-device experience is always a solid strategy, considering that 90%* of users complete a single task on more than one device. Apply this to CX by linking customer service or other relevant services/products at the correct touchpoint. For example, Citibank, like many other sites (like Amazon), allows instant messaging with customer service reps as part of the existing user flow, a huge time-saver for anyone that’s taken advantage of it. 

  1. Provide context across teams

Customer service or supply chain teams certainly shouldn’t dictate the product design, but they must be involved in the product design process. You could seek their input on feasibility and explain how their roles help fulfill the product promise (and how they can salvage it should issues arise). Customer journey maps then help everyone visualize the entire experience. 


User experience must always be seen in the bigger context of customer experience or it’s entirely possible that your effort will be wasted even when the work is brilliant.

A positive UX is an integral part of a good CX; both are important and complement each other. Whilst UX has its focus on the product itself, CX focusses more broadly on the (overall) multi-channel experience that a user or customer has with a company, both online and offline. For an organization to create a good and long-lasting relationship with their customers, an appropriate strategy both for UX and CX is important for success.

NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We understand the many platforms that are available and can help you choose what is best for your business. If developing the right UX is part of your strategy, let us support you with your website developments.

If you’d like expert advice, get in touch. We’d like to help you make your user experience the most efficient and user-friendly.

New Year, New Website Makeover

New Year, New Website Makeover

Your business website is akin to your professional appearance as a person. You wouldn’t attend a business meeting in your pajamas, or in moth-eaten and musty clothes.  You may choose to identify with vintage wear, but it would be neat, clean and smell nice! Your super-trendy threads are worn by design. They are a considered and conscious style choice, not just whatever you dove into in the laundry basket, or dug up from the basement.

So, new year, new makeover – let’s give your digital presence a face-lift!  You may choose to initiate a complete overhaul, or just attend to all the clutter that has accumulated, like hidden folders or old price lists.  Start your business year off with a bright and shiny new website. It’s good for your stress levels (less jumbled to do lists), and GREAT for your business!  

Initial considerations

Our previous article suggests considering your audience, technology and experience before you update your website.  Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check:

  • Review who your preferred target audience is, and that your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s hot in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with user experience.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists.  It’s not for a secret Easter bunny hunt, it’s aimed at meeting a client needs in order to grow your business.


Your original website is ancient and decrepit, out of date, and not bringing in any new celebrities.  So, you’ve decided that a “do-over” is best. In that case, do your homework before you build your site structures.  Select the web designer, web developer and web platform that works best for you and your business.

A web designer is responsible for how your website looks and how it is used by visitors to the site.  A web developer makes the designed vision a reality, they make it work!  The web platform is the fundamental bedrock your new site is crafted on.  If you sell products online, you will need a store application.  If you provide services, you may require an integrated booking system function.  The selected web platform should contain the critical functionality you require.

If you’re a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of person, have a look at these reviews of website builders:

If building websites is not your core business, concentrate on your expertise and let us support you with your website updates.  NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We’ll help you craft a visually appealing website that provides a great experience for your clients.  What’s more, we understand the many web platforms that are available, and can help you choose what is best for your business.


Clean out the old storage folders and articles stacked in the cobweb-covered attics of your website.  If you have hidden web pages that are empty and not being used, delete them! You can create a new and relevant folder or page when you need to.  Hoarding unused folders and pages ruins your carefully structured web hierarchy, and confuses the purpose of where you store your content.

Give your website back-end a thorough dusting at least every three months.  Clean up any unused and out-of-date content. You’ll be grateful you did when you next update!

Be present

Ensure you have up-to-date and relevant content on your website.  It’s not very reassuring to clients to find only ghostly articles from five years ago.  It would feel similar to entering an abandoned building. Let potential clients know you are at home! Switch on the lights, decorate a little.  Update your website with recent photos, articles, promotions, the latest news, or even a constant feed from your social platforms.

At the very least, add or update recognizable and dated content every month.  If you’re too busy, hire someone to do it for you. There is a burgeoning trend of online specialists who keep your social profile and online presence alive and kicking.   

Get the basics right

Text formatting, spelling errors and font choice to are the basics of user experience.  If casual website browsers can’t read your site, or notice an error, they are likely to cringe and leave.   A potential client is relying on your professional expertise. If you didn’t bother to have your content spelling checked, or ensure its neatly aligned, why should they hang around?  There is a google directory full of alternatives.

Get the basics right, build rapport, make your web guest’s experience a pleasant one.  If you don’t happen to be a grammar detective, copy editor or website designer, hire one.  Or at least ask a few friends or family members to review your site for you.

If a link is broken, and leads to an internet waste-land, your client may also continue into the wild blue yonder.  With the sheer volume of content available online, nobody has time for broken links. If a browser isn’t instantly gratified, they may move on, along with your sale.

Consistent branding.  Ensure your current logo is the ONLY logo.  You may have been through a few logo iterations that weren’t updated.  Check every little nook and cranny of your website settings. Logos can be added to the main webpage, footer, online invoicing, automated message responses and even error pages.  Ensure every instance is congruent with your current branding. If you have specific business colors, ensure the exact Hex, RGB or CMYK values are used in every, single, instance.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Yes, it is a real thing.  It’s a very important thing! SEO is how your website is found on Google or other search engines.  If you rely on garnering new traffic to your site, it’s best to hire a professional who can setup the necessary settings in a jiffy.  If you have the time and motivation, there is extensive information available on the internet on how to go about SEO. Be sure your reference sources are knowledgeable, effective and efficient.  You don’t want to waste time working on anything that doesn’t measurably increase your website traffic.

The numbers. Review what is working and what isn’t on your site.  Track your site statistics to evaluate whether your business is getting the most traction through blog posts, a particular social media platform, or perhaps through special email promotions.  Analyze and assess where your strategy is inspirational, and where it isn’t. Enhance and nurture your areas of strength, and re-evaluate where the effort is exceeding the results. Spend your time wisely, and ensure it is building your business, and not just unnecessarily sapping your time and resources.

The human factor

Go undercover.  Use new eyes. Put yourself in the sport sneakers, or comfortable hospital crocs, or beach thongs of your target client.  Imagine your perfect client, name them and create a person. Once you’ve pictured Roxy, Antonio, Joe or Agatha, click through your entire site as that person.  Do the graphics appeal to who you are? Is the content relevant? Does the message speak to you? Is it a chore to read the website or useful and engaging? Are the stated facts verified? If not, make a plan, get it updated.

Connect.  Your clients are PEOPLE.  Build valuable relationships with them through newsletters, onsite interactions, or on social media platforms.  Create places for your clients to comment, add their voice, or get new insight into your business or industry. If you don’t like writing, hire a blogger.  If you don’t like tracking social media posts, hire a social media expert. It’s extremely common nowadays, and is good business! The online connections will do wonders for helping your clients feel worthwhile and included.  

Reward yourself

Once you’ve successfully planned out your magnificent new web strategy, and achieved your beautiful new web page, reward yourself!  A new website makeover is exciting and inspiring! If you make it a pleasant experience for you and your team, you are more likely to keep up the good business practice of maintaining your website.  Your website wardrobe will be red carpet worthy, regal and timeless – by conscious design.

If you’d like some expert advice, get in touch.  We’d like nothing more than to help you herald in a new year with a fabulous new website!

3 Things to Consider Before Updating Your Website

3 Things to Consider Before Updating Your Website

If you’re thinking about updating your website, you’re already one step ahead in the game of “Online Presence”! Many businesses fail to realize how important it is to keep their website updated, fresh, current and relevant. They mistakenly think they can put a lot of effort into building their website and then take a “Set & Forget” attitude about it. Sure, that may give you a presence in the digital world, but it won’t do much for the success of your website, or business for that matter. So let’s take a look at some of the things you may like to consider as you plan your updates. This article discusses audience, technology and experience.


For most businesses, this will not have changed since launching their website. However, there’s no reason to overlook this consideration. It’s a good opportunity to take a peek at your website’s analytics to see who really is taking interest in what you’re offering. Perhaps your target market isn’t who you originally thought it would be, thus there could be room for adjustments in your copy or images that will be better-suited to the people who are visiting your site in order to convert them into buyers.

Another way to look at this is that there’s a possibility your current content isn’t crafted appropriately to attract the audience you prefer to target. If you’re unsure, there are plenty of marketing/copywriting specialists who will be eager to help you evaluate the message you’re delivering and assist you with re-crafting it to be more appropriate to your goals.


There’s more to engaging your audience than just the words you use. There are new technologies coming along all the time–things that consumers quickly come to expect from companies who want their business. People enjoy using innovative technologies, and that includes app and website updates that allow them to get what they are looking for, faster and easier. If you’re keeping up with these advances, you’re more likely to be seen as a savvy business who’s keen to meet the demands of the market.

Here are three new web design trends to be mindful of for 2019.

  • A need for speed! Humans simply aren’t patient, especially not since the speed of internet continues to increase their expectations. How does that affect your website and business? It comes down to loading time. A gorgeous site is fabulous, but if your site is so data heavy that it takes ages to load, you’re probably missing a large number of opportunities to convert visitors into customers. Plus, Google now prioritizes search results using their Speed Update. This means the slowest sites are penalized. So it’s worthwhile to streamline your website to be quick-loading.
  • Flat Design means clean and simple. It’s not two-dimensional, but it incorporates a design aesthetic that gets rid of clutter and focuses on the important parts of your website. Because Flat Design uses simpler graphics and other elements, this also ties in with improving the speed of your site.
  • Focusing on mobile first design. At one time, websites were designed to load on desktops only. Then smartphones came into the picture and we started using our internet-ready phones to view websites. The companies that integrated this technology into their design process were the ones who benefited the most. Today, more and more users are predominantly using mobile devices for their searches and online activity. If you haven’t yet given your site a mobile-friendly update, now is a good time to do so!

There are plenty of other trends to learn about. Just be cautious not to confuse them with fads that may not stick around long. Look at the trends and suggestions that you see value in and try to incorporate what you can into your own website design.


This is another area that takes your consumers into consideration. User Experience (UX) is one of the most important aspects of your website to get right. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate and allow them to complete purchases quickly and easily. Have you reviewed your current transaction process? Have you gone through it to see how it actually works? Here’s a list of things for you to check.

  • How many payment methods do you offer? Once the visitor has decided to buy, she likes to have options. You’ll choose this based on your target audience, but options you may have are Direct Payments, Credit Cards, PayPal, and Swipe, just to name a few.
  • Do you keep buyers on your site or redirect elsewhere for payments? You’ve invested time and money to get visitors to stay on your site, why would you choose to send them elsewhere for payment?
  • Is your branding carried throughout the website and transaction experience? Consumers are more inclined to trust a business that has a consistent look throughout the website experience. That includes the checkout process, another reason to avoid sending them elsewhere for payments.
  • Do you have clear calls to action (CTA) throughout your website? Your visitors should know what you want them to do, easily see how to do so, and have no hiccups when they take that action. It’s a good idea to have multiple CTA buttons throughout your site, not just on the last page.

Again, there are a number of User Experience (UX) design elements that you can incorporate into your website with an update. It comes down to choosing the ones that are most applicable to your business, the market you represent, and the audience you aim to attract.

Ultimately, you have a lot to choose from when it comes to web design elements. It can be a little overwhelming to know which ones are best for your business and the type of website you have.

What do YOU find most helpful, appealing, or attractive when using websites? If you’re unsure, think about sitting down with a pen and paper while you visit your favorite businesses’ websites, as well as those of your competition. Write down what you like and what you don’t like, then compare yours to see how it stacks up.

If you would like help updating your website, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your needs. We’d love to help you evaluate your site and suggest possible upgrades that will improve traffic, conversions and growth!