The most frequent question I get from clients is "How do I get my site approved for premium status with my AVS?" Good question! Whether you're working with a designer or building the site yourself, there are some basic things you need to know. Below is an outline of what I've learned over the years, the hard way!
In my opinion, Adult Check GoldŽ is the most profitable premium level AVS around. If you've thought about trying to build a gold site (or any premium level AVS site) keep the following in mind.
First, research your niche at your preferred AVS. Is their link list already flooded with these sites? Check out some of the sites listed to see how they've set them up. Don't copy them by any means but get an idea of what kinds of sites your competition is building. Decide what direction your site needs to take, where you're going to host it (most premium level sites can kill your bandwidth when placed on the new link list so BEWARE!) and figure out a site title that's not already taken.
When purchasing content for your premium site, it's always best to first e-mail someone at the AVS to check out the content to make sure it's not "Over Used." One of the biggest reasons that sites get declined for premium status is content being old or already used on to many other sites. Chances are, if the content you bought is really cheap, bundled together or on "special," it's been around for a while or has already been snatched up by other AVS webmasters.
The key to a quality AVS site is fresh, new content. The keen surfer that frequents the AVS's link list probably already has an ID to regular sites and to persuade them to upgrade to premium status, your site will need to feature content that hasn't been plastered all over the net.
That said, just take the time to ask your AVS before you purchase the content. In the long run, it'll save you a ton of headaches including having to change your tour images to get rid of any pictures that the AVS deemed overused.
OK, your content is approved and you're ready to kick out a premium AVS site. Here's some things you should know regardless of the AVS used.
1) Tour design: most AVS's require a 3 page tour (1 warning page, 1 tour page and 1 join page with some descriptive text selling the surfer on the benefits of joining the AVS). Make sure your tour pages are consistant. Have the site logo on all the tour pages using the same background/background color, text color and link colors throughout giving a uniform look that the AVS is looking for. Keep animations to a minimum! A good rule of thumb is to only use animations to highlight ONE thing on a page that you want to draw the surfers eye to (example: an animated "join" button or a flashing star or something similar leading the surfer to the join page). Mouseovers on buttons are cool but remember that they slow the load time of the page because each mouseover is using 2 graphics.
When using thumbs as sample pictures (whether linked to the full sized .JPG or not), make sure to "stylize" them. Don't just make a square thumb. Add borders, drop shadows, or anything else that will make them look distinguishable from an ordinary thumbnail. Just remember to be consistent to give your site a smooth flow.
2) Make sure to see if your AVS has a banned words list. Most AVS do and they require that you don't use certain words, make reference to or combine things like "Young Teens, Fake Celebrities," etc. While the word "Teens" is allowed you want to make sure you don't inadvertently make an underage reference.
If your AVS's name is copyrighted or trademarked, make sure to include the proper symbol to mark this every time you make a reference to their name. And for the love of God, make sure that what you say on your tour pages is delivered in the members area and that all tour images are actually located within your gallery pages!
3) When laying out your members index page, make sure your gallery buttons are ABOVE your off site links or other content. Don't obstruct the links to your content! Also make sure to mark your sponsor links as off site (required for Adult Check GoldŽ) and don't put more sponsor banners than is allowed.
Some people like to add sponsor banners to the bottom of random gallery pages and some like to add them on the main index page. Totally up to you but like I said, DON'T obstruct your gallery links!
Try to match your members index page to your tour if possible. Use the same logo and color scheme to give a nice flow and recognition.
4) Gallery creation. Use a program like Thumbs Plus (http://www.cerious.com/) to generate your thumbnails. Make sure you've got navigation links at the top (or bottom) of every gallery page. Be original and add nice colored borders or background colors to your table of thumbnails. Match the background color of the page to your tour color. Don't just use the standard template that comes with the outputted HTML. Take a little time and you'll be surprised at how happy this makes the reviewers!
Going above the required number of images is totally up to you. I've tried both using the exact required amount and using more than required. Results vary and I can't say for sure that adding more content gets you more sales. Remember that the surfer now has an ID to enter all premium sites that have thousands of pictures combined. I'm not saying to do the bare minimum but keep in mind that you don't need 1000 pictures if the requirement is 300.
There are a thousand and one reasons why a site can be rejected on design and layout. These tips are meant to be used as a starting point.
MY SITE HAS BEEN REJECTED! NOW WHAT?
So, you've spent 3 days making the sharpest graphics, the hottest text, laying out your site, uploading it and you're finally done! You submit your site and get back a "I'm sorry, but I'm unable to approve your site at this time for the following reasons..." e-mail. Don't despair and don't get mad!
I used to take it personally and e-mail back the reviewers threatening to go to their boss and tell them they sucked and didn't know what they where doing! I swore to them I had followed every rule to the letter and was an experienced AVS webmaster. Well, I'd usually e-mail them back without first taking the time to calmly read the entire e-mail and totally put my foot in my mouth!
Sometimes reviewers will have serious issues with your site like it not loading in Netscape (make sure you ALWAYS check your entire site with the current version of Internet Explorer and Netscape) or full sized pictures not loading. Or sometimes it seems like they're totally picking on you with things like, your page counter isn't exactly one full page below your enter button or your site is loading to slow for them (never mind that your on a dedicated high speed server!!).
Anyway you look at it, if you want your site accepted, you have to make the changes that the reviewers want. You can argue but that generally gets you no where. Remember why you wanted your site listed as premium and resist the urge to simply take the site to another AVS with more lenient rules.
MAINTAINING YOUR PREMIUM STATUS
Once your site is accepted, you now have to update it with new content monthly (check with your AVS to see how much content is needed) to keep it listed as premium. You can do this one of two ways.
You can make the gallery pages a head of time and use a handy Java script to make the updates happen automatically every month (Age Oath AVS has a great script in their tips section) or simply do it by had each month. It's up to you but just make sure you do it!
Following this outline will hopefully help you get your site approved the first time around, eliminating the need to battle the reviewers! I could go on and on but I think this should get you going in the right direction.
Building affordable pay site quality AVS sites.