Anybody that’s ever spent any time online knows that the web is covered with ads. Anywhere there is a little extra screen space, you’ll likely see something be promoted. So, with all the ads on the internet, which advertising methods actually work to bring your site targeted traffic? When a client asks me, “How do I advertise my website?”, these are the methods I introduce them to first…
Google AdWords and Other Pay Per Click Advertising Services
You’ll often see “pay per click” referred to as PPC. When you do a search on Google or another search engine, you’ll see “sponsored links”. These are PPC ads. In a nutshell, the advertiser chooses a set of keywords, and when someone looks for those keywords, their PPC ads come up. The advertiser bids a small amount on the ads, and each time someone clicks on the ad, you have to pay your bid amount. Bids are often as low as just a few cents per click, and sites like Google have a whole system so that if you bid more, your ad can get displayed higher up.
PPC is cheap, and it allows you to hit just your target market. They are also good for tracking. You can see how many people have clicked on your ads under which keywords. If you have an exercise site and you put out ads under different keywords (like “treadmill” and “elliptical” for instance), you can monitor which keywords get hits and which don’t. If nobody is clicking your ad under “treadmills,” you can stop using it.
With PPC advertising you can almost instantly put your ads on major search engines including Yahoo or Google. You can also give them a monthly budget, which will cap your payments. That way, if your clicks go over a certain amount, they will pull them off and you won’t end up having to pay more than you expected to.
Banner ads are the big rectangles you see practically everywhere advertising something or other. You click on the banner and it redirects your browser to the advertiser’s website.
There are a couple of ways to get your banners up on the web. The free way is to exchange banners with other sites. This means that they’ll put your banner up, and you have to put theirs on your site. You can either contact other sites individually, or join a banner exchange. The obvious disadvantage of this is that your site can end up cluttered with banners, and you might not want that.
If you’re willing to shell out some cash, you have a few more options. You can either approach websites individually and make them an offe or you can join a banner network.
If you operate in a narrow niche, you might want to contact related sites yourself. If you go this route, you have more control over where your banners are. Also, if there’s a certain site you’d like to advertise on, this method works well. For instance, if your site deals with Japanese underground bluegrass music (not a niche I’d recommend…), you’ll want to put it on sites where people who might be interested in Japanese underground bluegrass music would look. The disadvantage is that it’s time consuming.
Banner ad networks are like brokers. You pay them and they post your banner on different sites and handle this targeting issue for you. They will also keep track of your clicks for you, so that you know which banners are getting the most hits.
Classified Ads – Online and Offline
Classified ads are another good way to advertise your site. You can advertise online or offline. Classifieds are a proven technique for advertising. People don’t look at classifieds for entertainment; they’re looking for something specific.
One of the biggest sites on the web for classifieds is Craigslist. Another popular ad site is Web-Ads.com. You can also place ads on most major search engines, like Yahoo and Google.