Tag Archives: ppc

What Should You Know About Search Engines and Pay-Per-Click?

Here’s a fact for you, 85 to 95% of websites are found through a search engine.  You may have the most incredible website on the Internet, but it will receive little or no traffic without search engine visibility and ranking.  Can you imagine a billboard in the Sahara desert?  Who sees it?

So, how will searchers find your website? What types of search engines could they use?

Search engines fall into two categories.  The first is referred to as natural, organic or standard.  The second is called pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement.

Natural, organic and standard are interchangeable terms describing a search engine that bases its search rankings on a ranking algorithm.  The algorithms involve a number of criteria and parameters, all relating to the content of the website, the website’s size, the number of incoming links to the website, and the content’s relevancy.  You will hear terms such as keyword relevancy and keyword density to describe various components of the algorithms.

For the standard search engines, you, your webmaster or hired search engine optimization specialist could spend considerable time optimizing your website to achieve top rankings. The goal is for your website to appear on the first or second page of the search engines’ results when your target user searches keywords or keyword phrases.

The good news is rankings on standard search engines are free.  The downside is the tremendous amount of time and effort required to achieve exceptional search engine rankings.   Let’s confess to each other that top rankings on standard search engines can be tough and timely to achieve!

The interchangeable terms pay-per-click, paid inclusion or paid placement describe a search engine that bases its search rankings on a “bid for position” basis.  Simply stated, you “bid” a price to be in a specific position of the search rankings for a particular search keyword or keyword phrase.  For example, the #1 position on the search phrase “pay per click” recently required a bid of $3.55 per click, whereas the 15th position required only a bid of 55 cents.  As a result, your differential website advertising costs between position #1 and #15 can be considerable.

With pay-per-click search engines, your ability to bid high can dramatically impact your website’s search engine ranking when the search results display website domain names or URL’s for the search keyword or keyword phrase.  The benefit is your website gains visibility with the searcher, but you are not charged the pay-per-click “bid” until a searcher actually clicks on your website domain name or URL displayed in the search engine results. The selection of your website in the search engine results is called a click-through.

In general, click-through rates range from 1% to 5% of the number of impressions.  What is all of this?  A click is when a searcher selects or “clicks” your pay-per-click ad.  An impression is one display of your pay-per-click ad on the search engine results.  So, the click-through rate is a measure of the total number of ad clicks versus the total number of impressions in a period of time:

Click-Through Rate % = Total Number of Ad Clicks / Total Number of Ad Impressions * 100

Let’s do the math for our #1 position bid of $3.55 per click.  In September, 2004 there were 21,535 searches for “pay per click.”  First, let’s assume a 1% click-through rate. The top bidder spent $764.49 (21,535 * 1% * $3.55).  Now, at a 5% click-through rate the top bidder spent $3,822.45 (21,535 * 5% * $3.55).  Budgeting and controlling marketing expenses with such a broad range of potential costs could be tough.  Plus, such costs could be the tip of the iceberg. We still must consider derivatives of the keyword or keyword phrase. So, was being #1 worthwhile?  That depends on your website’s cost per visitor, conversion rate and profit margin of your product or service.

From what we’ve covered so far, you should realize you can achieve a top or high ranking through the pay-per-click search engine. But, a high ranking will cost money and these costs can be volatile. Meanwhile, the standard search engine remains free.

However, pay-per-click offers one significant advantage.  It enables you to achieve website visibility with a high ranking instantaneously or overnight.  If you want to draw traffic to your website fast for any reason, pay-per-click can make that happen. Remember, maximizing the standard search engine process takes time!

Let’s summarize the pros and cons of pay-per-click marketing:

Pros

* Improves your website’s ranking and traffic quickly.
* Tests the marketability of your product or service swiftly.
* Determines the ability of your web site to convert visitors to a call to action or make a purchase promptly.
* Identifies which keyword phrases will provide the best conversion rate rapidly.
* Provides complete control of the search engine campaign, both position and cost.

Cons

* Cost

Many individuals criticize pay-per-click because of the costs involved. But, have you really thought about the cost issue?  Unless you or someone in your organization has expertise in search engine optimization, you’ll probably pay several thousand dollars in fees to a search engine optimization specialist to improve and optimize your website to achieve higher rankings in the standard search engines.  So, my question to you is.  Are the standard search engine rankings really free?

At the end of the standard versus pay-per-click search engine debate, it’s like the old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Or, it’s like the old commercial, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” The reality of the debate is you must evaluate your specific website situation and utilize the search engine approach that maximizes your website promotion goals and investment.

Reseller Hosting Defined

The term Reseller according to the dictionary means to sell again i.e. to sell a product or service to the public or to an end user, especially as an authorized dealer, while making sure that you make a profit on the sale.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is no different either, a reseller buys a Web hosting package from a hosting company and tries to sell it independently. The profit for the reseller lies in either the discount or in the commission s/he gets from selling an account.

For example: The reseller might purchase a package whose features are valued at $100 for $90. So, the reseller stands to make a $10 profit on selling the package to customers. Normally as the customers increase, so does the profit margin for the reseller.

Or, you can get some money by earning commissions from a hosting company. This happens when you refer potential customers to the hosting company. If the customer signs up with the company then you earn a small recurring commission until the customer uses the services.

Most web hosting companies try to outsource their services to resellers as it helps them to extend their business reach without the cost of marketing and sales and also helps them to concentrate on the business side of things.

What can be resold

As a reseller you can decide what kinds of services you can sell.
You can provide shared, dedicated or co-location web hosting or merchant accounts, store fronts etc.

If you go with hosting then it might be useful to offer some other hosting related services like domain names, search engines etc.

Of course, if you have problems selling these value added services in the beginning then you can sell them later.

The cost and resources involved

The cost of becoming a reseller and the equipment and people required in order to be successful depends on many factors.

If you just plan to earn commission by referring people to the hosting company by using the Internet, then you do not have to put up a lot of money, all you need is an Internet ready PC and an Internet connection.

For a small start-up not a lot of money and resources are required. You can purchase a good reseller package from a hosting company by paying them some money upfront. All that is needed is a decent computer that can manage the accounts of customers and a good Internet connection.

It is advisable to start small if you are very new to the concept of web hosting and reselling. Then you can expand as you go on and start getting more and more customers in which case offering domain registration is also a very good way to make profits.

If you have the money and the experience then you can go as far as buying all the server equipment required, in which case you will also be responsible for all the server maintenance costs.

The other option could be leasing a server as this will be cheaper than buying the server, but here as well you are responsible for all the maintenance and running costs of the server.

In the above two cases you also need to make sure that you have multiple connections with the hosting company so there are no complications in case a connection goes down.

Upside

The best thing about being a reseller is that you do not require a lot of upfront investment.

There is no need to have a lot of technical knowledge. Account management and Internet skills are all that is required. However, it would be really handy if you have some sales and marketing experience so you can interact with your customers better.

The hosting company generally provides and maintains all the hardware and software.

You do not need to hire a lot of IT staff to provide support. Providing basic support and leaving the more technical issues to the parent company support staff can be easily achieved.

Downside

Support can sometimes be delayed, as you are dependent on the parent company to handle the technical aspects. If there is a delay from their side then you along with your customer are affected.

Sometimes customers leave you if they find out that you are a reseller and not a real hosting company.

Tips for marketing yourself

If you are starting out on a small scale then visiting message boards and posting your services there is a good idea. A lot of potential clientele with relatively small hosting needs also frequent message boards and outline their desired services.

Having contests is a great idea for bringing awareness and interest about your services.

Online ad campaigns, signatures, and text links are very helpful techniques.

Once you have gotten a bigger budget then you can go for Google ad words or PPC search engines.

The best strategy is to try out various combination of these approaches and work out the best one for your needs.

To Increase Your Advertising Effectiveness – Stop Selling!

How many times have you heard the old adage, “The customer doesn’t want a drill, he wants a hole in his wall”? While I may disagree with parts of that phrase, one thing is for sure… if you want to increase your advertising effectiveness, you have to stop selling what YOU want the customer to buy and start solving his problems.

What exactly does that mean? For starters, it means finding out who your customers are and what challenges they face. It also means that your ad copy, your tag line, your Web site design, your brochure, your customer service plan and your support need to all work in concert to provide the solutions to those challenges.

The most effective advertising pieces don’t sell… they fulfill. They don’t talk about the company… they talk about the customer. They don’t push price… they provide solutions.

When you focus on the customer in your advertising copy, when you get inside the mind of your customer and speak to their emotional needs, you will see greater results.

Here are 7 tips for creating copy that does not sell… but provides a solution.

1. Talk TO the customer, not ABOUT the company. Yes, you have to mention your company name so they’ll know who you are. But the majority of your copy should speak to the customer and his/her needs. Not: “ABC Web Site Designers has been in business for 13 years. We do great work. Our clients think this or that. We provide design, java and cgi. Our customer service can’t be beat. ABC is the best and you should use us.”

2. Use “you” and “your” and write as if only one person were reading your ad or site. Make your copy personal.

3. Get Real! Use real-life examples in your copy. Reach your customers on their level by identifying with them. Instead of something like, “You can get more organized and stay that way” say “You’ll be able to find your keys in 5 minutes or less and never again wonder if you or your spouse is supposed to pick up the kids today.”

4. Get emotional! Most buying decisions are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too! Bring out their frustration, their anger, their greed. Whatever the situation calls for, use those emotions in your copy. Example: “After you throw the plunger across the room and SCREAM… call ABC Plumbing.”

5. Benefits, benefits, benefits. I know you’ve heard it 1,000 times, but you simply must fill your copy with benefits. Always answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

6. Show them they’ll get results. Tell your customers what life will be like AFTER your product or service solves all their problems. By showing them that they will get their desired end result, you make a very persuasive argument for your product.

7. Be their friend. Let your copy portray you as “easy-to-like”. Show your customer that you’re their friend who is willing and able to help instead of just another business who wants them to buy.

When you put the focus on the people with the money… the people who keep your business up and going, you can work wonders with your copy. You’ll see your sales improve if you just quit selling!

Sex in Advertising: Does it Sell?

We’re surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for our attention. Everywhere we look, we find ourselves inevitably drawn to images of scantily clad attractive men and women that are supposed to somehow inspire us to purchase products they endorse. Sure, this attention-getting strategy is popular. But, is it effective?

Sex appeal can increase the effectiveness of an ad or commercial because it attracts the customer’s attention. It’s human nature to be curious about sex. A pair of long legs on a billboard is more likely to catch (and hold) a guy’s attention than a puppy, regardless of how cute it may be. Even women are drawn to them, perhaps with the desire of having goddess-like legs.

However, misuse of sex appeal can be costly. Many campaigns deemed offensive have started brand boycotts that affect sales and damage brand reputation. Abercrombie & Fitch has been involved in several scandals, the latest from their most recent catalog entitled “XXX Wet, Hot Summer Fun.” On April 18, 2002, only a week after the catalog hit the stores, the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution condemning A&F’s advertising tactics. This resolution, backed by several nonprofit organizations, suggests citizens and shareholders boycott Abercrombie’s products and to take a stand against the company’s marketing strategies. Although sexy images in catalogs are not at all uncommon, “XXX Wet, Hot Summer Fun” featured naked boys and girls frolicking in natural settings. Not quite appropriate for an apparel catalog targeted at teenagers.

Sex in advertising has stirred controversy for many years, an advertiser must be careful when incorporating it in a campaign. Great advertisers consider not only the attention-getting power of an advertisement or commercial, but also what kind of emotional response it provokes in customers. Studies show that the attractiveness of the endorsing model provokes positive responses. Nudity and graphic erotic content, while still increasing consumer’s attention, doesn’t really generate positive feelings among viewers. In other words, advertisers must be careful to avoid the “cheap shot,” which may negatively affect a brand’s image.

To avoid that, the sexual content in advertising must be appropriate to the product category and have a proper underlying message. In 2000, Heineken launched the “It’s All About the Beer” campaign. One spot, called “The Premature Pour,” shows a beautiful seductive woman pouring Heineken into a glass. When a guy across the bar responds by pouring his own, he nervously pours too fast and spills foam all over the table and himself. The sexual content is implicit, yet direct. The sexual reference in this and other spots in the campaign worked, causing sales to rise 13% in the first two quarters of 2002. However, Steve Davis (VP of marketing in Heineken USA), claims that, “Provocative is a very good place to be, as long as we’re not inflammatory. But the spots also work for a different reason. From the tag line to the plot, they are about a desire for Heineken. Our ads make the beer the hero.”

Sex sells, yes, but only when used “in good taste.” As marketers we must think not only in getting customers’ attention for the short term, but also in building a brand reputation that will yield long-term results.

Market Your Dream Online: Internet Advertising Advice

You need to be advertising and marketing your home-based business, but what does it all mean? You need customers. You need sales! But where do you start?

  • FFA Pages
  • Banners
  • Traffic Exchange Programs
  • Reciprocal Linking

These are just some of the ways for your home-based business to be advertising and marketing online (meaning on the Internet). But, what do they mean?

FFA Pages — You submit your site to a FFA page (or network of pages) and agree to get one E-mail from every other website that is listed there. Definitely not a good idea (see our Advertising/Marketing page for more details).

Banners – These are ads shown at the top (usually) of many webpages and they sometimes rotate to show a different ad each time the page is loaded.

Traffic Exchange Programs – You submit your ad to be shown to other members of the program when they load the program start page.

Reciprocal Linking – You place a link to someone’s website on your site and they place a link to your website on theirs.

Other Internet Marketing Suggestions

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Keywords are placed throughout your website’s pages to tell the search engines what your page is about. Keywords are simply words (or combinations of words) that describe your business.

Content is king. Provide good content (basically, articles about your area of expertise) about your subject and sprinkle the keywords (and combos) through the page. This basic strategy will get you a higher ranking with the search engines and many more customers because you’re giving them something that they need — information!

PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising – Instead of submitting your pages for inclusion in the search engine’s database, you bid on the keyword(s) that relate to your website. You can find out in advance what other sites have bid for a particular keyword and then decide if you want to outbid the number one spot or maybe bid a little less and get the number two, three, or four spot (or lower if the keyword is expensive).

Ezines/Newsletters – These are delivered through E-mail and can be either plain text or HTML with full graphics. Although they can sometimes be expensive, you can get free ads by writing articles about your subject area and contribute them to the ezines. Why would you want to give them away? Because you can put in a “Resource Box” at the end of each article. At the very least this box will contain your name, website address, and a brief one or two line “bio” about you (some ezines allow more room). See, free online advertising for your home-based business!

Advertising Approach For The First-time Webmaster

Author :Royan Shaw

For the first time internet entrepreneur [newbie] the best ways to promote your website at first instance are :

1. Express inclusion of your website for the usual 12 months offered by most of the major search engines. You can choose express inclusion for askjeeves, inktomi, altavista,msn etc but keep in mind to have your site submitted to the local index of your region.

For example if you reside in Toronto, Canada and you are submitting for express inclusion in the DMOZ or Canada.com search engine/directory you must ensure that your site is indexed in the Toronto’s business and economy directory. Get your site in the local index first things first.

If your submission listing includes the regional version of the DMOZ directory then thats good enough to go.

One point to note is that many of the major search engines and directories actually inter-relate that is they search across each other’s database therefore submitting to only one major engine or directory will satisfice for the Internet Marketing beginner.

2. Next, the most overlooked approach for the first-time website owner is the maximisation of the benefit of offline marketing methods.

Promote your website in exactly the same way you would have promoted a normal business by telling everyone about it.

Word of mouth is still the best way to promote a new business.

Put your motto and logo along with your url address on everything from a pin to an anchor. From stationery, pens, letterheads, postcards, flyers,posters, in your usual email, the list goes on…

You may consider placing classified ads in the local newspapers.

Run other programs such as sponsoring quizzes, prize competitions, trivia and other participating programs with your website address. You might ask readers to submit the answer to a quiz by visiting you website. Anything that gets the local community to know that your website exists. You can do it !!

FACT : You have to make it local before you go global.

Most start-up webmasters usually make the mistake on concentrating on those numerous ways to promote their site and become confused on deciding what works best. What works best can only be determined by careful evaluation of each and every advertising scheme in use on the web today :

  1. Publisher/advertisers programs
  2. Banner exchanges
  3. Exit ads
  4. Pay-Per-Click
  5. Link Exchanges
  6. Search engine blasting
  7. FFa, classified ad posting
  8. Rotator pages
  9. _JavaScript based pop-ups etc
  10. Express submit to search engines
  11. Search Engine Optimization
  12. Adwords by Google
  13. Others

Its interesting to note that no seller of the above services except for Google and the other search engine services has ever took the time to evaluate your website to decide whether or not your site is most suitable to fit the advertising package they are offering.

The best approach is to evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Not everything out there works for everybody in every instant. Test your website across every platform say 10000 visitor package each and assess the outcome one by one.

Some will work better than others but the ones returning the higher rate of response doesn’t necessarily mean they are the most profitable unless they each cost exactly the same per 1000 visitor.

What I had recommended in the first two paragraphs above should work best for the first-timer and is the most prudent approach.

Be careful when trying to find the best way of advertising, Don’t be caught up in the Internet Marketing clutter out there as every you come in contact with will tell you the advertising method they sell is the best.

Ignore whatever testimony you see written on these webpages, use these services under a trial based approach before you order that 100000 package or start paying that monthly subscription.

Any method you are interested in should be test and proven in quality. Careful thought and consideration should be given in order to plan, make decisions and control your business operating expenses.

What works for seasoned campaigners of Internet Marketing does’nt necessary works in the same way for the starter.

Your website is unique just like your fingerprint and its now your duty to determine the most economic,effective and efficient approach in promoting it.

Advertising – The Key to Success

You have got a great idea, and your website is now complete. You are ready to open for business but where are your customers? Simple – you are going to have to go out and get them. It sounds easy, but advertising can be a pitfall that can cripple many e-businesses.

There are several methods of advertising on the Internet. Some are free, some are low cost, while others are insanely expensive. The first thing you will need to look at is how much you are willing to pay for traffic, and how far your advertising dollar can go.

One of the most effective, and cheapest, methods of advertising is through e-zines. There are thousands, if not millions of e-zines published every single day. The best way to approach e-zines for advertising is to join a couple that fit your product profile and that you find interesting. Most e-zines offer incentives to new businesses signing up, and will even run your ad for free just for subscribing. You can find many e-zines that offer ads for as little as a dollar. It is a fantastic way to reach thousands of people who are already interested in your type of business.

In fact, you can utilize e-zines to promote your product for free, if you can write an informative article. E-zines are desperate for content, and will often offer to publish your article in exchange for a link back to your site. If you go this route, make sure that your article is informative and not just a sales pitch. For example, if your e-business deals with making money from home, an article about how working from home decreases stress would be very well received. You can rely more on making a good impression with the article and a simple link back, than a hard sell that might not even make into print.

Link exchanges are another free alternative to costly advertising. Be prepared to get lost in the shuffle if you choose a popular site. The best way to make use of this method is by running your own link exchange from your site and offering a free posting in exchange for a link back to your site.

Targeted advertising is by far the best way to bring in traffic to your website. By using targeted key words, your customers are not just stumbling into your website. Half the work is already done by the key words. You just need to supply the information. Google Ad Words can be used very effectively as well as other targeted key word companies. Most of these operate on a pay per click basis, so you will need to research your key words and supply the best possible words to ensure a good cost-to-click ratio.

Press releases are a great way to get the word out about your site and possibly create media buzz. While this method is more expensive than the above methods, it has the potential to bring in substantial traffic. Before sending out your release, make sure that it is formatted correctly and contains a powerful first paragraph. News editors are inundated daily and you do not want to get lost in the shuffle.

When writing your press release, it is important to make it news worthy, instead of a plain announcement. Using our example above, if a recent study is released about stress management and working from home, it would be a perfect time to send out a press release that mentions the study and your business. Be prepared to receive phone calls and answer questions if your release is a hit.

You don’t necessarily have to wait for an event to happen to send out your release. If all else fails, get creative! There are many ways to tie in your business to current events, all you need is a little imagination.

We have covered just a couple of ways to effectively advertise your new or existing e-business. The best advice is to start wisely, plan your advertising budget accordingly and get the word out as effectively as possible.

Advertising Using PPC Search Engines

Internet technology offers vast opportunities to promote your business with virtually no advertising borders, and you can find countless sources online directing you towards budget marketing via pay-per-click search engines for maximum effectiveness in the information age.

Enterprising people know all the benefits of optimizing their online advertising, and because of this fact the ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) technique has been developed to meet the need. PPC is certainly at the cutting edge of Internet advertising today, because you ‘bid’ or budget on the exact amount you want to put into your advertising campaign, giving you the choice to state just how much you’ll pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

For instance, if you bid five cents a click, that’s how little you’ll pay for your advertising – and you’ll only have to pay that five cents each time a consumer clicks on your ad! Budget marketing via pay-per-click search engines should encompass the following integral steps of creating, optimizing and managing your advertising campaign or ‘sponsored search’ on the most widely used search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN, Earthlink, American Online, Ask Jeeves and CNN.com – just to name a famous few!

The most widely touted benefit of budget marketing via pay-per-click search engines is that it delivers your product information and your web site to the very consumers online who are searching for such products, be it business, science or technology-related, trips and travel, car buying, entertainment ideas or wedding planning! Your business specifically reaches those already interested in knowing more, and enthusiasts of budget marketing via pay-per-click search engines will tell you that no other advertising medium can give you that kind of bang for your advertising buck.

Other pluses of budgeting via PPC are that your ad can be targeted to regions you specify, whether you want the entire world to know, or just focus on your local area at the moment. Your ad can also be tracked towards search engines that receive the highest amount of keywords specific to the product or service on your website. Whether you have a home based business or you’ve just been appointed Director of a countrywide multi-national, your business will benefit from budget marketing via pay-per-click search engines. Seek out experts who will

Integrating Advertising into Your Web Design

If you are going to be placing ads on your website, you’ll want to put some thought into how you’ll integrate them. Poor integration of ads into your website will cause visitors to click away fast. Successful integration of ads into your site can be highly profitable. Before I show you where to position ads, I want to mention a few important points about ads.

1. Ratio of ads to content

How many ads should you place on your website? There is an optimum ratio of ads to content. If your website has too high a proportion of advertising relative to content, the traffic on your website will suffer and you will lose money. If your website has too low a portion of advertising relative to content, the sales on your website will suffer and you will lose money.

What is the optimum ratio of ads to content? I can’t point to any studies, but I feel the optimum ratio is somewhere around 20 to 25 percent ads relative to content. Go much above that ratio and, despite more ads, the revenue from your site goes down. But, there are ways to exceed that ratio and still make more money.

Ads as a service

Advertisements can provide useful information, as well as content. In that case, the ads become content. Here’s an example. Rather than post ads that pay you the highest commission, post ads that provide the best value to the visitors to your website. These are ads where the value is so good you might respond to the ad yourself. This type of ad is more of a service than an advertisement.

Another example is ads for gifts around the holidays. People expect and are not turned off by an increase in ads around the holidays. Finding gifts for everyone on your list is difficult work, and people appreciate gift ideas. Again, this type of ad is more of a service than an advertisement.

You can safely exceed the normal ratio of ads to content if you hide the ads in the content. An example of this is product “reviews”. For example, computer magazines are almost 100 percent advertising posing as product reviews.

2. Repetition of ads and ad management

I have seen websites that display the exact same banner on every page. If I didn’t respond to the banner on the first page, what makes them think I will repond to it on the second, third … hundredth page?

Displaying the same banner on every page of your website is annoying to your website’s visitors, and a money losing propostion for you. Keep your ads fresh. Ads are boring enough without repeating the same ad over and over. Display a variety of ads, and use an ad management system. An example of an ad management system is a banner rotator.

3. Ad type relative to response rate

I have heard claims that text ads receive the highest reponse. I’m sure these results are not related to whether the ad is text or graphics, but more likely related to the fact that text ads are usually placed in the more responsive areas of a webpage. All thing being equal, a graphic ad will always get better response than a text ad.

A graphic ad will get higher response than a text ad, and an animated graphic ad will get higher response than a static graphic ad. But animation can be taken to an extreme. Some types of animation are annoying and not only does the ad get a low response, but it also causes visitors to click away from your website.

Examples of annoying animated ads are banners that flash or jiggle or do something else that distracts the visitor so they can’t read the webpage content. Those visitors that don’t click away will scroll the webpage so this type of ad goes off screen while they try to read the webpage.

A secret few advertising designers know is that the graphic that will get the most attention is a picture of a human face. People are genetically predisposed to look at a human face in their view area. Try it yourself while you’re browsing the web. If a webpage has a human face on it, that’s the first thing you will look at.

Where to position ads on your webpage

To discuss where to place ads on a webpage, we need to divide a page into five sections as listed below.

  1. Header
  2. Footer
  3. Left Margin
  4. Right Margin
  5. Center column

Note: There is a sixth area of the webpage which is the popup window. There are many forms of popup windows; pop-over, pop-under, delayed, and exit. The polite way to use popup windows is the self-closing popup window. Because of popup window blockers, popup windows are much less effective today, and, from my own experience, when I tried using popup windows, the page views on my website dropped by 50 percent.

The most common position to place advertising banners is in the header section of a webpage. Web users have programmed themselves to ignore banners in this position. The response rate of banners in the header section of webpages has dropped to something like .0001 percent. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has tried to overcome this problem by defining giant (what I call “battleship size”) banners. I don’t know of any studies that show this works.

Using banners in the head section of your webpage is a waste of processor time, but most webpages still use them. Making a sale this way is a long shot. Banners in the footer section of a webpage are even less responsive.

Actually Web users have programmed themselves to ignore all advertising on the web. However, from my own experience, you can get some response from ads in the left and right margins of a webpage. Most websites are designed with the menu in the left margin and possibly ads in the right margin. This means if the user has a low resolution display, depending upon the width of the webpage, the advertising may be off the screen.

Place your menu in the right margin and use the left margin for advertising. This places the user with a low resolution display in the positon of having to scroll to view the menu. Too bad. They should get a bigger display. Website revenue comes first.

The most responsive position to put your ads is in the center column of the webpage along with the content. As visitors are reading the article on the webpage, they come upon the ad. It’s unavoidable.

If you imagine the center column of your webpage divided into three parts; top, middle, and bottom, the most responsive position for your ad will be right in the middle. As the visitors are reading the article on the webpage, they are forced to look at the ad as they continue to the lower part of the article. This might be a little annoying to the reader, but let’s hope your content is worth that slight annoyance.

I would recommend placing your ad at the bottom of the center column. As visitors read the article on the webpage, they end up looking at your ad. This is almost as effective as placing the ad in the middle of the column, and a lot less annoying to the reader.

As you can see, how you integrate advertising into your webpages has a major impact on your ability to produce revenue from your website. Poor ad integration will cause visitors to click away. Proper integration can make your website highly profitable. But, ad positon is not the only determining factor, don’t forget the ratio of ads to content, ad management, and ad type relative to response rate.

Advertising “Click Fraud” Rampant Online?

“Pay-per-click,” by far the most popular form of online advertising, recently came under fire as charges of rampant “click fraud” gather steam on the Web.

Google and Yahoo! earn the majority of their money through sales of advertising to tens-of-thousands of online merchants, companies, and professional.

In fact, some estimate that 99% of all Google’s revenue comes from advertising sales. Unfortunately, allegations of click fraud may well rain on Google’s otherwise sunny parade and cause a whole scale revamping of current online advertising practices.

Pay-per-click advertising does exactly what it sounds: advertisers pay for each click on their ad, usually mixed in among search engine results or displayed on relevant websites.

“Click fraud” occurs when, for whatever reason, an ad gets clicked by someone or something (usually an automated “bot” that simulates clicks) with no intention of ever buying anything from the advertiser.

The sole intention of click fraud is to simply drain an advertiser’s budget and leave them with nothing to show but an empty wallet.

Who commits click fraud?

Usually an unscrupulous competitor who wants to break a rival’s bank, online “vandals” who get their kicks causing other people grief, or search engine advertising affiliates who want to earn fat commissions by racking up piles of bogus clicks.

Regardless of who does it or why, click fraud appears to be a growing problem search engines hope stays under their advertising clients’ radar.

This problem isn’t exactly news to the search engine giants.

In fact, on page 60 of their 3rd quarter Report for 2004, Google admits that they have “regularly refunded revenue” to advertisers that was “attributed to click-through fraud.”

Google further states that if they don’t find a way to deal with this problem “these types of fraudulent activities could hurt our brand.”

Bottom line for Google and Yahoo! (which owns Overture, the Web’s largest pay-per-click search engine): as word of click fraud spreads across the Web, they must act quickly to calm the nerves of advertisers who could well abandon them over doubts about the veracity of their advertising charges.

The search engines all claim to carry measures that identify and detect click fraud, but details about how they do it and to what extent remain sketchy.

They claim revealing details about security would compromise their efforts and give the perpetrators a leg up on circumventing their defenses.

This sounds good, but affords little comfort to advertisers who feel caught between losing out on their best traffic sources and paying for advertising that won’t result in revenue.

One way to protect your business against click fraud is to closely monitor your website statistics.

Look for an unusually high number or regular pattern of clicks from the same IP address.

If you need help, enlist the aid of your hosting provider to aid you in spotting suspicious trends in your website traffic.

Also, a number of services such as ClickSentinel.com have sprung up online to help advertisers spot and quickly analyze and compile the data necessary to effectively dispute fraudulent click charges with the search engines.