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Improve your website's advertising, marketing and revenue strategy
Advertising, marketing and revenuesIn this section we will consider:
- how to advertise external products / websites / services on your website
- how to market and promote your website
- If you would like to know more about SEO please see our FAQs
How to advertise external products / websites / services on your website
If you want to earn money on your website from adverts, then it will only take you a couple of hours to download ads to put on your website. The main two ways to make money are affiliate and pay-per click. Affiliate schemes usually require a sale for you to gain commission, whereas you would earn on pay per-click once someone clicks on the advert link.
If you have strong views on what type of product you want to advertise, then you can pick websites to advertise, for example from LinkShare or Amazon Associates. You can even choose 'deeplinks' whereby you are much more specific in the area of a website you want to advertise.
If you don't have strong views, then you can use something like Google AdSense or Amazon Associates, which will pick adverts based on the content of your website.
In some cases you may need to have your website authorised by the advertiser or affiliate - if you have some decent content then there should be no problem. For Google Adsense it's likely to take less than 24 hours, for linkshare it can take less than an hour. When I was accepted I had 4 separate pages on my website, each with less than 500 words on each.
How to market and promote your website for free
1) Ensure your happy for people to begin using your websites - it doesn't need to be 100% ready, but ensure links work and you have decent content. If you are selling products, ensure it's possible to buy them.
2) Get listed on the major search engines - google, yahoo, bing etc. We will discuss later how to improve your web ranking. One tool I have been using is google webmaster, which has some great, clear advice on how to refine your webpage. It's free to use.
3) Take a look at link exchanges - there are people looking to exchange links - so you have to add them to your website, but you get a link on their website. Again, look for websites which compliment your website and websites which you actually like. You may also find people you exchange links will offer affiliate schemes.
4) Direct marketing - email other websites and ask to be added on their links, in exchange for adding them as a link on your website. Don't spam people - pick websites in a similar genre to yours, offer them something in return, i.e. a link from your website to theirs. Ensure you're happy with the description of your website (which you will be able to write yourself).
5) Widen the number of platforms your website is on - twitter and facebook
6) Don't be afraid to tell your friends - ask them to visit your site and let you know what they think. You'd be surprised how many people would say 'my mate owns a website...'
7) Encourage visitors to return - update content, offer special deals. Get users emails and get in contact with them through a monthly newsletter - this could include updated content which might be relevant, or special offers on your website. Ensure you have an appropriate way for them to unsubscribe if they later decide not to receive emails from your website.
8) Linked to 5 and 7 above, but encourage user generated content. Either feedback forms, comment forms, or even ask users to write articles / blogs with reference to your website.
9) Look out for free offers on advertising, e.g. when I signed up with 123-reg, I got a free adwords voucher.
10) Analyse what people actually search for: if you join google adwords you can type in different searches and see how many people do that search each month. So you might find 10,000 people search for 'improve your website' but 1,000,000 people search for 'create your own website'.
11) Add posts with a link to your website on other websites: Look at blogs and articles, add a comment to the debate and usually you will be able to leave a link to your website.
How to increase revenues from your website
- 10 to 20 visitors per day on the weekends if you're earning revenue from advertising. My research suggests that for pay per click advertising a generic website makes about 3 cents (or 2p) per visitor. So if you received 10 visitors per day, 3,650 per year, implies pay per click advertising revenue of $100 (or £70) per year. A specialist website could make much more than this.
- 2 to 5 visitors per day on the weekend if you actually have products to sell. If you average 3 visitors to your site per day, on average 10% of them buy products, and the average price of your products which sell are $15 (or £10), then you would earn in revenue of $1,500 (or £1,000) per year through your website.
Tips for advertising:
You must remember the 4 Ps - Product, Price, Placement and Packaging:
PRODUCT: Which products should you advertise on your website? You can spend time choosing which affiliates you advertise and google adsense has some flexibility in choosing who advertises. I would suggest three types of product:
(1) The obvious - something which compliments your website and its content, e.g.:
Web developing: Get tools for webdeveloping advertised
Sports related: Sports clothing, equipment and news
Travel Blog: Holiday clothes, travel agencies, travel services (e.g. aviation)
(2) Something you would buy or have already purchased: People visiting your web creation are likely to like minded with you.
(3) The not so obvious - the surprise: If you have time to be creative and also shop around a lot for adverts then you can acheive advetising revenue through the surprise factor. There are loads of great products out there which when someone spots they might actually say 'oh, that looks interesting...'.
If you only have a low level of traffic, pick affiliates carefully.
Keep to these tips:
(1) If the user can't see it they can't click it
(2) If there are too many ads and not enough content, the user will just leave. Keep at least 70% of the screen as content
(3) Don't put ads in annoying places. I prefer not to use ads which follow as you scroll, are right in the middle of content, or flash up the middle of content or another window / tab
(4) Avoid clusters of adverts - two or three together is OK, anymore and it looks messy and confused.
PRICE - Is the price stated in the advert, is it a special offer? Does it look like a good deal to you?
PACKAGING - How do your adverts look - video is best, followed by images, follwed by text. Does the colours of your website compliment the adverts? However, adverts should fit in with the style of your website - people are more likely to trust and click adverts if they match your content - so in soem instances short simple text in the same font and colour as your content can work very well (remembering it must be clear they are adverts!).
Maximising your returns...advertising
I would continue working on getting more traffic to your website (including improving your content), and working on the 4 Ps before you need to refine your advertising strategy. From when you first start writing your website, it may take you 2 to 6 months to get to this stage. I would only suggest spending time on maximising returns once you earn over $50 / £30 per month from advertising.
Maximising returns is about selecting the adverts and affiliates which provide the greatest revenue for you.
You can use some programs to upload different versions of your website at the same time, then see which one does better. Here is a simple example as to how this works, or how you can maximse revenue yourself:
Most affiliate schemes will have statistics on: (1) Number of impressions, i.e. how many people saw the advert, (2) number of clicks on the adverts and (3) number of sales / revenue (for affiliate links, where you earn commission.
So, here is the experiment you can carry out to maximise returns:
A) over a period of time, say one month, monitor 1-3 above for a particular advert.
B) switch the advert with a different one (either same product, or something completely different) and again monitor 1-3 above
C) here's the key part - you need to work out revenue per impression - so take the revenue from A and divide by number of impressions in the first period (e.g. first month). Then compare to revenue from B divided by number of impressions in second period (e.g. second month).
Advert A: impressions 1,000: clicks: 10: revenue $10
Advert B: impressions 2,000: clicks: 20: revenue $18
So advert A generated $0.01 per impression, and B $0.009 - so although B generates more revenue, it may be worth switching back to A, as estimated revenue for 2,000 impressions is $20, which is better than B.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE ABOVE EXAMPLE:
1) Sales for certain products can be seasonal, e.g. bikinis in summer, turkey at Christmas / Thanksgiving. So improvement in revenue per impression could be due to seasonal factors - this is something you can use to improve revenues
2) The type of visitor coming to your website can change over time - e.g. because you change the content. This shouldn't happen too often, but for example, if you write a blog the content may change over a short period of time. 3) Changing anyone of the 4 Ps can impact your revenue. An advert hidden at the bottom of a webpage will get seen by less people (although it may get logged as an impression even though it wasn't viewed). That's why in the above experiment you should keep the positioning of the ads the same to compare. 4) Don't be fooled by randomness! (This is one of my favourite books and authors:Fooled by Randomness). If you can spend time improving the quality and content of your website, this might be time well spent.
Maximising your returns...product sales
I have separated this section into 3 possibilities:
(1) I only want to sell services / products on the internet
(2) I don't want to sell services / products on the internet, but by some other medium (e.g. telephone / store visits)
(3) I want to sell services / products on the internet and by other mediums (e.g. telephone / store visits)
Each section is supplied as a checklist of important items and included ideas on how to acheive this for free (where possible):
(1) I only want to sell products on the internetYou must have the following:
(1) A method of encryption, e.g. SSL, to secure payment details / customer details. There are some free services, although you may want to pay for reputable company for this service. You can get free trials though, e.g. Verisign;
(3) Product / Services descriptions;
(4) Product / Services guidance, e.g. what sort of customer would buy this product?;
(5) Several pictures of products, at different angles and with people using the product;
(6) Make it obvious how long delivery takes and costs
(7) Make the check-out process quick and simple. You can get free carts / trolley / check-out software, e.g. Zen Cart.
(8) have obvious feedback / contact details, give (and keep!) guarantees on return correspondence
(9) telephone number - a fixed / landline is best. Consider re-directing to your mobile / cell if you're a sole trader. If you really want to keep costs low (or potentially zero), consider using Skype.
(10) Strongly consider having a few offers, such as discounts, buy two get one free etc.
You may require the following:
(1) If you have more than 15 products, search functionality. You can use a free google search box for this.
(2) If you have more than 50 products, you must consider how people will search and compare products. The below is a list of things people may want to search or filter by:
- product code
- product name
- product description
- dimensions / size - height, width, length etc.
- customer rating
- related products
If people can't find what they want quickly, they will leave. Ensure you can see all the search options on one screen.
(3) Give customers the ability to post feedback and rate each product / service.
Coming soon in this section
- more advice on maximising revenues for product revenue driven websites
- how to obtain feedback on your website
How to advertise external products / websites / services on your website, including information on:
How to market and promote your website:
- search engines + meta-tags
- affiliates / partners
- social networking / twitter
- direct email / marketing
- branding of website
How to increase revenues from your website
How to obtain feedback on your website (TBC):
- Including information on the uservoice free trial
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