Advertising Your Web Site Online: Here's how to save time and money AND get better results.

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Advertising Your Web Site Online
Here's how to save time and money AND get better results!

If you are thinking about advertising your web site, chances are you feel it's under performing. While expensive, it's tempting to run right out and place pay-per-click advertising on Google, Yahoo, Bing or others but that shouldn't be your first step.

Your first step, is to do a comprehensive review of your current site. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is the site attractive?
  • Is the information current?
  • Is the information thorough?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Is the site younger than 4 years old?
  • If you answered 'no' to any of those questions, start with getting your site up to 'snuff first. Think of it this way: If the restaurant's food is lousy, will more advertising help it?

    One more question to ask yourself:

    Is your site properly search engine optimized?

    If it doesn't come up well in search engines, remedying that deficiency will be your cheapest 'advertising' expenditure by far. Anticipate $20-50 per page, depending on the work needed. Pay for it once and it should be good for as long as a couple of years.

    OK, so everything about your site is good, what next?

    Online advertising is basically sold three ways:

    Per impression. Usually sold by the larger media outlets, (think newspapers, yellow pages, cable TV, etc.) these web sites charge per 1,000 impressions, or basically per 1,000 times they 'display' the ad. Sometimes these ads are solely text, sometimes they include graphics (i.e. a banner). There is usually a minimum purchase, and costs commonly range from $4-20/per thousand impressions depending on ad size and placement quality.

    Per week/month/year. This is the preferred sales method for small sites, because it requires less programming, monitoring, labor, statistical analysis, etc. Sites that allow numerous advertisers per page, typically charge $50-200 per year. Sites that restrict the number of advertisers may charge $20-100 per month. Chambers of Commerce, regional associations, independent directories and private sites tend to fit this paradigm and be quite cost effective if the web site or the page purchased is highly targeted and has justifiable traffic.

    Pay-Per-Click: The largest players (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) tend to specialize in pay-per-click and display advertising. Essentially, you pay for 'visitors' who enter your web site. Your ad may display for free, but each user who clicks through and lands on your web site will cost you. Typical costs will run somewhere between $0.50 and $5.00 per visitor, depending on category or keyword competition. Costs can range from $0.10 to $10.00 per visitor with the lower costs found on 'lesser-name brand' sites. Anticipate per visitor costs of $1.00 - $2.50ish for good traffic in common northern NH categories.

    CAUTION: Remember that visitors don't equal buyers. Conversion Rates vary widely by industry, local competition, etc. but you can be safely presume that 1/2 percent to 2 percent (.005 to .02) of the people that visit your site will reach out to you somehow. Converting them to sales is your job! Pay attention: At $2.50 per visitor and 1/2 percent conversion rate, a new customer just cost you $500.

    And don't forget online video: Online video can work well: use it on any number of video platforms (think YouTube, Vimeo) but especially on your cable tv provider's web site. It can be highly geographically targeted, and a 15-second spot can really help attract attention. Plan though on spending a minimum of $200/monthly or more.

    So what is a web site owner to do?

    Determine your purpose in advertising.

    If you are trying to build brand or product awareness, then buy the cheapest per impression 'graphic' advertising you can find.

    If you are trying to get sales now, while per week/month/year is usually more cost effective, because of the volume of readers, pay-per-click advertising will likely deliver more users.

    What if I can get my cost per click down around a cost per impression: wouldn't that be better?

    Absolutely! But because pay-per-click platforms are almost always bid-based, finding inexpensive clicks that will run on the first page of the search engines is almost impossible, and past the 2nd page you will be seldom seen (statistically).

    Are there other things I can do?

    Yes, get listings and bold listings everywhere you can find (or afford). Anticipate $10-$50 per listing per year, more for premium listings.

    Set a budget, look around, and purchase some line or bold listings. A budget of $200 annually, spend among several sites, is money well spent. It may also help your own site's search engine rankings!

    Some of the sites we like include:

    Please note that author owns and publishes,, and

    About the Author

    George C. Jobel does web development and SEO consulting and has been helping clients develop successful online & multimedia marketing since 1995. The author of numerous articles and publications, George taught web development and marketing classes for over 10 years. You can reach him at his web site, or 603.491.4340.


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