Much is touted around the internet and various marketing forums about the latest and greatest way to promote your website. How to get tonnes of traffic, create riches online and in 6 months be able to retire to a remote island in the Indian Ocean and run your business from your laptop on a beach whilst drinking Malibu, fruit punch, coconut water or all of the above.
I am also told on a regualr basis by small business owners that they have found this new piece of software online, or bought a ‘system’ created by an internet guru. They have an air of confidence which they’ve carried around ever since they read the very well done copy on the website which sold them the system / software and proceed to turn their nose up to any advice I try to give them.
The internet is still very young. It’s no longer a baby, but rather more like a spotty teenager. Not quite sure about the direction it’s going to take. Going through phases which no one but they understand (Web 2.0). Fumbling around with their sexuality (Browsers) and dealing with a face full of acne (marketing software, ‘guru’ systems, ebooks etc).
No offense intended, but the emergence of all these internet sales pages and marketing solutions remind me of the MLM pitch which typically sells a dream on the front end and more reality on the backend than most people can handle or are comfortable doing.
Here are some of the realities most won’t tell you but you’ll eventually find out – after your money is spent!
This is Googles affiliate program. It runs off the back of Adwords – Googles paid advertising platform. It allows you to have ‘contextual’ advertising on your webpage which when clicked on provides you with a commision. Sounds great! And it is but the two caveats here are that you need to have 1000′s and 1000′s of pages or 1000′s and 1000′ of visitors. The revenue in Adsense is so low that you can only make ‘real’ money in volume. You’ll hear talk of virtual real estate, the estate being a webpage with the adsense adverts on it. The more you have = the more money you can make. This however means creating a tonne of sites and populating those sites with content.
The upside – Money through automation | The downside – Huge time overhead
Articles are great for your website as they do two very important things
1. Provide useful content for your visitors
2. Gives the search engines a reason to come to your site more often and possibly increase your ranking
So what’s the problem? Well – be very wary of taking other peoples articles if you’re not good at writing them yourself. There are 1000′s of free reprint articles on every subject you can imagine. The only problem is that you have to credit the author, too right! But it means that your visitors don’t give you any credibility and secondly the search engines filter out duplicate content so your pages may not even show up. Also be aware of tools such as www.copyscape.com which can tell you if your content has been used – or if like a client of mine found out, that the site he bought had its content almost 100% copied from other sites – dear dear – which once changed dramatically increased his rankings.
Never use automated software to distribute your articles as it p*sses off the article directories and they will reject them. Alternatively you have to submit each article by hand to the 100′s of article directory sites out there
The upside – Content and backlinks | The downside – Original content needed….bringing us nicely to….
Let’s face it, most small business owners write their own content. As a result they get many key things wrong and produce ineffective titles, descriptions, calls to action, articles and strap lines. We forget that once we have the traffic they need to convert that and about 50% of is affected by the words you use (the other 50% is design and usability – these %’s are rough guides please don’t get anal about it). There is both an art and science to this and the best advice I can give is to read Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples as your copywriting bible.
Paying a professional copywriter is worth every penny; your conversion and revenues can be affected by 100′s of percent!
The upside – Increased sales | The downside – Cost or new learning curve
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
The webs favourite. The alure of ‘free’ traffic and the complexities of SEO have spawned many schools of thought, techniques and Arthur Daleys in sheep skin coats and old Jags. The fact is that most people who have front page visibility have either paid lots of money, invested lots of time or are lucky (or rather they’re ranking just isn’t that competitive or commercially valuable). Ok so now we know natural ranking doesn’t mean ‘free’ traffic, not in the short term anyway, what do you do.
I will save you lots of time here, either
1.Employ an SEO firm – there are loads out there
2.Learn SEO yourself – but expect to study and work hard like you’re back at University.
3.Calculate how much it costs you to get a customer and then employ ……
PAY PER CLICK
Googles favourite! This is how Google started to monetize and they love to take your money if your campaign works or not. One component of a wealth mindset is not to lose money. Adwords and PPC will swallow £100′s and £1000′s in the blink of an eye if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Setting up an Adwords account is very easy and so is setting up an account but if you don’t do the correct keyword research (those which convert) and advert copy (again which converts) and then test the hell out of each ad time and time again – then don’t bother.
Anyone can take Googles adword course http://www.google.com/adwords/learningcenter/#section1
You may not be interested in getting the qualification, but at least you’ll have a better idea about what’s going on. Unlike SEO where you’ll lose more often sweat equity with PPC you’ll lose real money if you’re not careful.
The upside – If your click cost to acquire a customer is such that you can spend 100 clicks and still profit – you’ll be alright.
The downside – Your learning curve can cost ££££$$$$ !!!
Much like traditional forms of media and advertising, the internet has rules, tried and tested methodologies, experts and experience. I mean you wouldn’t expect to put an ad in a glossy magazine or create a TV ad without seeking professional help or learning professional skills right? The internet is no different. Good luck and watch those pennies!