Paying For Promotion
As the internet is getting bigger and bigger, more sites are competing for the internet viewers. Now, with many so-called 'dotcom companies' going bankrupt, companies are realising that they cannot spend huge amounts of money and get nothing in return. This has really had two major effects on internet promotion. Firstly, the major search engines and directories have started charging for submissions, realising that they cannot survive on advertising revenue alone. Secondly, companies have started fighting for more and more visitors and are finding more cost effective ways of doing it. Because of this, paying to promote your website is becoming more popular than ever before. In this articlue, I will examine some of the ways of paying for promotion.
Banner ads (and the related forms) are the most widly known method of paying to get extra visitors. Over the last year, though, the click-through rates of these are getting lower and lower, making them much less effective. There are new banners and other forms of advert being developed which are interactive and have greatly increased click-through rates. Although standard banner advertising is not a very effective use of your money, these 'new generation' ads could be very effective.
Another method of getting extra traffic which has been around for a long time is affiliate programs. These are systems where webmasters earn a comission on any sales they refer you. Even with the slowdown in internet advertising, affiliate programs are still extrememly popular, mainly because companies do not pay out unless they actually make a sale. Although this eliminates wasted advertising money, the affiliate comissions can take away a lot of a company's profit margin and the setup costs can be large. Although you can run the system yourself, joining a big network like Comission Junction can cost as much as $2000 plus a comission of every payout. The big networks will manage all tracking and payouts, though.
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
Several search engines have undertaken a new revenue model. They are charging people for their position in the search engine. Sites bid an amount which they must pay per visitor the search engine sends them. The sites are then ranked based on how much they are paying. Although this seems like an expensive way of getting visitors it is actually highly effective. The company can choose the keywords they bid on and how much to bid. A typical bid is usually about $0.30 to get into the top 5 on a search. For some popular terms and for the top spots bids can get extremely high, though, and it is usually better to settle for a lower placement or a less popular search term. The good thing about this type of promotion is you are only paying the search engine if you get a visitor, so if you get no visitors, you won't pay.
Another promotion method which is becomming popular among the search engines and directories is pay-for-inclusion. What this means is that many sites that used to take submissions for free, now charge a fee. The most notable is Yahoo which, although it still accepts free submissions, very rarely adds a site which has not paid the $199 express submission fee. Although this sounds like a lot, many webmasters will testify that Yahoo is probably the best source of traffic for websites and it is certainly worth being in the directory. Other directories and search engines will only accept paid submission, some add paid submissions quicker than free ones and some offer premier listings for paid submissions.
Search Term Advertising
Like the last two methods, this is a search engine tool. Most search engines will offer advertising based on the search term which is used. For example, if you were a computer retailer your advert would be shown on a search for 'computer software' but not for 'television repairs'. This i
s very effective at increasing your click through rate, which is especially important as most of these systems are based on pay-for-views, not pay per click. They are very cost effective, though, and are a good way of mounting a medium scale advertising campaign.
As you will have seen from this article, to get large numbers of visitors it is becoming more and more important to pay to promote your site. There are many ways of doing this, though, which are cheaper and more effective than traditional internet and offline advertising which should be considered before large campaigns are mounted.
1999 - 2003 David Gowans