7 Ways to Promote your Site with a Bit of Money

By Daniel Scocco

Some time ago I wrote an article titled “Are you marketing your blog?” where I argued that there is a myth around the Internet that bloggers and webmasters should not spend money on advertising. The myth comes in great extent from the success stories of people that managed to create popular websites without spending a dime on advertising or other paid promotion techniques.

The reality is that most of those successful websites were pioneers on their niche, hence why they became popular without spending money on advertising. Now a days the market is crowded and you have thousands of websites and blogs even for small segments. As a consequence paid promotional techniques are becoming an important factor of any successful marketing strategy.

Below you will find 7 ways to promote your website or blog with a bit of money. You can use them to generate raw traffic, improve your search engine rankings, gain visibility on your niche and so on. Despite the initial investment most of those techniques will pay off on the short to medium term. If you are expecting to make money with your website there is no reason to assume that you will not need to spend some as well, right?

1. AdWords: Google make billions of dollars every year from the AdWords-AdSense combo. Why is that? Because they work. Adwords is probably the most efficient method to generated raw traffic for your website. In order to get started you should create an account, add lots (by lots I mean hundreds if not thousands) of keywords that are related your site and set the maximum Pay-per-Click rate at $0.01. After that raise the rate by $0.01 every week or so until you start getting the desired amount of daily clicks. Notice that at lower bids the keywords will be reported as “Inactive for Search”. Do not worry about it, it just means that your ads will not appear on the search network (Google’s search results), but they will appear on the content network (websites of people that use AdSense).

2. Site-Specific AdWords: if you pay attention to the AdSense units you will see that most of them have a link titled “Advertise on this site”. This feature enables AdWords advertisers to create customized ads that will be displayed only on specific websites. Those ads work on a CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) rather than a CPC (cost per click) basis, but they can generate a good amount of very targeted traffic since you will be in control of where the ad will be displayed and of the message. You can get even better results if you use some creativity when designing the ads, click here for some examples.

3. StumbleUpon Ads: StumbleUpon is a very innovative social bookmarking site that allows users to discover great websites by using a browser toolbar. When the user clicks on “Stumble” he will be delivered a website that people with similar interested rated positively. The user is also able to give positive and negative ratings to any website that he visits on the Internet. StumbleUpon also offers advertising campaigns, called StumbleUpon Ads, where you can deliver your website directly to those “Stumblers”. It costs $0.05 per page delivered, but since the websites that appear on StumbleUpon usually have a high quality it is very likely that part of that paid traffic will convert into regular readers.

4. Text Link Ads: if you are trying to increase your search engine rankings to leverage organic traffic you should consider buying some text link ads. While those text links can also generate direct traffic the biggest benefit you will have is an improvement on your search rankings, specially if the links are placed on authoritative and relevant websites. There are several places to buy text links, including specialized companies like Text-Link-Ads and Text Link Brokers or online forums like Digital Point‘s market place.

5. Direct Banner Sales: most established websites sell banner ads or sponsorship plans directly. Those advertising deals usually are structured with weekly or monthly fees, regardless of the number of impressions or clicks that you will get. Despite this characteristic a banner placement can represent good value for money because apart from the direct traffic you will also create visibility and brand awareness. Readers of the website where you will display your banner will associate the message on the banner with your site or blog. Should they come across that banner or message two or three times it is very likely that they will get curious and decide to check what the buzz is all about. Another advantage of banner placements is the fact that people will unconsciously think that the author of the website endorses your content or product.

6. Sponsored Reviews: buying some sponsored reviews is a good way to kick-start a website. They will bring backlinks, traffic and RSS subscribers. There are many market studies confirming that “word of mouth” is the most efficient way to capture people’s attention, and that is just what you get with sponsored reviews. You can either pay a low price (sometimes as low as $5 per review) to get a large number of reviews from small sites or you can focus on large players (which can charge several hundreds of dollars for a single review) that are authorities on your niche. The best way to purchase sponsored reviews is through sites like SponsoredReviews.com, ReviewMe or PayPerPost.com.

7. Blog Networks: there are several blog networks founded around a traffic exchange principle. Basically you create an account for you blog and you earn credits by surfing other members’ blogs. Afterwards you can use those credits to make people visit your blog or to display your banners around the network. The interesting part is that most of those blog networks allow users to purchase credits with money, and the price is really convenient. You should be able receive hundreds of visitors or to get thousands of banner impressions for less than 10 dollars. Some blog networks that sell credits include Blog Explosion, Blog Soldiers and Blog Advance.


147 Responses to “7 Ways to Promote your Site with a Bit of Money”

  • Amos Tebear

    I’m so far behind the times with all of this advertising that all of the above seem like they would be a ‘next step’ in the blog evolution for me.

    I have maintained personal blogs in the past that have amassed a good loyal base readership so I’m fine in the aspect of getting readers to like ‘me’.
    I have also created websites that have, in one example, generated thousands of daily users.

    The problem is I have always footed the bills for the hosting and such and had the frame of mind that I want my sites to be ad-free for my users.

    Recently I’ve wanted to learn more about domaining and adsense and such, so flew over to LA for Domainfest in January. Since then I’ve become more interested in how advertising works, who gets the money, what the deal is with keywords etc.

    The reason for setting up my blog was so that I could a) keep up with the industry a little, and b) test the waters with these various cash generating methods.

    I see now that there are many things to learn, and that the industry as a whole (PPC etc) is not as easy as it is made to look by those earning a good income from it.

    I also now have a change of heart for those who use adverts. I’ve gone from someone who has never used it on sites to someone who would jump at the chance, and from someone who though PPC was evil, to having a few websites parked myself.

    I now even tend to reward people in the blogosphere by their advertising. Example, there were two comments on one of your recent posts – one I disagreed strongly with (due to the ignorance and harsh nature of the commenter) so I visited their site, had a brief read and then moved on. The second comment I agreed very much with and thought was insightful. So I went to their site and clicked on an advertisement, hopefully earning them $1 in the process.

    I used to simply ignore advertisements, now I seem to be using them as I would a ‘vote up or down’ button on a social networking site.

    But still, I don’t think I’m ready to delve into the paying side of the industry just yet – I want to get fully comfortable with the way it all works first.

    Thanks for the post.


  • Maki @ DoshDosh

    Great post Daniel.

    I would personally save all that money and hire a great SEO to increase search traffic. Maybe a proven link baiter as well. You really only need one great article to explode in your niche.

    Sponsored Reviews are really the only other option that I think are worth while. Also note that Blog traffic exchange networks might not work well with bloggers running Adsense.. because you’re basically autosurfing your way to impressions and clicks.

    Some bloggers have gotten letters from Adsense disapproving of the blog networks you’ve listed.

  • engtech

    Once again I have a similar post to this in the works 🙂

    I’ve been playing around with different advertising methods and I’m writing a summary of my experiences. I’ll be posting it on monday.

  • engtech

    Also, might want to check out this Yahoo Pipes for getting an RSS feed when your side is submitted on Reddit or Digg: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=pMb8M77c2xGth___l7okhQ

    It can be very useful for going back and adding a digg/reddit vote widget directly to the post. Having those widgets with the Digg/Reddit vote counts goes a long way to getting votes.


  • Daniel

    Amos, thanks for sharing your point of view. I agree with you with the fact that it depends on your objectives and what kind of blog or website you are trying to create. There is no need to invest money into a personal blog with the simple objective of sharing ideas and meeting some new people. If you are trying to make money though I think paid advertising options need to be considered. Even high profile bloggers like John Chow are starting to spend money with marketing.

    Maki, I also think that hiring a SEO could be a good investment, but usually they cost a lot of money so you should have a clear strategy on how this money will return. Better yet would be to invest some time and learn SEO yourself :).

    Also thanks for the heads up on Adsense issues related to the Blog Networks, that is something to keep in mind.

  • Maki @ DoshDosh

    Engtech.. I’ve read your post and thought it was great. Don’t you think the link you inserted is a little irrelevant to Daniel’s post?

    He’s not writing about social networks or link baiting. He’s writing about spending money on advertising to promote a specific website.

  • George

    If you have Adsense on your site you should avoid using systems like blog explosion, because they are against Google’s TOS. Or at least that is what someone from Google told me when I researching it a while back.

    Great article though.

  • George

    Ooops, just noticed that Maki said the same thing as I did. My bad…

  • Andrew Timberlake

    I’m no expert on StumbleUpon but have read that most of the users are more like channel surfers of the web so you shouldn’t expect a high number of repeat visitors.
    Not sure how accurate that is but worth considering.

  • Daniel

    Engtech, I am looking forward for your post describing the promotional techniques that you use.

    I will explore that pipe, I am still learning how to leverage them to promote feeds and stuff so it will be interesting.

  • egon

    George, that would be a good thing to look into, it’s important to understand which methods are incompatible with each other, otherwise you’ll be marketing and the next thing you know you’re banned from AdSense.

  • Mark

    Your Adwords idea of bidding $0.01 is very, very interesting. I have run a couple of adwords campaigns already with mixed success but during the adwords set-up stage I always increased my bid to a higher amount until I receive the ‘active for search’ sign. Your statement that lower bids are possible (albeit results are shown on the content netword) is a real eye opener.
    Anyway I’ve just altered all my max CPC bid amounts to £0.01 (about 2 US cents), got the ‘inactive for search’ warning and will sit back and see what happens.
    Thanks in advance for any money saved.

  • George

    I am sure that blog explosion is against Google’s TOS, because I looked into it when their site was up for sale.

    As far as, stumbleupon, I am not sure I would buy ads there until I see some good research on stumbleupon user habits. I have been testing it out as a purely free traffic source recently, but don’t know how valuable it is for gaining repeat visitors.

  • Brian Auer

    It’s funny, I have the “Advertise on this Site” option on the ads in my blog, but I never thought to actually sign up for that on OTHER sites. I’ll have to look into this — thanks!

  • Sujan Patel

    Another great post. I actually spend quite a few dollars with su ads and it worked out great. It helped jump start my post. In total I bought 5000 clicks from stumble upon which resulted in 14000 visitors because alot of my stories made the buzz section. Just FYI.

  • Andrew Timberlake


    I’m sure you can get a lot of traffic, but did it have an impact on your long term traffic and/or subscribers or was it just a spike?

  • Daniel

    Sujan that is a good investment I think. 5,000 clicks costed you $250 right? But you ended up getting 14,000 unique visitors. That is huge traffic plus I am sure at least 10% of those visitors will return to your site, and some might have grabbed the RSS feed also.

  • Hammer

    Are you insane? $.05 per click to send traffic to a blog that probably isn’t monetized for a $.05 per impression ROI? How desperate are you people for readers?

  • Daniel

    Hammer, its not about buying raw traffic. Bloggers are not affiliate marketers hehe. When you do a marketing campaingn with StumbleUpon or anything else you are betting on the quality of your content. If the content is good you will get regular readers out of those campaingns, how can you calculate the ROI of a visitor that will keep visiting your site for the next year to come, contributing with comments and supporting your ads? Quite a difficult task eh?

    You can’t fake quality and thus buy readers. If you have good and useful content your blog will do well, the paid marketing campaigns just represent a way to make more people discover your content faster.

    Also you said “How desperate are you people for readers?”. Well, I think the proper phrase is “How confident on the quality of your content are you people?”. Because if you are that confident than $0.05 for a new reader is really a good investment.

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    It really we can get low as 0.01 per click on adword?

    How the way to make that?

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    nice article.

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  • engtech @ internet duct tape

    I’ve been playing around with different advertising methods and I’m writing a summary of my experiences. I’ll be posting it on monday.

    Or maybe I’ll be posting about it three months later.

  • tommy grub

    Are you insane? $.05 per click to send traffic to a blog that probably isn’t monetized for a $.05 per impression ROI? How desperate are you people for readers?

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    Or maybe I’ll be posting about it three months later.

  • Walter Chan

    Nice tips on promoting blog. But I won’t be spending any $$ amount on blogging. But anyway, $.05 per click to send traffic to a blog is way expensive though.

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    Thanks for the good news on the adwords 0.01 for content ads i’ll have to try that out. That’s crazy if that really works. Nice tip, i’ll try it.

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  • Varughese

    Don’t use blog soldiers like sites if you are using adsense , they will ban you. I got a warning from adsense team, i removed it that moment from my site:www.actresssnaps.com. So I escaped. I have heard stories of people getting banned because of that.

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    Blogdemic can dynamically/automatically create your advertising banner using your RSS feed and we also allow our users to setup default tags (like google adsense) to be disable along with our blog users tags (you can set the percentage)

  • sponkit

    The tips are helpful for bloggers who are just starting but to those people who use Google Adsense, I think it will be fine if the bloggers will generate natural traffic (a kind of traffic that would be generated from the search engine or pinging sites) so the blogexplosion won’t be okay to use.

  • Purpleminded

    Thanks for the heads-up on the blog networks. I’m intrigued by the low ad rates at Blog Explosion. Just wondering if you, or any of your readers has personal experience with them. The banner exchanges of a few years ago weren’t very productive.

  • PurpleMinded

    I keep reading about Text Link Ads, but the costs they’re quoting blow me away… can it possibly be worth it? Anyone with a solid experience with them? Thanks!

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  • Aneesh

    I have tried adwords once and it generated quite a good amount of traffic to my blog..

  • Mr.Pinoy

    So that’s how Adwords work…. Im really new from this kind of stuff but I heard good things about Adwords before. Such a good article… Keep it up.

  • Gary Vasey

    I have pretty much tried all the tips and tricks but I think in the end it just takes time and good content…

  • Free Traffic

    Adwords is the effective ppc advertising program.

    If your niche is competitive, you would pay more.

    Thanks for these great tips.

  • Lindsay

    Great advice…My blog is just starting out and although I am diligently working to build up content, I have found that since I started utilizing SU, my traffic has grown a little. I am definitely going to take all these tips and try them out..thanks!

  • Lindsay

    ….I also wanted to get some advice in terms of what to expect from my blog. In the month that it has been active, I have only made $1.17! I wonder if this is due to the lack of traffic (averaging a measly 50 hits a day right now), or if it is the placement and types of ads I am using. If someone feels up to taking a look around my site and giving me some advice on this topic, I would GREATLY appreciate it!!


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    Great article and really2 good for new bloggers like me.. Although didn’t have much time to write and post. But i like to be a bloggers and be known all over the net.

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    Promote your site is the importance factor get more visitor.
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  • James

    Spending a little money is the fastest way to advertise your site. I’ve got some free adwords with my hosting so I’ll make use of them.

    Thanks for the tips

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    Nice article with good tips. Useful for me.


  • Nihaar

    Nice summary of the services out there. I personally am a fan of stumbleupon ads as it also provides you with feedback and reader’s thoughts/reviews on your blog.

    In the same vein, we recently rolled out a Featured Blog program that lets bloggers promote their blog on Youlicit (http://www.youlicit.com/) using a neat widget.

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    All good tips, but buying text links is becoming a riskier business now – google have penalised many people recently without a second’s thought.

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  • Rita

    Thanks – I took your idea and just set up an adwords account. Will wait and see how it does. Thanks for giving me “permission” to do this.

  • Embryo

    StumbleUpon brings lots of visitors, but the problem is they are not very valuable. I don’t use it for long (maybe 1 month), but I already noticed the following: usually, the average time a user stays on my blog is around 40 seconds, maybe less or more (the blog is new), while the visitors who accessed my site via a StumbleUpon link only stayed around 3 seconds. I’m using Google Analytics to track my site. So practically, what happens is: someone finds a link to my blog, checks it out and quickly closes the session. I know you may argue that the content may be the problem, but how comes visitors from other sites stay even 1 minute or more (that’s enough to read a full article plus look a little around).

  • SEO Genius

    Some great tips again thanks 🙂 i am rather interested in trying the stubmle upon idea 🙂

    You can also use paid newsletter advertisements: For example paying someone to add your website as a link or an advertisement box to their newsletter which would be in the same niche.
    An SEO website paying for someone to advertise their website in an SEO newsletter which maybe sent out weekly or monthly.
    You can find advertising services like this at

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    Nice article, alltough we need to pay a little to bring traffic. didnt know that stumbleupon has ads too.

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    Adwords will certainly add traffic to a site. Lots more traffic actually.

    Before I started using Adwords, someone told me that they were paying .01 per click. When I tried it, I just assumed that Google had raised the price, but now I know the deal.

    Thanks for all the useful info! It is very helpful!

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    Will adword ad rank my site higher?

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    We use Google AdWords and it has worked pretty well for us, but I feel a more organic method seems to please the Google bots. I have a system of writing varied and interesting content and try and syndicate this out through other blogs to create a natural back linking campaign.


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  • blackzero85

    …I go against paying something for advertising my blog. Simply because I don’t need to spend money to advertise it, since I don’t take any $$$ from my blog. 😉

    But this might be useful for people that want to earn living from internet, though.

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    I had not considered advertising with Stumbleupon. In fact, I didn’t know you could do that. Of course I have tried to get some traffic from the site, which can be difficult–but buying ads may just be a good way to be more effective.

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  • Isaac

    A year after this was written, and still extremely relevant. Thanks for the stumble upon tip – hadn’t thought of that.

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  • Bluewire Media

    Thank you.

    StumbleUpon ads are something we hadn’t heard of until I read this article. For us, Google Adwords get the best result for paid marketing by far – provided of course it is monitored closely and fine tuned regularly!

  • cls500

    What are some of the metrics to look for to know how well paid advertising is working? What percentage of visitors should I expect to come back, assuming of course quality content?

  • Link Building

    Thanks for the heads-up on the blog networks. I’m intrigued by the low ad rates at Blog Explosion. Just wondering if you, or any of your readers has personal experience with them.

  • gendut

    help….as beginner I still learn to use adwords….till this time no success, my ads having thousand impress…..but no click…..what should i do? thanks

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    Really good information.Somebody like me will not spend mony to promote my blog,I will stick on quality content and maybe add my comment to porpulard blog that is related to my mine

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    according my 3 months experience…..adword more competitive and too exvensive bid with the same keyword than yahoo ppc……. yahoo ppc more effesient

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    Great article. I’ve used some of these, and have seen some considerable traffic increases.

  • Bang Kritikus

    I use rss feedburner it makes my traffic down why ?

  • blackboy

    Good Article. However I think PPC is not olny good but also dangerous!! If we don’t use it right way, it can burn out of our cash!!

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    I keep reading about Text Link Ads, but the costs they’re quoting blow me away… can it possibly be worth it? Anyone with a solid experience with them? Thanks!

  • Allen

    I think you have to mix it up. Use PPC plus doing SEO. What we like to do is do a test market on PPC and if the results are good, then Optimize the site.


  • film indir

    Thanks – I took your idea and just set up an adwords account. Will wait and see how it does. Thanks for giving me “permission” to do this.

  • Web Rankers

    Very good! We have customers that do very well with social media but ultimately it is the sum of the seo and media experiences that make your online business a success.

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    My web site is not a blog. What do I have to do to generate traffic???

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  • Mathew Day

    Just found this post in google while searching and it has some really good info and tips. I will start implementing several of them immediately and send others to this post as well.


  • doruman

    Thank you for your work, but before to spend money in advertising, I prefer to obtain the maximum results possible from SEO optimization techniques and from all the free sources known.

    Until now I obtained page 1 or even the top position for some targeted keywords without the need to spend money in advertising. And the results there are for a long time.

    Of course, PPC and other ads campaigns thought well bring benefits, but why don`t try to use at maximum possible all the free known sources firstly?!…

    All the best for you!

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  • Elandre Potgieter

    Facebook Ads should be a great way to advertise as well. I will be trying this within the next couple of weeks.

  • satrap

    another great post. since i started blogstash about 2 months ago i have been doing a lot of free ways to get traffic, but this article made me think about paid ads, specially since you mentioned couple of low budget advertising. thanks.

  • Web Marketing Search Engine Optimization

    Another great post. I actually spend quite a few dollars with ads but it works only temporarily and its totally waste of money. However I think PPC is not only good if u use it right way other wise it is dangerous and also it can burn out of our cash…-shobazee

  • Chris

    Thanks for the 7 way to promote your site article! It was very informative and I look forward to reading more of them from you!

  • jack

    Another great post. I actually spend quite a few dollars with ads but it works only temporarily and its totally waste of money. However I think PPC is not only good if u use it right way other wise it is dangerous and also it can burn out of our cash

  • Brian Blade

    Hi, good information here in your post. I just wanted to agree with some of the comments about hiring an seo instead to write content for your site and manage your content. At least in my case I don’t want to learn about and compete with the top PPC gurus and pros I’d rather let another pro do it rather than creating ads that just eat up money without the proper techniques.

    I’ve recently started using facebook ads but I’m not really convinced by their PPC system. I’d rather have advertising on niche websites regarding my topics, products or services. Better yet in forums where people discuss your products/services and get involved with the community.

    Anyways, thanks for the info i’ll be applying some of these tips.

  • Discos Diamantados

    You’ve pretty much answered all my doubts with this and have done a great job with the article.

    Like yourself I’ve been blogging about this a bit and you’ve given me some good ideas for my next post. Thanks, I look forward to reading more 🙂

  • Handan Tunc

    Heya – I just started blogging. I have 3 followers – (including myself:) How cool is this! Its so awesome to share thougths..but truly have no idea how to get the word out there…

  • Sajith Anandan

    I think social media is also a best channel to promote blogs without any charges. It is a successful marketing tools help to promote your site among large number of audiances atonce and also get quality traffic. It is an another good way to promote website among netizens. Thx for sharing your experienced tips.

  • HomeTuitionDB

    Great tips! Thanks for the sharing guys. Still looking into free or inexpensive ways of marketing since we are providing free services to the community…

  • Christian Guico

    Great post. Although this will cost you some dollars but having an online presence through these ways of promoting your blog is a must just like any other site. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Numerology

    I really appreciate to meet to your site. I have gain a big stuff of information from. I really like to it. Thanks for sharing this pretty information. Really an admire stuff in the blog. I really like that. My curiosity to learn more and more on this site.

  • Ireckon Web Design

    It’s an interesting approach to AdWords, and the direct opposite to what I would usually advocate, but I can see how it could apply to a “semi-commercial” site such as a blog with little to no marketing budget.

    Having had to resurrect several PPC accounts that I have inherited that have had their Quality Scores annihilated through reckless impressions on semi-related keywords and penny pinching bidding I always recommend jumping in the deep end, spending money up front on the search network to fine tune your ad copy to maximise CTR while filtering to find that balance with an acceptable bounce rate.

    Once you have the numbers to make some statistically backed up decisions you can channel your money into what works and cut what doesn’t.

    I would still suggest that anyone considering bidding on every remotely related term under the sun do so on a campaign with the search network turned off. Atleast that way if you can pick up a few penny clicks for some obscure term you might be able to finance your ad spend with a few penny clicks when they leave.

  • SherwinJTB

    That was an interesting read. Most of it was quite general knowledge, but useful to those just starting out. The key word is advertising. People won’t be able to find you unless you tell them.

  • Isaac Thuku

    Thanks for the tips are good and I believe they’ll come in handy in growing the traffic to my website. Never quite understood Ad words but I do now.

    However, the answer am looking for today is, how do I convert the traffic already coming to my site into ad clicks / revenue? Nobody ever seems to click any of the affiliate links on my site.

    Anyone out there with ideas please have a look at my site and send some idea as to what am doing wrong so that I can start making something out of the website.


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