Pay Per Click

One technique to try and increase the number of visitors to your site is pay per click advertising, or PPC. You write and place an advertisement in a search engine, list yourself under keywords of your choosing, and bid on the placement of your ads. This, in theory, narrows your field to visitors who are actively searching for your products or services.

If someone finds the ad and clicks it, that person goes to your Web site, and you pay the bid price. As a rule, the higher you bid, the higher your ad goes in the list of search results for a certain keyword, and the more people will go to your site.

PPC can be used to widen your reach, but it may be very expensive, especially if people click your ad only out of curiosity, or if you bid on more keywords than your budget can handle. However, PPC may get customers and increase your profits. If done well, it can earn you money.

Five PPC Tips

Start With Ten Specific Keywords - If you're in the accommodations business, don't bit on "bed and breakfast" as your keyword phrase. Chances are, there will be hundreds of other bidders waiting to jump on those same keywords. Be specific. Try "lodging and accommodations" or "weekend getaway." Select a maximum of ten words, just to test the waters, and see how your potential customers respond. If the first ten keywords succeed in getting a larger market, then research additional keywords which are not as specific. However, if your first try yields less than satisfactory results, try another set of keywords if it's in your budget.

Write Your Ads but Write the Truth - Write a succinct but accurate ad that doesn't use vague language. Avoid using words such as "free," "low cost," "extremely effective," and "cheap." Tailor your ads to fit each keyword, and if you can, include your prices in the ads. This way, you will get a buyer who is ready and willing to purchase your product or service.

If you construct an inaccurate ad or stretch the truth, Web users will click on your ads and storm your site. This is well and good if the product or service lives up to the ad's promise - but what if it doesn't? A customer clicks, you pay, but the customer doesn't buy. You lose!

Budget Your Bids - Set a monthly budget of about $100 for your bids, and bid just right - bid too high and you will run out of money, bid too low and your ads won't show up.

Even if you believe in your product, keep within your bid budget, and don't get into bidding wars, especially with another advertiser who may have a much larger budget. Don't waste your time thinking about your bids. Instead, invest your time in designing what your ad is linked to, which brings us to:

Make Sure Your Site Looks Professional - The standard rules of Web design apply. Check your Web content for spelling and grammatical errors. Update your Web content regularly. Have any broken links or images fixed. Test your site's design to make sure it will be easy to navigate and loads quickly. Link your ads to the exact place on your site where your product or service appears.

Know When to Stop - PPC ad campaigns can lead more buyers to you, but take care to check profit against spending. If you have already spent double your advertising budget, but have had little or no sales, consider dropping your campaign. You can also measure your progress in clicks. A total of 300 clicks is average for any ad. If your ad has reached 300 clicks and you have made no sales yet, then terminate your PPC project.

Equally as important as knowing when to stop is knowing that all is not yet lost and you can still go on. Running a Web-based business means investing time, money, and effort, so keep your PPC up and running as long as you are raking in the money. PPC may, at first mean pay-per-click, but if you're successful, may soon mean Profits Produced in Cash.