Summary. This document offers an introduction to Internet advertising. In summary, the best kind of advertising practice is to occasionally link to relevant products or services in your own store, and offer some clearly identified context sensitive text link ads at the bottom of selected pages on your site. The reasoning behind this approach is explained below. Herbert Hoover once said of radio broadcasting something that is true for the Internet today…
“It is inconceivable that we should allow so great a possibility for service
to be drowned in advertising chatter.” — Herbert Hoover
Advertising Methods. There are a few general advertising methods. Some of these are described below.
- Self Promotion. It’s possible to promote your own products or store – such as an Amazon aStore like ours.
- Context Sensitive Ads. Services such as Google AdSense make it possible to present advertising on your site that is related to the page the advertising appears on. The benefit of this kind of advertising is that visitors will be presented with ads that are likely to be of interest to them. The drawback to this kind of advertising is that undesirable ads may appear unless they are added to a blocked list.
- Affiliate Advertising. Manually placed affiliate advertising offers more control over what advertisements appear on your site. Affiliate brokers such as Commission Junction and LinkShare offer many advertisers to choose from. Simple code is copied and then pasted into your website.
- Traditional Ads. Traditional advertising can be placed on a website for fees similar to print advertising.
- Free Advertising. For products, services, companies, organizations, vendors, initiatives, and issues you believe in, consider using your website as a tool to advance these causes by advertising for free. Free advertising and links avoid any conflict of interest and are certainly the most genuine and sincere way of getting a message out.
Advertisement Design. There are a few general categories of advertising designs: text, image, animated image, interactive animation, and video. More simplistic ads such as text ads generally result in lower revenue because they don’t attract as much attention. However, too much flashy advertising can reduce site traffic since people generally don’t like advertising. So, in general, for esthetics and effectiveness, for the benefit and enjoyment of site visitors, it’s best to use simple and unobtrusive advertising. Flashing ads certainly get a visitor’s attention, yet they are considered by some people to be the most obnoxious and annoying ads.
Advertising Presentation. The preferred method of advertising presentation (for website visitors) would be to have advertising presented on the same page, rather than having an advertisement automatically pop-up in a new window behind or in front of the current page. Theoretically, a pop-up ad will get more attention from site visitors. However, pop-up ads are so despised by website visitors, that browsers now include pop-up blocking mechanisms. For this reason, it’s best to simply not annoy people with pop-up ads.
Advertising Content. Advertisers that use pop-up ads are often deceptive in their methods. For example, a pop-up ad might say something like, “Your computer may be infected. Click here to download our software.” Or, even more deceptive ads have messages like, “Windows System Error. Click here to fix the problem.” The pop-up ad is made to look like a legitimate computer error. When the user clicks, they are instructed to download software which is often spyware. Other kinds of undesirable advertising include ads that state, “You’ve won a Sony Playstation” or “You are our millionth visitor.” Theoretically, deceptive ads may result in more clicks and therefore more revenue. However, they are unethical and annoying, so they will ultimately result in your website losing visitors. It is imperative that you not allow any deceptive advertising on your site. If not used properly, even text advertising may appear to your site visitors as if they are links to pages on your own site. This is a deceptive and manipulative practice that should be avoided. Be sure to use proper placement and identification of text ads.
Advertising Quantity. Theoretically, more advertising will increase the possibility of people clicking on advertisements. For this reason, some websites have about 40% valid content and 60% advertising. This is why advertising on television and in magazines often seems to have priority over content. However, too much advertising can be a turnoff to site visitors and ultimately result in a decline in site traffic, reducing your revenue. So, in general, for esthetics and effectiveness, for the benefit and enjoyment of site visitors, it’s best to keep advertising at a minimum, offering 90% genuine valid content and 10% advertising or less.
Advertising Placement. Theoretically, having advertising at the top of a page and valid content placed further down the page will result in getting more attention from site visitors, which should translate into more clicks, and thus more revenue. However, most people visit your site for the content you have to offer and not the advertising. For this reason, too much advertising at the top of a page will likely be a turnoff to site visitors and ultimately result in a decline in site traffic, reducing your revenue. So, in general, for esthetics and effectiveness, for the benefit and enjoyment of site visitors, it’s best to keep advertising at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, it may be possible to advertise in a narrow column on the far right hand side of the page, consuming only about 10% to 20% (at most) of the width of the screen.
Testimonial. This is a testimonial from Gregory Johnson, Director of the Resources for Life.com website.
I was speaking with someone recently who told me that their website was generating about $1,500 a month in revenue from advertising alone. I was really impressed. For one month I experimented with Adsense Ads from Google, and discovered that it’s true. A website with significant traffic, and the right use of advertising, can generate significant revenue. For every thousand visitors your site gets in a day, you could make about $5 to $10 or more depending on ad placement. A person can really make some good money with a high traffic website. However, my hope is that website owners won’t be lured into filling up their sites with ads simply for the sake of money. It would turn the Internet into an advertising wasteland.