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.
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.
Thanks for these great tips.
….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!!
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!
Free Trafficon says
Adwords is the effective ppc advertising program.
Gary Vaseyon says
I have pretty much tried all the tips and tricks but I think in the end it just takes time and good content…
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.
I have tried adwords once and it generated quite a good amount of traffic to my blog..
Website Promotion – Frederrickon says
Sponsored review can be quite costly. Most reviews also have short display duration and you might not cover the cost. It all depends on which site your review will be posted. If it is a massive traffic site, then it might be worth the money.
find backlinkson says
I believe promoting your site through link buying really works.
Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.
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!
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.
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.
i thought everyone will be interested in blogdemic http://www.blogdemic.com
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.
laptop battery shopon says
It is very useful for us
Jamie Boyleon says
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.
Global free classifiedson says
You can also use classifieds networks to promote your site. Now you have 8 ways to promote.
Blog Opinionon says
Hi Thanks for those good resources to promote my blog. I don’t know about few of them. thanks again
SEO Oops!on says
The great tips I will never miss.
Walter Chanon says
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.
betty muyon says
Or maybe Ill be posting about it three months later.
tommy grubon says
Are you insane? $.05 per click to send traffic to a blog that probably isnt monetized for a $.05 per impression ROI? How desperate are you people for readers?
engtech @ internet duct tapeon says
Ive been playing around with different advertising methods and Im writing a summary of my experiences. Ill be posting it on monday.
auto carson says
It really we can get low as 0.01 per click on adword?
Bookmarking Socialon says
Desde luego esta currado este sitio relacionado con el bookmarking social, una forma muy buena de conseguir trafico de calidad.
chihi tahaon says
merci pour qui lache des comms et je vous addors tous
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?
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?
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.
Andrew Timberlakeon says
Sujan Patelon says
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.
Brian Aueron says
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!
I am sure that blog explosion is against Google’s TOS, because I looked into it when their site was up for sale.
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, 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.
Engtech, I am looking forward for your post describing the promotional techniques that you use.
Andrew Timberlakeon says
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.
Ooops, just noticed that Maki said the same thing as I did. My bad…
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.
Maki @ DoshDoshon says
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?
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.
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
Once again I have a similar post to this in the works
Maki @ DoshDoshon says
Great post Daniel.
Amos Tebearon says
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.