Buying a Website

I’m advising a client who is buying a developed web site — content, domain name, all of it. It gets around 6k pageviews/month, so it’s not big, but he wants to make a partial living off its ad revenue. Super, let’s do this.

Ad Revenue GOOD (Hulk)

Yea, we all want ad revenue. So should we run Google AdSense ads and press the Easy Button, or make private ad deals by calling real people on the phone… doing it the old fashion way? The latter is going to be more lucrative. BUT you need to maintain relationships, invoice them, and take a paper check to the bank every month. So let’s do private ad deals. More work but more money.

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AdWords bids getting too costly?

I had two clients ask me what to do about this in two days. Here’s what I told them:

“Ramp up your bid per click every couple days until you’re comfortable, keeping in mind you might run out of comfort before you get good clicks. In that case, the market has bid those terms to a level above what you’re willing or able to pay.”

The market in AdWords for your term might be so small that a) some newbie idiot is bidding up the term for everyone, or b) the term might not be small, but people are willing to spend more than you per click and make a profit with their services. Probably their site converts better than yours, so for instance they make more money out of 100 clicks than you do.

My AdWords Bidding Advice is to

  1. Use misspellings and see if you can poach terms for cheap… for instance I bid on “vovlo” for my Volvo site.
  2. Try another text ad marketplace (sorry, no recommendations).
  3. Increase your site’s conversion rate so you CAN spend a couple dollars per click and still eat… put another way, make your site a better salesperson.
  4. Or lastly, forget AdWords and simply improve your site’s visibility and relevance to search engines.

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Google AdWords: Reducing your Bids

Hint: you may be able to buy clicks for less than before. I’ve found that I’ve been able to lower most of my bids to HALF of what they were and get the same number of clicks. True story.

It’s the economy: there are now fewer competitive bids out there chasing terms.

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Bottom Dropping out of Ad Revenue

My various web sites have pretty good traffic, and ad revenue has been a growing slice of my income pie. In the past ~6 weeks the revenue from  Google ad spots has dropped maybe 20%*. And that’s with an increase in impressions on the order of 40%*.

The number of ads shown is going up — I’m adding different spots throughout my sites, with each of those showing more frequently — while the overall revenue is going down.

On the flipside, buying traffic has gotten cheaper. I’ve managed to reduce my average bid while keeping the amount of incoming traffic steady.

* off-the-cuff numbers


The Three Legs of a Campaign

An Immature Ecommerce Site Needs Help

Case Study One

The following is taken from client correspondence. This case study involves a 1.5-year-old ecommerce site that’s getting very poor traffic, and no sales conversions. The site supplements a brick-n-mortar home and beauty products store.

These are the Three Legs of a web site campaign, although two or even one can make your site successful. Note this campaign does not include Product Search Marketing efforts, which in this case is out-of-reach given the owner’s budget.

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Not Hitting Your AdWords Daily Budget?

Try accellerated ad display.

Log in to your AdWords account, go to

Campaign Summary > Your Campaign > Edit campaign settings


Increase Web Sales: Attacking Bottlenecks

A client and I were discussing her poor online sales, and where her resources are best spent. She wanted to spend a few hundred having me change around her cart category and brand organization.

My first email was this:

I’m not trying to talk myself out of a job here, but I wanted to say that sometimes time/money bottlenecks in business aren’t in a site’s ecommerce, but in getting traffic. Maybe the money you’re about to spend on me would be better spent on ad buys? [She has many products in her store, and they have nice photos and descriptions.]

If the products were not on the site, that would be Job #1. But they are… we’re just reorganizing the way they’re displayed, which is “small potatoes” in my opinion.

If it’s not an ad buy, maybe it’s flyers printed and distributed around cafes in Denver, or helping your site’s organic search rankings, or hiring an intern/employee to write good things about your store on Internet forums and blogs.

Again, I’m not saying your site is perfect, but I want to bring up the question to you: is product category work the fix to the sales bottleneck? Are your limited resources better spent?

She replied, saying that she had indeed run ads for some time and had no success:

Honestly,  I am not sure what the answer is.  I ran google adwords for about 8 months and while I had clicks,  I didn’t get one sale… so,  in my reading,  I found they said the consumer needs to be able to find exactly what they are looking for easily as soon as they get to your site, or they will leave.

AHA. I was betting the landing page for the ads was simply her Home page, leaving users to wander her site, or bounce right off:

Two things come to mind here… 1) I forgot to mention your potentially #1 tool — your blog. [I built her site over a year ago in WordPress, so it has a blog built-in.]

You haven’t used it, and if you have time (again, that whole “resource allocation” thing), you should use it. Write about your products there. Nothing helps me want to buy something better than when the salesperson says “I have one and I love it”. Bam. Sold.

Also, blogging gives people a reason to come back to your site, and it’s a way to “tickle” Google with constant (or at least semi-regular) content updates. Google LOVES sites that update content regularly. When you post a blog, Google, Yahoo, MSN etc are all notified automatically.

2) your AdWords landing pages… were they your site’s Home page, or product pages? If you did very general terms (“beauty products”) and dumped the Clicker on the Home page, I wouldn’t expect much. I’d target the exact product brand name/model and set the landing page to that product in your shop’s URL (“Sandalwood Bamboo Soap for Men” and ). Your CPC is likely to go down and your purchases are likely to go up.

And the result? I talked myself out of a job ;-). More importantly tho is that she’ll come back to me when the bottleneck is site-related. Plus I have her trust, and I hope, word-of-mouth referrals.