Website Advertising

02 August 2017

Originally published early April 2016 as an internal document.

Website advertising can be broadly divided into two categories with very different implications for design, implementation and management – advertising your site on others, and advertising others on yours.

Advertising other sites on your website

This is generally performed to create a secondary income stream from your website. The main argument against doing this is that it can cheapen the look of your website and distract visitors from your own site content. Options for such advertising include:

  • Google AdSense – signup for an account, place the code on your web pages and you are earning money! This is the simplest and cheapest option for advertising other peoples’ sites on your own, but it often doesn’t look very professional and can significantly cheapen your brand image. 
  • Custom Banner System – a bespoke solution coded specifically for your website, to suit your specific business model. Whilst this still suffers from cheapening your image, you have much more control over what content is shown where and how it is charged. Such a solution typically involves:
    1. Adding tracking or statistics systems to your site to monitor visits, clicks or purchases from specific pages in your website. You can then use this data to inform and calculate suitable advertising rates based upon popularity of your pages.
    2. An account system for advertisers to sign up and add their banner advert; this may also incorporate some form of online payment processing for the advertising and backend admin and approval processes. 
    3. Tracking of the clicks on advertisers banners and statistics for these within the advertiser’s account area so that they can monitor the effectiveness of the ads. 
    4. Your staff will need to sell and manage this service; advertisers are unlikely to sign up of their own accord unless your brand image is significant.

Advertising your website on other peoples’ sites

This is generally performed to drive traffic into your site, and can include both paid and free-ofcharge solutions. Much of this area can lead-on to full-blown online and traditional offline marketing and branding campaigns which is not covered in this document.

  • Google AdWords – essentially this is paying to show at the top of Google search results in the three “sponsored listing” positions; though e-commerce sites can extend this to include their products in Google Shopping searches. The key importance here is that your page content and targeted keywords are correct and sufficiently specific that you do not pay a fortune advertising in irrelevant search results, for example we have seen estate agents mistakenly pay to list for the “costa del sol” keyword rather than say “property for sale costa del sol”. They are then paying (in a very costly and competitive keyword category) for every member of the public searching for “costa del sol” (regardless of whether they are looking for property). Managing your AdWords campaigns is considerable task that is essential to ensure you are getting both success and value for money; there are companies that specialise in proving AdWords management services.
  • Organic Listings – this includes all techniques used to bring traffic into your site from search listings without paying for premium listings. Generally all sites will list in search engines; the quality of your content, and of both the number and quality of links from other websites to your own will dictate how high you rank. You can spend significant amounts of time and money generating such links to your website, or pay an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to manage this on your behalf. If your website is sufficiently attractive to other site owners, it may be useful to provide a page on your website with suitable images and link code for them to copy and paste into their own website; this allows you to create high quality banner graphics at standard sizes to ensure your brand quality is maintained when other sites create links to yours.
  • Paid Links on Other Websites – some sites have their own bespoke advertising systems; if these have sufficient levels of traffic suited to your site, then it may prove beneficial to sign up for such advertising. Finding such sites is a Google search job, or you can contract a specialist affiliate management company to do this on your behalf.

Affiliate Networks

One final note, in the past Affiliate Networks were popular options for advertising online; these are websites that allow you to sign up to show their member’s banners on your site and/or show your banners on their member’s sites. Due mostly to the success of Google’s advertising products, these have now lost favour among many website owners; such networks have now changed their business models to offer bulk email marketing options, generally offering discount codes for your site. They will usually charge for this service which, coupled with discounts you must offer to potential leads, needs to be carefully assessed as to the potential profitability of such advertising.