I Can Get You A Gazillion Visitors

We all receive those phone calls wanting us to advertise on a web site. The question, though, is how to determine whether the ad will be worth the price.

website traffic

I Can Get You a Gazillion Visitors.

There are actually two sides to the equation. The first is deciding if the website has the traffic that is complimentary to the business. Let’s take a look at ways to make your decision easier.

The person on the phone is sure to tell you how many daily “hits” the site receives, which is usually quoted as being in the thousands if not millions. A giant red light ought to go off if the salesman can’t tell you any more about the statistics for the site than how many hits the site receives. I will again state emphatically that, in my opinion, hits mean nothing. You need to be looking at Visits, Unique Visitors, Page Views and Traffic Sources. Let’s get some definitions established so we are all talking the same thing.

HITS: Hits are defined as the number of times a file is accessed. The critical point here is the word “file.” On any single page of a website, there are separate files for graphics (usually more than one file), files for text, files for photos, etc. If you have buttons on the page for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, each of those will have separate files. The current average for hits on a page is 15.

Visits: A visit represents one individual who browses through your website. The key here is to understand that the number doesn’t differentiate how many times the same visitor comes back to your website.

Unique Visitors: This statistic will tell you how many people visited your site for the first time by tracking the IP address of the computer that is accessing your site. (There is one caveat. This statistic depends on cookies being enabled on. If cookies are not enabled, the computer will not be identified as a unique visitor.)

Page Views: This statistic will tell you how many pages of the website a visitor has accessed. Some people will also refer to this as Impressions. On average, a visitor will go to 2.5 pages on a website.

Traffic Sources: This is where you will find out how people found your site. One of the critical traffic sources is PPC, Pay Per Click. This source will tell you how many click throughs you receive from sponsored ads.

(As a quick aside, if you don’t have an analytic tool on your website that gives you this information, get one on there NOW!! Google Analytics is a great tool and is free for the basic information.)

Now you may be asking what any of this has to do with advertising on a website. While companies like Southeast Publications does an outstanding job of making sure that you have the information you need, a lot of the online sites that are hitting you up for advertising dollars don’t give you the information that you need to determine the effectiveness of your advertising dollars.

There are a number of companies on the Internet that you can request website traffic information as it relates to the company that wants to sell you ad space. My “go to” program for checking out a website is www.Alexa.com.

When you request information on a website with Alexa, you will get traffic rank number. This will tell you how the site ranks in comparison to other similar websites. By clicking on details, you will also find out things such as the Reach %, Pageviews, Users, etc. It’s like looking at the sites individual statistics.

With this information in hand, you can now begin to determine if the website is one that 1.) attracts your client profile, 2.) pageviews are large enough to justify the cost of the ad, and 3.) will tell you what words people are using to search for when they access the site.


Now that you have the statistics to make a decision about running an ad, let’s take a look at PPC and how to use the information.

Just like display ads in print media, you need to analyze your results carefully to determine whether the cost of the ad is justified.

Before we go much farther, please let me emphasize that, just like display ads in print media, pay per click is going to be dependent on the attractiveness of an ad and the call to action. If your ad doesn’t attract attention or doesn’t have a call to action, you aren’t going to get the click throughs even if the website matches your potential guests to a tee. Make sure your ad has all of the qualities of a well designed ad. This will include not only the message but also the font, font size, background, graphics and overall design.

The whole point of PPC is to get users to click through to your website. You are paying for people to visit your site. The big difference here is that, unlike print media ads, you have meaningful statistics to tell you how well your ad is being received and the cost of the ad is usually considerably less than for a print ad.

Now that you have placed your ad, the next task is to review your statistics. Before you decide that PPC/digital ads don’t work for you, take another look at the ad and make changes to the text, the appearance and/or the call to action to see if your results improve.

One last point that I need to make is that in today’s world we are inundated with advertising. Unlike the past where conventional wisdom held that an ad needed to be seen a minimum of 3-7 times, in today’s world it requires a person seeing your ad upwards of 20 times. Just because it is easier to get your name in front of more eyes doesn’t mean that marketing/advertising is easier. In fact it has gotten much harder to set yourself apart.

How is your digital advertising working for you? What lessons have you learned?


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