From the Withered Tree, a Flower Blooms

By: Chad Bell
Whether you are managing your own AdWords campaign or someone else’s, you have certainly asked yourself at some point, “to content network, or not to content network?” Well, Google now calls the content network the Display Network, but whatever you choose to call it, it can become a money pit of unfruitful clicks. Google suggests those new to Advertising on AdWords to turn on the Display Network. However, I recommend against that until you are ready to optimize a campaign specifically for it. So, start by focusing on your search network campaign, (for higher quality traffic) and the ad groups under that umbrella before throwing money at the Display Network.

When you have decided to stick your toe into the Display Network ocean, the first thing I suggest is to create a new campaign to explore the Display Network, this will allow you to set a different budget, but also to write different copy for your ads. Once you have launched your Display Network campaign you will want to create a placement report to know what sites your ads are appearing as well as their performance. From this report you can remove sites with high impressions and low click through rate (CTR) or sites with a lot of clicks that are not converting, this is where you can blow your budget if you are not paying close attention. So, with this information you can delete these sites from your campaign and add them as negative sites.

Returning to your placement report, you can now look at sites that are performing well, delete them, and create a separate campaign dedicated only to those pages with high conversions. With a little extra time and effort you can create a highly targeted Display Network campaign and a valuable component of your AdWords Account.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step….

By: Chad Bell
….and so goes the process of SEO. I emphasize process, or journey, when speaking of SEO, because it is not something that can be done and over with. For many individuals and small/medium size businesses owners, they build a website, launch it, and wait patiently or impatiently, whatever the case may be, for visitors to start arriving. Anxiously checking Google analytics its painfully obvious that no one on the crowded streets of the Internet has the time or inclination to stop by their site and look around. So, what do you do if in this position? Well, before doing anything at all, especially spending time and money to get people’s attention on the information super highway, start by setting a GOAL for your SEO campaign. Yes, your first step on the SEO journey is setting a goal, not creating a blog, selecting keywords, meta tags, link building, social media, etc. Why? Because, if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there and some of these roads can be quite expensive. A simple acronym to remember when setting goals, S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) is a useful tool to help develop goals and develop a strategy and tactics to achieve those goals. Setting a goal to be on the first page of Google search results is specific but its not very realistic or timely. However, a goal of increasing traffic to your site from referral sites by 20% over the next month is definitely a S.M.A.R.T. one. The concept of having clear goals is not unique to setting up an SEO campaign, it can and should be applied to every aspect of business. So, take a quick look around at your business and ask yourself, “Have I created S.M.A.R.T. goals for my various business processes?”

Why Hire a Web Design Company to Create an eCommerce Site?

By: Chad Bell
Well….its basic economics. You know, the comparative advantage theory? Actually, unless you have taken an economics class you probably are not familiar with the concept. I know a lot of potential customers that contact me do not consider this basic principal when they are shopping around for an eCommerce web designer. Just in the last month I have had many telephone conversations with individuals and companies that are looking for someone to clean up the mess that they have created trying to create a website, or eCommerce website in house, or on their own.

Now, the resources these individuals and companies spent on trying to create a site should have been spent doing whatever it is that they do best, presumably what they are in business to do. Instead they insisted on doing it themselves because they bulked at the $2500 -$10,000 price tag they were quoted by a web design company. The hidden cost here, what so many people fail to see, is the opportunity cost. Or, the money you lose by not focusing on what you do best. So, if you are debating whether or not to hire a company to create your website, ask yourself how much is it really going to cost you to go the do-it-yourself route, be careful, you don’t want to spend a dollar to save a dime.