The jpoc guide Website advertising income for small websites
Don't drive your visitors away.

It is all too easy to drive visitors away from your website by using too many adverts.

The worst advertising techniques of all for this are ones that pop new windows on your visitor's screen. These vary from simple ones that pop up a single banner advertisement through to systems that pop open new windows as fast as the visitor can close them.

What visitors object to is the fact that these techniques take control of their computer away from them and give it to the advertiser. From a personal viewpoint, if a site pops open more than one window, I will never revisit it. If it pops up a single small banner then I will probably tolerate that if the site is compelling but most of the time, I will leave the site right away.

Given that so many web surfers feel so strongly about ads that pop into new windows, why do webmasters use them? The main reason is a combination of price and availability. Pop ups, pop behinds and the like all have higher payout rates than traditional banners and often it is easier to sign up with an ad agency if you will agree to run their pop up ads. The promised higher payouts may well not materialise though. For example, consider a pop up advert which pays the webmaster $1.50 per thousand views (CPM). Normally, these technologies will only pop once when a visitor comes to your website. So, if your visitors average three pages per visit, that rate has now come down to a CPM of fifty cents. Remember also that you will only get paid if the pop up window fully loads. My instinctive reaction on seeing a new window pop up is to close it as fast as I can. Suppose that forty percent of your visitors do that, now the CPM is down to 30 cents and, once you factor in the fact that running pop ups will reduce your traffic by one third, you can see that the original dollar fifty ended up at the equivalent of twenty cents CPM which is pretty disappointing. If you can sign up for a CPC deal at 10 cents a click, you only need to get a 0.2% CTR to equal that and you will not upset your visitors so much.

Of course, pop ups can work for some sites. If you have truly addicted traffic, you will not drive them away and if you have very few return visitors anyway, you have little to lose.

Another way to damage your traffic with advertising is to run too may banners on the page. As with excessive pop ups, these just shout "desperate for some ad income" and make you site look cheap. We have all visited sites where the home page shows a few lines of content and the scroll bar indicates that there is a lot more below. Then you start to scroll down and all that you see are three screens full of banners, buttons and text links. Why bother clicking on another page on that site?

Finally, try to avoid misleading ads. I know that there are ad companies who will pay you for clicks whatever the link. You can have a link that says "click here for more photos" or "enter the main site here" and then link those to a blind clicks ad programme. That's all very well but your visitor will feel that they have been tricked when you get them with this and they are not likely to come back in a hurry.

On my site, I try to stick to one banner at the top and one at the bottom of each page with occasional additional ads where I feel that they are appropriate. I feel that is appropriate for my site. Something a little different may work for your site and you will need to think about it and decide what you should go with.

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