September 2019

Posted 30 September 2019

How To Advertise Your Website Online Effectively In 5 Steps

How To Advertise Your Website Online Effectively In 5 Steps 1

So you have a website and you are really anxious to get visitors to your site. You have three main tactics to get visitors to your website.

You can either –

  • Tell your network about it (ie, word of mouth, social media)
  • Try to be there when other people are asking about you (ie, search engine optimization)
  • Just advertise your website to people who might be interested.

Advertising is by far the fastest and most scalable right away, but it’s hard to do right – even if you have the budget.

Here’s how to advertise your website online effectively in 5 steps.

1. Understand Internet Advertising Jargon

Advertising itself has a ton of jargon – from inventory (not what you think) to mindshare to retargeting. Online advertising has even more, but here’s what you really need to know.

Fat-head vs. Long-tail

The basic concept is that the broader your make your advertising (the fat head) – the more traffic you’ll get. But the less conversions (sales, emails, etc) you’ll receive versus specific advertising to the targeted few (the long-tail). The more “targeted few” are fewer in number for each category and are much more qualified to convert. It can be tedious to target very few. And it feel like it’s smaller potential, but in aggregate the “long-tail” or “targeted few” is larger than the big, broad approach.

The best example is in keywords. See the example from Google’s Keyword Planner –

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If you have a review about Nike shoes, or are selling a Nike shoe – you’ll get the most visitors from an ad campaign targeting “shoes” though it won’t be as effective as a campaign centered around “nike air max running shoes” for example.

When it comes to how to advertise your website – it pays to spend the extra bit of time finding all those little niches to advertise in, rather than wasting your cash on the “fat-head” terms (unless you do just want to spend the money…if so, have at it).

The fat head vs long tail doesn’t just apply to keywords though. It also applies to audiences. Below is a screenshot of a Facebook ad campaign targeting specific audiences.

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With some platforms such as Facebook or the Google Display Ads- you don’t bid on keywords as much as you audiences, but the same principle applies – targeting the niches leads to a more effective advertising campaign.

CPM vs. CPC vs. CPA

These are the three ways of paying for your advertisement. With CPM (ie, cost per thousand impressions) – you pay a set rate every time your ad is shown. With CPC (ie, cost per click) – you pay a set rate every time your ad is clicked. And with CPA (ie, cost per action) – you pay every time someone who clicks your ad does something on your website.

The most common is going to be CPC. You only want to use CPM or CPA if you know what you’re doing, but it’s good to know that they are out there.

Do More Research According To Each Platform

Those are the two big concepts in online advertising – but there’s a ton more jargon in each ad platform. Be sure to to do your research and ask questions whenever you see something you don’t understand – otherwise you’ll be spending money you don’t have.

For example, Facebook has several flavors of CPM/CPC. They also allow you to advertise according to “objective.” These are different than Google or Twitter. Don’t assume that each ad network has the same terminology among them.

2. Know Your Advertising Options

When it comes to how to advertise business in the physical world, and how to advertise your website in the digital world, there is one common denominator – choice. There is a plethora of advertising options online, but they all fall into 3 main categories which can be found on a wide range of platforms. Here are the main options and platforms for how to advertise your website online.

Search Ads

Search Ads show up when someone searches for a query. For example, if you search “shoes” – you’ll get ads for shoes.

Google was the first mover here and made their billions with search ads. But now many networks from Pinterest to Twitter to Amazon and more all use search ads within their networks.

The key point about Search Ads is that the searcher has intent – i.e., they want whatever you have. It’s the best ad opportunity ever. If someone searches for “cute shoes” on Pinterest…they probably want some cute shoes.

The marketing jargon here is that you are “harvesting” demand rather than generating demand. Search volume and bid prices limit your inventory.

Display Ads

Banner ads have been around since the dawn of Internet time. They are everywhere both on the Web and within platforms. They have made Facebook their billions.

They come in standard sizes, and most networks (such as the Google Display Network) make it very easy to execute professional ad campaigns for your website. I’m sure you’ve seen something like this before:

Display Ads are different from Search Ads because you are trying to reach people based on interest rather than intent. For example, if someone is browsing a Car & Driver Magazine then a car parts retailer could reasonably guess that they are interested in car parts.

Google handles most Display Ads around the Web – but there are dozens of other alternative networks. The big opportunity for Display Ads is on “walled gardens” like Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Zillow, etc who all know everything about users on their network.

There are also networks who specialize in delivering raw volume like SnapChat, Spotify, Pandora, and other ad brokers.

There are also a range of targeting options, match types, and formats depending on network and goal.

Native Ads

Native ads are basically advertisements that appear within the content and are meant to match the editorial. They are paid placements – but aren’t meant to distract. They are meant to appear like content – or at least appear within your content feed.

The most recognized example are networks like OutBrain or Taboola. But other types of content like giveaways and in-feed “promoted stories” on Instagram also count.

The lines get a little blurry – and native advertiser’s should always be disclosing their relationships, but there are plenty of ad platforms that make this method easy – such as Facebook. Here’s an example of a sponsored Facebook ad:

Lots of media companies are jumping on this bandwagon and making it easier and easier to execute. It can definitely be part of your plan on how to advertise your website – but for now let’s dive into actual platforms.


Google is the advertising master of the Internet. When you’re looking to how to advertise your website online…you start with Google Search Network.

Google has the largest search network in the world – which you can use to place ads on targeted keywords. Google is worth $375 billion because pay per click ads in search results are that powerful. You can get in front of people exactly when they are actively looking for your exact products and services.

It’s the place to test messaging, pricing, demand, and return on investment before expanding to other options.

Google also owns the largest display ad network in the world – and allows you to advertise to 85% of all Internet users everywhere. You – yes, you – can advertise your website on the New York Times, on a targeted niche blog, or on any website that your target customer visits (and yes, you can get the ads that follow people around too).

*Speaking of ads that follow people around (aka “retargeting”), that is the most effective way to get started with Google’s Display Network. Use it to stay in front of people who have already visited & expressed interest in your website.

And Google also owns the world’s 2nd largest search engine – YouTube – which also happens to be the largest video platform in the world. It offers a plethora of ad options, and just like in Google Search or Google Display – YouTube allows you to advertise as broadly or as specifically as you want.

You can get started at Google Ads.

Bing + Yahoo

Bing and Yahoo together make up about 30% of the search market. They are Google’s only real direct search competitors. They offer very similar products (with fewer options though). They are worth trying out after you have experimented with Google and want to expand your search reach (and get lower costs on some ads).

You can get started at the Yahoo+Bing Ad Center.


As you saw in the screenshot in the concepts section – Facebook allows for some hyper-targeted audience advertising. You can reach any group among its 1 BILLION+ users. The magic of Facebook is that everyone on the network self-defines themselves into neat little marketing packages. They tell you exactly what they like.

So guess what? If someone says that they Like hiking…they will probably find your hiking store interesting as well.

If you know the audience that you are trying to target – Facebook makes a great network to try. It’s the place to build awareness of your store and get in front of your target audience. Like Google, you can set your budget to as high or as low as you’d like.

Facebook offers two main products – the ads you see on the side bar of the newsfeed, and promoted posts – which are just posts that you pay to appear in user’s newsfeeds. Here’s an overview on how to start with Facebook ads.

*Note that a great way to start using Facebook’s ad products is through “retargeting.” With retargeting, you only show ads to people who have already landed on your website (aka through your Google Search ads). It can be a cheap way to get people to come back and purchase. Here’s a solid guide to spending your first $100 on Facebook retargeting.

You can get started at Facebook Ads.


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LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. It’s not actively used by many people (except when job-hunting) – but it is hyper-targeted, and is used heavily by the people who do use it (recruiters, sales, etc).

Ads are paid for by cost per click and has a very similar targeting functionality to Facebook, though not nearly as specific. If you have a website that relates to professionals or sales in anyway (or to a specific industry) – promoting your website on LinkedIn can be a great option. Outside of B2B, LinkedIn is typically an expensive option though.

You can get started at LinkedIn Ads.


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Twitter has recently really stepped up it’s advertising options – and has created some pretty amazing products. You can either promote your account, promote tweets, or promote hashtags. The selling point about Twitter is that you get to advertise to people who are already talking about your niche.

It’s a hard note to hit, and there’s still a lot of experimentation happening around Twitter ads, but it does offer a really unique offering beyond Facebook targeting. If you’re the adventurous type – you should definitely check out Twitter ads, but before you do that, you should check out Shopify’s DIY Guide to Twitter Ads here.

*Like Facebook, Twitter has a very interesting retargeting option.

You can get started at Twitter Ads.


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Reddit is the the social news website on the Internet. It’s a hive of activity and curates almost all the memes and stories you see around Facebook and the rest of the Internet.

It has lots of “subreddits” where like-minded people of mind-bogglingly unique interests hang out. And you can advertise to them.

Now – one caveat – Redditors are highly allergic to marketing and over the top messaging – even in the form of an obvious ad…unless it’s useful and a really good product – because then they love it.

Reddit allows you to advertise in various subreddits at the top of the feed and in a banner on the side of the page. Rates are very cheap, and can be a great place to try out.

One tip though – get on Reddit and make a conscious note of how many of the ads are written. They have a certain style for a reason. You should also do plenty of research to find the best subreddits for your ads. You can use the Subreddit finder to help out. **Note – Reddit is a reflection of the Internet at large, with all the good and bad that comes with it. There is no censoring, so be careful while exploring.**

You can get started at Advertise on Reddit.

Outbrain / Taboola

These are the two biggest “sponsored content” networks. They are best known for placing the…”odd” looking stories beneath articles around the internet. They are cheap and can drive a lot of traffic. The catch is that you can’t advertise a product or service. Instead, you have to promote a piece of content, which can promote your product or service within the content.

You can get started with Outbrain here or Taboola here.


As of early 2015, Pinterest has rolled out a new ad platform which is definitely the most anticipated ad product since Facebook. There’s a few introductory posts floating around, but best practices have yet to be defined.

Other Networks

There are tons of other, smaller ad networks (and direct buys). So when deciding how to advertise your website online – don’t feel limited to the big networks. For example, runs a really high quality network with better visibility for advertisers and higher rates for publishers than Google Display can traditionally offer. Even Amazon runs an ad network within their own site (aka, promote your Amazon listed products on Amazon).

If there are forums or websites in your niche – by all means reach out to them directly. But no matter how you approach promoting your website – you need to take care of a couple more things to do it right.

3. Track Everything

For me – what really makes digital advertising so much better and more interesting than traditional offline advertising is that you can track everything. And thanks to Google Analytics – anyone with a website has access to enterprise-level Analytics (and you’ll spend more money with Google when you can see exactly how effective your ads are).

*Note that I’m assuming that you are tracking your website’s data.

So let’s dive in and look at tracking.

Know where to look in Analytics

If you use the big ad platforms – they should include the basic referral data for your Google Analytics to make sense of the visitor. You can check out their performance in the Traffic Sources column, and either under the referrals tab – or under Paid Search, or if you have linked your AdWords and Analytics – then you’ll get even more detailed and amazing data.

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Use the URL builder

In order to get the most data from the people who click on your ads – you’ll need your ads to be fully trackable, and to pass data over to Google Analytics.

If you are using Google Ads, be sure to go to Preferences and Turn ON Auto-tagging. Otherwise, when you are setting up a campaign – don’t just input the URL of your website or landing page into the URL – add parameters to the URL to help Analytics understand your ad visitors. Parameters are little snippets added onto the end of a URL. They don’t affect the user or ad, but simply tell Google Analytics where the visitor is coming from, so that you can track and test your advertising.

When you see an ad string – it looks complicated, and hard to build, but Google has a free URL Builder tool here that you simply must use. Here’s what it looks like…

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When you fill out the fields with the appropriate content (ie, facebook, display, males+sports, ImageA, Facebook). You can use whatever tags make sense to you because whatever information you put in here will be seen by you in Google Analytics. Be sure to fill it out completely.

Once it outputs at URL – use that URL for your ad campaigns.

But what URL are you sending people too in the first place? That’s the next step to understand in how to advertise your website online effectively…

4. Create Landing Pages

Basic rule of running an ad campaign – unless you have a very good reason – is never send your visitor to your homepage. Send your visitor to a page specifically crafted to match whatever was being advertised.

If you are using a CMS like WordPress then it’s super-easy to set up new pages.

You should set up specific landing pages for every single type of ad you’re running. Pro tip – setting up unique landing pages with keywords matching your ads also helps lower your costs on Google by increasing your Quality Score.

Your landing pages should include Ads conversion codes, and even though they don’t have to be beautiful – they should be unique. Look at landing pages as part of building your ad campaign.

And this extends to blog promotion as well. Don’t send people to your home page or main feed. Promote specific posts – and send those ads directly to those posts.

5. Watch & Test

This whole system feeds back into itself and never ends.

You learn new ad concepts and different keyword strategies by using different ad platforms and watching your Analytics like a hawk.

You can improve the effectiveness of your landing pages by watching your best performing ads. You can improve the performance of your ads by watching your best performing landing pages (whether it’s a pure landing page, blog post, or product page).

The point is that you can’t just set a campaign and forget it. Learning how to advertise your website online is all about starting (not planning forever), getting data, and adjusting. It’s sort of a ready, fire, aim approach.

You can set a low budget, test, then ramp up when you find something that works by watching your Analytics like a hawk.

This post covers just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how to advertise your website online. What you need to do now – is start.

Posted 22 September 2019

What Is Content Marketing?

What Is Content Marketing? 9

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that uses content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and to convince them to take some sort of profitable action (also called a conversion).

I’ll be explaining why you should explore investing in content marketing (as part of your general marketing strategy) and breaking down 3 ways you can do it to increase your site traffic and your sales.

Why Content Marketing?

People are over ads. Just think of your own online behavior. When is the last time you clicked on an ad on Google or saw a billboard that you thought was cool?

Enter content marketing. Content marketing isn’t exactly new… in fact, it’s positively ancient.

A century ago, seed companies and farm suppliers like John Deere gave out almanacs to farmers. It was how they established relationships with their customers, found out their needs, and did long-term sales.

It’s 2019 and things haven’t really changed, except for the fact that content marketing is actually more suited to our digital age. The Internet is awash with attention grabbing headlines, which means no one even sees your ad unless they are looking for it (which is where Google AdWords comes in), or if it provides real value, which is what content marketing is all about.

Content marketing is also incredibly versatile. You can build an entire business around your content marketing efforts because it hits each stage of the funnel. It also integrates with nearly every type of advertising, from paid media to SEO, meaning you get more bang for your buck by creating great content to support your other marketing efforts.

So how can you put it to use? Here are three broad ways to approach content marketing:

Increase Reach & Awareness

One of the primary ways to use content marketing is to create content that gets you in front of new audiences. Basically, this boils down to creating unique and valuable content that’s broad enough to reach those who aren’t familiar with your brand.

Take this YouTube Channel by Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. This content is broad enough that even someone who doesn’t know the brand can find it and even appreciate it. It fuels the “awareness stage” of the funnel (AKA, when someone learns about a brand).

When you’re using content marketing to increase reach and awareness, consider utilizing these three primary methods to achieve your goal:


By creating content that people are happy to share with friends on social media, you can expand your reach exponentially. Take the “This Girl Can” video from Sport England. This video went viral as thousands of people shared it across social media. Chances are, most of the people who came across the video had never heard of Sport England.


If you create content that ranks for broad topics that solve issues that correspond with your project, you’re reaching people that may not know you, but definitely have issues your business can solve. REI does a great job of this. They site provides resourceful content that addresses issues their target audience are trying to solve. So, when a hiker searches for “backpacking trips in the US” on Google, the top ranked content comes from REI – a brand.

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By creating ads that are broad and applicable to a large audience, a brand can utilize advertising to expand their reach and audience scope. Think about Buzzfeed, which is funded solely with this business. They create epic content that goes viral on a regular basis, reaching a HUGE audience for their content and advertiser’s content, which exposes even more customers to brands (and Buzzfeed).

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Increase Inbound Traffic

Content marketing it also useful for increasing inbound traffic. Inbound is just marketing jargon for being where your customers are. In terms of content marketing, it means putting content out there that brings people to your website, instead of throwing ads at them and interrupting whatever they’re doing (like YouTube video ads…). Let’s take a look at REI again and see how they do this through social, SEO, and advertising.


REI creates interesting and clickable stories that they share via their social media channels. This post about duct-tape hacks is a great example of interesting educational content that is applicable to REI’s outdoor enthusiast audience.

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When it comes to advertising, REI uses content marketing exceptionally well. The brand was featured in AdWeek for sharing inspirational stories of dedicated campaigns as a new advertising campaign called “Every Trail Connects”.

The campaign highlights the strategic difference between inbound and outbound marketing: the inbound style here uses emotional content in order to connect with an audience, instead of making a cold sale to a potential customer through a paid media ad focusing on a big sale.

Increase Conversions

A third quick way to use content marketing is to create content that you can use to sell, reassure, or educate existing customers and visitors. This can come to life in three ways: through using retargeting, using on-site content, or using email.


When you retarget a customer, you’re reaching back out to someone who visited your site but did not convert. In terms of content marketing, this means using content to draw existing fans back. The content should be interesting and educational, and provide additional value that the customer didn’t originally find on your site. Perhaps you offer a special PDF download guide, or a webinar course that only few have access too. Whatever it is, make it valuable.


Getting customers to convert isn’t just something that happens outside of your site. You can actually use on-site content that educates or reassure high consideration visitors that they are making the right decision in doing business with you. This content can be customer testimonials, reviews, or third party references about your products and services.


Content marketing through email looks similar to retargeting in that you’re using it to serve content that brings customers back to your website. This email content can be anything — exclusive discounts for email list, advanced-access to a tool or educational video, or even a pre-sale announcement for a new product. The ultimate goal here is to get customers back on the site and to convert.

Next Steps

Whether your are a business owner or work for an agency, marketing in 2019 means that you understand the importance of content marketing.

To get started, decide which of the above approaches has the most immediate and significant impact on your business. Then, start building that by creating educational, entertaining, and thoughtful content that aligns with your end goal.