Directing Traffic to Your Website: Does Google Adwords Work?

You’ve done what the all-knowing book marketing and promotion gurus have advised you to do: you have created a website and a blog to tell the world about the marvellous books you have written, either by using a platform like WordPress (OK, yeah, so attaching a domain name to WordPress is a bit of a cop out, but while I know the basics of HTML and FrontPage I’m no web designer: and why keep a dog and bark yourself? WordPress woof! 🙂 ) or Blogger, or GoDaddy, or 1&1, or getting some 15-year-old geek who should get out more to design it for you from scratch (I don’t know any 15-year-old geeks, either, nor do I have a link to an image of one).

After you’ve beautified the layout, added your hit counter and your Live Traffic widget (Feedjit seems to have the monopoly on live traffic feeds), what do you do next? Well, you sit back and wait for the visitors to view your site. How can you tell anyone’s looking? By viewing the site yourself, of course: a visitor from the United Kingdom has just – oh, hang on: that’s me. Durr! At some point in the future you may figure out how to stop the feed from reading your IP address (I used to know how to do it, something to do with cookies only I can’t seem to do it now), but your main concern should be how to get someone from Liverpool or Greece or Vietnam to have a butchers at your website?

You need to be like one of those old-fashioned bizzies (policemen to you) in the middle of the road: you need to direct traffic towards it.

The problem is, it’s not the only author website out there; there is a hell of a lot more of them, so you have a bit of competition.  As I said, Feedjit seems to be the one most people aim for, and look at the traffic it gets!

So what do you do?

You have to blog your book news; you have to tweet it; you have to post news on Facebook: you have to find other ways to advertise, and this is where something like Google Adwords could help…

…if you don’t mind paying for it, that is. Oh, yes, my friend: book promotion often comes at a price!

Google Adwords (and I think there’s one for Yahoo, too) is a form of advertising for a business with a website. You create an advertisement, or campaign as Google calls it, a few words about your business and what you’re selling with a link to your site. The campaign is generated by the most likely keywords Google predicts people will put into the search engine to look for plumbers, florists, or authors who have written young adult fiction. The campaign layout has to be approved before it can be made ‘live’, and the ad creator can suggest keywords they think users might search on, not only in the search engines, but also on web pages where the advertisement can be seen.

Does it work? Yes, it does. The problem is it can get expensive, and are you prepared to pay for top page of search engine views? Can you afford it? Each keyword works on a pay-by-click basis, so for example, I might have suggested ‘young adult fiction’ as one of the keywords people might search on for my advertisement, but I have set the pay-by-click as £2.00. I then get told by Google, well, yeah, OK, good choice, but we can’t put your advertisement on the front page of our search engine, because ‘young adult fiction’ will cost you £5.25 for the privilege – they might not find it until page 10, by which time they will be looking at someone else’s website; therefore, for your paltry £2.00, this keyword has a low budget score and won’t be shown very much.

Humph! 😦

So do I up my budget for ‘young adult fiction’ to £5.25 per click? Put it another way: am I Rockefeller with millions in the bank? Am I not, and if I were I wouldn’t waste it on Google Adwords, I’d go on a world cruise!

No; I stick to what I can afford and I think of different keywords that may fit into the budget I want, and as soon as I hit a certain amount on my monthly billing I ‘pause’ the campaign. The advertisement won’t run during that time, but no matter: I continue tweet, blog and Facebook and I get traffic to my website for diddly squat. The following month I restart my Google Adwords to chivvy traffic along a bit more. 🙂

Incidentally, GA are a bit funny with people having two ad campaigns that advertise similar businesses you may have, so I only have a website campaign not a blog campaign. What directs people to my blog? Posting on it, of course. Durr.

Does Feedjit use Google Adwords? Probably; and their stuff is always on the first page.

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