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Advertising is a necessary evil

Okay, we know we all need to pay the bills. I know that many of us want to get traffic to our web sites. And some of us just want to make enough money to pay for our costs so that this thing we love to do is free.

But, come on, that doesn't mean you should plaster a hundred ads or a dozen banners on every page of your web site. A banner here and there, a small button or a few text links is fine, but I've seen some web sites that have dozens and a few that have hundreds of ads on each page! Now this is just tacky and is virtually guaranteed to get your visitors to hit that handy back button fast.

One of the worst kinds of web sites, in my opinion, are those that are just huge advertisements. Especially those that are advertisements for dozens or even hundreds of other services. People do not surf the web looking for banners, text links and other advertisements to click on. In fact, statistically, most people are surfing because they are looking for (a) information, (b) entertainment, or (c) someone to talk to. Most web surfers are not looking for something to purchase.

A good web site offers excellent content (which can be graphics, text or interactive features). Even those sites which sell something also offer content which is of interest to their visitors. Go take a look at any really good shopping site and you will see what I mean. Look at Amazon.Com or Barnes And Noble and you will understand - these sites offer tons of content. Reviews of their products, consumer comments and large amounts of data about the items being sold. This is what people want - information.

Some common things on web site that you should never do.

Banner exchanges - It's real simple - these do not work. Oh, you will get a click or two, but banner exchanges tend to look tacky, take up valuable space on your web pages and increase your load time. To make it even worse, many times you will lose far more traffic than you will gain. Don't even bother putting even one of these on your entire web site.

Notices saying "please, pretty please, keep my site free and click on something". This just makes you look like a rank amateur. In my humble opinion, it's very tacky to expect people to click on links just so you can "keep your site free". Come up with or find a good product or service, and sell it if you must. Advertising is not in of itself of value - only products or services have value.

Pornographic ads (unless your site is a pornographic site) - You want to chase away your visitors fast, then include pornographic ads. Yeah, you might get a few dollars from them, but you will lose visitors and your site will not be "family safe", which can be important.

Gambling ads - I understand that these advertisements may be the only things (besides pornography) that people will click on nowadays, but quite a few people do not want to be exposed to these things. I believe that these kinds of advertisements will cause you to loose a large amount of traffic.

Web sites that are just advertisements - I suppose there  is a place for brochures or full site advertisements, but I personally hit the back key as soon as I run into one of these. I want content. If I wanted this many advertisements I'd buy a magazine or look in the classified section of the newspaper.

Any large graphic advertisements.  Remember one of the very important things in web design is load time. Your site must load fast. If you include large graphic ads you are increase your load times.

Sites which are just lists of pay - surf, MLM or other money making schemes. There is nothing wrong with include some pay-surf or MLM ads here and there on your site. Including a section on these programs is also fine. But come on, please put some real content there also. Otherwise people will hit the back key fast and never come back.

Brochures - I've seen a large number of web sites in my days, and one of the ones that I click out of the fastest is one that looks like a brochure. It feels just like someone took the company brochure and converted it to web format. What on earth makes companies think these are of value to anyone?

Popup Windows - If you do a survey of web surfers, you will find that these are among the most hated "features" that exist. No one likes pop up windows, and if your site has too many of them you will loose visitors fast. Oh, you may get a few more clicks or signups for your newsletter, but the amount of time your visitors remain on your site will be limited and of less quality.

900 Numbers - Sites which advertise 900 numbers (a) don't work, and (b) clutter up the web needlessly. My advice is to find something better to do.

Richard Lowe Jr. is the Webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at Visit our Website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your Internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.

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