e-commerce strategies and web site optimisation
If you want to make money out of your web site, Google Advertising Tools is the best guidance manual I have come across for a long time. Ignore the title: it’s not just about Google. Harold Davis deals with all the routes you can go down to generate income from pages you put on line. The advice is clearly coming from someone who knows all the systems as a practitioner. He covers good web design principles, how to understand search engines, website optimisation, and e-Commerce in general, as well as the detail of hitching your web wagon to Google’s star via its AdSense and AdWords programs.
I’ve no way of knowing what income he generates from his own sites, but everything he says in this book rings true to me, and I have been working at e-Commerce reasonably well for the last ten years or so. I liked the fact that he lists both the positives and negatives of the strategies he describes. For instance, after telling you how to get recognised by search engines, he provides a long list of tricks and sharp practices which you should avoid, because they are likely to get you black listed.
It should be said that there’s very little HTML coding and no graphic design strategy on offer here. This is to do with e-Commerce policy and good web design practices.
But of course because Google’s AdSense program is the biggest and most successful of the advertising programs, he does go through this extensively. He shows you how to sign up, how to choose the options that will work best for your site, and how to tweak everything to get the best results. He even goes into the fine details of such things as customising the colour of the ads which will appear on your pages, and filtering out competitive ads.
I was glad he explained how to interpret all the report data which Google provides every day, because I’ve never got round to working out what it all means. [I have usually been too busy checking the daily earnings.]
Next comes Google advertising viewed the other way round – in what’s called the AdWords program. This is a scheme of paying small amounts for adverts which are served up to people who search on certain key words. You choose the words, and the ads are therefore highly targeted at the people you wish to reach.
Google plays quite fairly with both its AdSense and AdWords customers in these matters. For instance, you can filter out any unwanted ads from your own pages, or indicate any sites on which you don’t want your adverts to appear.
The AdWords process can become quite complex, particularly for people running several advertising campaigns simultaneously. At this point Davis brings in the advantages of the Google application program interface (API). This is a set of tools which allows those with the programming skills to develop software which interacts directly with the AdWords server – thus allowing them to more easily manage their multiple accounts.
So – he takes the e-commerce possibilities in advertising from a fairly simple (but profitable) start, through to a quite sophisticated level. In fact he doesn’t even shy away from devoting a whole chapter to making money from ‘adult’ material en route.
I liked his explanations because they were clear and easy to understand. Everything is spelled out in simple steps, and there’s a screenshot illustrate almost every stage of the processes he describes. All this, and there are lots of web resources and services listed as well, just waiting to be followed up. In fact I have started doing exactly that today.
© Roy Johnson 2006
Harold Davis, Google Advertising Tools, Sebastopol: CA, 2006, pp.353, ISBN: 0596101082