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Is Advertising My Business on a Local Website Worth the Cost?

Lately I’ve been getting calls from people representing news channels and local community websites and they ask me if I want to advertise my website and my business on their website. They tell me about the banner ads they’ll put up on their website to advertise my business. They tell me about all the website traffic that they get. And they try to convince me about how this is such a great opportunity and I can’t pass it up. They even go so far as to spin it like it’s a partnership between my business and theirs. But the truth of the matter is that 99 times out of 100 it’s just a waste of my money. My business is about knowing what works and what doesn’t when you’re using the internet to advertise a local business. And one of the things I tell each of our clients is that if they are interested in such an opportunity to please let me know first so that I can check out whether it is good for them or not. I will gladly take the time to check out a website that one of our clients is interested in advertising on and let them know if I believe they’ll get a good return on their investment. I do it because my job is to help our clients and I don’t want to see them waste their money.

Factors to Consider When Advertising on a Local Website

1. What’s the Cost?

If the cost to advertise on the website is less than $50 a month it may be worth it depending on the total traffic that the website gets. It really depends on what the business owner charges for their products or services. Say for example a website that wants you to advertise charges $50 per month and you need to make a six-month commitment you’ll spend $300. So the question to ask your self is whether you can get your investment back on a single sale. That one sale is not a single per month but instead a single sale over the six month period. Can you get your $300 back on a single sale? If you can do that it may be worth the cost.

2. What Kind of Traffic Do Local Websites Typically Get?

Most local websites if they’re lucky might get around 10,000 visitors per month. Some that are considered regional websites might get as many as 100,000 visitors per month. But it is very rare that you’ll see a website that gets 1 million visitors per month. At least not on a local level. One of the questions to always ask is what kind of traffic do they actually get? And they need to show you proof.

3. What Kind of Traffic Can You Expect?

The typical return on banner ads is less than 1%. So for example if a website gets 100 visitors per month you might get one click. If a website gets 1000 visitors per month you might get 10 clicks. And if a website gets 10,000 visitors a month you might get 100 clicks. But the truth is you shouldn’t expect to see nearly that much traffic. Because most local websites are not targeted to your specific niche. They are general websites providing news and events for the area. This means the banner ads are essentially the same as putting ads in your local newspaper.

The Beauty of Google Analytics

Tracking your website traffic is one of the most important things you can do. One of the great things about tracking is you can see the sources of traffic. If you advertise your business on a local website you can see exactly how much traffic that website is sending you which means you don’t have to rely on reports provided by the website owner. This is important when analyzing your return on investment. You can see how many clicks you’re actually getting.

A Real Life Example

We have a roofing client that a little while back spent $1000 over six months to advertise his business on a local news site. Because we have Google analytics installed on his website we were able to track how much traffic that website brought. Over the course of the six months the banner ads that were run on the news site generated a total of eight clicks. That comes out to the cost of $125 per click. Needless to say our client did not continue to advertise on that website.

Final Thoughts

The fact of the matter is advertising on most local websites is the same as running a newspaper ad. While the website itself may generate decent traffic it rarely results in a good return on investment for the advertisers. But the advertisers don’t know this and most don’t know how to check. This is something that the website owner that is trying to get you to advertise will capitalize on. They’ll tell you how many impressions you got (i.e. how many times you ads were seen) while trying to avoid how many clicks you actually received. If your intent is just to build up name recognition then you may be able to do that but if your intent is to drive more traffic to your website there are better alternatives. If you are thinking of advertising on a local website but are not sure if it’s a good investment please call our office at 615-890-3600 or email us. All of our consultations are free and we will gladly check into a website for you rather than let you waste your money.


Join the Conversation

4 thoughts on “Is Advertising My Business on a Local Website Worth the Cost?

  1. Hey, Cash! Thanks for the great article. I was approached about 6 months ago by a company asking me to advertise on a local news website. I didn’t think it looked like a great deal and chose to take a pass! Now I’m REALLY glad I did!!

    1. Hi Hugh,

      I’ve had local news stations approach me as well. Of course I turn them down. I have a client that did advertise on one and he spent $1000 for three months. Of course we are tracking the traffic on the website and I think it got him about 5 visitors and no leads in those three months. Total waste of money. Hehas since cancelled and I reminded him to ask me first about such opportunities which he always does now.

  2. Very good advice, and I agree that Google Analytics is a wonderful tool. I pretty much ignore banner ads on websites, much in the same way that I tune out the commercials while watching TV, so I’m not surprised that it isn’t really an effective advertising method.

  3. Hello there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for
    sharing!

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