Running ads on your business website – should you do it?
The answer is a big, fat NO. The reason? Your website is an ad, in many ways. It is promoting your business to potential customers. Don’t dilute that with other ads!
“But I can make some extra revenue,” the people who do this claim. Most small business websites do not get enough traffic for the revenue to really matter. You risk sending potential customers off to another site!
I was looking at a photographer’s website recently. He had chosen to run Google Ads on the left column of his site. When you clicked into the page, that’s the first thing you saw – bright blue headlines on black, right where your eye begins looking at the page.
This photographer, who was trying to interest potential clients in his photography skills, had ads for the following: another photographer; a lighting kit that would appeal mainly to other photographers; a site for selling photos online; a site that teaches photography; and a stock photo site.
None of these does anything to help the photographer. At best, they remind a potential customer that he or she has many other options than this particular fellow. And at worst, they send someone off the site to find stock images or a competitor!
As well, advertising on a small business website just smacks of unprofessionalism. If you have to try and earn money by running ads, how can you have a successful business? It just doesn’t give off the image that you should aim for online.
But what about ads for complementary businesses? Well, these at least make more sense. Here’s a good way to handle this: Put up a Resources page. On that page, list businesses you work with and recommend. Put a link to the business, possibly add a logo for the business, and write a short paragraph about your experience with the company and why you suggest a visitor to your website might also be interested in them.
This serves a couple of purposes: It gets a few outgoing links on your site, and may spur the linked company to reciprocate an offer you a link back from its site (be sure to ask!). It also puts the information into the category of resources, things you’re offering a potential customer that might have value for him or her.
Of course, you won’t make any ad revenue – but that is most likely to be miniscule on a small business site. If you really want a website that you can run ads on, create a blog or informational site that isn’t connected to your business. Offer lots of content and helpful advice to attract those interested in the same topic. Such a site has much better potential for encouraging ad clicks and it won’t harm your business.