Should You Pay to List on Websites?

Online AdvertisingI originally wrote this article in August 2009 on my business website, but thought it would be a good topic to bring up again as online advertising is a regular concern for clients.

Time and time again businesses get emailed with some sort of offer to list on a website to promote their themselves with promises of better search engine rankings and increased website traffic.

My mantra when it comes to this decision is to only pay upfront for a listing which meets the following criteria:

  • It is a well known and quality website relevant to your industry or target market.
  • It provides a link back to your website.
  • It can provide you with it’s monthly web statistics (unique browser visits and page visits) to measure it’s effectiveness.
  • It ranks highly in search engine results for your business categories.
  • It provides good value for money i.e. the upfront cost is not over the top and realistic for the profile it has and the content it allows you to add.

Know Your Stats!

For any listings you already pay for make sure you can track the traffic sources for your website through tools like Google Analytics, that way when it comes to decide whether to renew any listing you can find out how much traffic you’ve received and work out stats like the cost per click.

There’s a lot of value in checking and knowing your web statistics and traffic sources regularly. Free listings are the way to go for the bulk of your online listings, but there will be a selection of sites that are worth the money if they can give you quality website traffic.