Sunday, January 11, 2009

Above the Fold

For almost a decade we've been hearing the words - above the fold - and yet I get the question at almost every event - where above the fold should we be putting our ads, Dave?   And the answer is that there are SO many variables that you must test.

One of the reasons I keep a journal is so I can look back over the pages and see what worked and what business I didn't finish, maybe a few things that I wish I never did... those kinds of things.  And that's what I'm talking about here - it's sort of like - well, as complicated as life can be.  What you need to do is:

1. Find a nice website or blog you like.
2. Copy it.
3. Test ad placement.

Once I was under the impression that a great layout from a high trafficed site would bring me tons of AdSense revenue.  But what I forgot was that I could not replicate that traffic exactly.  Their traffic might be from any number of places with people set on buying.  My traffic to the same style site might be from tire kickers.

So just because CNN is running a 150 x 150 ad in the top left corner and making $3000 a day doing so doesn't mean anything other than a starting point.  The bottom line is that you must test and test at least through 1000 visits.

Even then, I advise using Google Analytics to see who is coming to your site.  Another great tool I use is called Hittail.  This is a tracking service that will show you search terms that may generate even more traffic.  When I review my analytics, I can see what type of Internet user is coming to my site.  With that info - and where, what time of day they are coming - I can pretty well tailor my site to them.

But you'll get none of this if you don't try stuff out.  Don't say it doesn't work - it takes a ton of work to find the sweet spot.  And remember, your sweet spot might be someone else's rotton spot simply because of demographics.

Go ye therefore and track!

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