If you have just set up a website one of the first questions you will ask is “how do I get traffic to my site?”. There are a number of methods of accomplishing this. If you are knowledgeable about search engine optimization (SEO) you can optimize your webpages for certain keywords and get lots of links to your site. Then all you have to do is wait (for months/years!) and you will receive free traffic. You can also try things like posting in forums with a signature, advertising on free classifieds sites and writing articles to submit to directories. All of these methods can generate free traffic, some more than others.
However, if you don't want to wait and need large amounts of traffic, you can buy it. This means submitting ads to search engines such as Google (the biggest search engine in terms of traffic), ads that link to your website. Your ads only show up when people type in the search phrases that you have selected into Google. You pay Google each time someone clicks on your ad. Google's paid search advertising program is called Adwords. From this short description the main pros and cons of Adwords are apparent:
1. Immediate traffic: You can start getting visitors to your site within minutes.
2. Lots of traffic: You can send thousands of people per day to your site with Adwords.
3. Targeted traffic: You select exactly which keyword phrases will trigger your ads, therefore you only show your ads to qualified visitors. Thus the people coming to your site are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
4. Geographical targeting: You can choose to show your ads only in specific countries, states or towns.
There are also some less apparent benefits of using Adwords to drive traffic:
1. Flexibility: If you have SEOed a webpage for certain keywords its not so simply to change. With Adwords you can change keywords, ads and landing pages instantly.
2. Optimization: Adwords makes it easy to split test ads, monitor campaign and individual keyword performance, and make unlimited instant adjustments to all parameters.
3. Fine tuning: Its easy to do things like send people to different webpages based on their search phrase, make separate bids for every keyword phrase, exclude specific words from search phrases and choose exactly when you want your ads to be showing.
These pros combined together give the major benefit of adwords: Profitability - Its possible to make a 100% (or more) return on your Adwords spend.
1. Cost: Adwords isn't free. I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on Adwords.
2. Complexity: The features that make it powerful and useful also mean that it takes a while to learn to use effectively.
These 2 cons combined mean that you have to be careful using Adwords. Many people have lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars using adwords without a proper understanding.
There are other problems with Adwords such as being at the mercy of instant rule changes by the search engines and competition from other advertisers, but these disadvantages are shared with SEO, the most effective source of free traffic.
In summary Adwords is a very effective tool for driving traffic to your website provided you have the time and motivation to learn its complexities.
About the author: Paul Bush is currently making over $20,000 per month using Adwords and other paid search programs. A guide to using Adwords for making money from online affiliate marketing is available at http://BeginPPC.com