Free Content on Web Advertising depends on High Traffic
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Traffic Triggers Advertising!

by Mike Banks Valentine

Gaining advertisers for your web site is always an important
goal for new webmasters. You'll need substantial traffic to
support your ads. Once you've increased your site traffic to
a significant level and can deliver about 10,000 pageviews
per month to advertisers, it's time to go in search of
sponsors for your newly sprouting little site.

New webmasters often install counters on their pages hoping
for high traffic to dazzle the world, but end up dissappointed
with the number of hits to their pages. Things really start
to heat up when you can regularly see between three to five
hundred visits a day. But don't be fooled by those web stats
folks, there's a major difference between "hits" and "unique

The number of hits and number of visitors are very different
numbers. Hits is determined by the number of files loaded from
the server. If your page has 5 graphics files in jpg or gif
format, a banner from an affiliate program, the html file and
a counter -- then that is, in it's simplest terms, 8 "hits"
to your site or page. Only one visitor triggers those hits,
so your ratio of hits to visitors is 8 to 1.

You'll find that when banner placements are made that most
advertisers require a particular number of "Unique Visitors"
to your page, usually in the range of 10,000 per month. With
the 8:1 ratio, that's 80,000 hits!

The number of visitors and hits are determined by your "server
logs" and it will require software to organize and make sense
of the raw server logs data.

Many service providers and web hosts will provide that software
to their customers for use as part of their fees or benefits of
membership. If your host doesn't provide a traffic analyzing
package, you must install one yourself and that requires access
to your hosts cgi-bin and setting permissions through the server
(if you are allowed and if you know how).

If that is something you can do yourself then it is the only way
to monitor and track your traffic outside of free programs that
use javascript to do the same task for you. There are several
of those available for free and some paid services to monitor
your site traffic for you. The free services display banner ads
on your results pages in order to pay for the service. Some of
these allow anyone to look at your traffic by clicking on the
logo you must display on your page.

Web stats are usually not public unless the site is trying to
attract advertising publicly.

Banner placement companies like Flycast and 24/7 media

are two places to check into if you want to know the necessary
numbers to sell banner ad space. You must have a reliable method
of tracking your traffic and then must share that information
with them. Once they begin advertising on your site, they
implement a tracking program of their own to determine how
often their banners are shown on your site.

If your idea is to "cheat" the banner companies, it won't work.
Generating solid traffic is the only way to do well with banner
advertising because of relatively low "Click through rates" of
less than 1% of visitors who see them. If your site generates
10,000 pageviews and one percent of those visitors click on
your advertisers banners that translates to 100 "click-throughs"
for the advertisers and then possibly one or two sales for the

With those kind of results, your list of willing advertisers
will be small. Traffic of between 75,000 and 100,000 unique
visitors brings them to your door. Before that point you'll
need to actively seek very targeted advertisers for your site
so that you can deliver very interested and highly motivated
buyers for the sponsoring advertiser.
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July 19, 2001