Voyage
A fresh adventure for digital navigation with a glamorous look
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Voyage

A fresh adventure for digital navigation with a glamorous look

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Civic
Featuring a Full Screen Video Slideshow
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Civic

Featuring a Full Screen Video Slideshow

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Tripod
A Flat and Gorgeous Photography / Art Portfolio Showcase
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Tripod

A Flat and Gorgeous Photography / Art Portfolio Showcase

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Mondrian
Fluidity and tasteful use of colors that makes this template a perfect landing page.
See Live Demo BUY NOW $37 3 mo template club $45 click to learn more

Mondrian

Fluidity and tasteful use of colors that makes this template a perfect landing page.

See Live Demo BUY NOW $37 3 mo template club $45
click to learn more

What's New

This sample content is excerpted from the forthcoming book - Joomla! A User's Guide: Building a Joomla! Powered Website, to publish in May, 2007, by Prentice Hall Professional.

If you have a website (Joomla or otherwise), and you have a vague interest in getting traffic, then pay per click (PPC) need to be part of your Search Engine (SEM) strategy.

Why is pay per click so useful?

If you put an ad in a magazine about your product, you pay the magazine the add fee and it goes in. At that point you are hoping that the ad is compelling enough to get people to call/email/visit your site. If you get no leads from the ad, then you still had to pay the magazine the fee.

Adwords is an example of what is known as Pay Per Click (PPC). This means you only have to pay for an ad if somebody clicks on it. The equivalent would be you only have to pay the magazine if you get a sales lead from your advertisement. No magazine in the world is ever going to give you an offer like that, they would go out of business in a heartbeat! On the web using sophisticated tracking software this kind of arrangement it is possible. The two leading providers are Google and Yahoo. Adwords is actually one of the main ways Google makes its money, it had to get the 1.3 billion it paid for YouTube somewhere.

Pay per click has even more going for it than the manner in which you paid for the ad. It's actually drawing on three ideas:

  1. you are advertising to people who are looking for your product or service right now
  2. you only pay when they click on your ad as I just explained
  3. pricing is based in real time, you bid live against other advertisers

How does Google Adwords work?

When you do a search in Google the results are based on organic search, the results based on Google's complicated algorithm, and advertising or Adwords, what Google calls sponsored links. Let's do a search in Google.

Search for Joomla
Figure 1 A search for "Joomla" in Google

Hey I have done a search in Google for everybody's favorite content management system, Joomla. On the left-hand side of the organic search results. They can see in position number eight a great website for commercial Joomla templates (okay, I'll admit that's my site!). On the right-hand side you can see smaller listings that are Google's pay per click Adwords. Circled in red in position number eight is an ad I have created for a manual for Joomla.

Here is an important bit.

Sometimes people think that the organic search on the left is free and the sponsored links on the right is paid advertising. From your perspective as someone who is trying to market your website this is not true. You have to pay for both listings.

How so? Well, to get a listed on the left-hand side you do not have to pay for the listing itself, but you have had to spend time and effort in your on the page and off page search engine optimization. To get listed on the right-hand side is much less time and effort involved, but you have to pay for the listing. Either way it's a combination of time effort and money from your perspective.

Here is another important bit.

At the end of the day one method for your site might end up being more cost effective than the other. However the reality is you need to do both. In the same way as your retirement plan needs to have a diversified portfolio, so does your search engine marketing strategy.

At this point I hope I have given a basic introduction to pay per click and some suggestions to convince you why you should be adding it to your marketing strategies. There is not much value to me continuing and explaining how to develop a Google Adwords campaign. The reason is because it's already been done. It's generally accepted that there is one leading guide to Adwords, written by Perry Marshall. You can find out more about it at www.perry-marshall.info. I absolutely recommend it, and have a copy myself. I have managed to reduce how much I am paying for my Adwords campaigns by half using his techniques. As you can see in figure 1. I have an ad at position number eight for a very competitive search term and let's just say I'm not paying too much for it!

One strategy I would like to share from the book is Perry's idea of using Google Adwords to test things.

Say you are starting a new product and you're struggling between a couple of ideas for a slogan for it. All you have to do is whip up a landing page with some sort to sign-up form, and then create a Google Adwords campaign that uses the two slogans in the ads. Then all you need to do is insert the free conversion tracking code from Google and then you can find hard statistics about which slogan converts your customers better. For $5 or $10 you have implemented sophisticated split testing, something normally only within the reach of big companies and expensive marketing budgets.

Joomla and Google Adwords

So far we have been discussing the usefulness of pay per click advertising and you could apply it to any website. Where does Joomla come in?

Google Adwords is a powerful way to drive controlled traffic to your website. Getting it there is only half the story to, you need to know what it does when he gets that so you can have a better picture of whether your advertising money is being well spent. You do this through conversion tracking.

Conversion Tracking
Figure 2. Measuring your Adwords conversion

Once you set up conversion tracking you are able to see your conversion rate and thereby your cost per conversion. Figure 2. is a great example why this is critical. This product only costs $19.99. I am paying over $21 for every sale, I am losing money! Comp with this information I need to dig out Perry's book and find out how to either lower might bid price or increase my conversion rate. Without this information I would be burning money.

Adding the conversion code is relatively simple on a Joomla website. When you click on conversion tracking Google will give you some JavaScript code that you need to insert onto your website. The code will look something like this:

<!-- Google Code for purchase Conversion Page -->
<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
var google_conversion_id = YOURIDEHERE;
var google_conversion_language = "en_US";
var google_conversion_format = "1";
var google_conversion_color = "FFFFFF";
if (1) {
  var google_conversion_value = 1;
}
var google_conversion_label = "purchase";
//-->
</script>
<script language="JavaScript"
src="http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<img height=1 width=1 border=0 src="http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/YOURIDEHERE/
?value=1&label=purchase&script=0">
</noscript>

To figure out what page you need to put it on you'll have to decide which page represents a successful conversion. For an e-commerce store it might be the thank you page, if you are trying to get people to sign up to join an e-mail list it will be a slightly different page. Whatever your scenario you have to add the Google conversion code to that page.

One important thing to remember is that you will need to add to the code as HTML. Depending on what editor you are using in Joomla somewhere there will be a button to edit the role HTML code, as opposed to working in WYSIWYG mode. In figure 3 is shown the HTML button and dialog box for the default editor of Joomla 1.5.

HTML editing in Joomla
Figure 3. Editing the HTML of content in a Joomla editor

Conclusion

Much of the work involved in developing a Google Adwords strategy is quite generic to any website. But if you have a Joomla site it's a website nonetheless. Arm yourself with Perry's book (www.perry-marshall.info) and make sure you are tracking the conversions.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to optimize your Joomla site for organic searches come over to Joomlashack and check out our forum for Joomla SEO.