By Andrew Neitlich

A Marketing Tactic That Works Better than Google AdWords

By Andrew Neitlich

I constantly track and measure results of any marketing tactic, and hope that you do, too.

I’ve found that writing articles is one tactic that beats Google AdWords anytime. In fact, this blog and the articles I’ve written for SitePoint have generated more traffic to my site than my investment in Google over the same time frame. That’s the equivalent of $1,500 or so.

Plus people who read my articles are more likely to buy my books and services than people who respond to Google. That’s because they know me from content that an objective third-party has agreed to publish, not from an advertisement.

If you think of your Web design or development business as a professional practice, then you should also try to write articles. If you focus on a target market, this task will be easier because you can get into targeted publications that other designers/developers don’t know about. Also, you will be able to tailor your writing to your niche market, and get better response.

The key to articles is to provide tips and information, not to make a sales pitch. Then be patient and keep at it, as people will eventually come to you for more information.

Be sure to have a way to follow up with people, for instance with a newsletter that offers to provide similar information to what you offer in your articles.

Please post examples of your success (or not) writing articles, or even serving as a columnist….If you have no examples, then consider adding writing to your marketing arsenal.

  • Oops. Sorry about the link.

    Anyway, thought I’d add a further point, that it all depends on where your traffic is coming from, of course. In the case above I was mostly getting visitors eager to learn about XML, which would be fantastic if I was selling something to do with XML, but wouldn’t be of much use if I was trying to sell web development or design. Most places where you’d post things which your business specialises in *might not* be the places to pick up a lot of saleable traffic by their very nature.

    Your blog here would be a very good targeted stream because it’s talking to developers about a traditional non-developer area, but if somebody writes about JavaScript here, I doubt it would generate any significant custom.

  • I have always thought that writing articles would be a great way of reaching potential customers. Also, I enjoy ‘giving back’ to the community so this would be an added bonus. The hurdle for me has always been:

    1. Coming up with original content
    2. Making the time to write on a consistant basis
    3. Having the ability to write well

    I guess this is why I still have my Google Adwords account :)

  • Great post. I am writing articles for our local chamber newsletter. A few readers have suggested I send some to our local paper & others in the area. I’ve been given cudos from other members who have read my articles. It’s helping to position me as the expert.

    I’ve started blogging in April ’04, mainly to educate my current customers (and anyone else who finds it worthy) about the importance of good web design, marketing tips, web news, etc. I promote each post as a mini article, sometimes associating a personal experience with web design.

    I am getting a newsletter started so I can elaborate on my blogs and provide more in depth articles for my audience.

    And…I just purchased Guerrilla Publicity.

  • Ravedesigns

    Good advice Andrew, and something I need to start doing myself.

    For those anxious to write their own articles, here are some tips from Dr. Kevin Nunley about how to write a good one http://www.drnunley.com/ARTCL53.htm



  • I would imagine that (consistent) informed advice in a comment/forum post would also generate a substantial amount of traffic flow.

    It’s not only the professional aspect of one’s life that’s on the net, it’s the personal side too.

    If you know your business and present it well, but casually your an [explicitive], you’re still an [explicitive].

  • english-test.net

    Writing articles and other materials has many benefits and is certainly one of the most powerful marketing and promotion techniques. When you put something in writing you have the ability to arrange your thoughts more clearly and seeing your ideas printed or posted online will give you additional impulses. Also, when you write something down other people can refer to it and this will have positive effects as well.

  • Hmm. I actually have a lot to share and can come up with excellent articles. But i am afraid of small gramatical mistakes and readability (composition) of my articles.

    Any suggestions?

  • Hi Talash, no worries about ‘grammar mistakes’ – just write down what you think, the content is more important than the form. There are tools you can use to amend/edit your text.

  • Jake

    My biggest thing is: “How do you come up with something nrw!!!” I mean, it seems like everything already has 2,000 articals about it. What can I say that someone else hasn’t already?

  • Afro Boy

    Do you have to come up with something new? If you focus on a niche targetted market, then most of them may not have heard (or done the research themselves) on your chosen topic.

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