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Making the Most of Pay-per-Click Programs

Previously, most of the articles written for the ClickQuick Help Desk have focused on affiliate programs (i.e. pay-per-sale or pay-per-lead). With this article, we begin a two-part series taking a more detailed look at pay-per-click programs, and how you can use them effectively to boost your web site's income.

This first article focuses on helping you decide which pay-per-click programs to join. Just like affiliate programs, there are a variety of factors to look at when evaluating pay-per-click programs to determine which are best for your site, and which are going to have the best impact on your pocketbook (and your ability to fill it!). But, first let's take a quick look at why you might want to consider pay-per-click programs for your site.

Pay-per-Click programs offer a variety of advantages and disadvantages compared to affiliate programs. The advantage pay-per-click programs have are that they are generally easier to set up and maintain, and that they pay commissions even if your visitors never make any purchases.

Another key advantage of pay-per-click programs are that they are generally targeted towards a very general audience. Affiliate programs are best promoted by specifically targeting what is sold to your visitor's interests. This may make pay-per-click programs a better choice if it is difficult to determine what products or services your visitors might be interested in.

Pay-per-click programs also have disadvantages. Because of their general nature, they might not be the best choice if your site has a narrow focus and a targeted audience. Pay-per-click programs also generally pay less than affiliate programs since you are trading higher commission rates for a higher probability of earning income (since your visitors need only click, rather than purchase).

Additionally, pay-per-click programs also have the tendency to be more likely to balk on paying their affiliates or to cancel an affiliate site's membership just as payment is due (sometimes justly, sometimes not). A final disadvantage is that pay-per-click programs can't generally be promoted in email newsletters, making them unsuitable if you have developed a mailing list which relies on affiliate program income.

However, for many sites, being paid for every click, rather than waiting for a sale or two to trickle in, is an appealing advantage. If you do decide to add pay-per-click programs on your web site, there are several main factors to evaluate before signing up and adding banners to your site:

1) How do they count click-throughs?
2) What do they pay and what is their payment history?
3) What are their payment terms?
4) What are their terms and conditions of staying a member in good standing?
5) What other tools or features do they give you?
6) What is the quality of their advertisers?

Let's take a look at each of these, following many of the criteria I use when rating programs on ClickQuick.

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