Stop Wasting Money! 10 Ways Not to be a Dumbass

I read an interesting article the other day which discussed the importance of targeting and bounce rates and it got me to thinking about the clients that I have had, past and present and the buckets of money I have seen thrown away. So, I decided to put a list together of 10 ways you or your client may be wasting money they could be paying you:

  1. Stop sending paid traffic to your home!
    1. Your homepage is rarely the page your potential customers are looking for. If I am searching for “buy sony flatscreen 1080p” PLEASE send me to a page with sony flat screen tv’s on it!
    2. Check your homepage’s bounce rate. It is 60% than you should only be sending people searching for “” to that page otherwise, you are throwing at least 60% of your money away. Why do I say at least? Because if you are sending all your paid traffic to your homepage than you probably haven’t optimized your paid search ads and are just looking for a high click through rate.
  2. Stop duplicating terms in your paid search accounts
    1. It never ceases to amaze me when clients are using the same keyword in multiple ad groups with the same geo-targeting and timing. Don’t do this
  3. Have goals for your website
    1. Set goals for your website. “I want to make money.” Isn’t a sufficient goal. Come up with trackable metrics to get you there so you can optimize your website to eventually make you some more money.
    2. Publishing sites – # of page views, repeat visitors, high CPM.
    3. Ecommerce – lifetime value
    4. Lead-gen sites are a monster in and of themselves. If you generate leads so that they become sales then focusing on the lead only is going to inhibit you from making money. Remember, unless you are selling leads, they don’ t make you any money until they become a sale.
  4. Don’t cut the long-tail
    1. If you aren’t tracking performance over-time, you are probably missing all of your long-tail terms. Don’t cut terms that are attracting people in the educational phase of the sales-cycle. If you market to them differently you can increase your conversion rate over time. Don’t cut them just because these phrases take a little longer to convert - MARKET TO THEM DIFFERENTLY. These are long sales cycle leads
  5. Use negative keywords in your paid search campaignsWhy you should use negative keywords
    1. This may sound basic, but if you aren’t using negative keywords than you are paying for traffic that will NEVER make you a dollar, pound or euro. If you have paid-search clients or use paid search and using mostly broad match than you really need to spend some time investigating exactly what terms are being clicked on.
  6. Learn what terms lead to conversion and optimize your site accordingly
    1. Welcome to the beauty of the internet and web analytics. You can actually tell how people get to your site, what they do there and if they are making you money. It’s brilliant. So why are you optimizing your site based on what you think will work well?
  7. Stop making creative decisions based on what your boss thinks is a good idea.
    1. See point 6. We have the ability to test and optimize, which means we can run multiple ad creatives (banner and search) and see what drives the greatest revenue rather than based on the CxO’s affinity to the color blue. Back your decisions with data
  8. Test, test, test and SPLIT TEST!
    1. See point 7. Products like Google website optimizer and Omniture’s Test and Target (formerly Offermatica) can optimize your landing pages based on conversions. There is no excuse for not testing your landing pages and assuming that your designers first try is always correct. In all likelihood it is not optimal and assuming it is will make an ass out you but not me because I’m split testing
  9. Track how changes to your website affect your bottom line
    1. If designers, programmers, your kids or whomever are making website changes that affect your business– especially your homepage – you should be recording that this is being done and how this is affecting organic placement and conversions. If there is no tracking there is no accountability.
  10. Know what your users are clicking on
    1. Heatmaps and click analysis tools, like Crazy Egg are great at letting you know what your users are clicking on and responding to. Using this information to optimize page layout should help you to make the most of the traffic that you have.

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9 Responses to “Stop Wasting Money! 10 Ways Not to be a Dumbass”

  1. Mr Happy says:

    Great ideas. I spend most of my time in my new ‘insight manager’ role trying to convince people of the improtance of much of what you said. Have found that stuff like crazy egg is great way to get designers and clients to start understanding how visitors are using websites. Much better than a spreadsheet. I do prefer click density to crazy egg! But if you want you can get your own for free ( – you just need to build on some code snippets to increase the application to do more cool stuff).

  2. pratt says:

    Awesome list, Lauren. My favorite one is number 8. I was actually in a meeting today advocating the use of A/B and MVT testing and the client said, “Our conversion rate is very high, already.”


    Your conversion rate can always be 100% and there is always room for improvement. I think it is one of the most overlooked aspects of Internet marketing.

  3. Lauren says:

    I can’t agree with you more Pratt. Sometimes you feel like you are slamming your head into a wall when trying to explain why testing is so important. A high conversion rate can often be improved greatly but making a few small changes, but that would mean that designers and marketers are not always right which can be a hard pill for people to swallow

  4. ShaneeK says:

    Yes! A key point that I’ve noticed in corporate clients is “housing” PPC in regional or product group Silos. This is probably what the business in your example in the screenshot above is doing. You have the US folks and the Canada folks running campaigns that are “competing” for clicks. All of the PPC should be supported and running on a “global” level so that the same strategies can apply throughout the company.

    The regions or product groups need to work as a collective whole instead of vying against each other for the biggest piece of the pie (and, to your point — wasting money)!

  5. Jane Copland says:

    Fantastic list, Lauren. I know so little about PPC and I know I really need to brush up on it. I think that people get both intimidated by and lazy about PPC, throwing keywords at a campaign and not really checking what ends up happening. Paid search is a different beast to organic and organic-based SEOs like me would be wise to learn the difference!

  6. Alex says:

    well,i know

  7. Chuckypita says:

    Whew! Strong words! Make sure you’re not a “dumb ass”.

    I loved that and had quite the chuckle. The only problem is, well, I’m a dumb ass.

    SEO is unbelievable. So much frickin’ work over a couple silly words?

    There’s gotta be a better way.

    What would you do to to make it better?

  8. Point 10 really addresses what you need to do in terms of analysis. Knowing what your customer responds to is extremely important and will give you insight as to what works well on your website. Checking your homepage’s bounce rate will also give you an idea of how the initial design is being received and whether or not the user stays on the site for a long duration of time. Applications such as Google Analytics are great to check this.

  9. Whoops…I guess I am guilty of number 2. I’ll make that my new years resolution to clean up my act. Thanks.

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