When it comes to advertising, one of the hardest things to figure out is where your advertising dollars will bring the best return.

Over the last 10 years or so, choices have become much more complicated. Where advertising used to be limited to print, radio, and TV, now there are many different sources competing for your dollars.

1. Google AdWords - I have covered this before. Adwords are the paid 'Ad' results at the top of search results. Because AdWords is bid-based, large companies with larger budgets can dictate the cost, often pushing smaller companies into spending thousands of dollars a month in order to be seen.

A caution with AdWords is that it sends visitors to your website, which can help or hurt you. It is all fine being seen at number one in search results, but  your website better reflect the professionalism of that ranking. If the visitor doesn't like what they see when they get to your site (the site is old, or has errors on their device) you have just paid for something that will not create a customer.

2. Social Media - With the popularity of Facebook and Instagram, many people jumped on the bandwagon, thinking that by paying for ads, viewers will see them and clients will come rolling in.

The worst thing is that social media ads are so in your face that many people, myself included, find them just plain annoying. This is further amplified because the sites rely on advertising which is getting more frequent now with every fourth or fifth post being an ad. You can see the same ad over and over across your devices. Even hiding an ad does not mean that it won't show up on another device later. Competition is also annoying if many similar businesses have ads. Over the last week, my timeline has been swamped by get-rich-quick guru ads.

3. TV Advertising - This is more traditional advertising, where people know they will see ads at regular breaks, not ads being pushed onto them every few seconds like online. However, if you have a DVR as many cable providers sell, you can easily zip right past ads. If you watch on a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, you can do away with them entirely.

4. Print Advertising - This is probably the least invasive, and in my opinion, one of the best advertising mediums. Printed material is seen as concrete and reliable. When people pick up a print magazine or paper, like The Shopper, they know there will be ads in it. There are no surprises, no pop-ups or other intrusive advertising. This leads to a much more relaxed and receptive reader experience. I have been writing this column for over 20 years, and over that time, along with my website, The Shopper has been my largest client source.

If you have concerns with your website, now is the time to look into our WebUpdate system sites. Not open-source, they take advantage of advanced security, SEO, social, and responsive features to give your business the best competitive edge online.   

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