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Smart Webmasters are Wasting Online Real Estate

By Kim Roach (c) 2006

Many webmasters are not using their websites’ traffíc to full potential. The Web is full of wasted advertising space. Chances are that even your website has some virtual wasteland. These are areas that often go unnoticed by even the most experienced marketers, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars of potential revenue.
Below, four of the most underused online real estate spots are discussed as well as how you can reclaim these areas while maximizing your profíts.

1. 404 Error Pages

The dreaded 404 page is something that almost everyone has encountered in their online journeys. The most common reasons for landing on a 404 page include:

– a mis-typed URL
– an out-of-date bookmark
– a search engine link that is out-of-date
– an internal broken link that the webmaster hasn’t noticed

Surveys suggest that approximately 40% of users who run into a 404 Page Not Found error will leave your site, nevër to return.

However, as a webmaster, these pages should be customized in order to help the user find their way back to your website. To create your own customized 404 page, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Provide an explanation of what went wrong. A nice way to apologize would be to offer them a frëe report. By using this technique, your visitors will not only be impressed by your creativity, but you can also collect their name and email adress at the same time.

Provide a link to the site map. By redirecting them to your sitemap, they should be able to quickly and easily find what they are looking for.

Provide a search box for users to target in on exactly what they originally came for.

Use minimal navigation. This is not the place to put your entire site navigation. You simply want to pull them back into your website so that you are not losing any of your potential customers.

Some Good Examples of 404 error pages can be found at:

2. Exit Strategies

Did you know that on average only 1 – 2% of your visitors will actually buy your product. This means that approximately 98% of your visitors are leaving your website without buying. Most of them will nevër return.

Fortunately, there is a way to tweak your website in order to take advantage of this lost traffíc.

You can salvage much of this traffíc through the use of exit pop-ups. Now, you may feel that these are outdated and annoying, but testing has shown that they work.

So, the next time that your visitor clicks on the back button, present them with a pop-up that will offer them a frëe report. By implementing this technique, you will be able to capture the name and email of many of your website visitors, allowing you to contact them in the future with additional information and product offers.

You can also use an exit pop-up to survey your visitors. Find out exactly why they didn’t buy or what type of information would have made them more interested. This priceless information can help you to improve your marketing techniques and increase your conversion rate.

3. Thank You Pages

Did you know that the “Thank You” page (the page you display after someone subscribes to your newsletter or buys your product) is one of the most responsive pages on your website?

The Thank You page provides a prime opportuníty for promoting some of your other products and/or services.

You can use this space to easily increase your online profíts. For example, why not use the following message on your thank you page after someone has subscribed to your newsletter.

“Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. Remember to chëck your inbox for your first issue.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce you to a product that I highly recommend for increasing your website traffíc at ….”

This is an easy way to send traffíc to an affilíate link so you can earn some additional revenue from what is often unused advertising space.

You can use this same technique for your order form confirmation pages. Thank the customer for their order and recommend they chëck out a related product. You could also offer an upsell to a higher-end version of the same product. Don’t take this space for granted. Order confirmation pages are some of the most highly responsive real estate on your site because the customer already has their credít card in hand.

Another great technique is exchanging thank-you pages with other web sites.

For example, if you have a website about fitness and you know of another website that caters to a similar audience, you can partner up and exchange advertising. To do this, you would promote the other person’s service or product on your own thank you page. By partnering together, you can both attract many more clients and/or additional salës.

4. Email Messages

If you are not regularly sending out an email newsletter, then you are failing to capitalize on existing traffíc. Delivering your own ezine allows you to make additional profít from the traffíc you are already receiving. Simply place an opt-ín box on your website and start collecting the names and addresses of your website visitors.

Of course, you will also need to offer them some valuable info in exchange for their name and email. A frëe report often works extremely well for this.

However, starting your own newsletter is just the beginning. You must also use this priceless space to optimize your revenue streams.

To produce additional profít from your email campaigns, simply place a small text box in each of your outgoing emails promoting one of your products or an affilíate product.

This is very similar to advertising, except you are placing your own internal ads instead of advertising for others. This is an extremely simple technique that many people miss out on. This one change can instantly produce additional salës, increased affilíate commissions, and more opt-ins for other lists you want to promote.

A small ad can be placed in a number of spots, including:

Order Confirmation Emails: Anytime someone orders from you, they should be receiving an email receipt to confirm their purchase. This is also the perfect time to promote a related product or service. People are much more likely to order when they are in the buying mood and already have their credít card out. This is why upsells and thank you page offers are so powerful.

“Thank you” emails: Whenever you send out a confirmation email to people who subscribe to your ezine, you should also be including some sort of promotion or ad within the email.

This is also the perfect time to offer them some “recommended reading” (i.e. affilíate links) If they have subscribed to your ezine, then they are obviously looking for additional information about a particular topic, so why not offer them some additional resources to help them in their quest for knowledge. These recommendations can be ebooks, membership sites, or even another newsletter that you operate.

Remember, your prospects are looking for products to fill their needs. If they don’t buy from you they will simply buy from someone else.

Unsubscribe emails: Do you send an email to confirm that someone has been unsubscribed after their request? If not, you should. This is a great opportuníty to make one last offer. Or, if you simply want to find out more about your departing subscribers, you could set up a survey to find out why they unsubscribed and how you can make the newsletter better.

Take a close look at your own web site and marketing process and start finding places that are not optimized to their fullest potential. Almost every website online has wasted space that could be optimized for promoting additional products.

Take action now so that your space no longer goes to waste.

About The Author
Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews and SEO-News newsletters. You can also find additional tips and news on webmaster and SEO topics by Kim at the SiteProNews blog. Kim’s email is: kim @


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580