Do websites really help sell products? (Feature)

May 22, 2009 9:44 pm 

By Aurelio A. Pena

DAVAO CITY, May 22 -– Most of us perhaps still have very high expectations of what WEBSITES can do. Of course, there are so many successful samples out there.

My friend, German editor Ulli Kronberg has just opened a new website about Samal Island hoping to attract more foreign visitors and investors to this neighboring island, but it’s not the only website of the same island — there are many similar websites out there.

I have my own free website at for my Philpress News & Features hoping, like my German friend, to attract cyber visitors and readers from all over the world. The difference between his website and my own website is: he paid someone to design and produce his website, while mine is FREE, courtesy of

While others treated websites like WordPress as "blogs" where you simply log on and write some stupid comments and outrageous opinions and attacks against anything under the sun, I treated mine like a legitimate online news publication that’s regularly updated with news and features from all over Asia — without spending a single centavo

If you happened to log on to our city’s two successful online news outlets and Davao Today with its, you’ll probably wonder how they put out a lot of capital to open these online news publications that earn revenues from local subscribers and, possibly, Google Ads that use these news websites as medium for advertising. You also wonder how many people actually open these websites and read their news stories when they're online.

That’s one of the things I really hope for when I opened my own free news website because WordPress gave us bloggers some expectations that if the website can attract a lot of readers, Google Ads will start coming in and pay for ad space inside that news blog.

That hasn’t happened yet but some of the stories we used from Asia are showing high numbers for "Most Viewed" and "Hot Posts" ranging from 100 to almost 400 hits for each news story — but I’m not happy yet because I wanted to see around 1000 to 5000 hits for each story.

Once we hit these numbers, that will attract Google Ad to start mounting their ads on our WordPress website and sending us US dollar checks for using the cyber space to promote US products. This is what we’re hoping for.

Quite honestly, I’m still not so impressed by the marketing potential of websites in selling products and generating regular business from all over the world. I tested one free ad website some months ago to sell a booklet titled "How to win the lotto" which I assumed to have a hot title that can attract lots of lotto players globally.

It’s a longtime established website at that attracts mostly Pinoy buyers and sellers in many countries who opened their internets almost daily to read their emails.

Well, since we put out that ad on this website for almost a year now, NOT A SINGLE SALE was made. Compare that to a free small ad on a bond paper taped on the glass door of two Davao bookshops, our sales for that how-to lotto booklet hit nearly P9,000 in 3 months.

We also tested a small ad costing us P500 in a Davao newspaper for the same booklet and the response was very good — it drew more buyers into the bookshops looking for that booklet.

Our conclusion: print advertising in local papers is more effectively in ACTUAL SALES of products and services than advertising in websites or even in national papers. Don’t get me wrong, though, I haven’t given up yet on using the web in doing business and earning real money.

There are some instances in the past years that signing up as a trader in a global trading website got me into contact with a US-based Russian fruit trader who wanted to buy fresh bananas, fresh mangoes and papayas from Davao — with me brokering the export deal with a big multinational fruit export firm here. So the tremendous opportunity for doing business on the web is still there — it just gets elusive sometimes when you’re not on your toes. (PNA)



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