Since we’re only a couple days away from the end of 2009 and many of us are working a short week this week, it seems like a good time to pull out a classic end of year cliche: the Resolution List!  Like many people, I don’t like New Year’s resolutions.  I usually don’t make them, partly because choosing an arbitrary date – January 1st, for example – to begin making life changes always seemed a bit disingenuous, and partly because, like most people, I rarely keep them anyway.  However, this year, instead of making promises about my personal life – start working out again, finally organize my office, teach the cats to make me coffee, etc. – I’m going to offer five simple resolutions for PPC professionals in the New Year.

1.  Make Sure Keyword Research is Always the First Step
Whenever beginning a PPC campaign for a new product or site, explore as many keywords and themes as possible.  Do extensive research on the product, the industry or market in which it competes and the products it competes with.  When in doubt, ask for help.

2.  Always Test More than One Ad
Never run a campaign with only one ad.  Why?  Because it leads to missed opportunities for improvement.  Just changing a couple words in the ad text or title line can sometimes result in significant differences in click-through or conversion rates.

3.  Focus on Specific Goals/Metrics
The broad goal is always “As much as possible,” but it’s always easier to optimize for specific goals.  It’s most effective to pick a couple particular goals – i.e., increase CTR by 3% & reduce cost per order by 5% – and focus on optimizing for them.

4.  Analyze, Optimize, Repeat
Optimization is a constant process.  Don’t get complacent, don’t assume past success will lead to future success without adjustments, and don’t ever stop analyzing keyword and ad copy performance.

5.  Read Everything
The optimization tips from your Google or Bing rep, PPC tips from PPC Hero, SEO ideas from SEO Boy, industry news from Search Engine Watch… Never miss an opportunity to learn something new.

That’s all I’ve got today.  I hope I was at least a little helpful for some of you in the PPC world in 2009, and I look forward to being just a little helpful again in 2010.
Happy New Year!