Monetize Your Site with Google AdSense
With the advent of blogs and other informational sites, the search engine market space has become increasingly competitive. Sometimes website owners begin to wonder if they will ever make money off their product or service. In this article I give you other ideas on how to make money with your website, even if you don’t sell products or services.
My experience with AdSense : As an owner or contributor to many sites, not just search engine related, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about monetizing a site.
The thing is, I don’t mind writing for these sites – it gives me an outlet because my mind is always racing with new article ideas.
On one of my sites is about console gaming: Xbox, Nintendo and so on. It’s not a huge site, but I get some decent visitors. I have a friend who writes for a similar site that deals with portable gaming units like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.
When we started writing it was for fun and to bring some news to the world. Kind of like a console gaming news aggregator.
So when Google came out with their AdSense product I applied for an account immediately. Since I work in the industry I knew about AdSense long before most people and got an AdSense account within 48 hours of applying for it.
The setup was quite easy. I logged into a web based console and the system helped me pick the types of ads I wanted to display and even helped generate the code to insert into my pages so the ads matched the same font and background color of the site.
All in all it took me about 15 minutes to sign in, generate the code and paste it onto my page template. Now, every page on this site has Google Ads displayed.
And the great part is the ads are related to the content of the pages. For my Nintendo pages, all the ads relate to Nintendo while for the Xbox pages all ads relate to Xbox.
And the best part of this is that for every click on an ad I make a few cents.
Now, I don’t make a lot of money on AdSense, but there are sites out there that do. Weblogs Inc. is a series of blogs all built around themes. A recent interview with the founder showed that the sites are on par to make over $1 million in AdSense revenue this year. That’s right $1 million from AdSense.
So you can see that AdSense could be a way to make money in addition to whatever else you do on your site.
How do you get an AdSense account?
Well the first thing you need to do is apply for an account.
It’s quite simple really, you give some basic information such as the URL of the site that will host the ads, your contact information and so on, and submit your application.
Google responds fairly quickly and generally your site will be accepted if it meets their guidelines and policies. You can find more information on these policies on the AdSense site.
Once you’ve been accepted it is a matter of creating your ad code, of which there are two basic types.
AdSense for Content
AdSense for Content is the most common type of ad displayed. These are the ads you see on sites that are marked with “Ads by Goooogle” either above or below the ads, much like the ads you see on Google’s site.
The display formats vary for these types of ads which you can see on the AdSense site here. As you will see, there are a variety of layouts available, from text ads to banners.
Once you’ve selected the type of ads you want to display on your site, you pick the number of ads, and apply a style.
Pick a style which matches your site. In other words, try and pick one that has the same color background and text as your site. This way they don’t stand out as much.
Finally, copy the code provided by Google (yup they even provide that for you – pretty simple hey?) and paste it on your page where you want it. Google even provides ideas on the best placement of your ads. Check this page out for more information on ad placement.
AdSense for Search
As the name implies, this is a Google search box which you’d place on your site that searches Google and returns Google results. For these searches you can earn money as well.
Google even allows you to customize the search box by changing the colors to match your site and even insert your own logo if you’d like.
Then, when you’ve added this feature to your site, your visitors will be able to search Google or search your site and, as I mentioned, if they select an ad you get a cut of that money. You can even find out what phrases people were searching for.
Tracking your Performance
Once you have the ad code(s) inserted into your site the first ads you will likely see are PSA (Public Service Announcements). This is because Google uses its advanced crawling technology to crawl the pages where the ad code are found and matches ads to the content.
Therefore if you check back in 15 or 20 minutes you should see ads that closely match the content of the page on which the ad code is found.
Google also offers you a way to monitor your AdSense account’s performance.
By logging into the AdSense console you can generate tons of different reports showing click through rates, impressions, average returns per click and more.
Further, you can get more advanced as time goes on, by setting up channels and tracking them separately. Google now allows for 200 channels. Which means you can have 200 different ad display types scattered throughout your site.
Lets say, for example, that you want a search box as well as ads, but you have different places you want to place ads on your home page as your internal pages.
By using channels, you can track the clicks separately to see which types of ad positions perform better. This allows you to find the best place on your pages to place ad code to make the most money.
Show me the money!
Payments for AdSense are pretty straight forward. Google will mail you a check or you can sign up for their beta direct deposit program.
If you click on the “My Account” tab you can edit your payment preferences.
Google only pays out monthly on $100 or more. So if you don’t have more than $100 by the end of the month, the total will roll over into the next month and continue to grow until you do have $100 or more by the end of the month.
I remember when I got my first check – I was so excited. I was expecting a check with the Google logo – you know like the logo they have on their home page. Turns out it was a very official looking corporate type check. Too bad – I was going to scan it and save a copy of my first Google check.
Some final thoughts
If you find that your site just doesn’t generate enough clicks in a month to generate at least the $100 minimum, you can use your ad code on other sites which do drive more traffic.
If you know someone who has a high traffic site but isn’t taking advantage of a program like AdSense, I’d recommend contacting them to see if they’d be willing to display ads on their site. Perhaps you can make a deal with him – splitting the ad revenue. Be careful not to distribute your code on too many sites, though, as you could set up flags because your clicks have gone up so quickly in a short time.
One thing some people have been known to do is create content specifically for high paying ads. I read a story once about a guy who built a blog around asbestos removal. He didn’t know anything
That way you can monetize your site (and others) using AdSense in addition to your existing products or services.
Rob Sullivan of Text Link Brokers is an SEO Specialist and Internet Marketing Consultant.