Creating a website is extremely easy nowadays. There are dozens of companies that offer users the possibility to create websites by experimenting with modular systems. In other words, pretty much anyone can create a website.
However, these platforms do not take care of the monetization aspect of things in the user’s stead. This is due to the fact that there are too many ways to make money from a website, and most of them are much too dependent on the type of content that is being posted.
One of the most basic ways to monetize a website is by using Google Adsense. The platform has helped bloggers, businesses, brands, and marketers earn money, quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to monetize a website.
This is also the strategy that we will be looking at in this guide. Using the tips and lessons below, you will be able to take your website and monetize it using Google Adsense.
Now, before starting to discuss what you should do in order to start making money from your site, let’s clarify a few things.
What is Google Adsense and how it works
Google Adsense is an advertising network created by Google. It works on any website and in every region of the globe.
In order to use it, the user basically has to embed a script generated by Adsense onto his website. The function of the script is to display contextual ads that are relevant to the website’s content. For every time when someone clicks on an ad, the owner will receive money.
This brings us to the reason why this platform is so popular: People don’t have to actually buy anything for the website owner to get paid; they just have to click on the ad.
Measuring ad performance
There are 3 major factors that determine how much money you can make using Google Adsense:
- CPC – The cost per click refers to the amount of money that you receive for every click. As a website owner, you have no way of modifying this price. The only way it can shift is if the competition in your chosen niche changes, and this usually takes a long time;
- CTR – Click-through rate signifies the percentage of visitors that actually click on the ads. This indicator is vital to earning a decent amount of money. Unlike the CPC which is determined by various algorithms contained in Adsense, you can control the CTR through the tactics and strategies;
- RPM – Both of the factors above work together in order to help you understand the RPM, or “revenue per 1,000 impressions”. To clarify, impression refers to the activity that takes place on your website, as well as on the server, every time an ad is fetched to be displayed You can calculate the RPM by dividing your estimated earnings by the number of times an ad was displayed on your website, and multiplying the result by 1,000;
Of all these 3 factors, RPM is the most important, as it essentially shows you how much money you are making per visitor.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t really matter if you’re stuck showing only low-paying ads. If you optimize your ads for increased performance, and a large part of your visitors click on them, then you will make quite a bit of money.
The various ad options that you can choose from
Being built around the idea that people must click on your ads in order to make money, Google Adsense offers a large number of ways in which you can display them. This is great because one of the most important parts of a click=based ad campaign is seducing the viewer into clicking on an ad, without him feeling like he’s forced into taking this action.
Here are the options that the platform puts at your disposal:
- Text – These are sometimes called “Sponsored links”, and take the form of a couple of lines of text which can include the title of the ad, as well as the physical address of the business it is for if it is in the same region;
- Display ads – These are the iconic ads that have made Google Adsense popular. They appear in graphic format, and give you the option of selecting from different sizes so that you can place them wherever you want, on your page;
- Rich media – Rich media ads can either appear in HTML, Flash, or video format;
- Animated images – As their name suggests, these ads appear as dynamic images. Remember that if you want these to properly show on your pages, you will need to enable image ads;
- Link Units – The final type of ad, these present the visitor with a list of topics that are related to your content. As soon as an individual clicks on them, he will be taken to a page of ads related to a particular topic. This one is a bit more sensitive to work with due to the fact that just clicking on the link is not enough; visitors will also have to click on one of the ads after they click on the list of topics;
When it comes to ad sizes, Google offers a large number of options, however, according to statistics, the ones that perform the best are:
- 336×280 (large rectangle);
- 300×250 (medium rectangle);
- 728×90 (leaderboard);
- 300×600 (half page);
- 320×100 (large banner for mobile devices);
Ways to increase the performance of your ads
There is much more to making money from using Google Adsense than simply displaying ads on your website. You will have to do a bit of research and experiment in order to find the best places for your banners and ads. Do this properly and more people will click on the banners, which will bring you more money.
This kind of optimization is vital if you want to earn more than a couple of dollars. So here are some of the options that you have, when it comes to optimizing the placement of your ads:
- Use a tool to maximize earnings – You can find several tools that will help you find the best place four ads. For example, Ezoic will help you test different ad placements. It’s free and it is extremely useful if you’re just starting out with Google Adsense;
- Place the ads “above the fold” – This means that you will have to place your ads in the section of the page that is visible without having to scroll down. Basically, you have to place them at the very top of the page, so that visitors won’t be able to ignore them. This having been said, keep in mind that you shouldn’t fill the top of the page with ads and push your content down. Doing so will certainly get your website penalized. Find a balance between ads and content that your audience may find valuable so that their attention will be drawn to that particular section of the page;
- Experiment with different color strategies and test them – Color is a big part of an ad unit, and you will have to find a look that works great for your visitors. It has been determined that your choice of colors when it comes to ad units will play a big part in how efficient they are over time;
Depending on how you want the ads to show up, color-wise, there are several strategies that you can use:
- You can blend them into your page – Some people like to set things up so that the ads blend into their content. If you intend to do this, please keep in mind that you will still need to differentiate them from your content, even if it is in a discreet manner, as blending them completely with your content is considered a policy violation;
- Make them stand out – Alternatively, you can make the ads stand out from your content so that visitors will notice them more easily;
- Find a balance and make them complement your content – This is where choosing the right color is extremely important. You will have to find a color balance between the ads, and the rest of your website. If you intend to use this strategy, make sure that the result will be chromatically appealing.
Overall, there is no research regarding which of these color-related strategies works better, and it is up to you to experiment and determine which one fits better into your website. Go through all three and look at what revenue they yield over a set period of time. Also, remember that you can always change them if you decide to change the overall design of the website.
- Put your ads near your CTAs – Placing ads near your calls to action is a great way to determine visitors to click on them.
There are several types of calls to action that you can use:
- Buttons – You can set up a button call to action so that when a visitor clicks on it, he will be taken to a different page. In other words, if you put an ad next to it, there is a big chance that he will click on it;
- Forms – This one does exactly what its name says; visitors will be asked to fill out a form;
- Social sharing buttons – You can even place ads next to buttons that allow visitors to share your content across social media networks, such as Facebook or Twitter;
As a rule of thumb, if you intend to place ads near calls to action, try to not overdo it. While having a banner near a form or a button is great, visitors may end up ignoring both the ads, as well as the calls to action if they feel that they are forced to click on either of them. Be discreet and make sure that there is a balance between the CTAs and ads so that you will have people clicking on both.
- Ask your visitors to disable AdBlock when on your website – The fact that pretty much everyone with a computer uses AdBlock is undeniable. People will do anything in their power to avoid ads due to the fact that these usually disrupt the flow of content (which should be the main attraction of your website). However, many forget the fact that content creators need the revenue from those ads in order to continue their work. Seeing this growing trend, a lot of website owners and other creators have started asking their audience to disable AdBlock while on their websites. If you ask nicely, they won’t have any objection. Furthermore, you can also remind them that your content is free and that you need the money from AdSense in order to keep the website up. If you use WordPress, you will also be able to find a few great plug-ins that have been designed to convince users to add your website to their AdBlock whitelist.
- Paginate the content on your website – The number of mobile users online is constantly growing, which means that you will have to adapt the way you deliver your content. While it is extremely important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, the ad strategy that you use will also require modifications so that everything will be displayed properly on smaller screens. A current trend of website owners and administrators is to paginate their content. You basically have to divide your content and show it on multiple pages. Doing this primarily means that you will be able to increase ad impressions, but it will also give you more room for ads. If you paginate your content correctly, and the users go to the second or third page to read the entire article, you will be able to double or triple your impressions.
** Keep in mind **
As great a strategy as pagination is, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. First of all, not everyone likes to have content split up. Users may dislike having to load another page so that they can read the rest of the text. Secondly, this strategy will change the way analytics tools collect data from your website, due to the fact that they can’t understand that one piece of content is divided across several pages.
This having been said, if you manage to paginate your content properly (you will find dozens of WordPress plugins that will help you do this), you will see a sizeable increase in your impressions count, and also in the number of people accessing your website using mobile devices. When using plugins, always remember to test at least a couple of options before determining which one works best for you.
- Learn a bit of search engine optimization (SEO) – Search engine optimization is a vital part of a successful website. Its primary function is to boost traffic to your website, however, this will also increase the number of people who click on the ads displayed on your pages. Most people consider SEO to be difficult, but this isn’t the case. There are a few things that you have to keep in mind when optimizing your website:
- Always target low competition keywords – Targeting these specific words is extremely important due to the fact that it will be easier for you to rank for them. Do some serious keyword research and find the words that you can rank for. Using these will make your life a lot easier, and the search engine optimization will seem less of a chore;
- Always keep an eye on Google’s search algorithms – Google’s search engine is built on algorithms that are constantly being updated and changed. This means that it is vital to stay up to date with how these algorithms change and understand how these modifications can affect your website and the traffic that you are getting. Generally, Google’s search algorithms favor the websites with content that is relevant to the keywords that they rank for. This works in your favor because it forces everyone to play by the same rules, giving all websites a fair chance;
- Focus on creating quality content – The single most important part of proper search engine optimization is the creation of great content. Google’s algorithms look at your content and react according to the quality of what they find. If you follow a few simple rules, Google will reward you. You basically have to focus on long-form content that offers a lot of value to your audience. Do this, and Google will place you in a high position in search results pages (SERPs).
- Make extensive use of link building – Backlinks are important to off-page optimization, and if you do this right, it will work in your favor. A large number of websites often try to use less orthodox link building strategies, in order to fool search engines and users alike and are penalized (sometimes they are even banned from Google, making it impossible for them to be indexed). Try to be creative and spend time creating links that point back to your content and the traffic that your website is getting will increase. Look around and you will find dozens of white-hat ways to create backlinks.
Important ways to ensure that your Google Adsense account will not get banned
Googe Adsense is a great program that will help you earn a lot of money from your website, however, there are also a lot of ways in which your account could be banned.
There are Adsense practices that try to cheat the algorithms or to force users to click on ads, and Google has developed a great system that can easily identify website using these tactics. While some of these are common sense, like not clicking on your own ads, others require a more in-depth explanation. The following list will take you through the main things that will get your account banned:
- Clicking on your own ads – The ads are there for your audience to click on, and if you make a habit out of doing this yourself, you will be penalized, and this may even lead to your account getting banned. It is also important to remember that the service reads the IP of those who click on the ads, so nobody in your home should do it either. Google is so good at tracking who uses the ads that it can detect you even if you try to use a proxy service to hide your IP address. Just place the ads on your page and then leave them alone, and you should be fine;
- Using Ad-click content – This basically refers to creating content in which you beg your audience to click on the ads that are displayed on your website. This is a serious violation of Google’s policy due to the fact that not only is the creator’s image compromised, but this also damages the image of the advertisers. Do not do this under any circumstance, as it will lead to your account being banned;
- Tampering with the code of the ads – If you ever need to make any changes to your Google Adsense code, then do it from the platform. Never modify the code for the ads by editing it yourself, as this will prevent Google from observing ad performance. Any and all modifications to the code of the ads, made from outside the Adsense platform, will lead to your account getting banned;
- Using bots to click on the ads on your website – Again, the ads are there for members of your audience to click on. This is how marketing works, and if you try to cheat the system by using bots designed to click on ads, you will be severely penalized. Another practice that falls into this category is trading clicks with other creators or website owners. Every click should come from an audience member that is genuinely interested in the ad;
- Creating a website just for the purpose of filling it with ads – Google’s philosophy (as it can be seen from the way its algorithms are designed) is to promote websites that contain valuable content. If you create a website with only one or two pages of content and use it to basically showcase ads, then there is a big chance that your Adsense account will be banned;
Please do not think that there is anything that can guarantee your safety, as long as you use any of these strategies. The best thing that you can do is to follow the rules stated in the Google Adsense policy that you have agreed to and to be honest about how you use ads to make money.
Keep in mind: There are also a few WordPress themes that are very aggressive when it comes to ad placement, and these too can get your account banned. Pay attention to how your website behaves, and you should be ok.
That’s about all that you need to know in order to make money using Google Adsense. Now that that’s done, let’s look at a few case studies of people who have been extremely successful using this platform so that you can get a sense of what you can achieve if you play by the rules.
As a disclaimer, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get exactly the same results as the ones below if you choose to treat these case studies as a recipe for success. These stories are meant to show you what some have done in order to be successful, and what mistakes you should avoid, so take everything with a grain of salt.
- Matthew Paulson
Matthew Paulson built a highly profitable network comprised of financial websites and used Google Adsense in order to make well above $100,000 per year. His success is due to the fact that he manages to drive somewhere around two and a half million unique visitors to his websites, on a monthly basis. His story is clear proof of how proper SEO that drives a lot of traffic can help you make a lot of money using Google Adsense.
While there are quite a few resources online that you can use in order to learn more about his success story, here are the most important practices that he used in order to achieve success:
- Never rely on Google to drive traffic to your website – The fact that ranking for certain keywords is extremely important at driving traffic to your website, you should also look at other ways to get people to visit your pages. Make use of social media networks and let others know of what kind of content they can find on your website, and also post calls to action, asking them to take a look when they have time. Proper use of social media networks is a big part of internet marketing;
- Look for other ways to earn money – Google Adsense is great due to the fact that it has a low barrier to entry, however, there are other ways to monetize your website, that will make you a lot more money than a few ads and banners. Consider creating and selling your own products, or joining an affiliate marketing program. This doesn’t mean that you should stop using Adsense, but having multiple sources of income is always useful, and selling your own products can also help you develop your brand;
- Build an email list – As your audience grows, you will be able to focus on what they want and offer it to them, for a price. In the case of Matt, his visitors were interested in a detailed stock market analysis. When he saw this, he decided to offer it only to his subscribers, thus monetizing it. You can do this just as easily. Simply find something that your audience wants, and provide it like you would a service. In time, you will be able to use the email addresses that you gather in your list for other things, such as advertising your own products;
- Harsh Agrawal
For those who are not aware of this fact, Harsh Agrawal is the owner of ShoutMeLoud. Harsh presented the way he managed to make a little over $174 per month, by using Google Adsense on a micro-niche website. Here are some of the important lessons that he learned from his experience:
- Identify a niche that you are comfortable with creating content for – The fact that you cannot choose the CPC that you get on ads that will be displayed on your website, does not mean that you do not have any control over them. You can always choose a niche that has a high cost per click. However, you should also make sure that you choose a niche that you can easily create content for. While earning money from high-paying ads will keep you somewhat motivated, creating content for the website may become a chore if you have no interest in your chosen niche;
- Do proper keyword research – Organic traffic is extremely important when it comes to making money from ads, and this means that you will have to find great keywords to rank for. Choose the words that are related to your niche, and that have the highest search volume, with the least competition. You can use a tool like LongTail to find the best keywords for your website.
- Constantly build links to your content – Creating backlinks is an important SEO practice that can help you increase the traffic that your website is getting. Also, always try to earn links from high-quality, high-authority websites, so that you can rank higher for your chosen keywords;
The fact that there are better ways to monetize a website is undeniable, however, Adsense remains one of the most popular ways to make money online. This is partially due to the fact that Google constantly strives to make everyone play fair, which in turn, makes the ad network extremely stable.
If you want to give Google Adsense a try, then use these lessons and tips. Always earn the money in a fair way, and don’t try to trick Google, or your account will get banned.