A short guide to Adsense

Today’s market, continuously developing segments, and the multitude of business opportunities on the Internet invite you to consider an alternative to traditional ways of earning income. Adsense is one of these opportunities or alternatives and its just another of the giant Google’s children. What Adsense basically does, is to allow Website owners to introduce ads on their sites with as little effort and time consumption with the purpose, of course, of making money. The service lets you place certain lines of code and then gain a certain percentage of revenue resulted.

But let’s zoom out a bit and first take a look at blogging as the two are closely connected. This preoccupation, if you allow me to call it that, bloomed rapidly in the 90’s, as regular users of the Internet met web-publishing tools that were user-friendly and required no technological skills whatsoever. In other words, people got pretty excited about creating any kind of content (while blogging initially started as an online diary hobby, things changed really fast and this online activity approached thousands of other niches, even the political ones) regardless of their reward, financial or otherwise. As things got serious, people started noticing that you can make a lot of money (through ads) by creating original content. We can go as far as to say that blogging is another form of social networking – you create content and receive feedback (in the form of comments or even messages) through different GUI widgets.

So, if you’ve already discovered blogging, then AdSense might not sound unfamiliar; each day new people embrace it as a program that aids both novices and experienced publishers to build audience and make money via ads. To have a better understanding of what AdSense does you first need to know that Google uses its search engine to deliver advertisements based on the website’s content (and this is really important for Google), geographical location, and other factors.

“Google AdSense is a flexible, hassle-free way to earn revenue by showing relevant and engaging ads alongside your online content,” reads the program’s official website.

Many publishers use Google AdWords (to find the right content – search phrases and keywords that people use on Google’s search engine – and get rewarded by Google), along with AdSense, so keep that in mind.  But we’re not here to talk about AdWords, so let’s get back to the point.

How does AdSense work? The idea behind the program is simple and effective – it creates and offers a banner (Google considers banners less aggressive and more relevant in comparison to other type of advertising on the internet) on your website, thus increasing your revenues and practically monetizing your content; it’s become so popular that many if not most of the websites you see use it. One of the reasons for which Google AdSense is so widespread is because it brings advertising revenues to those who can’t afford or do not have the resources to produce ad sales programs – that means small business and neophytes are getting all the help they need. Furthermore, if content writing is not necessarily your thing, Google AdSense covers plenty of other areas; it is available for feeds, searches, video blogging, mobile content, and even domain names that haven’t been yet developed. In addition, by using AdSense you will also receive useful information about your blog, including detailed reports about how your website is doing, optimization tools, and a wide range of advertisement formats.

“You have control over the types of ads that can appear on your pages and where you want to show them,” for example.

Or…

“You can also block ads that may not be right for your readers, or customize ads to better fit with your site.”

Now, that we’ve become familiar with the concept of blogging and what AdSense can do for your small business, let’s take into consideration a couple of advises in order to help you build a bigger audience.

First thing you’ll need to know, and I’m going to reiterate this, is that Google always rewards original content.

“Genuinely useful, original content helps your site attract loyal readers that will keep coming back for more,” the search giant advises.

In other words, you must always come with something appealing to the public and avoid plagiarism (you can use as many sources as you want, but quote and link the source if necessary). Carefully consider your niche and do your research thoroughly, see what people want and offer them something that they can use.

If you have a regular job, besides your blog, time is of the essence, so use it wisely. AdSense offers you the possibility to update your preferences to “text and image ads”, so exploit this feature and increase your revenues.

“If you’re not serving image ads then you’re missing out on revenue,” the official website reads.

In addition, if you’re using text and image ads exclusively, regardless of your chosen niche, it is important and fun (why not?) to try various forms of advertising. Moreover, by adding a Google search box to your desktop website, you allow users to search for content without ever leaving you webpage, plus your revenues will increase from ads generated by AdSense.

Experimenting is also important. Acknowledge the fact that what works for you may not work for your readers, so don’t be afraid to try different approaches. Even the slightest changes can make a big difference – for example, you can experiment with the color and the size of your ads or their placement on the webpage. Learn from your mistakes.

“Ad sizes 300×250, 336×280, 728×90 and 160×600 are the most popular among advertisers.”

I mentioned earlier that AdSense offers various reports to keep you updated about how good you’re doing with your blog. Use these reports to see how much money you’re making, what’s making an ad successful or not, and how did your experimentation influence the public. Besides, you can link your AdSense account to Google Analytics; by doing so, you can further run tests that are meant to contrast page layouts and create a map that show how people are using your website.

Taking control over the ads that appear on your website is also crucial. You don’t want a family-driven website to show ads to something inappropriate. In this sense, you can block ads based on their type or block an entire link altogether. After all, you’re the person who knows best what’s good for your business and what’s not.

“The Google Publisher Toolbar lets you see your account information and block ads while browsing your site in Chrome.”

While general instructions can help you start, personalized tips are even better; you will occasionally receive optimized advices that perfectly fit the profile of your website. If Google AdSense “feels” like you’re doing a good job, you’ll find messages within your account that can make a difference. Consider them always! According to the company’s claims, publishers who followed these instructions saw an increase in their revenues of at least 10%. Others did over 200% in increased revenues.

Creating unique content is what brings money, but keeping in touch with your audience is equally important. Use GUI widgets to allow feedback from your readers. Reply to comments as often and as descriptive as possible; create a bridge between yourself and the reader(s). You can benefit from various social networking websites to create a relationship with your customers (consider using Google+ or Facebook).

It’s also important to keep in touch with other publishers. The competition is fierce, and friends and allies are always welcome in this line of work. You can even join AdSense’s community of publishers to get ahead. There’s also the “Learn with Google for Publishers” community (found on Google+) that can really surprise you with various workshops, both online and in person. In short, you’ll be constantly gaining more experience and advices from other publishers, while staying updated with the latest news.

“We frequently host Hangouts from the AdSense +page. Tune in for live discussions with the AdSense team and community members.”

Last of our tip is to always comply with AdSense’s policies, that if you want to keep making money and maintain a fruitful partnership. In this sense, Google advises about three important aspects:

– Stay away from implementations that could lead to misclicks

– Keep you site and content free from inappropriate language, imagery and advertising

– Do not infringe other publishers’ rights by monetizing their work.

Regarding that first point (accidental clicks), there has been a lot of criticism and concern (from rival search engines) about click fraud, with some companies saying that Google is the biggest source of “invalid clicks” (it’s when a company clicks on a rival’s search engine advertisements in order to increase that company’s costs). To tackle this issue, Google AdSense has come up with an ingenious solution – it lets publishers choose from a number of click-tracking programs. A click-tracking program allows the publisher to see all the information he needs about who is clicking AdSense’s banners. By using these tools, the publisher will accurately know if he’s been the victim of a fraudulent action or not. There are plenty of these programs available, so look them up (some are free, others are for a nominal fee).

As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider before or after launching a blog, but one thing stands out: if you work hard, if you’re determined enough to keep your public entertained, and if you consider the advice of other established publishers you can go big, bigger, biggest!

Finally, “to get rich, you have to be making money while you’re asleep” and with the Internet (and Adsense as one of the possibilities) this is within everybody’s reach.