Google AdSense is an advertising program that allows you to run ads on your website, blog, or YouTube videos and get paid when visitors click on them. The ads are generated from businesses that use Google's AdWords program that you feed using a special AdSense code onto your blog or website.
For new websites or blogs, the Google AdSense program can be one of the fastest ways to generate income, which is why it's so popular.
Pros and Cons of Making Money With Google AdSense
The Google AdSense program has several great advantages including:
- It's free to join.
- Eligibility requirements are easy, which means you can monetize your website or blog even when it's new.
- There is a variety of ad options and several that you can customize to fit the look and feel of your site.
- Google pays monthly by direct deposit if you meet the $100 threshold.
- You can run ads on several websites from one AdSense account.
- There are options to run ads on mobile devices and RSS feeds.
- You can easily add it to your Blogger and YouTube accounts, although with YouTube, you'll need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time to run AdSense on your videos.
With that said, there are a few drawbacks to AdSense as well:
- Google can terminate your account in an instant, and it's not very forgiving if you break the rules.
- Like all forms of online income, you need traffic in order to make money.
- When people click on an AdSense ad, you make some money, but your visitor also leaves your site, which means you lose the opportunity to make money with higher-paying affiliate products or your own products and services.
- It doesn't necessarily pay more than other similar ad programs.
AdSense is a great monetization option, but it's not a get-rich-quick or make-money-doing-nothing program. Further, Google has rules that some bloggers seem to miss when reading the terms of service. As a result, many website owners have found out the hard way that they'd violated a Google policy and have lost their account forever.
Types of AdSense Ads
Google offers a variety of ad types to run on your website, including:
- Text: Text ads use words, either as an Ad Unit (one offer) or a Link Unit (list of offers), and come in a variety of sizes. You can customize the color of the box, text, and link.
- Images: Image ads are graphic ads. They come in a variety of sizes. You can choose an ad feed option that mixes both text and image ads.
- Rich Media: These are interactive ad types that can include HTML, video, and flash.
- Animated Image
- AdSense for Search: This allows you to have a Google search box on your website or blog. When a user enters a term and conducts a search, a search results page opens with AdSense ads. You can customize the color scheme of the search results page to harmonize with your website.
Google AdSense Payments
Google pays through direct deposit or check each month your earnings reach or exceed $100. If you don't earn $100 in one month, your earnings roll over and are added to the next month. Each time you reach the $100 threshold, Google will issue a payment on the next payment period. Through your AdSense account, you can see your current earnings, what ads are generating the most clicks, and other helpful data.
Making Money With AdSense
Making a significant amount of money with AdSense requires a plan. Here are tips for maximizing AdSense revenue:
- Read and adhere to Google's rules: Webmasters must comply with Google's webmaster policies, as well as the AdSense program policy.
- Don't click on your own ads or ask others to click on them: Incentivizing clicks, buying Pay Per Click (PPC) space, or using a program designed to drive traffic to AdSense pages are against the rules. Remember, Google isn't very forgiving about breaking the rules, so be sure to adhere to them.
- Have great content your target market wants to read: Ultimately, money is made, whether through AdSense or other monetization methods, by providing valuable content and quality traffic to your blog or website.
- Use honest, organic traffic-building website marketing techniques: Search engine optimization and article marketing are effective in getting free traffic to your site.
- Make sure your website/blog is optimized for mobile (responsive): The number of people who use mobile devices is high. Also make sure you're using responsive ads so Google can send appropriate ad sizes to mobile devices viewing your site.
- Test ad types and placement to find the options that lead to the most income: Start with standard sizes (300×250, 728×90, and 160×600), and then switch them out to see if one size leads to more clicks than another.
- Max out your ad placement: You're allowed three standard ad placements per page. Use them all for maximum benefit.
- Have ads above the fold: This is the section of your page that is viewable without scrolling.
- Have a leader board ad below your header/logo: Instead of putting an ad at the very top of the page, put it near your logo where it's more likely to be noticed.
- Include in-content ads for visibility: This means having ads within your articles, which can increase clicks because they'll be seen during the course of reading the post.
- Monitor your results: Google can overwhelm you with tools and feedback but do your best to analyze your data to see what it says about your results so you can make the most of your effort.
- Read email from Google: This can be especially important if Google is sending a warning about something it doesn't like on your site. Failure to deal with Google's complaints will lead to termination in the program.
Advanced AdSense Tips
Once you have ads running on your site, you'll want to make sure you are getting the most of your AdSense program. Here are some additional tips to consider when you're ready to boost your AdSense income:
- Run experiments: You can A/B test your ads through AdSense.
- Experiment with link and box colors: If your colors match your theme, consider changing them up to see if it impacts results.
- Enable placement targeting: This allows advertisers to choose where their ads appear.
- Set up custom channels: This gives you a better sense of what's working and not working to generate income on your site.
Dealing With Competitors' or Questionable Advertisements
If you offer products or services on your website, you may find that some ads Google delivers come from your competitors. Another issue that can occur is ads that may not be completely legitimate or they might offend your market. To prevent these offers from showing up on your site, Google AdSense allows you to block up to 200 URLs from appearing on your site. The challenge of blocking URLs is two-fold.
- You don't know what ads are running on your site until you see them there.
- Since you can't click on your own links (to the get the URL), you need to be careful about obtaining the URL to block. The best way to get the link so you can block it in AdSense is to right-click the link, select Copy Link Address, and paste it into a document or text editor (i.e., Notepad). The Google URL is long, but within it is the URL of the page the ad goes to. Copy that URL and paste it into your AdSense blocked ads account.
Other Programs Besides AdSense
There are many ad network programs similar to AdSense, such as Media.net and InfoLinks. Some might require a traffic threshold, so you need to wait until your website is established and getting regular traffic before being accepted.
Most have similar rules to Google, such as a limit to the number of the network's ads per page (usually three), and termination for clicking your own ads. In most cases, you can run multiple ad networks on your site without violating terms of service, but you'll want to read the rules of each network before doing it. Further, you want to avoid your site becoming so overwhelmed with ads that your readers can't find the content.
Other Income Options Besides Ad Networks
Ad networks, especially AdSense, are great options because you can join as a new blogger or website owner, and they are easy to use. But they're not the only ways to make money from your website. In fact, as your site traffic grows, other monetization options might be better. Here are some other money-making ideas you can use instead of, or along with, ad networks.
- Affiliate Marketing: Like ad networks, affiliate programs are usually free to join and easy to add to your website.
- Sell Your Own Product or Service: Creating your own product or service, as opposed to promoting someone else's through affiliate marketing, can earn you significantly more money. This is especially true with information products or online courses that are inexpensive to create and sell. Other options include ebooks and freelance services.
- Coaching or Consulting: As an expert in your topic, you're in a good position to help people beyond the information you provide on your website or blog. You can offer more in-depth help through coaching or consulting.
- Sponsors: When you have a good amount of traffic and influence over your audience, other companies will pay to sponsor your website. They can sponsor your entire site or a single page or post.
As you can see, there are many ways to earn income from a website or blog. But many require that you have significant traffic before you'll make money. This is where AdSense is a good beginning monetization option. You don't have to create anything, you can join the day you start your blog or website, it's free, and it's easy to add the ad code to your website.