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
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
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
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 Google" 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
Once you've selected the type of ads you want to display
on your site, you pick the number of ads, and apply a
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.