Monetizing Your Blog with Google AdSense
More blogs are monetized by Google AdSense than any other method. This is in no small part due to the fact that AdSense is incredibly easy to use, extremely versatile, and is provided by one of the largest and most popular companies currently on the Internet. This of course doesn’t mean AdSense is always the best choice you can make when it comes to monetizing your blog but it does mean that it is rarely the wrong choice. Here today we will discuss why AdSense is so great, how it can be implemented in the way that will bring you profits, and even a few reasons why AdSense might be the wrong solution for a publisher. First let’s talk about the pros of AdSense.
Ease of use
It really doesn’t matter what product or service you have to offer, AdSense is going to have an advertiser interested in your traffic. Blogs discussing UFO abductions, credit cards, Internet access, women’s fall fashion and food can all benefit from AdSense. The only limitations placed on AdSense by Google are centered on adult content such as pornography and hate speech and hate sites that are designed to attack certain segments of the population. This doesn’t mean that there are no other topics that AdSense will not cover or refuse to associate itself with but they are so few as to go unmentioned. This level of flexibility is especially valuable when it comes to international traffic. Some advertising networks will not allow participation by sites that receive a great deal of traffic from international sources particularly some parts of Asia. Also since Google has such a vast array of advertisers it is likely that that international traffic you’re receiving is useful to someone Google is doing business with. This increases the value of your traffic and therefore increases the amount you are likely to be paid for it.
AdSense gives publishers a great deal of freedom in how they present their advertising. Video ads, link units, image ads and text ads are all available and easy use. Often times advertising networks limit the publisher’s ability to present ads in a way that best fits their site. Location, size, and to some degree coloring can all be set to best fit with any given site.
Google pays its bills. One issue that arises with many advertising networks is a question of timely payment. Ad networks often collect revenue from their advertisers after an ad has run and therefore there is lag time between the presentation of an ad and payment for it. This lag can be from 30 days to even 60 days later. Google makes payment every 30 days without fail. In my personal experience they have not been late in five years. This doesn’t change, is never late, and there is little concern that the advertising network is going to go out of business and be unable to pay you your revenue.
Google has a very powerful reporting system. Your data can be broken down in almost any way you can envision it. An almost up-to-the-minute report is available via your AdSense account and you can even track where people are coming from, how long they are staying in a particular area, which ads visitors are most interested in, and how much you are getting paid per individual ad. Using advanced ad placement techniques and multiple Java scripts you can fine tune a blog across multiple subjects and track individual campaigns to better tune not only your revenue but your users experience. When it comes time to pay the tax man Google will send you the form you need so that is no longer a concern as well.
So now that you have AdSense how do you make money? While it is easy to implement, making money with it can often be a little more complicated. You want your advertising to be as prominent on the page as possible without detracting from your reader’s experience. If a reader comes to your blog and sees nothing but advertising, even if that advertising is relevant to what they’re looking for, they’re probably not going to stay long enough to see that you have high quality content. A good rule of thumb is to always lead with content. Don’t place ads in the first paragraph of any page on your blog. This doesn’t mean bury the advertising below the fold, but it does mean that you want your readers to find what they’re looking for first. So what should you look for when optimizing your advertising? Here are a few concepts you need to become aware of immediately:
Coverage is the percentage of ad requests that return at least one ad. Coverage can help you identify certain pages that AdSense is unable to serve relevant advertising to. It is possible to create pages that have less coverage than others. What your coverage is can be seen in your AdSense account and should be taken careful note of. Poor coverage is not going to hurt your relationship with Google but it will hurt your pocketbook in that it will not be serving ads to your readers.
Cost per click (CPC)
Cost per click is exactly that. It’s how much you get paid each time one of your readers clicks on an ad. The cost per click is determined by the advertiser, collected by Google, and then paid to you. Different keywords have different costs per click. Dependent upon the products or services being advertised cost per click will vary widely.
Cost per impressions (CPI)
An impression occurs any time one of your readers actually sees an ad from AdSense. If you have AdSense on a page and a user loads that page they will see the ad and therefore you will of provided a” impression”. Another term tied to this will be seen in the Google AdSense account known as CPM. Google refers to cost per impressions as CPM more often than not. This sounds a little confusing but CPM is cost per 1000 impressions, so what they’re doing is basically selling impressions in blocks of 1000.
The above metrics are what you will need to tune advertising on your site to best communicate with your readers. Every blog is different, every reader is different, every publisher is different and these differences must be taken into consideration whenever designing advertising for site. This being said there are very few static rules that can be applied to advertising on every site. The very best the publisher can do is become familiar with the metrics Google uses to measure advertising such as the ones discussed above and slowly over time tune their site to better fit their user base.
Now before this starts to sound like an AdSense sales seminar it is important to note that there are actually several valid reasons a publisher would not want to use AdSense. First and foremost every time a user clicks an ad they leave your site. You will certainly get paid once for this readers click or impression however the reader will be doing business with someone else. If the purpose of your blog is simply to provide information, and AdSense is almost an afterthought to provide a little extra money, then this isn’t an issue. If the purpose of your blog is to generate revenue then losing your readers to other products and services could be an issue. You may find that building an e-mail list or even an online store to provide your own products and services might not only better serve your readers but might also provide higher profits on the back end.
No matter how carefully you tune your advertising the possibility always exists that a product or service that you do not approve of will appear on your site. You will certainly never receive advertising for offensive items such as adult content and so forth but if you really hate a certain manufacturer and do not want them on your site you must be careful to make sure that doesn’t happen. And despite your best efforts it is possible that something will appear in an ad space that you don’t agree with or approve of. Since it’s on your site your readers automatically think you are endorsing this product and that may not be a message you want to send. Again AdSense is easy and flexible but it is not infallible and if you want 100% control over the advertising on your site this may not be the best solution for you.