I have been using Google Adsense for niche sites almost from the first day I started building them, and I have had nice results with it.
Google Adsense is a great way to monetize your blog or a site. You can display targeted ads on your website, RSS feed, parked domains, mobile content and applications. You can also display ads on search results pages while allowing people to use Google search on your site.
Where does the money come from
There is Google and there are advertisers. Advertisers like any exposure they can get so Google gave them the possibility to display their ads on related sites. That gives them more exposure in front of targeted traffic.
Advertisers happy = Google gets more money.
You are basically paid to display their ads on your site. Of course, people need to click on those ads (or you can be paid by impression). This is how you actually make money – people click on the ads and you get paid. You are paid to send traffic to other sites.
Before you start
There is one very important thing I want to tell you, before you even start with Adsense. If you have a brand new blog with several pages and receive 20 visitors a day, don’t put Adsense ads on your blog!
Before you start with Adsense, you should have at least 15-20 pages published and about 100 visitors a day. This is my estimate and there is a reason why I say this.
When a person comes to a new blog, if there are ads plastered all over it, he will most likely leave. But if you have a blog that has enough “meat” on the bones, ads won’t stick out that much.
Why 100 visitors a day? Only 2 or 3 of those visitors will actually click on your ads so you won’t be losing much by delaying it for awhile. It took me about 500 daily visitors on a site to start seeing some income that I would call satisfactory.
How to start with Google Adsense
You need to apply for Adsense. In the application you will list your site and personal information.
It is important to have a clear topic on your site. If you have a personal blog about what you eat for breakfast and what kind of milk your cat loves, you should not apply for Adsense. Google wants good sites to partner with.
Having a spammy, empty or low quality site will cause your application to be denied.
Your site needs to be completed. That means you should not have “under construction” sign on it. Although we always keep developing our sites and adding more content, when you apply for Adsense, the site needs to look completed.
Once you are approved, you can start creating ads and putting them on your site.
What not to do
Never click on your own ads and never ask your friends to do it for you! That will get your account canceled and you will lose all the money you have on it. Google is very strict in protecting their advertisers.
What do you need to make loads of money with Google Adsense?
You need traffic, traffic and more traffic. That is number 1 thing when it comes to making money with Adsense.
Big help is getting highly targeted ads, which is the point of Google Adsense. But to get targeted ads, you will have to work on it as well.
If your site is about digital cameras and all your pages are focused on that topic, you are going to have targeted ads on the topic. If your blog is, however, a mix of digital cameras and scrap-booking, your ads might not be as relevant.
OK, so you have been approved and you have traffic, time to put the ads on your site.
How to create an ad
There are two types of ads I use (yes, I admit, I have not used full potentials of Adsense) – content ads and search feature.
Here is a short video on how to create a text ad for content:
Rinse and repeat for different ad sizes and colors.
When you have the code, you need to put it where you want the ad displayed.
I always use “ad units”. I do not use “link units”. The reason is that they did not convert well for me. Also, people need to click twice on them to make you money.
For me, clicking the text link to see more ads is not something I like to give my visitors.
Within “ad units” you can choose them to be text or image (or both). I haven’t found many image ads in my niche so I keep most of them text only. However, image and video ads can perform very good.
Ad size and position
Finding the perfect position for your ad, that will maximize your profit, is a whole science. It will take a lot of testing to determine what works best for your site.
There are ad placements, sizes and colors that traditionally perform good and those that are not worth the website space.
Ad sizes and positions that perform pretty good for me are:
- 728×90 ad in the site header
- 468×60 works great for me at the end of a page (see screenshot below)
The placements I have the best results with (besides the two noted) are under the page title or even better, under the first paragraph of the page.
Again, I need to stress out that your results will depend on your niche and your own testing. These 4 are MY best performing sizes (see all ad formats here).
There are people who are making great results with ads in sidebars, with 160×600 skyscrapers for example. I don’t, and those ads somehow don’t convert for me.
There is one more tip you can use to maximize your Adsense earnings and that is — targeting channels:
Creating targetable channels allows you to present yourself to advertisers.
Additional placement tips
- Place your ads above the fold.
- The ads should be very close to the main content of the page or embeded in it.
- Ads perform well around your navigation.
- After the main content of the page.
This is, again, an area you will have to test for yourself. Some had the best results with default Google Adsense colors with exception of turning the green link into a dark gray one.
I set my ad colors to match my site colors. It performs better than other colors. Of course, the testing is never over. So never stop trying out new colors for your ad units.
As I mentioned, the point is to display targeted ads, but they should also fit into your content with their look. Now, you can not completely disguise them and they have to be marked as ads!
To get you started as far as the colors go:
- Don’t use colors that are completely opposite to your site colors.
- Make the ad background the same as your site background.
- Don’t put borders around ads.
I am going to contradict myself here, telling you that the opposite might work good too. You can create great looking ad units that will stand out from your site background color.
The point is that colors you use for ad units, compliment your site colors (you already use them through out your site). That would be me putting a dark red ad unit in my header for example. It can be very effective.
In case you have a site with a dark background, you can even try contrasting colors to make the ads more visible.
Which pages not to put Adsense on
You should not put Adsense on every page of your site. I only have them on my highest traffic pages where I don’t promote a product. What does this mean?
It means that there is enough traffic that can make me income but I am not “taking away” from anything else. Those pages are usually very informational but I have no matching products to put on them.
Don’t put Adsense on pages where you are trying to sell a product, sell a service or get people to sign up. Remember that there is always one most wanted response on a page!
Adsense takes your visitors off the site, so they will not buy your product or sign up for an offer.
Sometimes, you will see ads from your direct competitors on your site. You don’t want to send traffic to them for 5 cents a click, so you should block those ads from showing.
Adsense has this really neat feature called Competitive Ad Filter where you can list all the URLs you want blocked. You can find it in your Adsense dashboard: Adsense Setup > Competitive Ad Filter.
Be careful not to block too much because that will leave you with less ads competing for a spot. So block only real, direct competitors.
From the very first moment you put Adsense ads on your site, you should start tracking the results.
I add newly created ads into channels so I can track their performance by different settings I have for them. I usually group ads by type of pages I put them on.
For example I have one channel that tracks performance of ads on pages submitted by readers.
In the first video, you saw I typed “new channel” for the video purposes. At the same time, you can see a long list of channels I already have. So you can see how much I am tracking :)
It is very important to track the performance of your ads and see if they are making any money for you.
How to make even more money
OK, here is something I have read once, a long time ago, tested it and it worked. I am not sure if it was the tip I implemented or just a coincidence, but I started getting more money so I will tell you about it.
See what pages are your low earners (this is where tracking comes in) and remove Adsense ads from them completely. Find other ways to monetize them.
You need to make “ads compete for a spot on your site”. The less ad space you have, the better and higher paying ads you will get. This also means enabling both text, image (and video) ads on your larger ad units.
Removing Adsense ads from 25% of the pages resulted in increasing my Adsense revenue by more than 50%!!!
What have you seen in this post:
- What is Adsense.
- How to get started with Google Adsense.
- What to do before you start and when to apply.
- What not to do.
- What do you need to make money with it.
- How to create a text ad for content.
- What types of ads I found to perform the best.
- What is the best placement, size and color I use.
- How to work with targetable channels.
- Where not to put Adsense ads.
- How to remove competitors from your site.
- How to track results.
- How to increase revenue with Adsense.
All these tips are things I have tried and made work for me. Some might have different experience. I only speak for myself. However, I do get my Adsense check every month so I guess I am doing something right.
If nothing else, this can be a great starting point for you, especially if you are a beginner blogger.