Friday, February 25, 2011

Blogging 301 ~ Lesson #1: Monetizing a Blog with AdSense

AdSense is one of the easiest and most recognizable ways to monetize a blog.  AdSense ads are found on many of the sites you visit regularly—from small blogs to email sites to extremely large sites.  AdSense pays sites per click on ads—from pennies to dollars per click,
depending on what the advertiser has bid.

The ads that appear on a site are based on the content of the site as well as the individual computer’s internet access history.  I often see ads for a place I recently visited.  Because of ads being chosen to match the content of a site, the older your blog is before you add AdSense the better because of the amount of content being crawled for ad placement.

Setting Up an AdSense Account

  • Google has made applying for an AdSense account with a blogger blog a snap.
    • Go to your design page and scroll to the bottom.
    • Click on "Publish ads with Google AdSense and follow the instructions.  I personally like to choose the "don't add new ads. Just enable....." option at the bottom of the first page and then I can add the ads where and when I choose to.
    • It takes approximately 3 business days to get approved.
    • AdSense pays out the month after the month ending with a $100 or more balance.  You can set up to get paid by check or a bank account.

Adding AdSense Ads to Your Blog’s Sidebars, Header and Footer (Blogger)

  • From your Design Page choose add a gadget.
  • Choose AdSense.
  • At the top of the pop-up you can choose the size of ad you want.  The most popular are listed at the top as recommended.
  • Under the drop down menu for ad size you can choose to have that ad either Text Only or Text and Image.  Google recommends Text & Image as this offers a greater variety of advertisers bidding for your ad space which in turns mean more income for your blog.  Text & Image ads rotate thru banner ads and text ads.
  • Next you can choose the colors of your text ads.  You can either make them blend with your homepage or contrast.  There is a link right there for you to check out and see what they recommend as best colors for your site.  It is recommended that you make sure the ads do not look just like links on your blog—they should in some way stand out as an ad.  There is a preview of what the colors will look like on your ad.
  • Click save once you have the look you want.
  • Move the ad to the place on your template you want it to be.

Adding AdSense Ads to Wordpress

I know very little about Wordpress, but had read that the free Wordpress service does not allow AdSense.  I Googled adding it to Wordpress so I could share it with my students.  Here is list of Wordpress plugins for AdSense.

Blocking Competitive or Unwanted Ads

Google AdSense has an option in which you can block competitive ads or ads that are not in keeping with your blog’s conten, or those that your readers, or yourself, may find offensive.  You can do this once you have been approved for an AdSense account.
  • Click on the Monetize tab of your dashboard.
  • Click on AdSense Reports.
  • Click on AdSense Setup then on competitive Ad Filter.
  • Add the URL to those sites you do not want ads showing up for on your blog.  Read thru the Competitive Ad Filter Guide there to read the rules and how tos (as you cannot click on one of your own ads to find the URL if you want it blocked).

AdSense Do’s & Don’ts

  • A blog can have three Ad (text or text/image) units and three Five Link units on a page.
  • A blog can use other advertisers on their blogs, but the ads cannot look like Adsense ads.
  • Do NOT click on your own ads—your account will be deactivated.
  • Do NOT ask readers or friends to click on your ads—your account can be deactivated.
  • Report any unusually high click thru rates you notice (from my research apparently an average click thru rate is 5% or less).  This way AdSense will know it is not you causing your clicks to be inflated.

Making the Most of AdSense

  • Placement of the ads makes a difference in how advertisers bid on your space and also on the click thru rate of visitors.  
  • Add AdSense to your RSS feed.  
    • You can find the link to do this on your Monetize page or in your AdSense account.  
    • You can easily change the placement of these ads by going to your Monetize page and click on the “AdSense for feeds” tab and make the changes. [You can read about Feedburner’s RSS feed in this earlier Blogging 101 lesson.]
  • On your Monetize page click on AdSense reports and explore all there is offered for AdSense publishers.
  • I received an email from AdSense once informing me that if I changed my text ads to image ads I could earn more as more companies would be bidding for these spots.  This is something for you to consider.
  • I have read about “reader blindness” where readers who return often to your site get blinded by seeing the ads in the same location all the time—so it is a good idea to mix things up once a while in ad placement and size.
  • Place link ads near links in your sidebars.
You can check your daily, weekly, monthly or all time balance thru your Monetize tab and also find links to your AdSense account there.

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