Google Adsense is probably the easiest way to make money from a website. All you need is some traffic and the earnings start to mount all by themselves.
You don’t need products or customer service, you don’t have to waste time looking for advertisers or testing affiliate programs, you don’t ¬†need to keep up with the latest selling trends. All you need to do is drive traffic, and that’s what you are good at, right? (And if you are not good at that, don’t worry. You’ll get there with¬†persistence. So this post is for you too!)
Israeli web marketing guru Yigal Pines, who has made a fortune from Adwords and Affiliate Marketing, recently wrote a post called “7 Reasons Why Adsense is Not Such a Bad Idea After All.” He reports that he just monetized a website with Adsense for the first time. While the site is still young and not yet earning much, he cannot get over how easy it is to earn money with Adsense, compared to the hard work of selling!
How Much Can You Earn from Adsense?
This is an important question for us all. Really, it depends on how much traffic you’re getting. You need a steady flow of over a thousand unique daily visitors to make more than a couple hundred bucks a month. The very general rule of thumb is that your average unique daily visitor count should approach your monthly Dollar earnings. Of course, this is an average estimate and varies significantly for different niche markets. On my sites, I earn a bit less than this rate. The way you place and optimize your Adsense will have an impact on your earnings, so I discuss tips for increasing your earnings below.
In any case, I’m sure that there are many readers of this blog that would like to earn a monthly check that approaches the number of their¬†average unique daily visitor count. So Adsense seems like a monetization option that we must all explore seriously!
And no – Google has not hired me as a saleslady. In fact, I have a big problem with Adsense, which many readers of this blog share.
Inappropriate Ads in Adsense
My problem is that Adsense serves ads that are inappropriate for my sites. For example, I run a modest fashion magazine, and so all the image ads featuring fashionably dressed ladies kinda ruins the atmosphere. In addition, whenever I discuss women’s issues, I’m likely to get ads for interesting dating sites that might turn off my readers. When we talk recipes, we get ads for non-kosher foods.
The problem of inappropriate ads on Adsense exists in all markets. Most Adsense publishers and their audience find that Adsense sometimes serves ads that are completely irrelevant, if not contrary to the spirit of their site concept. On the Adsense forum, I read of one frustrated webmaster who runs a site for men who are bald and proud of it.¬†Unfortunately, Google’s clever robots regularly serve ads related to hair replacement treatments that don’t gel well with his “proud baldy” message.
I have discussed this problem with many webmasters, most recently Rabbi Jack Kalla,¬†Director of Development at Aish.com. Aish.com is a massively successful website in the Jewish niche with over 2 million pageviews per month. With all that great content, professional viral videos and cutting-edge technology, Aish.com is obviously not a cheap site to run. It attempts to pay its way with banner ads, memberships and other monetization options. It would like to use Adsense and with that kind of traffic, it’s a good idea. The problem is that Aish.com is naturally very selective about the kinds of ads it wants to host.
Let’s look at some possible solutions:
Blocking Sensitive Categories in Adsense
Adsense gives you a selection of sub-categories that could be considered “sensitive” and you can select these under the “Allow and Block Ads” tab. See the image below:
For some reason, not everyone will have this list of sub-categories within their Adsense interface. I don’t know why that it. I have written to Google about this problem so maybe one day it will be explained. (Note: all these screenshots are taken in the new Adsense interface. If you are using the old interface, things look different.)
Blocking Image Ads in Adsense
If you don’t want to take any risks with image ads, you can choose text ads only, like in the image below
Activate the Adsense Ad Review Center
Adsense gives you the option to review all ads that will appear 24 hours in advance. You can activate this option by clicking as shown in the screenshot below and following the instructions. It takes about a week to activate. You can learn more about the Ad Review Center here. This seems like a good options for ultimate control, but obviously it requires some manpower to regularly review the ads.
So basically, there is no need to rule out Adsense just because you are concerned about inappropriate ads. There are ways to work with it. In general, it’s best to minimize your blocking settings to the essentials. As you block more ads, the average cost-per-click will fall, since there is less competition from advertisers who want to appear on your page.
Making More Money from Adsense
Here are some tips to increase your Adsense earnings:
- Position ads under titles and subtitles – they are more¬†noticeable¬†there
- Adjust the colors so that the ads fit into your site’s color scheme. ¬†In general, the more that the ads appear to be a part of your site, the higher your click-thru rate.
- If you don’t want Adsense on your recent articles that are currently getting mileage on social media , you can still put it on your popular “evergreen” posts that get a lot of traffic from search engines. You can earn a lot by heavily Adsensing these “back-door” pages, even if the “front-door” pages are completely free of Adsense.
- Assuming there’s money in your niche (think big spending), you’ve created high quality content (that visitors like and keep coming back to), AND you’ve done a good job of strategically sprinkling¬†high cost-per-click key words (easy to check this on the Adwords keyword tool), your earnings could potentially rise much higher