How To Make Money With Adsense – A Comprehensive Guide

November 12, 2012


Yes, I was one of those people who didn't think you could make any serious money with Adsense.

In fact, I had tried it before, back in my college days, and the results were pitiful. I won't even go into that, because it's a LONG story.

But I had been hearing that people with less traffic than I was getting, were making a few hundred dollars a month. I thought to myself – hey, it doesn't take any extra energy. Lets test it out.

Money StrategyAt the time, my blog was getting approximately 30,000 unique visitors/month. That had to mean something. Not only that, but I had seen that Youtube was allowing anyone to monetize their videos using Adsense.

So off I went to the Adsense website. I was still stuck with the idea that I probably wouldn't make anything significant with Adsense, so instead of putting it on my baby (my blog), I decided to just activate Adsense on my videos.

That was the evening of January 26th of this year. What happened next kind of amazed me. By the end of the evening, I had made $5.23 and the next day, I made $8.29.

That's when the lightbulb went on. I thought to myself – MAN, if I could get that to increase to $10/day, I could make a Whopping $300/month doing NOTHING. LETS DO THIS!

So I decided to get more into it and even put Adsense on my blog. Yes, I was going to let my baby be defiled with Ads. And you know what – I'm glad I did.

My earnings went from around $8-10 to $30+ almost immediately. WHAT? This is serious stuff. If I stick with this, I could potentially make $1,000/month doing nothing. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Fast forward a few months later, and in October (last month), Adsense was responsible for $2,563.90 of my income, as you can see in my October Transparency Report.

After seeing that, I decided that I need to do a detailed breakdown of my Adsense earnings from beginning to end, with instructions on how to get it all set up.

First Things First – Should you use Adsense?

Have you ever been to one of those blogs/websites where there are more Ads than content? What's the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it's – Oh, that person doesn't care about content, just about making money. Forget this! And then I leave.

This was a concern that I had when thinking about putting ads on my blog initially. I didn't want people to come to the site and be distracted by the ads. The most important thing is the content and that's what I wanted them to focus on.

So I actually approached my audience on my Facebook page and asked them straight up. I told them that I was thinking about allowing ads on my blog so that I can make money to help grow the site and also make money for the effort that I was putting in.

I wanted to get their thoughts on that. I had heard of people starting to monetize their sites and getting terrible feedback from their audience, so I wanted to test the waters a little.

Well – the response was overwhelming – YES, PLEASE, Do it! We want you to make money because you are providing us with SO MUCH VALUE.

As you can imagine, that was all I needed to hear. So I dived right in.

This taught me a valuable lesson – one that I believe wholeheartedly today. If you are providing value, you should NEVER feel bad about monetizing the value you are putting out there.

That approach has allowed me to make a significant amount of money both on my Biology blog and here at Become A Blogger. As long was what you are doing is ethical and above board, there's NO need to feel any kind of guilt.

Now with Adsense, there's a glaring reality that the more traffic you have, the more money you will make. In fact, I've even heard some people say don't use it unless you are getting 10,000 visitors per month.

Yes, if your traffic is Low, you won't make any significant amount of money. So, at some point, you need to ask yourself – “If I'm putting a bunch of ads all over my blog and only making a few dollars a month, is it worth it?”. Ads ARE distracting, so in my opinion, it's best to do it when your level of traffic makes it worth it.

The more your blog becomes established, the less people will mind ads, because they have come to trust you and your content.

Signing Up For Adsense

In order to sign up for Adsense, you will need to have:

  1. A Google Account
  2. A Website
  3. A Postal address

Once you have those 3 things, you will need to apply for an account, and it will go through some sort of approval process. If it's approved, they will send you an email and you can start creating ad campaigns to put on your site.

Click Here to go to the Signup Page

Creating Ads

Once your account is approved, you can then start creating ad units. You do that by clicking on the “My Ads” tab and then the “+New ad unit” button as shown below.

New Ad

You can then go on to naming your ad, selecting a size, and deciding on how you want the ad to look.

You can even create campaigns to group your ads in any way you'd like to group them. I highly recommend for you to do this because it allows you to track your campaigns to see what's performing well and what isn't. This will come in handy later when you want to optimize your ad placement to make even more money.

The options are shown below.

Ad Units

Once your ad is created, it will give you an ad code, which will be some HTML code that you can ad to your site to automatically load ads.

It will look something like this:


You can now add that code to any part of your site and it will take care of the rest. You need to create an ad unit for every ad that you ad to your site. For example, if you are adding it to your sidebar, you will want one specifically for the sidebar with the correct dimensions so that it will fit right.

Adding Adsense to your Blog

There are two ways to add Adsense to your blog. You can do it the manual way (adding the code) or by using a plugin.

I've been using the manual way because I have my tech assistant do it, and she's good at doing all kinds of code stuff. However, the plugin I recommend is called Google Adsense Plugin (go figure).

It's a pretty simple plugin that allows you to adjust the look of the ad easily by just entering your published ID. You can get your publisher ID by looking at the top right in your Adsense account.

Now I must say that I'm not personally using the plugin, but according to the reviews, the plugin does a great job.

Adding Adsense to Youtube

Have you noticed that you are seeing MANY more ads on youtube recently? Yep, youtube is becoming more like regular TV when it comes to ads, and I think it's a great thing. Why?

In the past, only the big dawgs were able to make money from video ads. You know – television stations, etc. Now, you and I can do it because Youtube has made it accessible to regular people. Back in the days, it was only available to youtube Partners, but now anyone can do it. It's a change that I love.

To activate Ads on your Youtube account, you need to:

  1. Log into your Youtube account
  2. Go to your Youtube Account Settings
  3. Click on Monetization
  4. Click on “Monetize Videos”

It will then bring up a popup with the following options:


The Overlay in-video ads are those banner/text ads that you see at the bottom of your videos. The TrueView in-stream ads are those commercials that you see at the beginning of your videos.

If you are a Youtube partner, you are allowed to do Paid product placements, where a sponsor will pay you to promote their brand, product, service etc. For most people, this won't apply.

A Word about Ad Placement

When I first started putting ads on my site, I had ads in 2 places:

A 728 x 15 (size) text ad beneath my navigation menu as shown below


And also a 300 x 250 ad in my sidebar as shown below


However, after speaking with Dan from Letters From Dan, a good friend who I met at Blogworld, he pointed out to me that you are allowed to have 3 Adsense units on your blog and recommended for me to ad one at the bottom of my page as shown here.


Needless to say, I'm happy I did, because that corresponded with the month that I made the most money from Adsense (last month).

Performance Analysis

I'd like for you to take a look at the following table:


As you can see, of the $2,563.87, $1,768.55 was made from Video alone. Then, text ads come in at second with $434.44, with the worse performing ad type being Flash and Animated images.

For those of you who are more visual, check out this graph.


As someone who loves video, this makes me VERY HAPPY. It makes me want to run out there and make a ton more videos.

Here's the fact – the more videos you create, the more video views you can get. I've noticed this for traffic generation back to my site, and now I'm seeing that the same is true when it comes to monetization.

With Youtube being the #2 search engine in the world, it's a great place to get your content out there, and also a great place to make money from your content.

Then, I'd like you to check out my Targeting results below


Pay attention to the first two: Contextual vs. Interest-based. This makes a bunch of sense to me. If someone comes to my blog to learn about biology, they are more likely to click on an ad that's related to the content (contextual) than to an ad that's based on another type of interest that's unrelated.

However, interest-based ads still resulted in $969.33 in income. That's definitely significant.

Lastly, lets look at the ad sizes on my blog


728×15 is the ads that are below the navigation menu, 300×250 are the ones in my sidebar, and 728×90 are the ones at the bottom of the page. In other words, the lower down you go, the less it appears to earn based on my October earnings.

My Take Home Lessons

  • Make More Videos. This one is pretty obvious. If videos are performing that well, I might as well get more out there.
  • Text ads outperform image ads. I don't know if this is applicable across the board, but in my experience, text ads have been outperforming Image ads by almost a factor of 3. It makes me wonder if I should change my ads on my blog to all Text to see if that improves my earnings. I'm not going to make the change as yet, but it's something I'll be evaluating in the future.
  • People are more likely to click on contextual ads than others. This shows me that relevancy is key, and helps me to recognize the importance of staying on topic, even when it comes to content generation.
  • My most valuable real estate on my blog is above the fold – meaning that people don't have to scroll down to get to it.
  • It's time to do some experimenting. I've known this for a while, but there are a number of ways to increase Adsense earnings. I will be looking into testing ad placements and making tweaks to see what performs best, to optimize my Adsense earnings in the future. Stay tuned for more on this.

Your Take

So, this was a pretty detailed report. My question for you is this: Have you tried ads on your site? If so, how have they performed.

I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below.

Related Posts


  • Alex says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for your time and effort to help newbies in such an elaborate manner 🙂 I’m only demotivated by the fact that I need to run and build a website for months prior to applying for an adsense account in order to get accepted. They hate new or generally content poor sites.

    • Hi Alex,
      That’s one way to look at it. You can be demotivated because of the amount of traffic you want to have but don’t, OR (and this is the better option by far) you can be MOTIVATED to work to get that level of traffic. 
      The question is – which one will you choose?

  • Toni Scott says:

    Leslie, I have a confession to make. I subscribed to your emails after hearing you on one of my FAV podcasts, Smart Passive Income (yay Pat!) and because I’ve been so distracted I had only really read one or two in about 6 weeks.  Today I unsubscribed just because I felt that I was never going to get around to “catching up.” After I unsubscribed I decided to read the newsletter and read your post about Adsense. I thought, yeah, yeah, I know all this–but the thing that interested me is that I have well-watched videos on Youtube and I’m only making pennies. Come to find out–I had only monetized ONE video!  (slaps head)  I’m re-subscribing RIGHT NOW!

    • Hey, it’s all good Toni. I definitely understand unsubscribing from lists. I used to be subscribed to A TON of people and eventually decided (recently) to unsubscribe from almost all, except the ones that I receive a lot of value from.
      Glad to have you back as a subscriber 🙂
      p.s. SPI is also one of my Favorite podcasts 😉

  • I had no idea monetizing on youtube was so easy! done and done 🙂
    i’ve also now added a footer ad to my blog and can’t wait to see how that one turns out. 
    I have had adsense on my site for about a month and haven’t fared all that well thus far, but at the same time, my traffic isn’t all that high. going into month 2 with Adsense, I’m interested to see if it increases at all over time.
    Thank you for such an informative post!

    • @happyfoodholly Glad to help Holly. It definitely helps to have a lot of traffic. That’s the only way to REALLY make good money with Adsense. So we gotta work on getting that traffic up. But don’t worry, the way you’re going – it’ll come 🙂

  • merirace says:

    aha! Great! so this is real real, people can really make money by constructive and honest sharing?

  • Hans Hansen says:

    Hi Les, a good report. Since 2 weeks ago I’ve put Chitika ads on my page, to see if anyone clicks on them. Nobody so far yet. Don’t worry I already expected something like this. Do you think it would be the amount of traffic? At the moment I get around 863 visitors and 1,550 views or would it be that I don’t know my audience good enough (or let’s say they don’t know me good enough yet, to be trusted)? Furthermore I haven’t put the ads on every post yet (only 3 for now). Hope to hear from you soon, Hans

    • @Hans Hansen Hi Hans, I haven’t actually used chitika so I can’t talk specifically about them. However, with that many visitors, I wouldn’t expect to see any significant ad income especially if you only have it on 3 posts. I have ads on every single page of my blog and in 3 different locations. It’s also in every video, so they are literally getting a few hundred thousand views per month.
      When it comes to advertising, it takes a significant amount of traffic to make the income significant. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t start until so late in the game.

  • Lewis Saka says:

    Thanks for the guide my adsense use has been terrible and I know that there are things I can do to clean it up and help optimise earnings. Useful info.

  • Ewan Jacob says:

    Very important article and proper guideline to adsense, also i have experience in adsens. My account disable short time ago. Also do do any unnecessary activities.

  • Neil Patt says:

    Traffic is the key factor to make a decent income from adsense. Optimizing is good and does help but if your site don’t receive enough traffic you wont make any thing.

  • Roni Mmi says:

    thanks alot for your informative tips. well, i was getting good payment via adbrite. the adbrite is close. now i have to concentrate again on chitika and google adsense.

  • Danielle says:

    Just wondering, why am I not seeing any Ad Sense ads on this blog?  Are your other blog and youtube channel more productive, or are you just focusing on selling your product here?

    • That’s a great (and observant) question Danielle. To answer your question – Adsense doesn’t make a lot of money (relatively speaking). Here at Become A Blogger, I have my own products and other affiliate programs that I promote. Those make more money than Adsense (by far). 
      So, if I were to put Adsense here, I’d be giving away VALUABLE real estate here. Real estate that I could be using for building my own brand here.
      At my biology site, I do have one study guide that I sell personally but that’s it. However, I have a good amount of traffic there. Adsense, in that case, is VERY profitable. Not only that, but it also allows me to monetize my videos, and I get A LOT of video views (I’m almost at 3 Million – YAYY). 
      So, taking all of that into consideration, it makes perfect sense for me to have Adsense on that blog, but not on this one.

  • MFTA says:

    hi Leslie, I am glad to hear about you based from your comments received right on this site.  My name is Fe and my account have been recently approved from Adsense after I published my original videos through my channel with “true view-in stream and overlay ads” on view for my audience.
         I had spent a lot of efforts with high quality videos and I think this is one of the reasons that my account was approved.  It’s nice to read articles like this one from your website because “it’s informative and well written”.  By the way, I came from Philippines, and sometimes I tried to buy my own website, but seems there few problems about their payment method because I don’t use credit cards.  I like to use cash like electronic money transfer only.  I have written articles in my blogger from Google and one of those that gets 97 page views with some of my original videos published were there in only around two weeks ago.  Now, some sites accepted “check” to process but I still prefer the electronic way of buying my own site later on and maybe add 2 domains.  I have one question, because I am searching for a website to buy my own domain, do you have a better site to refer for Filipino publishers that can get a better traffic, increase of page views and convenient way of applying for an account with a cash payment method instead of credit cards?

    • @MFTA Hi there,
      Unfortunately, I don’t know of ANY web host that accepts cash. These are all online transactions so finding an alternative payment setup would be very hard. You might want to check to see if there are any local webhosts in your area. That’s the best thing I could suggest.
      Wish I could be of more help.

  • cak em says:

    Hmm… Nice but i can’t make it. I only $0.010/month. Huh,, i don’t know how i can get high earning.

  • Jason Bennet says:

    Interesting to know that you are still making good income from Adsense. It seems time for me to update my blog with more content and start putting adsense on my website.

    For me personally, I still like to get the visitors’ details before I redirect them to the website. The main reason I would do that is to grow my list so that I will be able to follow up with them through email.

    I feel it will be a good idea too to email them whenever there is a new piece of content on my website as that is the way to get them to visit my website again.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • Great point Jason. That’s actually the reason why I don’t have any ads here. I have my own products that I offer and because of that, I want people to stay on my site as opposed to clicking on links to leave. It’s more beneficial to NOT have ads on this blog.

      For my Biology blog, I don’t have as good of a product line, so I give up some of that space to be able to still monetize that blog.

      Thanks for your 2 cents. It makes a lot of sense 🙂

  • satyam says:

    is this true that providing active links to other sites and blogs and social networks won’t earn you money?They once told me that the traffic should be automatic not user driven.

    • I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to.

    • Toby says:

      Just what I was after – simple ways to make money with Adsense. This is realistic advice – I’ve never understood why people say Google Adsense is good for beginners cos in the beginning you have no audience so no one’s going to click and the payout is so low already (compared to affiliate marketing)! I’d say, wait until you’e got a huge audience before you do Adsense, and focus on affiliate marketing until then?

      Anyhow, loved your blog – have shared it on Blog Bods so even more people see it. One thing I would really like to know more about is how you made money from Youtube videos. What I mean is – how much money do you need to invest on advertising (via Adsense or whatever other methods you used) to see a return of $1000 plus per month? I know it’s going to vary for everyone, but say if you’re right at the beginning of your blogging career and only have a small audience of hundreds, what is a realistic amount to invest in a video over the course of a month to see a return?

    • Hi Toby,

      Glad you found value in the post.

      My answer to your question is based on my experience. I’ve never invested 1 cent in advertising. So, how much do you have to invest? Nothing. It all boils down to putting out great content and getting it in front of people.

      Then, you need to have a way to monetize that audience. That can be by selling products, or by offering services. That will vary from individual to individual. In terms of getting traffic from Youtube, here’s a podcast episode I recorded on that topic –

      Hope that helps!

  • Axay says:

    I am using bidvertiser for my website, but it is not showing any clicks to my ads. My website have lots of useful content. you can visit my site here
    So i want help from your side that whether i use bidvertiser or adsense ? please tell me.

  • Denaj says:

    Hey Leslie, if you had to guess, how many visitors/day or /month make adsense worth it? How many did you have when you first opted in for ads?
    Thanks for continually answering comments.

    • Hi Denaj,

      Honestly, I probably wouldn’t start with Adsense until I’m getting maybe 10,000 visits per month, but that’s my personal preference. I’m not a Huge fan of Adsense, so if I’m going to use it, I want to make sure that I’m making some money with it.

      Hope that helps!

    • Denaj says:

      That helps greatly. Just means I have long road ahead of me. That’s ok, I’m in it for the long haul. Appreciate your feedback. May God bless you

    • You are very much welcome. God Bless you too!

  • Mari says:

    Nice article. I have 2 sites and I currently have adsense on both of them. I for the most part only makes cents everyday. Occasionally I might make a dollar in a day. I think I need to step up and get more traffic to my sites.

    I have a question about putting adsense on my YouTube videos. Most of my videos are from concerts & from performances or interviews I recorded from the TV. Is it ok to put adsense on those videos? I had a YouTube account awhile ago that was terminated by YouTube because of copyright protection from 3 of my videos. If I put adsense on my videos & I end up with another terminated account (which I pray I don’t, if I see it says copyright after I put the video I usually delete the video) could my adsense account get terminated too?

    I’ve seen that if your adsense account gets terminated you can never sign up for another one again. Is that true?

    Sorry if I wrote a novel. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi Mari,

      To answer your question, no you aren’t allowed to monetize videos that you don’t fully own the rights to. In fact, it might not seem that way because EVERYONE’s doing it, but uploading the videos that you upload is actually illegal. You don’t own the rights to display that content, but are simply stealing the content and posting it on Youtube. Youtube doesn’t pay much attention to that unless someone claims copyright infringement, but if you were to add monetization to it, you run a VERY serious risk of compromising your account.

      So, I wouldn’t recommend doing it, and personally – I would recommend for you to stop uploading copyrighted media. Just because it doesn’t say copyright doesn’t mean it isn’t 🙂

  • Norma says:

    I really appreciate the information. As a newbie I am still surfing for help. Yours was really useful. Thanks.

  • priyanka says:

    its great article, I was thinking to create some web directories and planing to add adsence in that, but after reading your article I found your Idea is more good, but can you just tell me can I use my personal video like related to trips, I like tours and most of time I stay out, so can I use that also?

  • RT says:

    hey that was great explanation. can u help me in how to increase the audience and getting rank for a blog with alexa extension

  • RT says:

    u said u was having 30000 audience per month how have u done that and adsense has not approved my application, so i m using chitika advertisement is it any gd
    and one more thing i haven’t uploaded ny video of my own so can i put advetisement to videos that i put on my blog from youtube

  • Getting money from adsense is just need a patience for all, because everything to make money requires process and like many people said “No Gain, No Pain”.

  • Neha Nair says:

    Your earnings on Adsense depends more on the ad placement and type of ads.

    So, if you randomly put ads in your sidebar, or in the header, then you are doing it wrong. Heatmaps can help you decide the ad placement, and analyzing ad locations and placing ads based on heatmap can yield you double of what you are earning now.

    Heatmaps show you the part of your blog where people interact and click more. So, if you place your ads on such places, you are most likely to double the number of clicks on your Adsense ads easily.

    The area where you get most clicks is represented in red, so try placing your ads in red area and try to blend your ads with the content around for best results.

    You can use Google analytics to generate heatmaps for your blog and track the red areas.

  • Dickson Maueh says:

    I never knew about using video for adsense! Thank you for the sharing.
    Another good website that I came across for adsense guide and tips was Do you think some of the advice there are practical as well?

  • Sundeep Kataria says:

    Dear Leslie, Thanks for very informative article. I actually read it last month also
    Can you please guide me about the difference and what is better – putting adsense on your blog on a free blogging website like blogger or own website (since former will be free). Thanks in advance

  • Dark-Master says:

    Leslie, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the information (in fact I learned a few things here, and that makes me ecstatic), but you probably don’t want to list your earnings from Adsense, that is actually a bannable offence to them. At the very least, make sure that they can’t identify you from the information, screenshots, or the posting account.. I’d hate for you to lose a great source of extra income.

  • Dat Guy says:

    I switched all my picture ads to text ads and i saw a huge boost in profit. I made nearly £4000 extra on average after i changed over. Thanks for the advice

  • Hi Leslie! Great piece. I’ve got an Adsense issue that I’m hoping you can help me figure out. About a year ago I finally hit 500 visitors a day to my parenting blog I had Adsense set up in three key places and was making a few hundred dollars a month. Like a crazy person, I took down those ads to try out another ad network for a few months without much success. I subsequently put my Adsense ads back up but now I’m not making anything (a few cents a day). The crazy part is that now I have more visitors. My uniques have since DOUBLED.

    Was there something I missed? Is there a setting I turned off? What happened to my income you think?

    • Hi Kesha (btw, that’s my sister’s name too, but spelt with an I instead of a E), that’s a difficult question to answer without seeing your stats. It’s possible that advertisers are paying less for the keywords that your site focus on but I doubt it. It could also be that somehow the quality/relevance of the ads have changed or that your audience is becoming immune to the ads. I would try testing different color variations and positions.

  • Hi Leslie,

    Am I understanding the images above: was your original, money-making, site on biology?

    Do you have any pointers on making money with educational sites?

    I’m developing a site to share my decade-plus worth of teaching and learning resources in high school English and History as well as a blog about teaching and learning, and I’d appreciate any information you can share about succeeding in the education niche.


    • Hi Brook, thanks for reaching out to me. My biology blog wasn’t my original blog, but I started it after learning about blogging. My pointers on making money with educational sites are the same as making money with any site. Provide a ton of value for a specific audience and offer them products or services to solve a specific pain. I have a ton of that info in my podcast and in my free course.

  • angelo says:

    I’m from philippines… and I already have a blogger account, but earnings tab is missing…
    does adsense support blogger in the philippines?

  • Akhil G Krishnan says:

    I have no website… I could not sign up Google AdSense…… How will you make YouTube monetization….

  • Nothing comes near to Adsense in terms of earnings, i have tried different alternatives, and For me personally is the one which provides better result next to adsense. Apart from this, i have used Infolinks which is very good (if you have huge traffic), and chitika also convert very well only for US and UK Traffic

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