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.
At 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:
- A Google Account
- A Website
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Log into your Youtube account
- Go to your Youtube Account Settings
- Click on Monetization
- 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).
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.
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.