Google Adsense is a platform that provides an easy way for people to start monetizing their websites. I started using Adsense on various projects a few years ago, and like many I became very frustrated. Can you make money with Google Adsense? Sure. Can you quit your job and “reap the benefits” like so many sites say? Yes. So how is this done?
Its really important to understand the business side of Adsense, how it works AND determine if it is right for you.
Google Adsense is kind of a sister to its other program Adwords. This is how it works. Adwords works on an auction principal. If I need to get traffic to my business, I can bid for keywords that come up in searches. The more people bidding, the higher I’ll need to pay for the volume of traffic I need.
Adsense allows content creators to make money when these ads are placed on their website. Simple concept. Google takes a cut and you get paid because someone clicked on that ad on your site.
This sounds like a great way to make money online and it is. But the problem is the amount of frustration I see in forums or YouTube with people who either got their accounts deleted or on the other side – simply didn’t make the money they thought they might be making.
So lets take a step back. I’ll share my experience and lets see how someone can make money with Adsense.
How To Make Money With Adsense
Its easy. Making money could be 10 cents a month or $15,000 a month, but you can make money. How much money you make involves the following criteria:
1) Traffic on your site
2) Word auction values (see above – its an auction)
3) The type of content you’re creating (most important)
Lets break these down:
1) Traffic –
Okay its the most obvious – the more traffic you have on your site, the more money you’ll make on ads. Period. Google knows what this is – they look at IP’s, traffic and all kinds of criteria to make sure someone’s not click-bombing. Click-bombing is clicking on your own ads all day in an effort to generate cash. Its illegal to Google TOS and they will cancel you for doing this. Look at the thousands of looser kids on YouTube bitching away about how they made all this cash and Google took it away. I know this sounds snarky and harsh, but traffic is key to making anything significant. You need to develop that if you don’t have it. BUT – its very important that you consider the next 2 guidelines.
2) Auction Value –
Certain keywords are more valuable than others. I’ll give you an example. Apple puts out the new iPhone 5 and there are a ton of companies making cases that will fit. They bid to purchase keywords like “iPhone 5” and “iPhone 5 accessories” and “iPhone 5 case” to get instant traffic on their product pages. There’s a ton of competition for those terms and the prices go up. So if you’ve got a popular blog on the iPhone 5 and you run Adsense – you’ll do well. How to make money with Adsense is dependent on volume and trends of keywords. If you’re seeing 2,000 hits a day on your iPhone 5 blog – you’ll see money. But you’ll need to have an established iPhone 5 or at bare minimum – a popular tech or mobile phone blog to be in this position. This takes years sometimes to do. You won’t just throw something up and expect to bank on it.
3) The Type of Content You Create
The opposite is when I see people complain that they have hits and don’t make money – and then I see their site is a poetry site or some personal blog about their desert recipe collection – well that’s not a high bidding niche. I’m sorry but you’re not going to see the iPhone 5 bid wars over your site. Your site might be great – I’m not arguing, but from a business view – it doesn’t work. You could probably monetize your site through affiliates and come out much better – but this is work and most people would rather complain about Adsense than figure out an alternative. How to make money with Adsense is going to be really difficult because your site subject doesn’t do well with how Adsense works. This brings me to another issue – Adsense is easy to put on your site. It attracts lazy people. This is why you see a lot of complaints.
And finally one of the silent factors that determines how to make money with Adsense:
What does your audience do on your website? If you’re providing excellent information that helps people – they might not be looking for something else. Therefore the concept of clicking on keywords might not be something they are going to do at all. You could have high traffic with a low click thru rate and this is not how to make money with Adsense.
My Own Experience
I put Adsense on one of my first sites. The first month I made like 2 cents. It continued on like this – eventually making like $1.20 a day. Well – for work I didn’t have to do that’s not bad really. But I lost interest pretty quick. The site is a niche photography website and I’ll go ahead and say – I offer an incredible amount of information for free. After a few years I built the site up and out of nowhere I started making money that was more than $1.20 a day. It was more like enough to cover my water bill. Not crazy money, but it was okay. My traffic went way up because I had gotten more serious about SEO. This is good, but see the problem I have is that people come to my site to learn about photography – not to buy new equipment which is what most of the Adwords center around. But then something started to work a little better: video.
I started putting up my podcast on YouTube and linked my YouTube account with my Adsense account. My site doesn’t do well with Adsense for the reasons I’ve listed above – but YouTube is a different beast because it sells in-stream commercials. Sometimes people click through these and sometimes they don’t. I’m not filthy rich on Adsense at this point, but its gone from covering the water bill to covering the power bill, internet bill AND my cell phone bill which is not bad.
I don’t think this particular site is going to ever be a big money machine with Adsense and that’s okay. I’m actually thinking about killing Adsense since my affiliates do much better. Which brings me to my last point about how to make money with Adsense.
If you’re passion fits the type of site that Adsense works best with and you hang in there and get the traffic you need – you’ll do just fine. You will make money on Adsense.
If you can’t meet the criteria above – then you need to consider other avenues. Adsense might not be for you. Its okay. Don’t be lazy. Think about who you reach. And finally find a way to monetize to pay for all the hard work you put into your site. I will discuss other avenues of monetization in future posts.
You might notice I’m not running Adsense on this website. I don’t think its a good fit or a good subject considering I talk about blogging which is a free thing for the most part. Its a little test I’m doing – when its time to monetize I’m going to try and do it without the almighty Google. Stay tuned – eventually I’ll divulge all the details.