Google AdSense, yet another way to monetize your blog.
Just like with my post for signing up with the Amazon Affiliates program, I’m going to take you step-by-step through signing up for AdSense, which I heard is a much better way to make money through your site. My Gulag Archipelago link has racked up a *massive* 14 clicks — which actually isn’t that bad when you consider my site hasn’t even reached the thousands yet. Maybe I’ll be able to convert some visitors in the future by writing book reviews.
Keep in mind that I’m learning all of this as I go. I still think Amazon Affiliates is a solid program, especially if you have a specific product in mind that you want to sell.
So far, most advice has been proven correct: Anyone can start a blog. Writing new posts isn’t the hard part, though; getting traffic is. When it comes to new posts vs. more traffic, opt for more traffic. Still, aim to write a new post every three or four days. Also: Don’t overthink. When in doubt, go with Ramit Sethi’s 85 Percent Solution. You want to be mostly right and lean towards action over analysis.
Google AdSense looks like it will probably be the best way to make money without actually having to do anything at all. It will automatically optimize my ads for me, so I don’t have to do anything other than choose where they appear on the page.
However, getting Google AdSense to verify your site is a little bit more difficult than simply copying and pasting code into your sidebar. The technologically illiterate might get frustrated.
This post will show someone who made their website using WordPress (with a Genesis theme) how to do it, step-by-step.
At $.01-$.10/click, you could potentially build your way up to a fairly solid $300-$1k/month. For blogging (and writing in general), that’s very good.
Look at this chart:
I’m willing to wager that there are people out there who have not made any effort to monetize their sites. That’s a missed opportunity worth almost $12k/year (more than you could make working a part-time, minimum-wage job). That’s a conservative estimate, too.
Later on, I’ll be able to come back to this page to give you some idea of how to set reasonable traffic goals. Since I reached 120 sessions within the first month and I wasn’t working hard at commenting on other sites, I can say that, at minimum, that’s a good amount to shoot for.
I also picked — arguably — the dumbest possible name for my site when it comes to organic search. No one’s looking for blogs about “philanthrocapitalism,” an ill-defined concept anyway. If you want to start a personal finance blog, do something clever with the word “cents.” Think: “The Centsible Centsei” or “The Censtational Centenarian,” if you happen to be a very late bloomer to the personal finance scene.
Step 1) Getting Signed Up for AdSense.
- Enter your HTML and Language.
- “http://yourwebsite.com” and “English — English,” respectively.
- Fill out “Your Information.” Nothing difficult: address, name, etc.
- Accept Terms and Agreements.
- Receive the “ad code.”
- Copy it to your clipboard (or leave the tab open on your browser).
Step 2) Properly Pasting the Ad Code into Your Website (i.e. Connect Your Site to AdSense).
- This is where things get a little tricky.
- If you don’t know anything about code, I would recommend that you don’t touch the “Editor.”
- Instead, download and install this plug-in: Insert Headers and Footers.
- Then, go to “Settings.” Click “Insert Headers and Footers.”
- Paste the code into the text box labelled “Scripts in Header.”
Step 3) Getting Verified.
- Go back to Google AdSense, check the “I’ve pasted the code into my site” checkbox, and click, “Done.”
- Wait three days for Google to review your site.
I’ll be back to show you how to put AdSense ads on your site.
The next day, I received an email from Google saying this:
Now, that might mean that I didn’t get the code into my website correctly, and I’ll have to find a way around that. It also might mean that my site is somehow inherently incompatible with Google AdSense. I reviewed their program and content policies and everything checked out, so I don’t think that’s the problem. I’m going to resubmit the application and see what happens.
- Good news:
Step 4) Integrating Google AdSense Into Your Blog
- Click “Get started” in the approval email.
- You now have control over how many ads you want to place on your blog, especially if you use their “QuickStart” option.
- Beware: “As QuickStart ads are automatic, you can’t choose where the ads appear on your pages.”
- If you want more control over where you place ads, click on the “Content” section on the Google AdSense homepage.
- Click “+ New Ad Unit” in the top right corner.
- Decide what size you want.
- (This will all obviously depend on your site layout from here on out. If you need help, drop a comment.)
- I chose the “300×600 Large Skyscraper.”
- Click finish and copy the code (unless you want to pick different colors. I went with “Prestige” because I think it fits my site’s style pretty well.
- Go back to your WordPress Dashboard.
- Hover over “Appearance” and click “Widgets.”
- Paste the code into a “Text” widget on the sidebar.