As a blogger, finding ways to monetize your blog is usually a top priority. Of course, blogging can be a pastime that you enjoy and do for fun; however, earning extra money is never a bad thing. During your quest to earn more from your blog, you’ve probably dabbled with Google AdSense. You’ve generated the ad units, placed them on your site… and watched the profits trickle in.
Yes, Google AdSense is simple and easy to use. However, like any program, there’s room for improvement. In fact, there are simple optimizations that you can start today to increase your AdSense earnings by earning more clicks and optimizing so your ads are more eye-catching.
Know Before You Start
Like any other program, Google AdSense has strict guidelines pertaining to certain actions. Knowing these from the beginning can save trouble later on.
Behaviors Prohibited By Google Adsense Include:
- Tricking viewers into clicking on your ads – placing images next to ads, offering compensation for searches or for clicks and so on.
- Telling people to click on your ads – writing about the ad in the text and asking readers to click, using any “Click Here” language or imagery next to an AdSense ad and other methods.
- Clicking on your own ads.
- Traffic sources must be valid – publishers cannot participate in “paid-to-click” programs to drive traffic.
It’s critical to become familiar with AdSense’s guidelines before you start to understand the limits that exist. In certain situations, breaking the rules is grounds for a lifetime ban from the program; this is obviously the last thing you want!
Also important to note is the idea that what works for one blogger might not work for you. It’s great to read success stories and tips on how to succeed, but how those steps play out on your on blog cannot be predicted in advance. Take the time to monitor your activity on a regular basis and to track what’s working and what’s not. Experiment with different optimizations until you find the right combination for your blog. Like any revenue-earning endeavor, making AdSense work for you will take time; however, in the end it will be well worth the effort.
Once you understand these ideas, you’re ready to get started. Check out the following strategies for increasing your AdSense earnings, starting today.
Experiment With Ad Sizes
According to Google, wider ads tend to perform better than tall ads; they are more reader-friendly because of the fact that they allow readers to read more without having to skip lines as frequently. Wider ads lead to a more consistent reading pattern and, therefore, a higher click rate.
The sizes found to be most effective by Google are the 160×600 wide skyscraper, the 336×280 large rectangle, the 300×250 medium rectangle and the 728×90 leaderboard. But to see how using these plays out, there’s no better place to look than the sorts of viral websites you see popping up in your Facebook feed, such as IFLScience, shown above. These sites experiment regularly with ad placements and sizes, trying something new on a regular basis. This leads to a higher potential click-through rate over time. Take a look at your blog to find out where you could incorporate a wide ad and start there.
Place Your Ads Where They Are Most Likely To Be Seen and Clicked
When are ads most likely to attract attention? When they are near something that a user is likely to click on anyway. User’s eyes follow the mouse or the finger. When one of your readers is going to click on something anyway, an ad near that location is likely to draw their attention.
Where do your users click? On social buttons? On share buttons? On your navigation? These would all be ideal locations for AdSense ads. Viral Nova is one site taking advantage of location by placing ads below their navigation and social buttons. Because they have an active social following, they understand that these ads are more likely to draw attention than something hidden further down the page. Placing lacing ads above the fold eliminates the possibility of losing clicks simply because users never scroll down. Up top and near something likely to be clicked is best.
Remember: Solid Content Boosts Advertising Potential
If the content you create doesn’t attract visitors, the best ad placement and size in the world won’t make a difference. Personal blogs about family life don’t attract advertisers. Who are you trying to reach? What interests them? What stories or information do you have to share?
If you’re able to sustain an audience around a shared interest – such as cooking, like The Kitchn, or classic cars, like CJ Pony Parts – your ads will benefit from the continuity. Google AdSense ads are contextual, which means that Google’s robots skim your content to determine what it’s about, and then place ads that suit that theme. If your blog follows a consistent theme, and you build an audience around that topic, your ads are more likely to be relevant to your readers. This makes them more likely to click, and you more likely to earn more money from your audience.
As you can see in the screenshot of TheKitchn above, their ads are contextual – one is for blenders and the other is for recipe recommendations. This is super relevant to their typical audience, and also relevant to me. (I spend WAY too much time reading food blogs.)
By the way, that “half page” ad size is one that Google describes as “one of the fastest growing sizes by impressions,” and it appeals to publishers who want to visually stun their audience.
Make Sure Your Ads’ Design Meshes With Your Site While Standing Out
It sounds counterintuitive. However, an ad should mesh with the overall theme of your blog. Something that feels unnatural or that overly sticks out will get glossed over because of ad blindness. At the same time, ads should stand out enough to get noticed.
Look for ways to blend the borders of your ads with the background of your page and to use complementary colors to your advantage. PaleOMG does a great job integrating their ads by using ad text colors that matches the blog’s text and even using a similar font to the one used in the ad. Look at the research that’s been done and experiment on your own blog.
Pick a Theme That Is Designed for Adsense
Certain WordPress themes are designed specifically to optimize potential AdSense earnings. These templates take the guessw
ork out of AdSense and provide for serious potential from the start. Based around research, sites like Cleverpedia use themes designed to enhance AdSense earnings. If well-known sites with high traffic use AdSense-optimized templates, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t as well.
AdSense doesn’t have to be a puzzle that’s impossible to put together. Start with a little research and put the steps above into action today. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new when you’re not seeing results. Over time, your earnings will increase and your AdSense experience will be a successful, revenue-generating endeavor.
Have you had success increasing your AdSense earnings?
Share your experiences in the comments below!
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer who blogs at Design Roast. She is obsessed with blogging and social media, and loves picking apart campaigns and strategies to find what makes them tick. You can get in touch by following @adrienneerin on Twitter.