Google Adsense is the most common way to monetize website traffic. It’s easy to set up, it adapts to the content of your site, and it’s relatively easy to generate clicks for revenue.

AdSense is considered PPC advertising (or “Pay Per Click”), meaning that you get paid whenever someone clicks an ad. Since everyone knows and trusts the Google brand, it’s not to difficult to get clicks.

AdSense Trade-Off

Generating an AdSense click is a bit of a trade-off. A person who clicks on an ad leaves your site for someone else’s. In return for losing a reader, Google pays you for the click.

Building a blog for AdSense revenue is a bit of a paradox. The object is to accumulate regular readers (who are very unlikely to click your Google ads). Fortunately, the secondary benefit of gaining regular readers is an increase in search engine traffic, which tends to follow popularity and is more likely to generate ad clicks.

Once again, it makes more sense to focus on good content and organic growth than bursts in traffic.

Make Money With AdSense

How much you make with Google Adsense is determined by several factors:

Page Views

In general, you should expect to convert 1-5% of your traffic into Adsense clicks (this number is your CTR or “Click Through Rate”). Therefore, it’s necessary to get 20 to 100 page views in order to generate a click. The more traffic your website generates, the more clicks you will get.

Ad Positioning

Where you put your Adsense makes a big difference in how much you make. Ads placed “above the fold” (no scroll needed) are much more likely to be noticed.

A tried-and-true strategy is to place a 250×250 ad at the beginning of your article, a 120×600 tower in your sidebar, and some other shape mid-article.

I choose to place my 250×250 blocks above the fold next to my photos. The photo draws a person’s eye and exposes them to my ads. This technique has the added advantage of giving my regular readers an opportunity to skip the ad if they wish.

Ad Color

The more your ads stand out, the more money they will make. Notice that all of my sponsored ads have a reddish color which sets them apart from the blues, grays, and blacks in the rest of the text.

You might try to make your AdSense ads the darkest color on your site and the rest of the text a few shades lighter. You could also experiment with different color schemes that make it stand out.

Traffic Sources

The type of traffic you get can make a big difference in your click-through rate. People that find your site via Google searches are much more likely to click your AdSense ads than someone that found it through StumbleUpon. The reason is that Google searchers are on a hunt for something and are comfortable with Google while StumbleUpon visitors are usually just passing through.

If you get a lot of referral traffic from other bloggers, you’re not as likely to have a very high CTR. Most bloggers and regular blog readers are more interested in finding blog content than clicking on Google ads.

The best traffic sources for CTR in order are:

  1. Search Engine Traffic
  2. Blog Referrals
  3. StumbleUpon or other Social Traffic

Site Topics

Since advertisers bid to get their ads on AdSense, more popular topics will breed higher prices per click. Making money is always a popular topic and seems to garner decent click rates. A topic like gardening might earn a little less.

Site Popularity

Advertisers can also directly target your site if they choose. The more popular your site is, the higher it will cost them to do so.

Does AdSense Cheapen your Site?

Some people are afraid to put AdSense on their site because they are afraid that it looks “spammy.” My experience has shown just the opposite. I find that having advertisers like Google AdSense tends to portray professionalism.

People expect advertising on popular websites like newspaper and magazine publishers, so why shouldn’t you have some?

Click Fraud

Whenever I tell someone that I make money using Google AdSense, their first reaction is usually a promise to click some ads for me. I always ask them not to for a couple of reasons:

1. Google keeps very close eye out for click fraud. If too many clicks are coming from one IP address, a red flag is raised.

2. Frivolous ad clicks result in a lower return on investment for advertisers, which means they will willing to pay less per click.

3. A few extra cents isn’t going to make much difference in the long run. I’m more interested in generating organic AdSense revenue growth.

$100 to Paycheck

One downside to new site owners is that Google only gives paychecks to those publishers that have earned $100 or more. It took Genius Types about 6 months of consistent posting to earn $100 in one month.

No Brainer

Putting AdSense on your site should be your first move to monetize your site. It’s easy to start and highly effective.