Don't Do It Yourself

Building AdSense Revenue: A Google AdSense Tutorial

As a blogger when you first learn that it's actually possible to earn money from your website the thoughts of making easy millions runs through your head. We all had this thought and sadly it's unlikely it will happen just like that. Don't let that put you off, with hard work, testing and concentrating on creating high quality sites obtaining a full-time income from your online endeavors is totally possible.

My name is Forest, I started off my online career as a freelance graphic designer and had a blogspot where I talked about whatever I felt like. Early on I found out about earning money from Adsense and implemented it as many places as I possibly could on my no-traffic blog. Suffice to say I earned nothing for a long time!

It didn't put me off though and I was determined to find out what I was doing wrong and how I could improve myself. Over the years I went through many websites and these days my main website surrounds the topic of frugal living and lifestyle. I make the bulk of my online income from AdSense and over the years I have come across a lot of tips that have worked for me. In this article I wanted to answer a few questions you may have and bring up some important points.

So let's get started with this AdSense tutorial.

When should I put AdSense on my site to build revenue?

This all depends but the reality is that you won't make a whole lot of cash until you have a good amount of traffic unless your website happens to be in a niche that gets a huge payout per click, we'll talk a little about that later.

I have a site that does not have any advertising on it because I want to build up a credible and trustworthy image, hopefully with some regular readers and a community. The number one thing about this website is to make it high quality and make sure I am enjoying the writing, running is a passion of mine. I'll likely add a small AdSense block when the traffic regularly reaches 100 unique visits per day.

My logic here is that a 2-5% click-thru rate is roughly what I expect from my websites. At 2%-5% ctr (click thru rate) with 100 visits a day that is just 2-5 clicks per day.

Also if you are yet to apply to AdSense, keep in mind Google likes to see a functioning and genuine site. Google doesn't want publishers who are just in it for the AdSense clicks and you need to concentrate on quality content and not gaming anything. Put AdSense and earnings in the back of your mind when first building a site.

How much should I expect to earn per click?

AdSense clicks vary greatly. I can't disclose how much I get paid per click but I would say it ranges from almost nothing to a couple of dollars with the majority sitting closer to the almost nothing side of the scale.

Various niches pay-out very differently and nothing is guaranteed, but to get an idea of what your niche may payout you can visit, type in a keyword and it will tell you how much advertisers are paying Google Adwords to advertise on that keyword.

If you type “Home Improvement” into SpyFu you'll see that it gives a range of $1.63-$2.01. Sadly that isn't what you will get paid per click. In my experience a realistic estimate is 1/4 of what the advertisers pay. So say roughly  $0.45 per click, although remember this can't be set in any stone, it is just an idea.

adsense revenue research screen

Where should I put my ads, what color should they be, and how many should I put up?

This is a question up for a lot of debate so i'll give you my take on it. Every site is different, some work well with one ad in the sidebar, some with an ad under the post title and after the content. Some do well with a few text based ads and some better with a mixture of everything.

I generally start off a site with the same layout. That is one ad, at the top of the post aligned left. I normally size this ad 336×250 or 300×250 as you can see below in the screen shot from my post about the cheapest places to live.

adsense tutorial screen

Google wants to see the content of your site up high so this is how I always start with a layout. It has high visibility but is obviously an ad. The color is up to you and needs to be tested. I always start and often stick to default color and select a text / image ad mix. Testing can involve matching the colors of the ads to the site, testing just text ads and moving the position to the right hand side of the text or after a few paragraphs. Usually I come back to this layout after initial testing but not always!

I suggest you start with one ad because there are only so many quality ads that will display and you don't want to clog your content. Some of my sites have multiple ads but this comes later down the line with testing and depending on other factors such as if the blog is multi-author and how high your traffic is.

I can't code to save my life, are there plugins that can help?

If you are running your blog on Google's own Blogger platform then Google has conveniently built AdSense widgets into the site builder. If you are self hosted on WordPress, like I am, then you may need the help of a plugin. There are a lot of plugins out there but one simple plugin still delivers the simplicity I need for most of my sites. Sadly it has been out of development for quite some time but it still seems to work great. Maybe one day it will get picked back up and developed further.

The plugin is called Why Do Work AdSense Plugin and it allows you to easily insert AdSense code (or any html / javascript) in up to 3 places per post or page. It even allows you to add AdSense to a post after it has been live for x amount of days and through a simple system you can enter post IDs to exclude AdSense from certain post. It doesn't come simpler for an AdSense plugin.

adsense plugin screen

Other tips for building AdSense Revenue…

  • Sensible testing of all elements positioning, size, coloring and anything else is key once you get to grip with things.
  • Never, ever click on your own ads.
  • Sign up to and read it regularly. They have great advice and tips. It is also worth searching through the archives.
  • Read the AdSense T&C's and understand them as best as you can.
  • Keep the emphasis on building a quality site, that is what Google wants and what you should want too.