Mid-way updation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs: who is in?

In December every year, we try to accommodate excellent new blogs or blogs that we missed during the directory updation in May of that year.

This small list of top Indian English blogs is addition to the best Indian blogs' directory for 2018. If you visit the directory, you would notice that we have also removed some blogs that were not regularly updated after their inclusion in this edition of the directory.

best blogs from India

Here are the chosen new blogs from the Indian blogging scene:

activelifeliving - Active Life Living
allaboutthewoman - All About The Woman
allgudthings - All Gud Things
ashirespondingtolife - Ashi Responding To Life
auraofthoughts - Aura of Thoughts
bakewithshivesh - Bake with Sivesh
blogsikka - Parenting While Traveling
bookedforlife - Booked for Life
bookishelf - The Bookish Elf
bookscharming - Books Charming
boomerangmoments - Boomerang Moments
code2cook - Code2Cook
cookbookjaleela - Cook Book Jaleela
endlesselan - Epiphanic Moments...
expressunleashed - Express Unleashed
fernwehrahee - Fernwehrahee
flavorsofworld - Flavors Of World
happinesscreativity - Happiness Creativity
healthwealthbridge - Healthwealthbridge
hoppingmiles - Hopping Miles
insideoutwithrahulyuvi - Inside Out With Rahul Yuvi
isharethese - i Share
moderngypsy - Modern Gypsy
mommyinme - Parenting & Lifestyle!
quirkywanderer - Quirky Wanderer
rakhijayashankar - Outset
relaxnrave - Relax-N-Rave
rjheartnsoul - RJ Heart & Soul
sarathbabu - Sarath Babu's Lifestyle Blog
sayeridiary - Sayeri diary
shalzmojo - Shalzmojo
slimexpectations - Slim Expectations
talksassy - Talk Sassy
thehellomomy - Hellomomy
themanualofblogging -  The Manual of Blogging
themystiquebooks - The Mystique Books
thetropicalmoon - The Tropical Moon
tinabasu - Tina Basu
wigglingpen - WigglingPen
yatrasblog - Yatras Blog
yourdreamtale -YOUR Dream Tale

All the best to the bloggers whose blogs have found a place in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs!

Blogging actions to keep ahead of SEO competition in 2019 and beyond

Before we go to the tips for keeping the blog optimized for search engines while avoiding penalties for wrong or excessive SEO, let us see how the search engines are behaving in recent years and how they would in future. If you want to jump to the tips section, use this link: SEO strategies for 2019 and beyond.


IN SEARCH RESULTS, ADVERTISEMENTS WIN OVER CONTENT


Whether it is desktop or mobile, the organic search results on search engines are preceded by paid results and/or advertisements. This is not a new trend, but paid content is going to be more intrusive in future. You as a consumer will continue to pay this price for getting search results for free, in 2019 and beyond.

If you are an ordinary website owner or blogger, you will also have to bear with all sorts of premium results, e.g. featured snippets, knowledge graph etc alongside the search results. Moreover, with the strong muscle that corporate houses have, most of top results will be from them only. Even if Google and Bing do not look as greedy as Facebook in giving prominence to ‘premium’ (which often is synonymous with 'paid') content over organic one, their opaque algorithms seem to be favoring the mighty for paying keywords. All their concerns about quality results come only after their commercial interests.


TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE HELPS A LOT FOR GETTING ON TOP OF SERP


In earlier days, we learnt, observed and advised others that ‘content is king’. Now that Google etc have automated everything relating to search, your technical presentation of content matters a lot. All your content is some form of data – and so, if it is ‘structured’ well and can be picked up by their artificial intelligence (AI) or other tools better, your webpages have much higher chance of showing up – and showing up with snippets, recommendations, likes/ stars etc. Small businesses and individual bloggers who do not have the expertise or can’t invest in search-friendly technical features such as rich cards, AMP etc are likely to lose to others more than earlier.


MOBILE-FIRST OPTIMIZATION


Since the smartphone is becoming the first – and sometimes the only – device on which people browse the web, search engines are now giving a lot of importance to searches on mobile phones. That means, content that is in short form and visuals that are ‘responsive’ have much higher chance of being served to searchers. Once a webpage is served in response to a query, such type of content is also likely to be read/ viewed more, which in turn upgrades such webpages in terms of SEO.


QUALITY AND RELEVANCE ARE STILL IMPORTANT FOR THE USER


The searcher of today is pampered as well as impulsive. He demands search results of high quality and the ones that are related closely to the search query. That forces search engines to look for content of high quality. That also makes search engines devise ways to better understand search queries and then suggest related queries and also serve relevant results. And that is the saving grace for small website owners and bloggers.

Bloggers and website owners who continuously dish out quality content are at an advantage due to this craving for good content. All things being equal, Google (and perhaps Yahoo!, Bing, Amazon) would put a webpage with high-quality content over the ones with poor-quality content.


SOME SEO IS A MUST EVEN FOR GREAT CONTENT


Since quality content need not automatically become relevant to search queries, web publishers (that would include bloggers and other website owners) MUST put in place some SEO, however much they may be wary of it. If they fail to do so, there is no chance of their appearing anywhere in the search results due to competition and factors mentioned above.

When RankBrain was announced by Google in 2016, some predicted that it would annihilate SEO. But instead of doing that, it has made some new factors (e.g. data) more important than others. The ethical SEO has remained useful, though overtaken by new factors on one hand and commercial interests on the other.


SEARCH ENGINES’ NEW TOOLS SEEM TO FAVOR THE WINNERS


Quality-cum-relevance becomes highly volatile in the hands of search engines. With the help of their tools and how searchers respond to search results, search engines keep upgrading or downgrading webpages. Google’s RankBrain is the case in point. This machine learning tool keeps picking up signals based on how a result was received by searchers: whether searchers read it, quit it immediately, clicked on links within it, etc. That means, if you are low in search results, you have much higher competition from toppers than what mere quality would dictate.

We don’t think, Google would be filled with remorse for having ignored your top-class article that was highly relevant to a search query. Together with their thinking on the search intent and the quality of a webpage, their focus would perhaps be on NOT serving irrelevant and superficial content. If you have a very relevant and top-class piece of content but another one has similar relevance and lower quality, that one might rank higher than you if that gives signals that the search engine loves. Your webpage not coming high up is not at all a loss for the search engine because the searcher would never know about it and also because the www is full of content.


WHAT SEO STRATEGIES TO ADOPT IN 2019


Keeping the trends that we have been seeing in 2018, we would recommend the following SEO strategies for 2019:

1. Keep writing good content regularly.
2. Link subsidiary internal pages to top-quality pages within the website/ blog.
3. Write articles that solve problems and answer questions. Anticipate questions and try to put a few keywords related to those questions in the title, description and body of that post.
4. Adding to the above point: major search engines have started using artificial intelligence (AI), search on mobile and voice search. Voice and mobile searches mean, people are typing out or speaking out as if they are asking questions to a person in front of them. Use of AI by search engines means, they are getting better at what a large number of people are asking. So, if you can anticipate people’s problems and queries and you (i) answer them and (ii) put keyword related to these questions, your webpages are likely to be served more than others’.
5. Optimize webpages, not website, for keywords.
6. Try to implement tech aids that help in Google etc marking you as important: rich cards, localization, AMP and site speed, etc. However, do not be too concerned if you cannot implement them.


right SEO for 2019

7. Write occasional posts with over 1600 words. Sprinkle useful long keywords in such posts. (Of course, take care of pointw 3 and 4 above.) Also link tthese posts from other related smaller posts.
8. Follow best practices for blogging/ online publishing. These are also the best organic SEO practices.
9. Do not overdo SEO or do SEO that might raise search engines’ suspicion: do not have too many links on webpages, do not carry bad external links, get rid of backlinks from bad sites if you can, do not copy-paste from others’ websites… We recently carried a full post on Google penalties, which you might like to visit. 

5 quick blogging reminders for success in 2019 and beyond

Are your somehow maintaining your blog after creating it, or are you managing the blog like you would manage your personal finances, your career, your business?

It helps in a big way to look at the fundamentals of the blog. A blog you create in 2019 is a long term asset of yours that should grow manifold by 2024 and even more by 2029, isn't it? If you think so, you need to invest your time and energy in managing it. 

If you are new to blogging, you might like to visit this post on how to start a blog in 2019 and make money from it, before you read further.

Look at the following reminders and take the required actions:


Blogging reminders for 2019



Have a goal for the blog. 


It is better if you write down your goal. Make it slightly difficult but achievable. If the blog was started in 2018 or 2019, it would be easy to make necessary correction if needed; if the blog is very old, you might need to modify the goal altogether.

Be sure that if you are re-visiting your goal, the blog should not lose its value that accrued over the years.


Give time to blogging. 


The time that you apportion to blogging depends on the goal you want to achieve. If you want to develop it as a full time profession, you'd need much more time than the time needed for hobby blogging. If it is for business purposes, time required will depend further on whether you use blog as the main channel for business or you use it to supplement the main channel.


Remember, professional blogging requires time and energy.


how to start blog and manage it



Care for content, but also other aspects of blogging.  


Spend time and energy on composing posts and giving more information because content remains the king. However, don't disregard SEO. Also care for promoting the blog - online as well as offline.

Harness the power of social networking and email subscriptions as they work well in taking your updates to visitors.


The blog must evolve. 


Change the blog's look and feel, add new features and take down some, offer something new to viewers... Let the blog keep evolving. 

Don't make changes for change sake; introduce them after due consideration.


Back up, hazard-proof the blog. 


Do not leave the blog without firewall protection. Have a plan for regular back up. 

a n d ...


Review blogging action points every six months.  


The action points mentioned here are not one-time actions. You need to keep re-visiting them, perhaps on six-monthly basis. 

Review your performance on each of the points given above. Is the blog performing as planned and as per targets? If you have not been getting time for blogging, is there something that must be sacrificed in favor of blogging? Or you need to outsource some action as you yourself do not have time, skills or energy for that? If the content is not top-notch, do you need to take some action - taking editing advice, improving photos, pre-testing content through friendship circle... Does some compartment need special attention? Have you backed up the blog at least once in the last six-months? If you are not getting popular - and not getting enough back-links and relevant visitors - is there something you need to do?

Tumblr is banning porn on 17 December. That is good for the blogging world, but is that good for Tumblr?

Tumblr has announced that it is going to ban adult content on the platform that has millions of visitors thronging to it for adult content. It already seems to have filtered quite a few, and on 17th December 2018 it would take down all adult content and will not allow any further posting of such content.

Tumblr CEO Jeff says, the action would  lead to "a better, more positive Tumblr".

The ban or filtering out will impact images and videos while written content is likely to survive. On its site, it advises: Adult Content. Don't upload images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples —this includes content that is so photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans (nice try, though). Certain types of artistic, educational, newsworthy, or political content featuring nudity are fine. Don’t upload any content, including images, videos, GIFs, or illustrations, that depicts sex acts.


It is not that Tumblr does not have other types of blogs. In fact, the blogging platform buzzes with blogs of celebrities and serious bloggers. There is a lot of fun and creative content that is not of 'adult' type. However, due to its lax policies towards porn and other explicit content, the platform made it easy for bloggers to anonymously share such content. That suited children who could avoid their parents' prying eyes.

It is reported that many private, public or limited-access websites have started getting more attention since the news about Tumblr's impending action was announced last week. Especially the creators of erotica are supposed to be keen on finding other platforms for their business.

It is also being argued whether Tumblr's action will deprive it of the huge traffic it had been getting due to prevalence of explicit content. If that happens, the platform might not sustain as bloggers would then choose more feature-rich platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress or go straight to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

It is notable that Tumblr had so far evaded demands for making the platform more strict on adult content. Even when Indonesian government asked it to remove such content or close shop in Indonesia, 9 months back, Tumblr did not agree to remove the content. Recently, iOS App Store removed Tumblr app for child pornography; the app has been restored following cleansing by Tumblr.

What are Google Penalties and how to avoid them in SEO?

What exactly constitutes undesirable actions in the eyes of different search engines is not fully documented. Yet, search engine optimization (SEO) experts have found out what is considered unethical/ undesirable. Some insights have also come also from people within Google, particularly Matt Cutts, the head of Google's Webspam unit. 

By common sense, the SEO actions that are deceitful and excessive are not liked by search engines because these go against search engines' aim of serving the most appropriate results in response to search queries.

We had earlier posted a summary of Google's website rating guidelines (discussed below in brief). These guidelines indirectly - but clearly - tell us what are good and bad actions relating to search optimization of websites.  

We have talked of good SEO actions numerous times. In the present post, let us talk about the bad SEO actions - the ones known to invite penalties from search engines. Some of these actions look innocuous  and harmless, but search engines tend to penalize websites for such actions because unethical SEO guys use and abuse these actions. That's why it is important for bloggers and other website owners to be aware of such actions and avoid them.


WHAT IS GOOGLE PENALTY?


Google penalty is downgrading of a website or webpage on Google search. It can be in the form of de-indexing of a page or less importance being given to the page so that it goes down in search results. 

Google penalizes websites when its algorithm finds something fishy about the website/ webpage. Google also regularly carries out manual review of websites and imposes strict penalties when it discovers wrong actions.

In most cases, Google penalties occur due to black-hat (=wrong) SEO actions taken by the blogger/ website-owner. So, if you do not take any such action, the chances of your getting a penalty are low. 

However, sometimes competitors can take such actions anonymously so as to pull down your blog/ website. For example, the competitor may post comments on shady sites on your behalf.  

It may also happen that if you kept sending emails to recipients who do not want your email, they may report negatively about it in thier social circles or to search engines. That would raise a red flag about your actions.

Sometimes, a Google penalty can occur due to Google changing its policies about what is an undesirable SEO action. In this case, innocent and well-meaning websites/ blogs too suffer. That is unfortunate but a part of one's web life. 


WHAT ARE THE MAIN ACTIONS THAT GET GOOGLE PENALTIES?

Let's quickly see what actions (deliberate or by mistake, it doesn't matter) are likely to get a slap from search engines:

When links come from shady sites. Shady sites may link to you by posting comments on your site or send backlinks to your site. The shady websites can be spamming sites, useless sites linking to good sites for improving their credibility, sites promoting unacceptable content (e.g. porn) etc. Such links are not liked by search engines because these sites have very low reputation.

When cross-linking gets excessive. Search engines do not like multiple sites being opened to promote one another. 

Excessive and unnatural cross-linking also happens when you participate in link exchanges or link farms: a platform registers a number of bloggers/ website owners and rewards them when they send link to or comment on other sites on the platform. This way, hundreds of sites get links and comments from hundreds of other sites. 

Private blog networks or PBNs. In these cases, a network of websites is created by a SEO operator by buying websites and blogs that are no longer updated but have their reputation intact because of earlier postings. These are then used as link exchanges. The PBN operator sells membership to new website owners and promises links from such old blogs/ websites. 

Since PBN websites are kept alive with new content and are carefully chosen for sending links to related websites/ blogs, it is difficult for search engines to discover them through automation. However, when PBNs are discovered, they are likely to get severe penalty. 

Deceptive links. Links made just for search engines and not to help visitors in getting good references come in this category. Some people think that hiding links by making the text very small or in background color would get them 'link juice' without irritating visitors. But this is highly despised by search engines. 

Similarly, linking without relevance (as is mostly seen with text links), links pointing to advertisements, too many links, anchor text that are unnatural and do not flow with the rest of the content, etc are recipes for getting penalties from Google and other search engines. 

Links meant to manipulate. When links are given so as to seek favor or when links are solicited, that also raises eyebrows of search engines because that such linking is also artificial and undesirable.

Bad external links. This might not be too much a bother when there is a genuine purpose, but are likely to incur Google penalty when they are meant to impress search engines. For example, if you maintain a directory on your blog, there might be all types of links on the directory page; perhaps Google will understand that. However if you have a blog on which you have numerous links to all types of unrelated sites, that raises suspicion - especially if the links are to shady sites. 

What you can do when you need to give links to bad sites (e.g. when you want to caution your visitors against such sites) is to no-follow such links. If this concept is new to  you, it works like this: When you give a link to another webpage, it means that you endorse that link or webpage. Such links are called dofollow links. On the other hand, when you add rel=“nofollow” attribute in the HTML of the link, it becomes nofollow link (e.g. <a href=abc.com rel="nofollow">) and search engines do not consider it as an endorsement.

google penalty
Google is watching yourbad SEO actions!


HOW TO AVOID GOOGLE PENALTY


Surprising as it might look, Google loves search engine optimization! It likes people taking such actions on their websites that would make the websites relevant to search queries - and ethical SEO actions come handy for that.

Google keeps giving guidance on search engine optimization, and its latest SEO guidelines are linked here. The linked article also guides how and when to hire an SEO expert. Coming directly from Google, these are the most authentic set of guidelines and you should go no further if you are seeking information and actionable points on SEO.

Another epic set of guidelines from Google are its 'search quality rating guidelines'. These are meant for quality rating carried out internally by Google and are not directly SEO guidelines. Yet, they provide a minefull of insight into how Google thinks about SEO. In the post linked here, Top Blogs has made a focused and actionable summary of these excellent search guidelines.

These linked articles explain what to DO - and we need not repeat that here. They also gives best practices to specific aspects and also what to avoid. However, they do not talk about penalties that might arise due to wrong use of SEO actions and how to avoid these penalties. These are nothing but the opposite of what constitutes penalties. Let's quickly visit them:
  • Do not put external links of this type on a web page: 1. links that are unrelated to the subject; 2. links to shady sites.
  • Do not put links that are unnatural: 1. hidden links; 2. links that point to unrelated pages; 3. links that take visitor to advertisements.
  • Do not go for this type of linking: 1. when links from first site promote a second  site and the other way round; 2. circular or complicated routing of links among different sites; 3. many sites promoting one site (including PBN networks); 4. many sites promoting each other as part of a link exchange or link farm.
  • Take care to: 1. not have too many links on webpages; 2. not repeat exact anchor text within the same webpage; 3. not get backlinks from shady sites.
  • Audit your site once in a while for link reputation, and remove bad links. A simple way to audit links is to register your website with Google Search Console, copy links and manually check them for being genuine and relevant. Remove all suspicious or irrelevant links.
  • Finally, detox your website or blog by continuously writing good, useful content. This will help Google or other search engines to not penalize your site when others hurt it by way of black-hat SEO on your behalf.

Get free web hosting, yet run your blog with independent domain name!

How much do you need to spend for creating and maintaining a good website or blog?

Any website or blog must have a domain name and must be hosted on some web hosting server. For independent blogs, money needs to be spent on both - and the web hosting fees are usually high if you go for a good plan. In addition, not all web hosts give good service. 

Thanks to Google, which runs the Blogger blogging platform, you can have an independent blog without having to pay web hosting fees!

Please note that we are not talking about a huge website with ecommerce or huge data sharing. We are also not talking about a blog like the Huffington Post, which employs hundreds of employees to maintain it. We are talking about a nice looking website or blog, created by an individual blogger or a small business, which is regularly updated and has hundreds of posts with photos and occasional videos too.


Blogger provides free web hosting to even blogs with an independent domain name!


When you create a blog on Blogger, it gives you a blog address (e.g. example.blogspot.com) and hosts it free for you. There are limits to how much you can post and store on Blogger, but these are big enough for a blogger not into big business. [Google encourages businesses to go for 'Google Sites'.] For example, you can post as many posts as you like but not more than 50 a day (most good blogger publish 2-4 posts a week); and your photo storage is limited to 15 GB. With the photos getting compressed in Google Photos, this is quite enough space. Besides, small photos do not count towards your space limit.

What you need to do is to buy a relevant and good domain name. You can choose any (e.g. GoDaddy). But Google can help you choose one (on the blog, go to Dashboard> Settings> Blog Address>Set up a third party URL for your blog). In both cases, you have to BUY the domain name (=your website/ blog address) and keep renewing it year after year. This is the only expenditure you incur and your blog remains hosted on Blogger servers, and you continue to use all Blogger tools.

When you go to the above-mentioned option on Blogger ('Set up a third party URL for your blog'), it asks you for the new domain name or offers to get one on payment. You choose the option, give it an independent name and that's it! Now your blog example.blogspot.com becomes example.com. You have got free web hosting while having an independent domain name: great, isn't it?


Start a blog with free web hosting

There are numerous advantages of letting Google host your blog, and these include: no botheration of the blog's security, very small chance of it getting hacked, free HTTPS security, and use of the latest web technology. In addition, you can earn from the blog by publishing different types of ads.

The other big free blogging platform, Wordpress, also allows you this facility of mapping your example.wordpress.com blog with an independent domain name, but charges you for that!

Do you earn well from blogging? If not, you may be ignoring something so simple!

When people starts blogging with a view to earn from the blog, they feel that it should be very easy. After all, if one puts a large number of ads on the blog and does search engine optimization, there should be no reason that many people would visit his blogs, click on the ads and the blogger would earn handsomely.

When after a long period of toil, such bloggers do not earn enough, the hard reality dons on them. Experts who have analyzed why some bloggers earn big and some don't have found that the basic formula remains the same. It is that only a few bloggers apply the formula correctly. 

The earning formula for bloggers is not that difficult


In one sentence, the formula is just this: the total earning is the multiplication of the number of visitors and actions taken by them! It is so simple, and yet let's see how it works - or why it does not work. 

For example, take two numbers, X and Y whose values can be from 0 to 10. Thus, their multiplication can result a maximum of 100. Now suppose you cannot raise the value of Y beyond 3, their product can be now cannot be more than 30. So, you can get only 30% of the potential if you do not allow one of the numbers to go all up to 10. This is what happens in most cases of blogging. The blogger works hard in one area but ignores the other - the end result is much less than 100%.

In the graphic given here, we have broken the basic formula into two. This results in three sets of actions you need to take. If any of them is weak, the product or the total earnings will be badly affected. You need to see see which of the areas you are ignoring and take the required action. In each set, we have also given actions that you can take but the lists are not exhaustive. 

You got the point? You might be creating awesome content, but not promoting enough... or writing and promoting enough but working in a poorly paying niche... or working hard to optimize and promote but creating very ordinary content. 

In essence, if your blog is not earning good for you, you need to check which area of activity you have been ignoring. Improve that by 50% and your results will be double. Isn't the formula so simple and yet so much ignores?


Here you go!


make money from blogging

India's best literary blogs in 2018

We issued the list of best literary blogs in India last year and received good response from readers. The following list is that of best Indian English literary blogs in 2018.

We have discussed our observations of Indian literary blogging scene in the last post linked here. They still hold good. In the present one, we just update the list. Hope you find the blogs rich in content.

Blogs are arranged according to the operative part of their URL, in alphabetical order. Each entry contains the URL with link - blog title - short description.

literary-blogs

abhijitbhaduri - Abhijit Bhaduri - author of leadership books
abhinavagarwal - Abhinav Agarwal - musings, book reviews
akswrites - The Untold Stories - musings, short fiction
anieshabrahma - Aniesha's Musings - musings, fiction, book reviews
anureviews - Anu Reviews
- big collection of book reviews
artofleo - I Rhyme Without Reason - musings, book reviews
bookgeeks - bookGeeks - book reviews, author interviews

cynthology - A few drops of ink - book reviews
ddsreviews - b00k r3vi3ws - a large collection of book reviews

devikafernando - Devika Fernando - author blog of the romance fiction writer
geetaavij - Fabric of Life - book reviews
inderpreetuppal - Inderpreet's Eloquent Articulation - musings, fiction, book reviews

jaiarjun - Jabberwock - book reviews
kaapitimes - Hot Cup of Kaapi - musings, book reviews

knownturf - Known Turf - author blog of the literary writer, some book reviews
literarism - Literarism - curation of literary articles in English
maniparna - Scattered Thoughts - some book reviews (besides other things)
meotherwise - Me Otherwise - musings, book reviews
nishitak - Nishita's Rants and Raves - lifestyle blog with many book reviews too
privytrifles - The Book Elf - a large collection of book reviews

readingonarainyday - Reading on a Rainy Day - musings, good collection of book reviews
saffrontree - Saffron Tree - a massive collection of children's book reviews
saurabhchawla - Saurabh's Lounge - stories, book reviews
shanayatales - Shanaya Tales - lifestyle blog with book reviews
soumya-hintofme - LOL: Life Of Leo - musings, book reviews
sundarivenkatraman - Flaming Sun - author's book blog of romance fiction writer
tabularasabookblog - Tabula Rasa - book reviews
thereaderscosmos - The Readers Cosmos - book reviews, author interviews

thisislitblog - This is Lit - good collection of book reviews
uspandey - One Grain Amongst the Storm - fiction, poetry, musings

vishytheknight - Vishy's Blog - good collection of book reviews

How to make money by putting Adsense ads on your blog

When you start a blog, you do so either as a hobby - just to put your thoughts into it OR you make the blog to earn money out of it. Earlier, most people created blogs for the first reason, but now the trend is towards trying to make money out of blogging. 

AdSense becomes very important for bloggers who want to earn from blogging, because it is one of the easiest ways to monetize one's blog - even with a free blog and without spending a penny on hosting, web designing etc.

There are thousands of posts on the web on AdSense. In this post, we have tried to answer most questions that bloggers face, and the tips given here will work well in 2018 and next few years. Because the post is an all-in-one post on AdSense, it has become quite big. So, we have divided it into two parts. If you are new to AdSense, you would want to learn as much as you can: if so, continue reading the rest of the post. If you already have AdSense on your blog or are interested  only in tips on maximizing your blog's Adsense income, jump to this  section:
What must be done so that AdSense really earns dollars for you.

What is AdSense


AdSense is an advertisement network run by Google, through which advertisers can place their ads on websites. In November 2018, it is reported to be serving nearly two million websites, including blogs!

The process of putting AdSense and earning from it can be summarized like this: Advertisers register on AdSense site and tell it to serve their ads on different websites. They also set their budget for the ad campaign and tell AdSense how much it should pay to the website owner/ blogger when someone sees or clicks on the ad. On the other side, bloggers and website owners register on the same AdSense site for placing advertisements on their blogs/ websites. Once AdSense approves his application, the blogger specifies what type of advertisements he want on webpages (advertisements are available in different shapes, sizes, colors, choice of picture, etc) and in which places (top, bottom, sidebars). When the ads are published on webpages and visitors click on them, Google pays to the blogger/ website owner at a rate that is determined based on many factors - the most important being how much cost the advertiser has fixed for one click. 

Let's talk more on these one by one, but before that: does your blog qualify for AdSense?

Does my blog qualify for AdSense? If not, why?


When you apply for AdSense, it is usually approved by Google within a day or week. But a number of bloggers see their applications rejected. Some reasons for rejection of AdSense application are given below:

  • technical reasons (e.g. not filling the application form properly or not putting the AdSense code on the blog)
  • very new blog
  • not enough content
  • content of very poor quality

Even when the blog is initially approved for AdSense, Google can reject the blog later if it finds that the blog is not following Google's policies. The common actions disliked by Google on AdSense are:

  • using improper means to bring traffic to the blog
  • clicking on own ads
  • soliciting clicks
  • using copy-pasted content from others' websites/ blogs
  • putting inappropriate content, e.g. pornographic material

Don't worry. If your blog is not getting approval or has been rejected later on, you can take corrective actions to get your blog approved. Please visit this Top Blogs link for more details:    How to overcome AdSense rejection


Please note that you can use AdSense only when you have the permission to alter the HTML code of your blog. Blogger platform allows that very easily. You can also put AdSense ads on Tumblr blog too. Wordpress, Medium and LiveJournal free blogs do not have this facility. Paid blogging platforms such as Ghost allow AdSense because you can modify your blog's HTML. You can put AdSense ads on any blog or website that is self-hosted (= created through any content management system (CMS) such as wordpress.org, Joomla, Drupal; or through website builders; or through HTML tools and then hosted on a web host).

Steps for opening AdSense account and putting ads on your blog

  • Go to this site: AdSense: start
  • Open your account; signup by filling all the required details. Copy the code offered. [If you already have a Google account, you can use that for AdSense also.]
  • Copy code and paste it in the <head> section of your website/ blog. Follow these steps for this:
  • On Blogger blogs, it is very simple: on the dashboard, go to Theme, then open theme editor. Look for </head> in the HTML. Just before this tag, paste the code. After that, go to Layout and put the desired ad either between blog posts or as a gadget (=widget) anywhere on the blog.
  • On other websites/ blogs, after you have placed the code before </head> tag, you need to go to your AdSense account, to to 'Ad units' and create new ad units of whatever size, shape and color you want. Then you copy the given code and past it on the HTML of the website/ blog at the location you want.
  • If your blog is not on Blogger platform and you do not have the confidence to manipulate the blog's HTML, look for a plugin that might be there for placement of AdSense or HTML or Javascript on the blog. Most website builders, CMSs and premium Wordpress plans have plugins for this purpose.

In 2018, Google has come out with a system of automatic placement of advertisements using the Auto ads facility: if you opt for this, you do not have to bother where the ads will appear on the blog because using its artificial intelligence tools, Google will decide the best placement for AdSense ads on your blog. This option is available in the AdSense account: 'Auto Ads' is just below 'Ads' on the dashboard.  



adsense on blog
Ads can be posted at different places on the blog.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO EARN BIG FROM ADSENSE ON MY BLOG

AdSense advertisements are everywhere, but not many people earn handsomely from their blogs by using AdSense. There are many reasons for that, and if you are an established blogger and still not earning good from AdSense, you must pay attention to the minutest detail of your blog and the way ads have been placed on your blog and take necessary corrective actions.

How to make the best use of AdSense


For great AdSense earnings, you need good traffic and also people clicking on the ads. If you can crack both, you have the key to success. But if you lack in one, the other one cannot compensate for that. Mind it, the second one is more important than the first!

Good traffic would mean that a large number of people who are interested in the blog's content visit the blog. There are a dozen ways to get good traffic. You need to:

  • Have the blog in the right niche, i.e. talking about the subject that gets good traffic. If your blog talks about a very narrow subject, not many people would come there naturally. So, a niche with good to high traffic is the first requirement.
  • Write quality content. If  you have a photoblog, have your best photos there. If your blog is a curation of others' content or is a news blog, showcase the most interesting things on top of the blog. This may not help too much in getting traffic directly, but it gets indirect traffic as visitors bookmark and share the blog/ post and refer it to others. It also makes people stay on the blog longer.
  • Optimize the blog for search engines, i.e. SEO. For better search traffic, each post has to be optimized for keywords that get good traffic but do not face too much competition. A bit of research is required here because high-traffic keywords have already been optimized to the hilt by others. Many SEO experts suggest that if you are not getting much search traffic, you should go for extra long keywords and target small audiences - this way, you come on top of at least some search pages and get traffic from them. In addition, getting good references from others (e.g. back links on other blogs, sharing on social media) is necessary for a blog for its moving up on the search pages.
  • Cross-post on social media. You must re-purpose your posts' content on social media. Do not copy-paste but make 2-3 tweets out of each post, make a short post for Facebook, one for LinkedIn (or whichever social platform suits your type of blog) and give links back to the main post. However, do not expect enough traffic from social media unless you are quite active there or have many followers. Social platforms often try to serve promoted (=paid for) posts more than organic ones and Facebook does not even serve your page's posts to all your followers if you do not promote the post.
  • Offer feed or subscription so that people regularly read your blog. Send regular emails to people who subscribe to your blog. Promote the blog's individual posts among your acquaintances who would be interested in that content.
  • Go for paid promotion. If nothing else works, advertise your blog on social media and websites. Ads served by Google, Facebook and Twitter are among the easiest methods to publicize the blog on the web.

There also are many ways to make people click on the ads. Consider these:

  • Make visitors stay longer on the blog. For this, your headlines need to catch attention and the content needs to be engaging.  As said earlier, good content not only attracts traffic, it makes people read it and thus stay longer on the blog. You can increase the time of stay also by putting images, videos and infographics.
  • Induce people to click on ads. While soliciting clicks is not allowed, you can induce visitors to click on ads by putting focused content ( to increase the probability that visitors are served relevant ads) and then suggesting action that would make them feel like checking out the ads. (e.g. on a post on cameras, visitors can be told to check the latest offers from different brands and compare them according to the sensor size. There is a good probability that the post would get AdSense ads on cameras... and the visitor might feel that he should check the sensor size of the cameras being advertised.) 
  • Don't go overboard with advertisements. Placing too many ads and from many advertisers may invite AdSense penalty. Even if that does not happen, visitors might get irritated and may decide not to stay longer on the blog.
  • Optimize ads. AdSense itself has many options (Go to dashboard and click on 'My ads'). You may want to avoid ads of certain types. You can think of placing large ads at prominent locations on the blog. You could also think of running A/B test [You let AdSense serve different ads at different places on your blog to different visitors and after some days, it would tell you which ones were clicked more.] There are other options worth looking and optimizing the blog for AdSense.
  • Go for Auto ads. This new feature does the work of proper sizing and placement of ads on your blog. So, if you do not want to experiment with size and placement of ads, this option would suit you.

How much can I earn from AdSense on my blog


If you have your blog in the right niche and you take right actions for traffic, optimization, content etc as well as proper placement of AdSense ads on your blog, you can earn handsomely from the blog. Google does not allow sharing earning data, so we cannot share our data. But if you search for AdSense income on Google, you will find some reports of bloggers earning over $10,000 a month from their blogs! Even if you discount exaggerated claims, there seems to be good scope of earning if you take the right actions. You can safely fix the target of a few thousand dollars a year. 


Is AdSense enough for earning from the blog?


Depends. If the blog is only a supplementary source of income, AdSense alone may do the job. However, many successful bloggers who earn their livelihood from blogging have reported that they do not depend entirely on AdSense, because it cannot earn you beyond a point however much you optimize your blog for it. So, if you want the blog to earn enough like a full-time enterprise, you must also think of other streams of earning, e.g. affiliate advertisements, product reviews, etc. In fact, the top bloggers do not depend upon the blog fully for earning. They make the blog the center of all their earning activities and add non-blogging activities such as selling courses to supplement blogging income.