How to make money with Google Adsense

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. 

Bloggers and small website owners can make money with AdSense without knowing any tech, even with a free blog and without spending a penny on web hosting, web designing, etc.

In this post, I have tried to simplify things for bloggers who don't know the subject of making money from AdSense. The tips given here will work well in 2021 and beyond. 

Because the post is an all-in-one post on AdSense, it has become quite big. So, I have divided it into two parts. If you do not know how Google Ads work on blogs and websites, 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 to make more money with Adsense ads, jump to this section: What must be done so that AdSense really earns dollars for you.

AdSense meaning, and how AdSense works

AdSense is an advertisement network run by Google, through which advertisers can place their ads on websites. AdSense is the biggest web ad-network.

Let me tell you how advertisements are placed through AdSense and how bloggers and other website owners make money with AdSense :
  • How AdSense ads are placed on websites: 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.
  • Making money with AdSense: 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 wants 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 topics one by one, but before that: What are the requirements for having an AdSense account? 

AdSense requirements

You have to apply for AdSense approval for your blog or website. Once Google approves your application, it gives you some code that you can put on your site. After that, it keeps giving you money whenever people click on your ads.

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. The main reasons for rejection of the AdSense application are :

  • technical reasons (e.g. not filling the application form properly or not putting the AdSense code on the blog)
  • very new blog or website (in some countries, Google approves accounts only when they are 6 month old)
  • not enough content on the website or blog
  • content on the website/ blog is 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
  • asking people to click on the ads
  • 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. On the linked post, I have given tips on what to do so that your application for AdSense is not rejected, and what to do if your AdSense application has been rejected. Please visit this Top Blogs link for more details: Google AdSense sign up: fixing issues

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 (details below). You can put AdSense ads on Tumblr blog too. Wordpress, Medium and LiveJournal free blogs do not give 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, Joomla, Drupal; or through website builders; or through HTML tools and then hosted on a web host).

Steps for Google AdSense sign up

  • Go to this site: AdSense: start
  • Open your account; signup by filling all the required details. [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. Search </head> in the HTML. Just before this closing tag, paste the code. 
  • Go to Layout and put the desired ad either between blog posts or as a gadget (=widget) anywhere on the blog.
  • Since Blogger and AdSense both belong to Google, the ads will appear on your blog after AdSense is approved.
  • On other websites/ blogs, after you have placed the code before </head> tag, you need to go to your AdSense account. Go 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.

AdSense has 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.  

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

Tips for making good money with AdSense

AdSense advertisements are everywhere, but not many people earn handsomely from their blogs or other websites by using AdSense. There are many reasons for that, and if you are an established blogger and still not earning well 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.

Carefully read the following sections:

How AdSense works: it works only when you take the right actions

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. choosing the subject that gets good amount of 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. When the quality of the content is good, visitors stay on the blog for a longer time, and the chances of their clicking the ads increases.
  • 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 and 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/ website 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. Asking people to click on ads is not allowed, but you can induce visitors to click on ads by putting focused content. This will also increase the probability that visitors are served relevant ads. 
Suggest an action that would encourage them to check out the ads. For example, 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 checking on the AdSense dashboard and optimizing the blog for AdSense. AdSense site also also lists best practices for making the best use of this ad platform.
  • Go for Auto ads. This feature does the work of proper sizing and placement of ads on your blog. So, if you do not want to manually experiment with the size and placement of ads, this option would suit you.

Google AdSense earnings: how good are they?

If you have your blog in the right niche and you take the right actions for traffic, optimization, content, etc as well as proper placement of AdSense ads on your blog/ website, you can have good earnings from AdSense. 
Google does not allow sharing earning data, so I cannot share how much I am earning from the present blog. 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 a good scope of making money with AdSense if you take the right actions. 

You should start with the target of more than a thousand dollars a year only if your blog/ website is in a well-paying niche, you have properly optimized it for paying keywords, you have a good social media presence and you use that for bringing traffic to the blog, and AdSense ads are properly optimized. 

Can you make big money with AdSense alone?

That depends on many factors, but in most situations, you will need to add more ways of earning than depending solely on AdSense earnings. 
If the blog/ website is only a supplementary source of income, AdSense alone may make some money for you. 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. 
If you want the blog to earn enough like a full-time enterprise, you must also think of other streams of making money, 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. 
So,  go for a couple of earning streams together and don't depend only on earning from AdSense. In the linked post I share experiences of some bloggers on making money blogging

Remember that
  • AdSense is not the only way to make money from blog/ website; there are many other streams for making money through blogging.
  • Blog itself is not a stand-alone entity for making money online; you should add activities that make synergy with blogging.

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