The Adsense Opportunity...

Adsense just might be the simplest and most assured way to make money on the whole of the Internet.

It is certainly the most sure-fire way that I can think of to make a few hundred bucks a month; but many people earn much, much more than that, and the elite group are known as the Fedex Club or UPS Club because Google sends their monthly checks by courier ... and to qualify you have to have earned at least $10,000 for the month. Then there are reported to be businesses earning 6 figures a month from Adsense ... but that’s an opportunity of a different scale, of course. One of the gurus, John Reese, recently posted a video showing his Adsense income in the 12 months to March 2006 ... with websites he set-up just 12 months earlier he generated $500,000, which isn't too bad, I suppose.

However! While making a few bucks can be simple, going beyond this can start dragging in more and more complexity. You’ll see what I mean as you read the explanations. I find it to be still very worthwhile, even as the complexity of the techniques I use and the investment (to buy into those techniques) increases; to give it some perspective, when I got involved I made my full investment back easily in the first month, although that’s more difficult to do these days. And, the investment isn't huge in conventional terms.

The 3 Primary Opportunities

I’m going to describe 3 separate opportunities with Adsense on separate pages, namely:

  1. Adsense using a Content Site
  2. Adsense using a Blog
  3. Adsense using software that automatically generates a Content Site ... potentially, with 1000’s of pages (which used to be a great idea but now offers some major disadvantages)

But first, an introduction to this incredible program from Google (currently being copied by Yahoo ... and probably others, soon, which will make this more competitive and potentially even more lucrative).

What Is Adsense?

In the GoogleCash section of this web site I explained the concept of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and explained in some details the particular form of it practiced by Google, called Google Adwords. Essentially, people can place adverts on Google’s Search Engine results pages, and they pay Google every time someone clicks on their ad (and is taken to their website). For some popular search terms where there are big bucks associated with the marketplace, the amount an advertiser pays Google can be as high as $50 per click. However, this is very rare. Far more common are cost-per-click amounts in the $0.05 to $0.30 range; although there are plenty in the $0.75 to $3.00 range.

If you think of this from a perspective of Google’s advertisers, they only want INTERESTED people to visit their web site – candidates likely to buy their products or services. If they sell fly-fishing gear, they don’t want people who are primarily interested in reclining chairs to be clicking on their ads - which costs them money per click - then declining to buy anything when they visit their site. It’s important to the advertisers, therefore, that their ads get shown ONLY to people clearly interested in their type of product.

So naturally, Google aims to show their ad only to people who search on words or phrases (keywords) associated with the advertiser’s products. When you search on Google, you’ll see these ads – called Adwords – on the right hand side of the results screen, and you’ll notice they mostly relate very closely to the subject matter of your search. The ad might even include the keyword you searched on, in the headline or one of the text lines of the ad.

Google Ads on Your Website = Adsense

Well, you can take this to another level; in addition to searching on Google’s search engine, where else can an advertiser be confident of finding people interested in their products?

Of course … visitors to web sites that focus on the relevant topic. For example, people who visit websites on fly-fishing are likely to be candidates to buy books and videos on fly-fishing, to buy rods and reels and lines and flies and clothing and fly-tying equipment and supplies and … you see the picture, I’m sure.

So Google developed a program called Adsense where a web site owner lets Google place topic-relevant Adword ads on their web site, and in return Google shares the pay-per-click fee with the owner of the website every time a visitor clicks on an Adwords ad.

For example, on one page of one website I own, I’ve earned about $12 so far today (as I write this) from this type of arrangement; the lowest value share-of-a-click contributed $0.07, the highest contributed $2.87.

This may not seem much except if this was consistent, it’s a car payment every month, or a hefty student loan repayment every month, from just that one site (many sites do less than this, to be fair). But now ... when you consider that some people have literally hundreds of sites doing this, with hundreds or even thousands of pages on each site … you can see how it can add up to serious money. I don't want to give you the wrong impression though; like everyone else in this business, I have many, many pages on those same sites that haven’t generated a single cent in weeks. In fact, the majority of pages on my sites generate very little.

This Is A Game That Anyone Can Play!

So ... who can do this?
It’s simple. Anyone with an appropriate web site or a Blog.

“Appropriate” meaning, Google have some standards of morality they apply to this. And, if you have a website on a topic where no-one is willing to pay to run an ad ... then there won’t be any Google Adwords ads to appear on your page, and no-one will be clicking and making you money. For example, I just performed a Google search on "sculpting with toe jam." I'm not too astonished to discover that there are no Adwords ads campaigns associated with that keyword (the whole phrase is termed a "keyword," by the way). So I could build the most incredible website, jam packed (sorry) with practical hints and tips and photographs on sculpting with toe jam, the correct equipment to use, etc and no ads would show. My Adsense income would be zilch.

On the other hand, I see from (key in the phrase in the top left-hand box, then enter the "code" that tells Overture you're not a robot, and you'll see what I mean) that the Overture Pay-Per-Click maximum bid for toe fungus is (at the moment) in the 60 cent range. Google's maximum bid will probably be higher. The chances are that I could build a web site on the topic of toe fungus, and make money from Adsense!

Just Ask And (Usually) You Shall Receive

As a web-site owner or a Blog owner (you DO have to have the site or the Blog first, in order to apply), all you have to do is apply to Google. It takes about 5 minutes to give them the information they want. Then you wait ... and if you’re approved, you’ll get an e-mail from them within a couple of days. If you’re not approved (which seems to be a rare event these days) you can tweak your site or your Blog then re-apply. Your previous rejection doesn't seem to count against you.

Once approved, you log-in to your Google account, and tell Google which type of ads you want to run (blocks of ads can be in a tall skinny column, for example, or a small rectangle, or a large rectangle; you can choose to have just text ads or image ads, of different sizes, too). You also tell Google what colors you want to use for the text in the ads, the background against which the text will be displayed, and the borders around the ads. When you’ve finished, Google spits out a snippet of “code,” you cut-and-paste it onto your web pages or Blog template, and that’s it. Google visits the website or Blog where you place Adsense, decides what the “theme” is of your web page or Blog page, and whenever someone views the page, Google places the appropriate type of adverts where you placed the code.

For example, on a page about fishing lures on a website about fishing, you’ll probably gets ads inviting you to click to visit a website selling fishing lures; or perhaps less specifically you’ll get ads relating to other fishing equipment, or fishing clothing, fishing trips, fishing books, etc. They call this contextual advertising, for obvious reasons.

Now, Google doesn’t always get it right; sometimes there are mixed messages on a page and it comes up with inappropriate ads, sometimes there simply aren’t any ads relating to what it sees as the theme of the page ... but generally speaking it does pretty well. And the feedback I hear is that Google is still head and shoulders above Yahoo in this regard.

Adsense Without Traffic Is Like Fish Without Chips

So, that's the Adsense side of the story; but there is one additional ingredient in the recipe, and it's a doozy. In addition to a website or a Blog, and the Adsense code, you need to have visitors; the more traffic, the more clicks; the more clicks, the more Adsense money you make.

Lack of traffic is the single biggest cause of low income for Internet Marketers. I go into the whole issue of getting traffic to your site on the page devoted to Content Rich sites, and the page dedicated to "Tools of the Trade."

But that’s it. Adsense Ads + interested traffic = money in your pocket.

Except, beyond the basics, there is a LOT of room for refinement here. And the refinement can make 200%, 300% or more difference in your income from Adsense. This is not trivial!

For example, you naturally want to choose a website theme or Blog theme that attracts ads with a significant value per click. You will want to lay-out your pages to make the ads generate a much higher click-through rate. You should choose color schemes and ad formats that increase click-through rates.

You might also think you could also use headlines associated with huge arrows pointing to the ads and saying “click here and I’ll love you for ever” but ... not too surprisingly, Google is less than happy with any overt encouragements to click; if they catch you, they’ll warn you once, if you don’t respond, your Adsense account is likely to be suspended.

How Do You Know Which Keywords Carry Big Bucks?

It’s in the areas of refinement that you can start spending money.

For example ... how do you know which are the keywords with the big dollars attached? If you go to the Pixel/Overture site and key in a search term such as “dog training” (then key-in the code they’ll give you) you’ll see that a Pay-Per-Click search engine called Overture has maximum bids in the $5 range (at the time of writing), 2nd bid in the $2 range, etc. The chances are, Google Adwords  bids will be higher because Google commands a much higher audience. Now, search instead on the term “dog photos” and you’ll probably find ads with a much lower max bid, because advertisers don’t see a solid sales opportunity in people searching for dog photos.

So if you have a word in mind, you can easily get some sense of whether there’s value in it.

But ... that's fine to check a keyword you already have in mind. But how do you know WHICH words to look for, to begin with? This is where you can start spending your money.

You can always guess, of course; what’s popular? Xbox? Check with Overture .... yep, max bids in the $3 range. Ipods? Not as pricey but OK. Try mortgage broker ... or health insurance. You’ll find very healthy max bids, in the $5 range.

Sideline: By the way ... we check with Overture, even though we're more interested in Google, and even though Google will be different, because Google simply doesn't make their bid data readily available. So we use Overture to get a good idea of what's going on. However ... there is ONE piece of software that CAN find Google bids, as you'll see in a second.

So you COULD guess but instead ... there’s a beautiful new piece of software call Adsense Dominator that gives you more than 100,000 keywords with their Adwords maximum bids. And a lot more information besides, aimed at helping you find topics where you have a better chance of getting traffic from the free Search Engines. If you’re serious about the Adsense opportunity, after reading the 3 specific opportunity pages I’ll point to in a minute, then take a serious look at this software.

How Do You Squeeze The Most From An Adsense Page?

Still on the separate-you-from-your-money theme, you can buy an excellent eBook by a chap called Joel Comm, called “What Google never told you about making money with Adsense.” Joel is generally acknowledged as THE expert in squeezing Adsense dollars from a web page and website, and this is generally acknowledged to be THE book. It’s well written and filled with valuable know-how; it’s worth buying, I recovered my investment in about 3 days.

Give Yourself A Pay Raise Every Day ... By Tracking

You’ll also find that if you get serious about Adsense income it’s worth buying some software to track every ad on every page of every web site. Google does some tracking for you; but it's not good enough for you to optimize your pages and sites effectively. When you track comprehensively, you’ll find the pattern of clicking leads you to some “optimization” techniques that can make a major difference in the number of clicks you’re getting. Joel explains it all in his book, and I trusted him and bought Adsense Gold to do the tracking ... he’s right, a) it works like a charm, b) it pays for itself in next to no time (but only if you’re seriously into this game).

OK, now it’s time to repeat ... there are 3 most common ways of gaining Adsense income, and I have a page set up for each of these to dive into the details..

  1. Adsense on a Content-Rich theme site. Build a content-rich theme site on a relevant topic, and put Adsense on all appropriate pages. Incidentally, you do NOT have to write the content yourself!

  2. Adsense on a Blog. Start a Blog, and put Adsense in the template so it appears on all pages. Again, there are ways around having to write the content yourself.

  3. Adsense on sites generated by software. If the above still seems a bit too much like hard work, or else if you want to make a serious run at some serious money ... use some software that will, in minutes, generate a web site with hundreds, even thousands, of web pages suitable for Adsense ads. But be aware! You are engaged in a bit of a battle with the Search Engines if you take this route, and can even find yourself moving towards what’s called “Black Hat” techniques!

Finally, if you already have a site and want to apply for Adsense and make some very easy money ... 
click below; it’ll take you directly to the simple application page.