A couple of months ago I decided to remove all ads from my blog because I was convinced the were a lost cause and last week I cashed in my first Google Adsense Payment.
Blogging is an up and down and upside down type of journey and as I mentioned numerous times, I am no top class expert. But I am taking it step by step and experimenting with different strategies to grow my blog and make an income from it when possible.
And there is nothing I like to do more than to take you on this path with me to show you what worked, what failed and what unexpected hurdles I encountered. This post might contain affiliate links.
A couple of months ago, when I wrote my post on How I Made My First $100 Blogging, I took down any adverts that were live on my blog because they were bringing in pennies and I was afraid that they were doing more harm than good (in terms of annoying visitors).
Since then, I reconsidered, changed my approach (pun intended) and it less than two months I reached my payment threshold and got my first Google Adsense payment.
I truly believe that diversifying your income streams and getting some passive payments while you focus on more important aspects of blogging is a great way to monetize your blog and I am going to show you exactly how I did that!
Why choose Google Adsense?
In my opinion, Google Adsense is the most reliable ad network I know, especially for new bloggers. While there are bigger networks out there that pay more and work with exclusive advertisers, they require a ridiculous amount of page views to approve you and only elite bloggers are accepted.
What I also love about Adsense is the fact that their ads are responsive to your content. You simply chose where you want the ads to be displayed, and their system crawls your website to find out what you write about so that they only show relevant ads to your audience. This increases the chances of people clicking over which results in more money for you.
So if you’re just starting out and you’re looking for a network that will quickly approve you and that is easy to manage, this is a perfect choice!
What to do before applying to Google Adsense
While getting accepted is fairly easy (and you can always reapply if you have been rejected), there are a few things you can do to minimize your chances:
💎 Have a self-hosted blog
The issue with free blogs is that they don’t leave any room for you to monetize them and they don’t accept outside ads. Free WordPress blogs will even display their own ads and get money off your visitors because they basically own our blog and your content.
If you want to have any kind of shot of making an income with your blog, you need to buy hosting and transfer your blog. I recommend going with Bluehost, which I’ve been with for over a year now, as they have not let me down once and they offer a free domain name.
Read my step-by-step tutorial: How To Start A Blog In 2017 to get you started.
💎 Have a high-quality blog
What I mean by that is quite simple: you need a blog that has been live for a couple of weeks (at least) and that has high-quality content. One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers do is to apply right off the gate when their blog has been launched for only a day and has 2 short posts up.
Google looks at your blog before accepting you, so you need to let them know you have a professional website. Wait until you have at least 10 or 20 good blog posts up before applying and that will increase your chances.
Having a good blog theme and a well-structured website always scores you extra points. If you are looking to improve your website’s appearance without spending a truck load of money, check out my posts on 10 WordPress Themes For Female Bloggers.
💎 Have an About, Contact and Privacy Page
Adsense has certain requirements that blogs need to meet in order to be accepted, but just like any other Terms & Services, we skip by without reading.
If you’re looking for more tips to get your blog ready before applying read this blog post on 12 Things You Need To Do Before Applying For Google Adsense.
How to apply to Google Adsense
Once your website is greenlighted, applying will only take a few minutes. Simply go here to apply and it will give you the option to log in with your Google Account or login with a new one.
After that, a short form will appear where you can insert your website. Everything from now on it’s pretty straightforward.
After you created your account, you will be required to confirm your website by pasting in a code (they will give you information on how to do that) and simply wait a couple of days until they review your application and email you their decision.
How to start making money by displaying ads
Once you are approved, creating ads and displaying them only takes a few minutes. Simply go to your Adsense home page > My Ads > New Ad Unit. That should look something like this:
You can create different type of ads that can go in different places and customize their size or height (so they fit perfectly either in posts, the sidebar or the footer) or their appearance (by selecting if you want text, display ads or both).
I usually like to choose “Responsive” or “Automatic Size” because I find that this integrates better with how my blog looks on mobile as well.
The great thing about being able to customize your ad blocks (you can even choose the colors for text ads) is that you can make it easier for them to integrate with your overall website theme and branding and they will look less spammy to the visitors.
Once you created a new ad unit, you simply have to copy the code and paste it in the HTML of your website or blog post. I like to add one ad per blog post so I created a responsive ad unit, copied the code and pasted it in all my blog posts using the “Text” tab of WordPress (rather than the “Visual” one, and then I switched back).
When you add it to your sidebar or footer, all you need to do is create a text widget and paste it there. If your ads are live they will simply display as they should. If for some reason they are not, or the visitor is using Adblock, your blog will look normal.
💎 How many ads should you display per page?
The answer to this questions differs from blog to blog. What worked for me might not work for you and the other way around.
I currently show a maximum of three ads per page (two in the sidebar and one after the first two paragraphs). They are all small and non-intrusive, and I stay as far aways as possible from pop-up ads.
Sometimes, it takes a bit of experimenting to get things going, as it did for me. So test out a couple of variables and switch it up if it doesn’t bring the desired results.
Don’t go overboard, do not click on your own ads and do not ask other people to do it either (unless you want to get kicked out).
💎 How do you start making money with Google Adsense?
Adsense pays you per the thousand of impressions and per clicks. I found this post really helpful in determining how the earnings are calculated but they are many variables involved which is why I don’t stress much about the numbers.
From making a couple of dollars per month when I first started to reaching my threshold in less than two months, it is clear that earnings depend a lot on the amount and the quality of traffic that you get.
It boils down to this: more website visitors > more income generated by ads.
When I first started placing ads I was frustrated because it was only bringing me pennies each month and I failed to look at the big picture which was the fact that I didn’t really have that much traffic.
Since then, I quadrupled my traffic, and my ad income shows it! Blog monetization is closely related to the amount of blog traffic that you have, so if you want to increase one, you have to first start working on the other.
If you’re interested to find out more about how I increased my page views and grew my blog, I shared all my strategies and my best tips in this ebook.
How do you get your first Google Adsense Payment
Like most ad networks out there, Google Adsense has a payment threshold that you need to reach before you get paid. Currently, that is £60 or $100.
When you first create your account you will need to fill out some information about this (such a tax form) and only when you are getting close to your payment threshold do they ask you for your payment information. (So if you’re just getting started, don’t worry about it. They will let you know when they need extra info from you.)
To confirm your bank account details (they pay you via direct transfer) they send you a random amount of money between $0.00 and $0.99 and you need to check your bank records and confirm this amount on their website.
You can easily keep score of your earnings on your home page, Settings > Payments or by going to the Performace Reports tab. Keep in mind that it takes a while for them to confirm your estimated earnings and approve them before they show up in your payment tabs.
It might also take a few days for them to issue payment after you reached the threshold, so be patient and look out for a confirmation email that they approved and sent over the funds. When that happens, don’t forget to celebrate and treat yourself to something pretty! You earned it!
Do you have any questions about applying to Google Adsense or increasing your revenue? Let me know in the comments section below and I will do by best to answer them!