What you need to build a successful Adsense site

Here are the 3 parts of the equation involved:

Keyword Research

One of the most important. Two reasons:

  1. Since you are aiming to rank your site at the very top of Google, you will need a keyword (or ideally more) that you can rank more or less easily.
  2. As we saw before, different keywords have different EPC (Earnings per Click)

Traffic

This one is pretty simple. No traffic = No money

The best traffic source is SEO traffic (people who find your site via Google).

There are also some people who try to get cheap Facebook clicks to drive traffic to their site (usually with viral content), and expect to make more money with Adsense clicks than what that traffic costed. I haven’t personally tried this myself so I cannot comment on it.

So we are not only talking about quantity, but also quality.

CTR

The % of visitors who click on your ad. To improve this you can work on:

  • The site theme
  • Different ad sizes
  • Different ad placement

So that’s mostly it!

Spend some time doing proper keyword research.

Then work on getting traffic

Once you have those two (which are, in my opinion the most important), test and tweak, so you can maximize earnings.

Then rinse and repeat 🙂

 

January-February income report

This is my very first income report, so I’m not sure how I should structure it.

Following the Ready, Fire, Aim, I’ll do a version 1 and will improve in the near future.

January and February have been a bit hectic for me, and pretty much out of focus. It’s taken me 2 months to be able to pause, reflect and do some introspection.

So here are the numbers:

Income

Freelance Income: 6273€ ($6618)

Own Product sales: $851,07

Affiliate Sales: 

  • JVZoo: $464,61
  • Adsense: $139,53
  • Amazon: $686,74
  • Other Affiliate Programs: $418,06

Total: $9178,01

Expenses

Bing Ads: $327,58

Autoresponder (ActiveCampaign): $70

Outsourcing (from Upwork): $453,11

Total: $850,69

Net Profit

$9178,01 – $850,69 = $8327,32

 

Since my goal this year is to make $200.000 in profit, that breaks down to $16,666/mo.

How much I should have made: $33.333

How Much I made: $8327.32

Difference: $25.006

 

As you can see, I’m way behind. As I said in the beginning, I haven’t been focused at all, so now it’s time to really focus on what matters.

Also, you can notice that most of my income came from freelance work, which is the completely opposite of what I’m after. Freelance work means work once, get paid once, as opposed to for example selling my own product (work once, sell multiple times), so I need to work hard on flipping that.

To work on improving focus and efficiency, one of the big changes I’m making is incorporating exercise to my daily routine.

Here’s what I’m doing at the moment (just started with most of them, to be honest):

  • Walk in the early morning
  • Monday: padel lessons
  • Tuesday: yoga lessons
  • 3 days/week gym
  • 3 days/week: running

What does exercise have to do with income? A lot, according to Richard Branson and others…

So, goals for march:

  • Be consistent with my exercise routine
  • Be in bed by 11
  • Read 1 book a week
  • Take some time to work on a proper schedule/planning for the rest of the year, and adhere to my schedule
  • Prioritize Online Marketing over Freelance work

The best Adsense ad sizes

When choosing your ad size, you have multiple options, but what are the best ones to use and why?

According to the official Adsense website, these are the top performing ad sizes:

On desktop:

  • 336×280 large rectangle
  • 300×250 medium rectangle
  • 728×90 leaderboard
  • 300×600 half page

On mobile:

  • 320×100 large mobile banner

Aside from those, there are many other sizes, but the nice thing about the above is that there are many more advertisers targeting those sizes, meaning more competition, meaning more revenue for you. Since those are the standard, ad designers tend to create banners in those sizes first.

The people at Labnol have compiled the following chart where you can see the average CTR for each size:

Also, in general (although this rule is not 100% accurate), wider sizes tend to get a higher CTR (since, well, they are bigger, thus more noticeable).

Those sizes have been tested across multiple websites and seem to be the winners, but as always, there is room for testing.

Bear in mind that size is just one part of the equation. Placement is at least as important as the size you choose

10 Adsense Mistakes to avoid at all costs

In previous articles I talked about things to do with Adsense.

Here are some of the things you should NOT do:

If you want to get your account alive, don’t…

Click on your own ads

This will only earn you a few dollars at the most and, if you get caught by the big G, you might get your account banned. Definitely not worth the trouble!

Have your ads on low quality content sites

If your site consists only of scraped, non unique content chances are your love story with Adsense won’t end well.

Be aggresive with ad placement

Make sure the visitor experience is good and the rest will take care of itself

Encourage users to click on your ads

This is a huge violation of the Adsense Terms

Host copyrighted content

That’s a no-no

Link to sites with pirated software/content

Also a no-no

Break the Adsense TOS

What else can I add? Make sure to read them careful. Better safe than sorry!

 

If you want to earn more revenue, don’t…

Place too many ads

This completely ruins user experience; users are likely to leave your page quickly if they get stuffed with ads. This is a case where most of the times, less is more.

Forget to test

Test everything: colors, placements, sizes… What’s working on one website might not work on another.

Be satisfied

There is always room for improvement

The Top 6 WordPress themes for Adsense

Here is a list of some of the best optimized Adsense Themes.

However, and before I start, let me clarify something: there is no doubt that having a good, optimized theme helps improving your CTR.

But bear in mind there are still many factors for having a successful adsense niche: the quality of the traffic, the niche…

Why am I saying this? Because one might thing that by having a good theme all the work is done, when in fact the theme is just one of the factors.

So here are some of the themes that I like:

CTR Theme

This one is especially designed with Adsense in mind.

Link | Demo

Divi Theme

Not just for Adsense; it’s a feature packed multipurpose theme.

Link | Demo

Admania

Multiple layouts, mobile optimized

Link | Demo

Truemag

According to their own description, “Truemag’s ad “hotspots” are strategically placed throughout this content-driven theme to attract the eye without compromising the user experience”

Link | Demo

SociallyViral

Created to get viral traffic, but it’s also optimal for Adsense

Link | Demo

AdMag

Great theme for a blog (magazine style) with responsive Ads system

Link | Demo

Clickbump

It offes multiple themes in one. Some of them are not too attractive, but they have been built with CTR in mind, so no complains about ugliness if it makes money 🙂

Link | Demo

How to get a high EPC in Adsense

EPC or Earnings Per Click is a simple idea: how much you make (on average) every time someone clicks on one of your ads.

So that means you want to have a high EPC.

Let’s see some tricks / ideas on how to get more money:

Target the right niche / keywords

Some niches pay more than others. Why? Because there is money being spent in them!

At the end of the day, if you earn money with Adsense, that means that there are advertisers willing to pay for those clicks.

Niches like insurance, lawyers, health… tend to pay pretty well (the only problem is ranking  well, of course).

Find profitable keywords

Once you have your niche decided, use a tool to find high paying keywords and write content around those keywords.

Get quality traffic

Make sure your traffic is not junk (SEO traffic is usually good), or Google might decide that your site is not worth getting properly paid.

Try to get people to click on the top ad

Usually, the ad that appears first in your site will be the one that pays the most (per click), so you want your visitors to click on that one.

Geography matters

Clicks from different countries are not worth the same. If most of your traffic comes from countries like USA, Canada, UK, Australia… you will get a higher CPC than other countries where clicks are cheaper.

Use text and image ads

Google will usually display the top paying ad, so if you are using just one of them you might be leaving money on the table

Pro tip:

Connect your Adsense and Analytics account to get all metrics and have better information!

Ninja tip:

Test, test, test! Test everything: placement, colors… there is always something you can improve 🙂

The best niches / keywords for Adsense

Not all niches pay the same in Adsense, and the reason is simple. If advertisers are willing to pay more per click, that means they expect to make more money per click/visitor.

Here is a list of some of the best paying niches:

  • Insurance
  • Mortgages
  • Health
  • Tecnhology
  • Donation based blogs
  • Forex / trading

So that you get an idea, this is the estimated CPC that the Adwords Keyword Planner reports for some keywords (in USA):

  • mesothelioma cancer attorney: $378,62
  • cheap vehicle insurance quotes: $217,17
  • hard disk drive data recovery: $130,29
  • donate car CA: $115,55
  • home refinance: $58,33

Compare that to:

  • tattoo ideas: $0,68
  • electric rc planes: $0,40
  • scrapbooking warehouse: $0,17
  • France info: 0,07

See the difference? And you can probably guess why a mesothelioma attorney might want to spend a high amount of money in adquiring a customer, whereas someone with tattoo ideas would be much lower, right?

Now, does this mean you should only go for the highest paying keywords? Absolutely NOT!

Sure, if you could rank in Google for mesothelioma lawyer, or home refinance, that would be awesome, but the chances are really low (or, in any case, it would take you years of hard work).

My personal advice is to go for keywords that are easier to rank. Regarding payout, my rule of thumb is to go for keywords that pay for over $1 per click. Or, to be more precise, where Google says “suggested bid” over $1.

4 reasons why you won’t make that amount per click

  1. The prices Google shows are for the search network (the ads that appear when you search on Google), not for the display network (your Adsense site)
  2. Those are suggested bid prices, but it’s not set in stone; since Adsense/Adwords works on a bidding mode, you might end up with less
  3. The traffic might vary per country (the prices I showed above are for USA traffic)
  4. Out of every click, Google keeps 32% and you get 68%

Hope that helped!

 

 

What is CTR, how to increase it, and why is it important for you?

Click Through Rate (or CTR) is one these things you have to keep checking, like the oil in your car.

What is CTR?

In a nutshell, if your ad unit is displayed 100 times, and visitors click on it 5 times, your CTR is 5%.

If you want to get a bit techie, here is the formula:

CTR = Number of clicks / Num ad impressions x 100

The higher the CTR, the more clicks you get, the more money you should make, so we aim at getting as high CTR as possible (without going overboard; otherwise Google would think there is something “fishy” going on with your site).

So how do we increase CTR?

Here are some tips:

Ad position

If your ad is at the top of the page, very visible, it will probably get more clicks than the ad at the very bottom.

Ad sizes

Some sizes perform better than others (usually the standard sizes win, but sometimes it needs some testing)

Colors

You will find people saying 2 completely different things:

  • Make your ad blend with your content (ie, use similar colors)
  • Make your ad stand out

So, there is no universal answer, aside from: test!

Use responsive ads

Nowadays lots of people browse the web using their smartphone (or tablet), so you want to use a responsive ad so it will look good in a phone.

Your theme (if using WordPress)

Although content is more important in this case, some themes are better for ads than others

Have high quality content

If your content is good, it will keep people reading your site (instead of leaving after 5 seconds), so you have a higher chance of getting your ad clickd

Keep some space between your content and ads (so that these stand out)

Experiment

My final advice is this: test, test, test. Maybe what works for others does not work for you. Or what works for you in one site works differently in another…

How to insert Google Adsense Ads in your website

So, by now you probably have an active Adsense account (if not, read my tips to get your Adsense account approved).

The next steps are:

  • Generate one or more ad units
  • Insert them into your blog / website

I’m assuming you are using WordPress, so here are my recommended plugins:

Quick Adsense (link)

I have been using this plugin for years (simple yet powerful), but it is now discontinued and hasn’t had an update in over 4 years, so my number #1 choice now is…

Adsense Plugin WP QUADS (link)

The author took the code from Quick Adsense and improved it, so it’s newer/better. This is the one I use right now.

The Official Google Adsense plugin – by Google (link)

The description reads things like “Easily add Adsense ads” – “Manage your ads quickly”. However, I’ve found that for my taste, any of the previous plugins work better for me. It has 200k installs though, so it must be doing something properly 😉

Bonus: Google Adsense Dashboard (link)

Use this plugin to see your Adsense earnings right inside WordPress

How to insert Adsense Ads:

For this, we will be using WP QUADS.

Step 1: Create an ad inside Adsense (You can pick any size you want, but I recommend using a responsive unit)

Step 2: Install and activate the WP QUADS Plugin

Step 3: Go to WP QUADS

Under ADSENSE CODE, you can enter up to 10 Ad codes; however usually you won’t need more than 1 to 3 ad codes.

Step 4: Once you have entered the code, go to “GENERAL & POSITION“, and select where you want your ads to appear. In my example, I’m adding a square ad block (ad1) at the beginning of the post, and a horizontal ad (ad2) at the end of the post.

Step 5: Choose if you would like the ads to appear in places like Homepage, category page, etc.

Step 6: Make sure to select “Limit Amount of ads” to 3, since if you add more, you will be breaking Google Adsense’s policy.

That’s it! Now you have ads on your website ready to make you money.

Recommended positions

In my experience, the ads that work best are:

Beginning of Post: this is the very first thing your visitor will see, so it’s good to have an add here

End of Post: After they have read your post, they might want to know more, and here is your ad, ready to make you $$$ when they click.

Sidebar: It’s handy to have an ad ready in your sidebar (to add it, go to Appearance > Widgets, and drag and drop one of the widgets called AdsWidgetX (Quick Adsense Reloaded)

 

So that’s it!

 

Some tips to get your Google Adsense Account approved quickly

If you don’t have an Adsense account, the first step is to request approval.

Make sure to follow these tips (all of them) to make sure you get approved.

(I’ve read somewhere that Adsense accepts only 3 accounts out of every applications, so you definitely want to be one of those 3).

By the way, there is no telling how long your application will take to be reviewed, but the norm is around 3 days.

So let’s dive into the things you should do:

Content

  • Have a reasonable amount of content (ideally a minimum of 15 posts)
  • The content must be unique / high quality. Aim for a minimum of 500-600 words per post
  • Don’t use copyrighted images
  • Make sure to have these pages created:
    • About
    • Contact (if possible put your name and address)
    • Privacy Policy
    • Disclaimer
    • Terms and Conditions
  • Your site must be in one of these languages

 

Design

Use a nice looking design

Make sure your theme is reponsive (ie, looks good on a mobile device)

 

Domain

Apply using your root domain (not a subdomain)

Ideally, you want your domain to be a bit old (in some countries, like India and China, they require it to be at least 6 months old, but something like 1-2 months should be fine)

 

Niche

Adsense has a strict policy when it comes to the niche/thematic of your site. These are some of the content types not allowed by Adsense:

  • Pornography/Adult materials
  • Pirated Content
  • Hacking or Cracking Tutorials
  • Illegal Drugs/Paraphernalia
  • Any Other Illegal Stuff

 

Other ads / monetization

When applying for Adsense, make sure your site does not have any kind of ads (you can add them later on, once you get approved, as long as it does not break the Adsense TOS)

 

Other ideas

You must be 18+ to apply for the program

Make sure your traffic comes from reputable sources (SEO/organic traffic being the best one).