Google AdSense Optimization – Ad Placement

Placing AdSense ads on a web page is easy enough. The question most often asked, though, is WHERE on the page must you place the Ads? This question does not…

Placing AdSense ads on a web page is easy enough. The question most often asked, though, is WHERE on the page must you place the Ads? This question does not have an easy answer as every web site has it’s own differences. But Google was kind enough to release a “heat map” showing which positions on a web page were optimal for placing AdSense ads. Take a look at the Google AdSense heatmap below. The darker the color, the better the Click Through Ratio (CTR):

AdSense_HeatMap.gif

There are a few things to note from this image:

  • The closer the ad is to the content, the better
  • Ads on the left do better than ads on the right
  • Ads at the top do better than ads at the bottom

This picture is especially relevant for westerners, as they read from left to right and from top to bottom. You HAVE to remember where the readers eyes are or will be. If they are looking at the ads, there is more chance that they will see something relevant, and click on it.

This is just an introduction to Google AdSense ad placement. There are MANY, MANY more things to consider about the placement and optimization of ads. I will try to touch on as many of them as possible in the coming articles.

Adding Google AdSense to your Blog

Now that you’ve created the Ad Unit of your dreams, you need to actually add it to your site. This will differ slightly depending on MANY variations in blogging platforms…

Now that you’ve created the Ad Unit of your dreams, you need to actually add it to your site. This will differ slightly depending on MANY variations in blogging platforms and the platform templates/themes. Once again, I will give you an example of how to do this using my environment, i.e. WordPress 2.0.2 and this WordPress theme, “Aesthetic Azure“.

So, in the previous post, “Creating AdSense Ads“, the last step you did was get the code generated by Google AdSense that will display your Ad Unit chosen.

1 – Find the file that needs to be modified:

Because I have placed this ad on the right side of this page, I know that I have to look for the file that contains this section of the page. In WordPress templates, generally there are files that contain the “instructions” for the page layout and contents in different files per section of the page. Occasionally, if you have 2 side-bars (left AND right), they are contained in 1 file, something like “sidebar.php”. Other times, like with this theme, they are split up into 2 files, for example, “left.php” and “right.php”. Not all WordPress themes are the same, and they can be named anything the author wants to name them.

So, in my theme, the file I need to modify is “right.php”

2 – Find the section in the file that needs to be modified:

As you can see, my Ads appear after a section called “Links”. So, editing the file “right.php”, I look for this section in the file by scanning for the phrase “Links:”, and I see that it appears like this:

<li class=”menustyle” id=”links”><?php _e(‘Links:’); ?>
<ul>
<?php get_links(-1, ‘<li>’, ‘</li>’, ‘<br />’, TRUE, ‘id’, FALSE, TRUE, -1, TRUE); ?>
</ul>
</li>

So, to keep my ads in the same theme as the menu structure, I’ve just replaced the middle 3 lines, which LISTS my links, and placed my AdSense code. Like this:

<li class=”menustyle” id=”links”><?php _e(‘Sponsors:’); ?>
— all my adsense code here —
</li>

Obviously, instead of “all my adsense code here”, you would place the code that you got from the last post’s instructions.

3 – Upload your new Template:

Having modified your blog’s template, you will need to modify the live version of this template. In most cases, this is really simple, especially so in WordPress. It is just a case of going into the WordPress Admin console, clicking “Presentation”, clicking on “Theme Editor” and selecting your file on the right. Then, just overwrite the current file by pasting into the Text Area, and click “Update File” and you’re done.

::::::::::::

So, now that you have placed your AdSense ad on your site, you should be able to monitor it’s progress. Don’t worry, the dollars don’t just start flooding in. There are a whole lot of other customisations and improvements to the ads and your site that can be done to optimize your site. For example, there is Ad Placement, and blending… We’ll discuss these in a later post.

Creating AdSense Ads

Now that you have set up your channels and decided what colors you want to use for your Google AdSense, it’s time to actually create the Ads. We’re going to…

Now that you have set up your channels and decided what colors you want to use for your Google AdSense, it’s time to actually create the Ads. We’re going to base the next few steps on the ads on the bottom right of this page: The 120×600 Sky Scraper Ad Unit

1 – Once again, log into Google AdSense, and click “AdSense Setup” at the top of the page

2 – Select the “AdSense for Content” link

3 – Select the “Ad Unit” option, and in the Drop Down box, select “Text ads only”

AdSense_Text_Ads.jpg

4 – Under “Format”, select “120 x 600 Skyscraper”

AdSense_Text_SkyScraper.jpg

5 – Under “Colors”, enter the colors that you decided on in the previous post: “Choosing colors for AdSense Ads“. Check the example on the left to see if the colors look right

6 – Under “More options“, next to “Channel“, select the Channel you created (if suitable) in this post: “Create Good AdSense Channels

AdSense_Channel.jpg

7 – For now you can leave the rest of the options as default

8 – After clicking “continue”, you will get to the page containing the code you will need to put on your web page to show the ads. Just putting your mouse in the text box will select the code. Copy and paste this somewhere where you will remember where it is. This will make it easier to paste the AdSense code into your page at a later stage.

AdSense_Code.jpg

::::::::::::

And that is it. You have the code, and are ready to make money using AdSense. Maybe you’ll even catch up to those Rich Jerks out there 😉

Choosing colors for AdSense Ads

In this post I will describe the process I went through to choose the colors of the AdSense Ad Unit at the bottom right of this page. To get it…

In this post I will describe the process I went through to choose the colors of the AdSense Ad Unit at the bottom right of this page. To get it exactly the way I want, it involved looking at the CSS for WordPress theme I’m using. I will discuss the Style Sheet for WordPress templates/themes in a later post, so hopefully this won’t be too complex. It is still possible to get what you need without looking at the CSS for the exact colors, and I will try and exaplain them in a later post.

Deciding what the Ad must look like:
If you take a look on the left of this page, you should see 2 boxes containing a title and a list of links, namely “Pages” and “Categories”. This is the standard menu structure for my blog, so I’ve decided that, to enable my ads to blend in a little better with my site, I want them to look similar to this. According to Google’s T&C, visitors must be able to distinguish the ads from the rest of my site’s content, and you’ll see that this is still done because of the “title” “Ads by Goooogle” at the top of the Ads. So I have chosen the SkyScraper ad unit.

Deciding on the Ad’s Colors:

Once again, if you look at the menus on the left, you will see that the Heading of the menu is Blue, and the links underneath are Red (or Orange, I can’t really tell :-D). In an ad unit, there are generally 5 parts that you can change the colors of, and you will see what colors I have chosen for each part:

  1. Border – White, because I will be using my own border as the rest of my menu structure does
  2. Title – Blue, like the titles of my other menus
  3. Background – White
  4. Text – Red
  5. Url – Red, so that it falls as part of the Text section

Finding the Ad’s Colors:

In my style sheet, if I find where the menu’s formatting is defined, I can see the colors being used are:

  • Red = #FF3300
  • Blue = #008CD2

The other color I will need is White, which is #FFFFFF.

This all makes life really easy, because, if you see the picture below, when designing the ads in my AdSense account, it’s just a case of entering the colors in the correct Boxes.

AdSense_Colors.jpg

Create Good AdSense Channels

In my previous post I highlight why you need good AdSense Channels, namely, to easily see how your Google ads perform when…

In my previous post I highlight why you need good AdSense Channels, namely, to easily see how your Google ads perform when you view the AdSense reports. Here is how to use that information to actually create a good Channel (with examples).

Name your Channel:

Info you will need (see previous blog for more details):

  • What is your Website name?: Space Blog
  • Is it a Google search box or Ad?: Ad
  • What type of Ad?: Link Unit
  • Where will you place it?: On the Left
  • Will this be site-wide or only on Post Pages?: Post Pages

So, using the above info, we can create the name “SB_Ad_Link_Left_Posts“. If you were to test a specific color and wanted to compare it to other colors, you could add that parameter into the name as well.

Now, let’s see how to create the Ad Channel in Google.

1 – Log into your Google AdSense account

2 – Click “Channels” near the top to go to the Channels section

AdSense_Channels_Step2.jpg
3 – Make sure you’re in the “AdSense for Content” section
AdSense_Channels_Step3.jpg

4 – Go down the page to “Manage Custom Channels
5 – Type the name of your Channel (in this case: SB_Ad_Link_Left_Posts) into the text box and click the button “Create New Channel”
AdSense_Channels_Step4.jpg

6 – Make sure it appears in your list of “Active Custom Channels”.
AdSense_Channels_Step6.jpg

7 – If you have any typo errors that you need to fix, there is the option to do so at the bottom next to “Rename:”

And there you have it. Now it’s just a case of creating the Ad for this Channel.

AdSense Channels – AdSense the Proper way

AdSense_Channels.pngOnce you have been accepted and have signed into your AdSense account, I’m sure you’ll want to start placing ads on your site. Well, before…

AdSense_Channels.pngOnce you have been accepted and have signed into your AdSense account, I’m sure you’ll want to start placing ads on your site. Well, before you start, there’s one definite thing you should do first: Create a few Channels for your ads. AdSense Channels help you differentiate between the ads (or group of ads) on your site.

For example:

You might decide to have a Link Unit Ad on the left of your Blog “Space Blog”. When monitoring how well this ad does, you want to know which ads are being clicked when you look at some of Google’s Advanced AdSense reports. So you could create a Channel called “SB_Link_Left” and assign this ad to this channel. That way, when you view an Advanced AdSense report, you can see data for this specific channel, and know that you are looking at the data for this specific ad unit.

So, to start off, here’s a list of things I suggest you do:

1 – Take a look at your site, and see WHERE you want to place the AdSense Ads.

2 – While looking at where, take a look at what KIND of AdSense Ads you want to use. For example: Link Units, Text Ads or Image Ads. Take a look here for more examples.

3 – Decide what Colors you want your ads to be. If you think you’ll be experimenting with different colors, now’s the time to right them down.

4 – Decide if you are going to have the same ad on all your pages (site-wide), or different ads on your main page and your post pages.

All of the above decisions will help you when choosing good AdSense channels. In the next post, I will show you how to use this information and walk you through creating a Channel.

WordPress – Blogging Tool Extraordinaire

As I mentioned in my post about “Blogging – Step 2 – Hosting a blog“, a preferred way to blog…

As I mentioned in my post about “Blogging – Step 2 – Hosting a blog“, a preferred way to blog is to subscribe to a web hosting company, and host your own blogging platform. I personally use WordPress as my platform. I FULLY recommend this software as there is just so much you can do with it. Here is a bit of a description from the WordPress homepage:

WordPress_logo.png

WordPress is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. What a mouthful. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

More simply, WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it.

So, some of the many things that I like about WordPress?:

  • You can VERY easily change the theme (template) that WordPress uses using one of the MANY free WordPress themes
  • You can easily modify the way your site looks, even changing the template’s code to suit your needs (assuming you are allowed to)
  • Upgrading WordPress is a simple, 2 minute process – this might be needed if you encounter any bugs that are fixed in later versions
  • WordPress caters for non-english languages using special localization features
  • Supports RSS feed creation
  • There are a lot of WordPress plugins that enhance the functionality of WordPress, adding features such as Spam protection, backup, and much much more.

There are a lot of other features about WordPress that I will touch upon later. And I hope to be able to teach you some tips and tricks to customizing WordPress, including making WordPress Search Engine friendly…

Google AdSense – Signing up

To make money with AdSense, you will need an account. So, here’s a nice little step by step on signing up with Google Adsense:

  1. – Head over to the Google AdSense…

To make money with AdSense, you will need an account. So, here’s a nice little step by step on signing up with Google Adsense:

  1. – Head over to the Google AdSense website
  2. – Click the “Click Here to Apply” button in the middle of the page
  3. – Fill in the required details
  • I don’t usually subscribe to websites using my “real” information to prevent spam – DON’T do that here. They need your real info
  • You will be able to choose a currency that Google pays you out with, so don’t worry if you are not living in America

Once you have filled in all the details, Google will review the site that you want to place the ads on. This can take a couple of weeks, so be patient. They are just checking that you do not want to advertise on pornographic sites, or are trying to promote gambling, for example.

Google_AdSense.pngOnce you have been approved, you can place ads on any of your websites, so long as they don’t break the Terms and Conditions of Google Adsense. I will touch on placing the ads on your site in a later post.

Blogging – Step 5 – Monetizing your blog

Ok, so, put up your hands all those who are only here for this topic? 😉

Diagonal_Dollars.jpg

Anyway, there are MANY ways to earn money from blogging….

Ok, so, put up your hands all those who are only here for this topic? 😉

Diagonal_Dollars.jpg

Anyway, there are MANY ways to earn money from blogging. We can all see I’m using Google AdSense here, but here’s a very quick rundown:

  • Per-Click Advertising – Probably the most famous of these is Google’s AdSense. This is a very simple way of earning money as it involves putting some code into your web pages, and Google’s system does the rest. It scans your text and finds ads it feels are most relevant.
  • Affiliate Programs – This is where you put adverts on your page for specific products and you get a small commission if any items are sold via these adverts. A good example of a company that does this is Amazon.com.
  • Selling Ad Space on your blog – This mainly happens when you have a large readership. You can then approach suppliers, (they could even approach you), and offer to sell them space on your blog to put relevant adverts on. They would then pay you a pre-arranged amount.

So, depending on what you’re looking for, there are many ways to earn money blogging. In future posts I will be highlighting a lot of them, but my focus will be mainly on Google AdSense. To give you some sort of optimism, there are people out there earning MUCH more than $10,000 A MONTH from AdSense. There are even videos that people have outlining how to earn money from AdSense. I won’t be showing any videos for AdSense any time soon, though. I like the idea of keeping things simple.

Blogging – Step 4 – Visually Appealing Posting Tips

Here is a list of some things that you should try and do to make your blog easier to read, more appealing, and easier to scan. It seems to be…

Here is a list of some things that you should try and do to make your blog easier to read, more appealing, and easier to scan. It seems to be a well know fact that, if you’re landing on a blog for the first time (which most visitors do on a new blog), they will scan the page, rather than reading word for word. So, you will need to use the following tips to make a page more attractive and enticing.

Use Headings:

This is something that is very effective. Using headings that stick out from the rest of the text will enable a reader who is scanning the page to see if the information on the page is actually relevant.

Use images in your posts:

Using images in your post helps relieve some of the strain caused by too much text. When you were small, did you ever enjoy reading books with no pictures? Pictures that help tell a story can enhance the story as well. And, of coures, a lot of text looks like a lot of BOOORRINNG!

You don’t have to be a top class photographer to put photos on your blog. You could also get some photos from free image and photo stock websites. There are a few subscription based, royalty free stock photos available, as well as completely free stock photos available. On some sites, the only requirement is that you notify the owner of the image that you will be using their photo. I will discuss some of these sites in a later post.

Make your blog visually appealing:

Orange_Flower.jpgWhichever platform you have decided to use to blog, you will most probably be able to change the template of your posts. This means you will be able to change the look and feel of your blog. If you browse the internet you should be able to find quite a few free blog templates for your platform.

This has 2 benefits:

  1. – Your blog looks more appealing and professional
  2. – You can give your blog an original look and feel to it

Following these simple tips can really make your reader’s visit an enjoyable one.

Blogging – Step 3 – Attracting Visitors

Well, now that you are up and running (you are, right?), you’ll want to be able to get a few readers to your site in the hope that they will…

Well, now that you are up and running (you are, right?), you’ll want to be able to get a few readers to your site in the hope that they will become hooked. Well, there are a number of ways to do this. Here are just a few of them:

Get your blog high in the SERP‘s:

This will be discussed in a lot more detail later on as there are a LOT of things that need to be done to faciliate this. Some of them are:

  • Put a few relevant keywords in your post – You shouldn’t write about dogs without actually mentioning the word “dogs”, right?
  • Name your posts properly – This is generally because the names of your posts become the title of the post’s page, and the Page Title plays a big role for Search Engines
  • Become a blog that people link to – This probably won’t really apply so early on the life of a blog, but the more relevant sites that link to your blog, the better

Join Relevant Discussion Forums:

This will help quite a bit, because it might also give you some information to help you with your blog. There are a TON of forums out there on the internet, so it shouldn’t be TOO hard to find a few that are relevant to your blog’s topic. When you join a forum you will generally learn a bit from the other members (assuming it is an active forum). Not only that but you can ask people to visit your site if it’s appropriate. Just be careful, as joining a forum just to ask people to view your site is considered spam and can get you into trouble.

Shake_Hands.jpg

Visit similar blogs and comment on them:

This will also be beneficial because, a lot of the time, when you comment on other blogs you can leave a link to your blog’s site when you fill in your details. If you start leaving some useful comments on other blogger’s sites, they tend to come to your blog to see what you have to say. And, other visitors to the other blog follow your “comments” to your blog as well.

Blogging – Step 2 – Hosting a blog

There are a number of options when it comes to hosting a blog. Some of them are:

  • MSN’s “mySpace.com” – Quite a good looking blogging platform hosted by Microsoft. VERY popular,…

There are a number of options when it comes to hosting a blog. Some of them are:

  • MSN’s “mySpace.com” – Quite a good looking blogging platform hosted by Microsoft. VERY popular, though not yet income friendly
  • Yahoo’s “Yahoo! 360°” – Still in beta but getting quite popular I believe
  • Google’s “Blogger” – A very popular and eary to use blogging platform hosted by Google.
  • WordPress.com – Another popular blogging host. Also the creators of WordPress, which is a very popular blogging platform
  • TypePad – A blogging platform hosted by “6 Apart”, using their MovableType blogging platform.

Web_Hosting_1.jpg There is another, preferred way to blog, and that is to sign up for a hosting plan, and host your own blog. This way you will have FULL control over what can and can’t be done on your blog. If you browse for website hosting plans, you can see a few of the prices and options available from the different hosting companies for your hosting solution. Once you have found a company that offers web hosting, and you have signed up, you can then install your own choice of blogging platform, such as WordPress or MovableType. Then you are free to configure it as you please. There are web hosting companies that offer installation of WordPress or MovableType for you, and then, once again, you can configure as you please.

Blogging – Step 1 – Choose your content

Choosing your blog content is key to the success of your blog. I mentioned before (in “Blogging Content”) that content is king. In this post I will try and outline…

Choosing your blog content is key to the success of your blog. I mentioned before (in “Blogging Content”) that content is king. In this post I will try and outline a few points that will help you choose your blog’s content.

1 – Choose something you know something about.

This might sound obvious, but so many people out there don’t follow this. Of course, sometimes, the thing you know most about is yourself. It could also be about your profession, your hobbies, or your interests.

2 – Choose something unique.

You could struggle to find readers (well, readers will struggle to find you) if what you write about is not unique. Once again, everybody knows that “you are unique, just like everybody else”. Remember, web pages are generally found using Internet Search Engines like Yahoo, MSN and Google. If there are 25 Million other blogs about your topic, unless you’re pretty high in the search results, readers won’t know about you. For example, how about blogging about Digital Cameras? Take a look at how many results there are when searching Google for that…

But whatever it is you choose to write about, it could be the WAY you write it that makes it unique.

3 – Choose something interesting.

Breakfast.jpg

This might negate a couple of things I’ve mentioned above, namely, if you’re writing about yourself, will it be interesting? Not many people enjoy reading about what you had for breakfast. But there are a lot of people out there that would love to learn something new. Could you teach people something???

Blogging Content

Here is a line that you might or might not be familiar with:

“Content is King”

In the world of blogging, this is the rule of thumb. There is nothing more BORING

Here is a line that you might or might not be familiar with:

“Content is King”

In the world of blogging, this is the rule of thumb. There is nothing more BORING than a blog with no content, or, with content but it’s POINTLESS!!! It’s quite easy to see a blog with a “writer” that has not heard of the “CIK” theory. They generally have posts that say:

“I promise to write next week, I’ve been busy for a while”

“Yahoo, my grass has started to grow”

Blog_Writing_1.jpg

Some tips for writing good content:

  • Keep it simple, yet entertaining/interesting
  • Don’t write pages and pages of something. Break it down into chewable bites
  • People LOVE lists. It makes information easy to see
  • Make the content relative to your topic.

Hopefully this very brief outline will help you get started. Remember, the aim of the game in blogging is to write something so that readers will keep returning for more. If your blog is boring, you won’t be getting any subscribers…

Blogging – What is it?

Blog_Blank_Page.jpgBlogging is all about writing. Whether it is an online journal, a product review, or a help page. The only difference really is the layout.

The…

Blog_Blank_Page.jpgBlogging is all about writing. Whether it is an online journal, a product review, or a help page. The only difference really is the layout.

The term “Blog” is an abbreviation for “weblog“, which is a method of posting your writings online in a reverse chronoligical order. This means, each new article you add to your blog appears at the top of the web page, and the previous articles appear below it, ordered from most recent to least… It is just a case of taking a blank page, and filling it with words that will attract an eager reader or 10.
As I mentioned above, blogs are a personal choice. Each blog can focus on something different, whether you are writing about personal experiences or not. If you would like to start blogging, I fully recommend taking a look at what is already out there, and get a feel for the process. Here is a list of some of the blogs that I read, in no particular order:

  • Waiter Rant – An EXCELLENT blog written by a waiter in an Italian Bistro, writing about his dealings with customers and, sometimes, life in general. One of my favourite reads.
  • Scobleizer – In his own words in his title, Scoble is a Microsoft Geek Blogger. BUT, the one thing that he has above other MS Geek bloggers? He works for Microsoft. An interesting read dealing with most things geeky but interesting. Also a frequent poster…
  • Matt Cutts – Matt works for Google, specialising in SEO and Google’s search indexing. But he also blogs about a lot of other intersting things, like life at Google.
  • Seth Godin – In his own words: “SETH GODIN is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change”. His blog is like a bucket that catches his little drops of wisdom that he occasionally lets loose. Another interesting read…

So, now you have a very TINY background about what blogging is. Enjoy the reading…