The trials and tribulations of this blog over the course of a year are not significant or monumental. They are just the ups and downs of a blogger trying to make some extra money with a website and some words. What follows are some tips that I've put together along the way to make your blog or website work with Google Adsense and put some money in your pocket.
First and foremost, you need a website. There are a lot of options here that you can choose from. Many people decide to go with the super easy to set up and get published versions, for example blogger.com. This has its positives as well as drawbacks. The free services sometimes get your site indexed quicker by search engines, but allow you less freedom in style and design of the overall blog or website.
On the other side of that coin lies the paid hosting services. These can be daunting to first time users, but ideally is something you should learn if you're going to be maintaining your own blog or website anyway. So jump in and get a small hosting package. You don't need to buy the biggest one out there, you can always upgrade it later. Start small and simple to stay within your budget.
Next up on the to do list is the domain name. This is what your site will be branded around. Try to get something that includes the product type you will be pitching or something that relates to the sites overall content. Search engines have become extremely picky in this regard and relevant domain names play a part in the overall quality score of a website in search engine optimization and marketing. So for example if you're going to enter the cell phone ring tone market you might try out a domain like www.cellphoneringtone.com. Its straight forward, to the point, and easy to remember.
There is a two fold effect with having your content name in your URL. The search engines will bump up your quality score some due to the fact that the domain name actually relates to the content. Secondly, ease of use and remembrance is a huge key here. The human brain has unlimited potential to retain and remember information, but only if its trained to do so. Most of the time you're dealing with a lazy surfer who is only concerned with typing short url names or where the bag of potato chips went to.
Once you've managed to get your hosting account and domain squared away, don't just leave it there for a few days while you figure out what you want to put on it. Take a few extra minutes and put some relevant information on the index page before you take a break. This will at least inform any user who stumbles across your website to what it will be about and it will let the search engines crawl your site to get a jump on indexing.
Once you've got your index page up and working, take a break and enjoy a mint or something for a bit. Come back refreshed and ready to put some work in. The next step is going to be deciding which platform you want your site to run on. I've listed a few below in ease of use for reference:
1. Blogging systems - ie. WordPress etc. Once installed these are some of the easiest systems to use and maintain. Most web hosts even provide a free automatic installer for these back end systems, so why not make use of them and get your site off the ground nice and easy.
2. CMS's - (content management systems) ie. Drupal, Joomla, Nuke etc. These have their own individual quirks to them, and are nicely robust. Fairly easy to install and offer the user more control over the programming and structure of how the system runs, Drupal is more for the user who wants to program and code individual scripts. Accordingly, don't monkey with it unless you're fairly sure you know what you are doing.
3. Self design / destruction - go look in the mirror. This is all you bad boy, from start to finish. Now of course this offers the most flexibility and the most hardship. Something goes wrong, you need to fix it.
Since this is a layout for new users I'm going to say go with option one and take the easy way out. Once you've managed to get your content management system in place its time to do some serious research. Making money with Adsense is a lot about research and testing. Well researched niches and thought out attack plans usually provide a bigger payout in the end.
While you are researching the market area you'd like to develop your website for, be certain to write down and keep a list of all terms & associations that apply to your market. Having a keyword list for your market area is crucial. Once you start writing articles for your content niche, you need to be able to lace your postings with keywords that are relevant to your niche. Have a list of keywords laminated and put them next to your keyboard as you write, it sounds dumb, but it really helps!
Once you've spent some time researching your target niche and content area, start writing and don't stop till you've managed to get five really decent articles about your niche. These should be background articles or information resource lists that users can easily get a bunch of useful links and info from.
Adsense produces ads based on the overall keyword saturation of the content of your website. If you were paying attention up above you would have written down your list of keywords and put them near your keyboard for easy reference. Unless you want ads for Jim Bobs discount warehouse on your garden growing website I suggest you get that list of keywords going already!
At this point its time to run over to Google and set up your Adsense account. Its nice and easy and straight forward, just fill in the information Google wants and off ya go. The Adsense scripts is basically just copy and paste to have it show up on your website. Don't mess with any of the code that Google provides, as they will slap you back to the stone age and most likely cancel your account in the process.
Start with easy block ads, the banner and skyscraper ads are easy to put into sidebars and along the bottom or top of postings. Make sure to use both text and images when selecting the type of content that will appear in your Adsense boxes. Most advertisers have banner ads and if you start with this type of ad you open your website up to the biggest amount of advertisers possible, which is a good thing. You can limit the type and style later on down the line when you've got a better handle on what is converting and what is not as far as clicks.
Once you've got Adsense in place, and you're happy with the way it looks on your site, start advertising your website and generating traffic towards it. You can try using Adwords or Yahoo! Sponsored Search for cost effective advertising. If you want to try out pay per click advertising heres a free $25 to Yahoo! Sponsored Search.
Remember that keyword list we made up earlier? That keyword list is exactly what you will need to produce targeted ads in either Yahoo or Google's pay per click advertising programs. Set a dollar amount you're ok with spending on advertising, chalk it up to website expense. This first time advertising money is a needed evil in establishing a website. Take a look at getting a press release done up and released as well.
Don't expect Adsense to make you a ton of money instantly. It should be a supplemental income to other revenue streams from your site. It is definitely a good source of income if you've got a lot of traffic to your site, but its never a guarantee. Try having multiple streams of income to offset any fluctuation in Adsense money.
Start small and aim small. Work for a $1 a day from Adsense, then once you've managed to sustain that value, work for $10 a day and so on. Before you know it you'll be making a decent income from your blog or website.