Admit it, you sweat in the kitchen for your followers, or you travel all around the world for them. You burn your fingers with a hot glue gun, and don’t even get me started if you have a wood shop. You blog, not only because you love what you do, but your followers love it too. You may spend hours, weeks, or even days curating a passion into a digital format. Why not earn something for your hard work?
Monetizing your blog is a hot topic at NEPA BlogCon each year and there are TONS of ways that you can make your blog profitable. One way that we’ll talk about in this post is by showing ads through a Google product called AdSense. AdSense is a free ad placement service, in which, Google allows advertisers to bid for placement on your site (or blog in this case). Whichever ads have the highest bid in the ad auction wins the placement, and you make a slice of that dough.
But, that is just scraping the surface of what AdSense is and how it can help your blog become a breadwinner.
How does AdSense work?
As mentioned above there are auctions for online placements. Advertisers who wish to be shown next to your content and to be exposed to your visitors will bid on placements such as yours. You, in turn, make money on their ads if other people view, click, or interact with them.
There are a number of ad formats that can work with various parts of your site. If you so choose, you can display test, image, or rich media ads. Rich media ads are either video, HTML5, or interactive ads. The format of the ad, though, matters on what features the site has. For instance, you can have image ads show above your header or on a sidebar. This is done by placing a piece of code into your site. You can also integrate text ads to show for search results if you have a custom search option. Text ads are even customizable to match the color and style of the site.
The type of ad content that will show depends on the content within your site, as well as, the visitors to your site. (No need to fear, you can choose to have family-safe content displayed.) Google’s technology can read the keywords on your site and figure out what the webpage is about. It can also determine who your visitors are through language targeting (using a visitor’s settings in their web browser to match sites that match) and interest targeting by tracking their every move online. Creepy, I know. Either way, Google knows all and can make a match between your site and relevant ads to reach potential customers for their advertisers.
The Green Stuff
OK, now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Payday.
Google will pay your site depending on what ad types you have published to your site. Text ads acquires money whenever a user clicks on it, while display can be paid per view. Other formats require views or engagements like mouse-hovering. Whatever way you choose, Google will pay accordingly following their payment guidelines.
When you sign up for AdSense the first steps you should complete are configuring and verifying your payment profile. First, AdSense will have you fill out tax information (some locations do not require this step). Then, AdSense will verify your address with a postcard containing a PIN once you reach your payment threshold (I explain this term later). Once verified, you can choose a payment method from a variety of options such as electronic fund transfers, checks, wire transfers, etc.
A payment threshold is the amount of money your account needs to accrue in a certain time period in order for you to cash out. Let’s say your payment threshold by August 30th is $100. If you rack up one hundred buckaroonies by that date, AdWords will record it in your account, and you could receive that payment by the end of September. If your site doesn’t acquire that much money, don’t worry, Don Corleone isn’t coming after you. It rolls over to the next month and the next until your reach that threshold.
The key thing to keep in mind is that AdSense requires a lot of traffic to support a payout. If you’re a blogger that’s just starting out or has low traffic, you may want to consider other monetization options. Just like an investment portfolio, diversifying your blog’s income with different ad types or revenue generators can be a smart move.
AdSense is a practical and free way to make money on the content you already publish. By simply signing up and taking an afternoon to choose what styles and formats work best for your site, you’re making an investment. After all, you may not have started a blog to make money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about whether or not AdSense is a great fit for your blog, you should check out this free Google Guide to Native Ads.