Google Adsense is one of the most popular programs that allows nearly anyone to run ads on their website.
Adsense launched June 18th 2013, and I had my first account earning in early 2006. On November 7th 2006 the account was banned. 🤦♂️
During these short few months I earned a few hundred dollars on a number of different websites. The banning of my account was what led me to research how to monetize a website without Adsense, and these days I only have one site that still uses Adsense at all.
If you do decide to monetize a website with Adsense, it pays (literally) to know a few tips and tricks to maximise your earnings.
But first, let’s look at the pros and cons of using Adsense to monetize a website.
There are a number of great advantages of using Adsense:
- Google is reliable, and (somewhat) trustworthy. They say what they say they will do, and there is extensive documentation so there are few suprises.
- Adsense is self-service. you can login to your account anytime and view reports or set up new ad units. You don’t need much technical knowledge to get up and running with Adsense quickly.
- There is no upfront cost to join Adsense, and no ongoing costs. Adsense makes their revenue by taking a percentage of the advertisers spend (about 30% last time I checked).
- Google pays monthly, as long as you meet the payment threshold (about $100).
- You can monetize multiple websites with one Adsense account.
- As mentioned above, Adsense takes a percentage of your earnings before it even hits your account. If you have the time and energy, you can increase your income from display ads by selling them directly to advertisers. Doing this can double, triple, or quadruple your income.
- Google can terminate your Adsense account, and anyone who has had this happen to them knows how hard it can be to have it reinstated. Do you really want one employee in one company to have this much power over your livelihood?
- The earnings from Adsense are quite low. You’ll make a few dollars per thousand ad impressions. Other ad networks will pay higher than this., but you’ll need a substantial amount of traffic to be accepted by these higher paying ad networks.
- Similar to the point above, you need a lot of traffic to make a living from Adsense alone. My personal opinion is that relying on Adsense to make a living is a poor decision, there are dozens of more lucrative ways to monetize your website which don’t require hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. This is why I created the Monetization Method course.
How Adsense Works
How to Add Google Adsense to Your Website
Adding Google Adsense to your website is pretty simple. If you’re knowledgable enough to even own or manage a website, you will be knowledgable enough to add Adsense to it.
Step 1: Own a website
If you’re reading this, you more than likely already own a website. That’s great, because if you don’t own a website you can’t apply for Adsense. If your website is still in the planning staging, or under construction, finish it off then come back once it is ready.
Step 2: Become familiar with the Adsense guidelines
Facebook Groups, Twitter, and online forums are littered with people asking how to recover a banned Adsense account.
Adsense has a number of guidelines that you must follow to avoid having your account deactivated. When you’re relying on Adsense to generate your income, it can be devastating to have your account banned!
Firsly, think of your users. In most cases Google simply wants your website to be a pleasant experience for the users. They don’t want to place ads, on behalf of their customers (the advertisers), on low quality websites. This means:
- Ensure their is no illegal activity on your website
- Your site is free from malware or adware
- There is not excessive profanity in your content
- Absolutely no shocking, mature, or adult content
- Nothing related to drugs or drug paraphernalia
- No sales of tabacco, drugs, weapons, ammunition or alcohol
- No hateful content or discrimination
90% of websites will comply with this easily. If your site contains hateful content, installs malware, encourages user activity, and reviews drugs….then you’re a bad person and don’t deserve to generate an income from your website anyway. 😂
If your website contains unique and interesting content, which is high quality, and complies with all other eligibility requirements for Adsense, then move on to the next step.
How to Monetize a Website With Adsense Effectively
For people who are new to monetizing websites, Adsense can often be their first port of call. I know it was mine too. Adsense is popular because it is easy, and well publicised.
In saying that, I also believe Adsense has caused tens of thousands of people to give up their dream of making a living online because it pays so little, and you need tens of thousands of monthly visitors to make a small amount of money. I often wish that people tried to monetize their websites without Adsense before giving up, as they’ll likely have more success.
With that being said, if you do decide to use Adsense, here are my top tips to do it right.
Tip #1 – Don’t rely 100% on Adsense.
Adsense should be called Adcents, because you literally make cents for each visitor to your website, if you’re lucky. Although I’m not going to tell you not to use Adsense, I strongly encourage you to look at other ways to monetize your website alongside Adsense. Can you also sell any of the following:
- Sponsored articles
- Digital products (ebooks, courses, photographs, templates etc)
- Newsletter ads
- Memberships to exclusive content
- Sponsored links
Or perhaps you can also use affiliate links for both low value affiliate programs (which pay 2 to 3% of each sale), or high value affiliate programs (which pay 20 to 60% of each sale).
You’ll sleep easier knowing that your website income is diversified, and when you eventually decide to sell your website (if that’s your plan), potential buyers will be happy to see all your eggs aren’t in one basket).
Read our viral article on How to Monetize a Website Without Adsense to learn more about this topic.
Tip #2 – Play by the rules, and keep your morals
It can be tempting to bend the rules to maximize your Adsense income. I did it back in 2006, and I got banned (I appealed and got unbanned). So what do I mean by playing by the rules?
- Don’t incentivize clicks on the ads with phrases such as “click the ads,” “support our sponsors,” “visit these recommended links,” or other similar language that could apply to the Google ads on your site.
- Don’t use arrows or other symbols to direct attention to the ads on your sites, and don’t label the Google ads with text other than “sponsored links” or “advertisements”.
- Ensure your website has genuine web traffic. You may be tempted to buy “Adsense friendly” traffic from sites such as Fiverr, but it is not worth the risk. If this worked, everyone would be doing it and making a fortune.
We’ve learnt its easy to monetize a website with Adsense. But we’ve also learnt there are alternatives to adsense, and many ways to monetize a website without Adsense.