I posted recently about using Haloscan's trackback feature on Blogger without all the extras like comments and reviews. What I find even more people are interested in doing is trying to make some extra money on the side, or even have a profitable website or blog. The easiest ways to earn money off your blog or website would be to accept donations, charge for access, use advertising or some combination of the above.
If your blog or website is already popular and content-rich enough to warrant charging for access, you probably wouldn't be reading this, and begging for donations isn't exactly hard, so I'll be focusing on the third option which is using advertising for revenue.
Adding advertising to your blog shouldn't be difficult, and it isn't. The hard way would be to go out and find advertisers interested in putting ads on your blog or website. The smart way would be to have a personal advertising agent who goes and does this leg work for you. The best would be if this agent were completely automated. That agent would be Google AdsenseTM.
Google AdsenseTM has been around for a while now and is both very easy to sign up for and quite easy to use. In fact, the link to the left for Adsense is itself an Adsense ad inserted into this post with some simple cut'n'paste. With the exception of referrals like that one, what makes Google AdsenseTM so interesting is that the ads are automatically chosen for your website based on your site's content as indexed by Google itself. That is to say, if your website is primarily about cars, your ads will probably be about car products. If your site is about gardening, you'll find the ads are relevant to that audience as well. So how do we put some ads up on our site?
The first thing you need to do is visit their site and sign up. If you have an existing Google account for some other purpose, you can simply use that. Once you've signed up, you'll need to start creating ads that you want to place on your blog or website. When you create ads with Adsense (click 'adsense setup' and then 'get ads', then I recommend 'content' ads for the sake of this discussion), you simply choose a colour scheme (either a pre-made one or a custom one of your choosing) and a size and shape of ad. Since Google AdsenseTM will be filling in the advertiser content automatically from your content, you do not choose the ads themselves, but a shape of space much like renting out a billboard on the side of a highway.
Pick a size and shape that suits the spot you have in mind for placing an ad. Lets say a wide leaderboard ad for the top of your site or a tower ad for the right column like my other blog uses. Once you've created the ad, you will be asked about channels (don't worry about that for now) and then given a piece of HTML code in a little window to cut and paste into your website in the appropriate place.
If you're using Blogger or some other online blog editor, click the 'edit html' option or 'add html' on the layout editor, find a spot where you want the ad to show up, and just paste the code you got in there on a new blank line or in the space provided. If you're accustomed to HTML editing, you can wrap that with a DIV tag or something to place it specifically somewhere else. There, you've added a potential revenue source to your blog already.
"But wait," you say, "I don't see an ad when I look at my website!" No, you probably won't right away. If your blog is new, give it a day or two for Google to index it and figure out what to place there. If you've just created a new Adsense ad type and inserted a new code, it may not show anything for a short while. Don't worry, it should start working within an hour or two. Good luck and hopefully you can earn some money off your site. When you're ready, you can ad some more to your layout (presently up to four standard ads and four text link ads per page) or read some of the Adsense guides and help documents for more information about monetizing your site.
As a final note, in case you didn't read the terms of service on the adsense site when you signed up, you should never click your own ads on your site. That can lead to Google shutting off your account for 'cheating'. Any other questions? Put them in the comments below and I'd be glad to respond to any I can.
- Don't make the mistake of monetizing your blog too early on Doshdosh.com