What does it mean to 'monetize' a website?

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, to monetize a website means to gain incoming money from a website. Now this does not necessarily mean a lot of money, or a primary income replacement - for some they might only make a dollar a day, whereas others may find it to be a gold mine - all depending on the amount of traffic your website is getting.

Perfect for blogs

It's unrealistic to expect that smaller editors, writers and publishers will get paid by a sponsor for every blog post. So instead bloggers turn to look for alternative-, more sustainable ways to monetize their website. One of the most common ways to monetize your website is by showing ads via Google's AdSense service.

We've wanted to test out this service for a very long time, but just never seemed to get to it. This post will cover all of the important factors on website monetization (specifically with AdSense) such as what different size ads look like, how accurate the earnings estimate is, different features, pros & cons, and most importantly the HOW TO.


Different Sizes and Examples

It's important to know what the ads we're referring to looks like. So we'll give you some examples below. Ads come in both fixed and responsive sizes:

  1. Fixed ads have a maximum set size and can show all the highest paying ads up to a certain size. Fixed ads cannot change from the size you have set unless you create and integrate a new ad unit into your website.
  2. Responsive means that the size of the ad unit can automatically adjust to fit its surroundings with the options of being Square, Horizontal or vertical.

Here are some examples:

Standard Horizontal Fixed Size (728x90)

Wide Horizontal Fixed ads (1000x100px)

Responsive Horizontal Ad

Responsive Square Ad

Fixed Large 1000x450 ad

Earning Estimates Accuracy

There's a lot of controversy surrounding the accuracy of the earnings calculator as it provides an estimate based on only 2 factors (Location & Industry). These two factors are very broad and have tons of sub-factors. Let's take a look:

1. Location - Here are 4 main categories combining multiple countries in each. Some of the important sub-factors are if your website is country specific ( / / / etc.) or international (.com / .net / .shop / etc.). If your website is intended for an international audience you will be able to have a much broader reach, but you also have much higher competition.

For your website to be successful in the online realm, you need to outrank the millions of other websites. There are only two ways to achieve this goal with a fairly new website.

The first method to increase traffic is by making use of Pay Per Click (PPC) ads where you advertise your business via a service such as Google Ads - effectively advertising your own website in ad units such as the ones above. If your goal is to cost efficiently monetize your website - PPC might not be your first choice.

The second method to get more website traffic is by making use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a cost effective, long term solution that will get your website ranking higher for specific search terms / keywords on a semi-permanent basis. SEO essentially increases your website's trust and authority. SEO can also drive clients directly to your website by placing links to your website pages on Private Blog Networks, Major Blog Networks, news sites, major social media platforms and more.

2. Industry - Each industry has a different amount of interest and competition, for example if your industry is 'Internet & Telecom' your estimated revenue is about double that of the 'Reference' industry. This is due to more Internet & telecom companies placing PPC ads than reference companies (such as directories).

Earning Estimates Accuracy in South Africa

Like most other information, there aren't any clear indications on how accurate AdSense estimates will be for South African users. We are looking into it and will post an update once we have more results.

Pros and Cons

The biggest pros are that:

  1. Ads shown are relevant to the user's interests, based on their profile and search history.
  2. You can get paid without the hassle of configuring each ad.
  3. Makes your website a Passive Income Channel
  4. Ads can either be automatically set up and placed on your site by a neat little Google app or you can manually place them where you want them.
  5. You don't need an API integration.

The most obvious con is that nobody wants to see ads. Luckily there is an easy workaround for this. Many websites absolutely bombard their users with ads and hope for the best. This is very inefficient as they will have little to no user retention. All that needs to be done is to keep the number of ads to an acceptable amount. Ads should be easily visible but not overpower the website content. Showing sidepanel ads and fixed bottom-of-the-screen ads are likely the best solutions. Here's an example for desktop users:

Here's the thing. There is an unspoken con - it mainly affects inexperienced users and people using a CMS (website builder).

We're referring to the upload of a certain 'ads.txt' file to your root domain. (Don't worry though! It's part of the reason we created this guide.)

As part of it's verification system Google automatically generates this file (only about 1kb) and just requires you to upload it to your hosting. If you are using your own hosting, this shouldn't be an issue. If you are using a CMS, you can simply ask your CMS team to upload it on your behalf.

Earning Estimates Accuracy in South Africa

Like most other information, there aren't any clear indications on how accurate AdSense estimates will be for South African users. We are looking into it and post an update once we have more results.

Step 1

Prepare a website full of valuable content and in compliance with AdSense Requirements. See: AdSense Eligibility Requirements

Step 2

After submitting, you might need to sign in to your gmail account if you weren't already signed in.

- Enter your website's URL (ex.

- Enter your email address

- Choose if you want suggestions (recommended for inexperienced users)

- Verify that it is the account you wish to use

- Select your Country or territory from the provided list

- Read, review and accept the T&C's if you wish to continue. If you do not accept you will be unable to continue.

Step 3

Step 4

You will receive an email from Google that welcomes you to their AdSense Platform. In this email there is a small piece of code that you need to add to your site's header for your website to get linked. (The below part in blue). Copy the code and place it between the <head> and </head> of your website.

Once done Click on 'Get Activated'

Step 5

You will be taken to a new page, click on 'Get Started' and setup a payments profile by following the on-screen instructions

Click on 'Submit' at the bottom

Step 6

Your site will be reviewed and within less than two weeks you will get email feedback on whether or not your request was successful.

If it wasn't successful, the email will include a reason and allow you to fix the issue(s) and resubmit your website for review.

If your request was successful, then congratulations! your site is now linked and you can almost start showing ads! Continue to step 7.

Step 7

Remember that 'ads.txt' file we referred to earlier? Here's where you get it. You will see a top page notification in red that looks like this.

If you want more information, click on 'Learn More' - Alternatively click on 'Fix Now' to go to another page where you can download the ads.txt file

Click on 'Download Now'

Now upload this file to your root domain (

If you are using a CMS with included hosting and are unable to upload it yourself, contact your CMS providers / support team and politely ask them to upload the file to your website's root domain. Provide them with your domain name, the ads.txt file and other info if they require any verifications.

Step 8

Start creating some Ad Units: In the Menu on the left, Select Ads.

On the right you will see three options to create a new Ad unit. We suggest going with Google's recommended 'Display ads' so go ahead and click on that

Setup your ad the way you like it, give it a name in the top left corner and save

Now you can copy the code and click on done

Start placing AdSense ads to your website

Paste the Copied Code on your website in any RTF-elements (also called body, widget code, custom etc. depending on the system you're using)

Don't worry if you can't see any text. The ad will be visible on the live version of your site within a few hours of publishing at the latest.

Heres the above piece live:

All you have to do now is paste the code all the places you want it to show on your website. Everytime a user views and clicks on an ad, you're website gets monetized!

You can link your Analytics account to your Adsense account via for the best experience in monitoring your monetization.

Good luck!!

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