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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.
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.
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:
Fixed size ads can work if you are targeting users by device. This inline block is set to be 1000px by 100px, great for desktop users and some tablet users, but most mobile phones will only display a portion of the ad.
Responsive width ads are usually the go-to as it auto adapts to your website sizing structure. Ads will automatically be scaled to the width of the device you are using.
If you wish to change the aspect ratio of your ads to 1:1 but still want them to work on all devices, you can create a square responsive ad:
So it’s great that you can run ads barefoot on your website, but what about inside of other elements? Yes, basically anywhere you can add custom html, body or paragraph, you should be able to insert the ad code snippet. This, of course, depends on the website builder you are using. Inserting ads into a WordPress website, Wix website or other popular website builders are effortless. If you are trying to insert ads into a hand coded website, simply paste the Google AdSense <script> snippet inside your <div class=””>.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the accuracy of the Google Ads 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 (.co.uk / .co.za / .co.au / 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).
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.
The biggest pros are that:
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 the thing. There is an unspoken con – it mainly affects inexperienced users and people using certain CMS (website builder).
We’re referring to the upload of the ‘ads.txt’ file to your root domain.
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, there are a handful of CMS providers out there who will be willing to upload it on your behalf – if not, your earnings will be nearly nothing.
Prepare a website full of valuable content and in compliance with AdSense Requirements.
To be able to use Google AdSense, you need to create an AdSense account. (You need to use a gmail account for this)
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 blue part of the email). Copy the code and place it in your website’s <head> code.
Once you’ve done that, go back to the email and click on ‘Get Activated‘.
You will be taken to a new page, click on ‘Get Started‘ and setup a payments profile by following the on-screen instructions
Your site will be reviewed and within less than two weeks you will get email feedback on whether or not your request was successful.
Log in to your account at www.google.com/adsense – You will see a banner notification telling you that ‘your earnings are at risk‘.
Click on the ‘Fix Now‘ button to go to a different page where you can download the ads.txt file.
Click on ‘Download Now‘.
Now to upload this file to your root domain folder (yourdomain.com/ads.txt) you need access to your hosting.
A common example would be a single WordPress website running through C-Panel:
Go to file manager > open the public_HTML folder > click on ‘Upload‘.
*It might take a few days before the file is recognized by Google.
If you are using a CMS that includes hosting but you have no access, 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.
Finally we can start creating some Ad Units: In the Menu on the left, Select Ads.
On the right you will see different options to create a new Ad unit. We suggest going with Google’s recommended ‘Display ads‘, so go ahead and choose that.
Next, set up your ad the way you like it, give it a name in the top left corner and click ‘save‘ in the bottom right corner.
You will be presented with a code snippet, copy the provided code to paste on your website.
Well, with dedication you’ve reached the last step!
Paste the copied code snippet on your website where ever you want an ad to be shown
Your website traffic is now monetized!
A word of advice to those trying to make a quick buck: Make use of relevant, high quality content – users will find you. Don’t try to buy fake traffic as that can easily get your website demonetized, AdSense account suspended and a hefty penalty on your Google SERP (ranking position).
Let us know in the comment section below if this post has helped you setting up ads on your website – we’d love to hear your feedback!