Millions of websites and blogs generate extra cash by hosting ads from Google’s AdSense service (http://www.google.com/adsense/). AdSense ads are contextual, which means the ads are matched to the content of your website for the most appeal. They’re also pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which means you only get paid when someone clicks an ad; the more clicks generated, the more money you make.
Just how much money can you make from AdSense? Well, I know of one large website chain that generates more than $20 million a year in AdSense revenues, and I also know of a lot of smaller sites that bring in a few dollars a month. Even if you’re at the lower end of that range, it’s still possible to bring in enough ad revenues to pay for your web hosting bill, with maybe a little left over for a large latte or two.
How can you maximize the revenue generated by these AdSense ads? It’s all about increasing the number of clicks generatedand there are a number of ways to do that.
Where an ad appears on a web page influences how many people see it and how many people click it. If you want to maximize click-throughs on your AdSense ads, you have to position those ads carefully.
In general, ads that are positioned close to core content get more clicks than those positioned further away. It’s a surprisingly simple dynamic; the closer the ad is to the stuff people are reading, the more likely it is to be clicked. So wherever your core content is on the page, position your ads above, below, or to the side of that content.
That said, you need to remember that people (at least in our culture) read right to left and top to bottom. This leads to the next positioning tip: It’s better to place ads on the left side of the page, and on the top half of the page“above the fold,” in newspaper parlance. Combine this tip with the previous one, and you now know to place ads to the top and the left of your core content.
That said, you probably don’t want to place ads at the very top of your page. This is where banner ads traditionally go, and people know thatand ignore them. Ads placed in your page’s header perform only slightly better than those at the very bottom of the page, which perform worst of all.
There’s one slight exception to this rule, however, and it concerns AdSenses link unitsnot ads, per se, but rather links to a collection of ads on a given topic. Given that link units function as a type of directory or menu, you can place link units at the very top or bottom of your page and make some people think that they’re actually navigation for your website. (They’re more general in their wording, and pick up that wording from your site’s content.) I wouldn’t go exclusively with these link units, of course, but they’re a good supplement to the better-positioned text ads you place elsewhere on your page.