One of the ways by which many bloggers and webmasters raise money to support their web publishing habits is by including advertising on their sites. Although many advertising options are available, Google’s AdSense program is by far the most popular and commonly used. Depending on your site’s audience, you can earn anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars per month with AdSense. In many cases—my own sites included—the revenue raised far exceeds the cost of hosting, thus earning the blogger or webmaster a few extra bucks a month. Sometimes the revenue received is far more, and becomes a substantial part of the blogger’s or webmaster’s income.
It’s easy to set up a Google AdSense account, generate the code needed to display ads on your site, and paste the code into the source for your blog template or web site pages. By doing so, you can start earning advertising revenue immediately—or as soon as someone starts clicking the ad links on your pages, anyway. But if you’re interested in learning more about which ads are most successful for you, you need to take another step: Set up and use Google’s channels feature.
The channels feature enables you to assign a unique identifier to a domain name or specific URL, or to a type of ad unit. The channel name is included in the code that utilizes it. Google tracks AdSense activity by channel for your account. You can easily display activity by channel, thus making it possible to analyze AdSense revenue by channel.
AdSense supports two types of channels:
- Custom channels can be based on any criteria. For example, you can create a custom channel to use for only a certain type of ad, or for ads that appear on a certain type of blog page. You can create custom channels for either the AdSense for Content feature or the AdSense for Search feature.
- URL channels are based on the URL of the page viewed. The URL can be a domain name (such as marialanger.com) or a directory within a domain name (such as marialanger.com/category/weblog/blogging) or even a specific page (such as marialanger.com/?page_id=56). You can create URL channels only for the AdSense for Content feature.
Figure 1 shows an example of a short AdSense report for the top channels on my AdSense account. In this example, I’ve created three URL channels, one for each of the blogs I manage that include AdSense ads. I’ve also created custom channels for "single" pages on two of my blogs and "category" pages on one of my blogs. It’s important to note that the marialanger.com single custom channel’s results are a subset of the marialanger.com URL channel’s results, because the single channel is used on some of the pages of that site.
Figure 1 When you use the Channels feature, you can see which sites or pages are earning the most revenue.
You can use up to 200 AdSense for Content channels and 200 AdSense for Search channels on your account. That’s probably a lot more than the average blogger or webmaster will ever need.