5 Ways I TRIPLED my Adsense Income

Google AdsenseA number of my sites have carried Adsense adverts for a while. However, I’ve never really designed with them in mind. In the past I’ve designed my site and then, at a later date, added the advertisments. This presents 2 major problems. Firstly, the advertisments don’t fit the design particularly well, this presents problems for readers and can lead to an awfull, cluttered, mess. Secondly, the advertisments are very unlikely to make any money. Most of the high impact areas of a site are filled and optimised in the design stage, and if the advertisments aren’t part of the design process there will only be poor positions left for them. So when I recently tweaked the design of this site, I took the opportunity to better integrate monetisation methods into the layout, and the result was a three fold increase in income. Read on to discover the five things I did to achieve this.

  1. Target Content – Generally, Google does a pretty good job of targeting adsense advertisments to the content on the page. On one of my sites, however, it just wasn’t working. It was picking up on the wrong areas of the page and serving the same ads over and over again, none of which were related to the content. So I was delighted when I discovered you could tell Adsense which content to look at by using “<!– google_ad_section_start –>” and “<!– google_ad_section_end –>” to surround the content you want targeted.
  2. Inline Advertisments – I started to experiement with inline advertisments (i.e. those that appear within the body of the content) one some of the most popular posts a while back. In each experiment I tried, they performed better than similar ads in different locations. I experimented, and still use, two different types of inline advertisments. Those that appear mid way through a post, mostly around the break point, and those that appear at the end of the post. My understanding of these ads is thus. The mid way inline ads should catch those readers who aren’t instantly drawn into the content, and the ads at the end will catch those who read the entire post. Logically, putting ads at the top of a post means one of two things. Either the user will click it and not read your content or they will have to make a note of the ad, read the content, scroll back to the top of the page and then click the ad. Neither is an ideal outcome.
  3. Google Search – One of my sites, which is run on a custom built content management system, was having some problems with the search facility. Basically, I tried to be overly clever and it didn’t come off quite right. The upshot was I had to quickly plug in the Google Search tool in order to provide the facility to my users. This was a content heavy site and therefore had a high proportion of searches performed within it. What I noticed was an unusually high click through rate on advertisements when searched were performed. And when I say unusually high, we’re talking double figures. My only explanation is that Google are far better at ad placement than I will ever be. Needless to say that the Google search remained, and I’ve used it on many sites since (in conjunction with the wordpress sitemap generator plugin, so you know Google crawls your site when necessary).
  4. Sympathetic Colour Schemes – I see a lot of sites where the advertisments really stand out from the content. While it is a good idea to make it clear that something is an advertisment, making it stand out from the content is not. The whole philosophy behind contextual ads is that they suit your content and compliment it. Therefore, your design should do the same. A great way to do this is to blend the background and border of your ads to the colour scheme of your site. Matching the text colour and link colour also makes a big difference as does playing down any URLs that may be displayed (i.e. choose a low contrast colour so it is difficult for people to just type the URL in). Just tread carefully, you don’t want to break any of the terms of service when it comes to Adsense.
  5. Referrals – Many people are put off by referral ads, but not me. Whether you feel capable of supporting them comes down to the old risk vs reward calculation. You may be taking clicks away from pay per click ads, and without a resulting action those clicks will not yield a profit. But when you do get an action at the end, the income is far greater than a single click. My advice is two fold. Firstly, experiment to see if the numbers add up. If only one in ten clicks result in an action worth $5, but you would have had 10 normal clicks, worth$0.20 each, it’s better to go for a referral ad. Secondly, give people the push they need to follow a click through with an action. For example, on one of my other sites I heavily pushed the use of FireFox. I extolled it’s benefits one very page and made sure I had a FireFox referral button nearby. This model worked far better than a lonely referral button dotted randomly on the site.

Those are the five major steps I took to triple my adsense income. There are other ad programs out there, and each needs to be addressed slightly differently. For some related information, why not have a look at 5 Ways to Monetise your Blog or Identifying your audience and knowing what to expect from them.

In your experiences, which adsense techniques have worked, and which have not? Share your tips, or any opinions on these techniques, in the comments.