One of the best ways to begin to monetize your blog is with Google Adsense. While I prefer to monetize my blogs with affiliate marketing (where you get paid a commission for referring a sale), it is far easier to make money with Google Adsense.
Before I dive into how to make money with Google Adsense (and other ad networks!), I want to go over what display ads are and the pros and cons of putting ads on your blog.
Should you put ads on your blog?
Many bloggers are worried about putting up ads for the first time. They feel like it will diminish the quality of their blog for their readers, or they get worried they’ll be seen as a sellout.
The truth is, running a blog costs money. Now, it’s honestly not that much money. But it certainly isn’t free. The kicker here is that you should be compensated for the time and effort you put into your website or blog.
How do you make money from your blog? You could put one of those extremely ineffective buttons up that asks your users to donate or one of those “buy me a cup of coffee” links. Of course, your users would have to really love you for you to see any kind of income from something like that.
Or, you could find some way to show them genuinely good advertisements that are highly targeted and extremely relevant to your site’s content. Ads that are sure to pique their interest. Ads that pay you every single time users click on them.
Pros of putting ads on your blog
Let’s get the obvious pro out of the way first: you can make money! And let’s be honest, the reason many of us start a blog is solely for income. Sure, you might like talking about new gadgets, investing, or cooking, but you probably decided to blog about it for the income. Advertisements make that income possible.
Additionally, contextual ads will oftentimes show relevant products or services that may genuinely help or appeal to your readers. Thus, you may actually be helping your readers and not just trying to squeeze every penny that you can out of them.
You can learn about your readers. If you have access to certain metrics from your advertising platform, you can learn a lot about your readers. For example, knowing which ads they click on and interact with will give you a good idea of what kinds of products and services they may be interested in.
The hands-off approach of most display ad networks can create a truly passive income for those that aren’t putting much time into their blog. On the other hand, if you’ve got an already successful blog that you only update once a week, then the ‘set it and forget it’ luxury of display ads means you can trust they will be properly optimized without the need to constantly tweak it.
Cons of putting ads on your blog
And because we like to paint the complete picture for you, we need to let you know that there are downsides to putting ads on your website. For starters, you’re probably going to lose a few visitors to your blog who otherwise would have been a regular reader, especially if they’re on mobile.
In addition, some visitors detest ads, and 53% of mobile users will avoid a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to fully and completely load.
Second, the ads can make your blog look unattractive. If you’re selling private ads on your blog or using referral programs, you can customize the way your ads and links look. However, if you’re using display ad networks, you won’t have full 100% control over their appearance.
Third, some of your users are going to use ad-blocking software. If your blog’s demographic is mostly young males, particularly tech-savvy males, you can expect them to be using ad-blocking software. This can severely cut into any potential revenue your blog would have otherwise brought in.
What Is RPM and why it matters
As a blogger, knowing how to calculate the RPM of your ads is highly important when trying to maximize your blog’s income. It’s best to calculate RPM over a 30-day period to get the most accurate representation.
RPM can be calculated by taking the number of pageviews and dividing it by your income. For example, if your blog made $534 from 100,000 visitors, then your RPM is going to be $5.34. That means you are earning $5.34 for every 1,000 times the ads on your website load.
Best display ad networks for bloggers
Believe it or not, there are many more options out there aside from Google Adsense. And while Adsense may be the best option for most bloggers reading this, you should at least be educated about the other networks out there.
I’m going to show you how to get up and going and make money with Google Adsense a little bit later in the article, but first, let’s take a look at the best display ad networks for bloggers, starting with Adsense.
Google is the industry leader when it comes to display advertising. Whenever you search Google, there are always ads that show up. These ads are paid for by other website owners and companies of all sizes. So whenever you click on these ads, the advertiser is charged a fee.
When placing these ads up, they bid on them on a per-click basis. For example, you might have a recipe website that you want to drive traffic to. You can tell Google, “I will pay you up to $0.65 for every visitor you send to me.”
How does that relate to Adsense? Well, one of the options these advertisers have is to have their ads shown on millions of websites worldwide (as opposed to just showing them in the Google search results.)
Advertisers still have to pay whenever their ad is clicked, but Google will split the revenue with the website owner or blogger displaying the ads whenever the ad is clicked on an off-Google site.
How do you get a piece of the pie to show these ads on your website? Well, that’s where the Google Adsense display ad network comes into play. If you’re new to the world of blogging, Google Adsense is the easiest way to make money from your blog.
Pros of making money with Google Adsense
It’s extremely easy to set up on any blog or website.
Their platform offers a ‘set it and forget it’ model whereby you don’t need to tweak many settings once installed on your blog.
There are no minimum traffic levels required. You can get approved even if your website has 0 hits.
Adsense is contextual – the ads automatically change based on the topic of your blog post or article. This ensures relevant ads are shown to your users for maximum clicks.
There are multiple ad formats: text ads, image ads, video ads, search ads, mobile ads, etc.
Cons of using Google Adsense
If you have a blog with decent traffic (25,000+ sessions per month), you can make more money with other platforms.
The ads can be very intrusive to your readers, depending on the ad formats you select.
The Bottom Line About Adsense: All ad networks will have their downsides, and Adsense is no exception. The bottom line is that for 90% of bloggers out there and 100% of new bloggers, Adsense is your best (and probably only) option.
Alright, so, remember how we said Adsense ads are served from Google’s search and display advertising platform (Adwords)? Well, Media.net uses the same premise, except most of their ads come from the Bing and Yahoo networks.
Their ads are also contextual, meaning they’re extremely relevant to your users who can ensure maximum engagement and clicks. If you have a blog with most traffic from the US, Canada, or the UK, then media.net may be a good option for you (especially if your blog covers finance, credit, investing, gadgets, lifestyle, parenting, or side hustles).
They work with blogs of all sizes
Their earnings per click are among the highest in the industry
They’ve got an amazing customer support staff
Your readers must double click the ad; this can lead to a lower click-through ratio
Only traffic from the US, Canada, UK can be monetized
Until now, we have only talked about ad networks that show contextual display ads on more mainstream and PG-rated websites. Propeller Ads works with websites of all times and is great for mainstream blogs, but if you’ve got an adult-related blog, then this will probably be your best bet for display ads advertising.
Propeller Ads also has the option to show pop-under ads, in addition to their normal display ads. These pop-under ads will pop up behind a user’s browser window while they’re browsing your blog or website. The pay rate for these ads can be up to $15 per thousand views, depending on your location and the type of traffic you’re sending.
With all of that being said, if you’re trying to grow your blog and create a loyal following, then don’t use pop-under ads. That’s a great way to get people to never come back to your website. These should only be used if you are getting a lot of one-off traffic and don’t care about repeat visitors.
We only recommend Propeller Ads to bloggers producing adult content or for people who have tried other popular methods, such as Adsense and are struggling to generate revenue. They should be a last resort for many bloggers.
Formerly known as The Blogger Network, Monumetric is great for bloggers who have outgrown the Adsense platform and are looking for something a bit more profitable. Monumetric has gone out of its way to appeal to high-traffic bloggers and siphon them away from Adsense. Here’s how they’re fighting for your business:
Revolving Ads – Whenever a reader sees an Adsense ad, for example, that ad will be the same until they refresh the page or navigate away. Monumetric ads rotate and change as the user is reading your content to maximize clicks.
They Place Ads For You – Because they cater to blogs with higher traffic and are more selective with their users, they can afford to dedicate staff solely to installing the ads for you. So you literally just give them access to your WordPress dashboard, and they take care of the rest for you.
High Payouts – If you’ve got 10,000 users or more per month on your blog and you’re running Adsense, switching to Monumetric will almost certainly result in an immediate increase in income.
Mediavine is the definition of a premium ad network. For your site to qualify for admission into this ad network, it will need to produce 50,000 sessions per month.
Mediavine is unique because they seem to put publishers before advertisers when it comes to allocating their resources.
The look and feel of their ads are nothing unique compared to other display ad networks, but they pay more. And, well, that’s kind of all that matters when it comes to monetizing your blog.
Our Favorite Mediavine Quality: Because their platform revolves around publishers, they will bend over backward to ensure you’re turning a generous profit from your blog. They even have SEO experts on staff ready to help you tweak your blog to maximize your rankings in Google. And this actually makes sense because if they can help increase the traffic to your blog, you will make them more money in the long run.
AdThrive is probably one of the biggest digital companies that you’ve never heard of. Yet, whenever you combine all of their online properties, they are one of ComScore’s top 50 digital media property holders.
To get started with them, you need to have Google Analytics installed to show proof of the minimum 100,000 monthly page views needed to sign up. In addition, a majority of your traffic needs to be from the U.S., and you can’t be blacklisted from Adsense, or they will deny your application.
When you work with AdThrive, you have to run a minimum of 3 ad units on each page and, when using their wrapper integration, they will have full control over the size(s) and type(s) of ads that are displayed.
If you’ve got 100,000 monthly views, then, depending on your niche, you may have certainly outgrown Adsense. However, AdThrive has some very innovative ad and video ad formats that will likely result in a huge increase in revenue for those making the switch.
How To Get Started With Google Adsense
If your blog is on the newer side, getting started with Adsense is the way to go. Here’s what any blogger can do to ensure success in the Adsense platform:
Set Your Blog Up Properly
You can’t join Adsense until your blog has been well established and is fully complete. Now, you don’t have to be some top-of-the-line internet authority. You just need a website that has good, unique content and one that isn’t under construction. Of course, it helps if your blog has some traffic coming in already and is at least 3 months old.
You can even apply if you’re managing a blog or a website for someone else, as long as you have access to the coding to put ads up. Now, if your blog has adult content on it, nudity, violence, or pirated software, then don’t even waste your time.
Apply and get approved for Adsense
Everyone has a Google account by now. If you don’t, then go create one. (Seriously, who doesn’t have some kind of Google account by now?) Anyways, head on over to the Google Adsense Signup Page and get started linking an Adsense account to your Google account.
Once you’ve attached your Google account to Adsense, you can now log into Adsense and complete the application process. The application will ask you questions about the content on your blog or website, what URL or address, the main language of your site, the main language of your blog readers.
After filling in the details about your blog, you will have to enter in some personal details related to verifying your identity and getting you set up to get paid. Name, address, account type (individual, LLC, etc..) Once you apply, it takes about 24-48 hours for approval. If it’s been 5+ days with no answer, head on to the Adsense Forum for help.
Go Make Some Money!
As long as you’re creating fresh content and follow the best practices with placing ads, you stand to make some pretty consistent income from putting Google Adsense on your blog or website. Don’t try and trick your users into clicking ads, don’t try to place the ads in a way that they will accidentally get clicked; in fact, don’t even mention the ads on your blog to your readers.
How To Put Adsense On A WordPress Blog
Just about everybody reading this is a blogger or is thinking about starting a blog. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. Adsense is the best display ad network for a majority of bloggers out there. So, naturally, some of you are probably wondering how to put Adsense ads on a WordPress blog.
You first need to start by logging into your Adsense account, creating an ad group, and getting the HTML code required to place the ad on your blog or website. Do this by clicking on Ads on the left menu, go to Overview, and click on Display Ads. From here, you can select which size ad you would like to place.
Beginners: From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Widgets. Drag the Custom HTML widget to the area you would like your ads shown (ex: Sidebar, Homepage, Header, Footer, etc..).
You can give it a title if you’d like, but paste the HTML code you got from your Adsense account under content.
Intermediate: There are many third-party Adsense plugins available for free from the WordPress.org community. These can include placing ads mixed within the text of your blog posts or ads that only show for certain categories or certain readers.
This would be a good next step for users that are comfortable with trying something new.
Advanced: From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Theme Editor. Find the template file for the area of your website that you want to manually inject the code into (ex: header, footer, sidebar). And from here, paste your code.
This is not recommended for a majority of bloggers out there.
Putting display ads on your blog is by far the easiest way to monetize your new blog. It requires little to no work on your end. Best of all, your income is determined not by your sales but solely by your traffic.
This allows you to focus all of your energy on creating great content and driving more traffic to your blog.
So, what do you think? Do you monetize your blog via display ads? If so, what ad networks have you tried? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,