In the podcast:
01:20 – A review of the entire series
05:35 – Monetizing your site with AdSense
07:17 – What exactly is AdSense?
08:32 – Has remarketing affected AdSense?
11:45 – Optimal ad sizes
13:31 – Are there restrictions?
15:17 – How not to get in trouble with AdSense
18:32 – The affiliate path
25:56 – First steps as an affiliate
28:56 – Promoting with integrity
32:57 – A starting action for you
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James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. For the final bonus round, part 6 of a 6-part business case study series. It’s not just me in this series. It’s also with my good friend, Matthew Paulson. Welcome.
Matthew: Hey James.
James: Having fun?
Matthew: I am. This has been a great 5 episodes, and hopefully we will keep delivering the goods in the sixth.
James: I’m sure we will. We like to deliver the goods. That’s something great about this business case study series. We don’t really have a huge agenda. It’s just to get some good ideas out there, stimulate some discussion. Sure, a couple of people might find their way to your site and to my offers, and that’s great. However, I know the vast majority of listeners are taking notes and implementing.
We’ve had some big shout outs in the industries to some large groups and we’re really appreciative of all the comments and feedback we’ve had. So thank you.
Now, a quick recap, this is the website monetization tips episode. We’ve promised to catch a few ideas here that we may have missed along the way. Along the way though, we’ve had a good discussion. In terms of the six episodes, you can catch all of them at SuperFastBusiness.com. We’ve linked all of the episodes from the shownotes of this one. The main monetization tips that we’ve already mentioned in this series. Let’s just do a quick little recap of the actual techniques Matthew, then will finish out with some two power tips. Are you ready?
Matthew: OK. Let’s do it.
Lessons from previous episodes
James: So, one of the monetization tips we talked about fairly, extensively in Part 1 was the whole lead capture. Grabbing an email address and converting that email subscriber into a paying customer.
Matthew: Yup. And then another one we talked about was selling your website. So if you have a website that makes money and you don’t want to run it anymore, there are kind of known quantities and known ways to cash out and get two to three times annual revenue for it.
James: Yes. And that was a really interesting episode where we talked about not just websites but even just domains when you finish using what you’ve got. So if you don’t want your website anymore, you can monetize it by flicking it. We talked about how you might go about that.
Also, focusing more on your core website was a tip we talked about in Part 2. That episode really hit hard into the Internet marketing space because so many people have side projects. Everyone can relate to that episode. So if you want to make more money from your website, have a website, not hundreds of websites. Big tip there.
Matthew: Yeah. And we had an episode where we talked about turning around a failing business, so how to do conversion optimization and just going through every step of your business and looking for the different things that could have the biggest impact on getting people from one step, to the next, to the next, then those things multiply on top of each other. So if you can get 10% more people opting in and 10% of those are buying products, that adds up overtime.
James: Yeah, that was Episode 4. In particular, we were talking about packaging, how you can add high priced packages and 10% of your customers will probably pay 10 times more, and how you can make those packages recurring so they have multiple frequency of payment rather than just a one-time sale. And then in the Episode 5 when we were talking about name changes, we actually also brought up ideas about increasing usability for your website, navigation techniques, helping people find what they need quickly. All of these things help you make more money.
We also covered in one of our episodes that you should get people on multiple subscriptions. It think it was probably Part 1, where not just an email subscriber, but get them as an iTunes subscriber. Some people who are very techie are going to want to be an RSS subscriber, and then of course, they might want to be on a YouTube channel or a LinkedIn page or Pinterest channel. So wherever you happen to have content; Facebook friends or subscribers will be good and Twitter followers are also great.
By the way Matthew, where can people find you on Twitter?
Matthew: My Twitter id is matthewdp, D as in Dog, P as in Pony.
James: Nice phonetics there. D for Delta, P for Papa. Right. So I’m also on Twitter as well. JamesSchramko. Try and spell that one if you can. So today, we’re going to just cover a few bonus website monetization tips that haven’t really come up too much in the discussions so far. I think we should roll out with your power, your super power, Matthew, would have to be AdSense, and this is the publisher model.
At some stage, I think January 2013, at SuperFastBusiness, on our website, is an episode – How to Make 6 Figures Per Year with AdSense. It is a great episode to go back and listen to. What can you tell us about monetizing your website with AdSense? Here we are, recording this episode a few years later. Has it much changed or is it still exactly the same?
Using AdSense for website monetization
Matthew: It hasn’t changed that much. I was doing about six figures a year at AdSense and now I’m doing just under six figures a month. So it’s definitely grown as a part of my business. AdSense works great and other display advertising networks too. For websites, they get a decent amount of traffic. So if you’re getting say 50,000 or 100,000 page views a month, going to publish your model or running AdSense on your website and other ad networks in addition to AdSense can be a very good way to monetize.
What I like about it is when you sell a product, you have to develop the product, you have to market the product, you have to put it on your website, then you have to do support for the product, which is fine. But you know, when you’re just trying the ads in your website, there’s no follow-up work to get paid. People click on the ad, the AdSense or whoever the advertising network is sends you a check and it’s just a very low maintenance way to make money.
It does work better in some industries than others. So there are certain niches where the cost per click is a lot higher than others in AdSense. I’m in the finance and investing industry, that is a very good space. Medical, anything medical or anything legal are also great spaces for AdSense. It’s basically any industry where there are people in it that make a lot of money. It tends to be a good industry for AdSense.
James: Right. So we’ve covered why you might do this because there’s really not that much effort involved. You’re just giving up a bit of your real estate to monetize that when someone is just paying to be there even if it’s through a third party like Google. We should talk about what AdSense actually is, just in case someone is not aware of it. We could be taking for granted too much prior knowledge here. Certainly, it’s been about 9 years since I was into AdSense. So let’s have a refresher. How does it work?
What is AdSense and how does it work?
Matthew: Yeah. So Google runs a two-part advertising network. There is the AdWords side, where you as an advertiser go and bid on people’s keywords and ads and that kind of stuff. Then AdSense is the publisher side, where you run their ads in exchange for money for a click. So Google, if you sign up for AdSense, they will approve your website, they will give you ad takes to put on your website, so you might put like a 728×90 banner in your header or a couple of 300×250 banners in your sidebar. You put the code on your website.
They show an ad that they think is going to work well with the content of your page or maybe they have somebody cookied, so they say, “Oh James was just on a website about surfboards. So we’re going to show him a surfboard ad.” They try to maximize your revenue for whoever’s viewing that ad. You go to a website, you click on the ad, the publisher will get maybe between $.50 or $1.50. It just kind of depends for that click. And then the next month, Google will send you a check or a direct deposit for whatever you earned from the previous month.
James: Something you mentioned there, obviously the technique of remarketing, although you didn’t say the word, where we’re getting relevant ads based on places we visited, has the advent of remarketing changed the AdSense revenue possibilities? Is there more revenue now because people are seeing more relevant ads?
AdSense revenue possibilities
Matthew: I don’t think so. From the traffic on my website, only about 20% of it is actually retargeted traffic. Google will show you the AdSense reporting like how each or what percentage of your traffic showed interest in ads based on the websites they were on before and then which are based on the keywords on your page. The retargeting is probably only about 20% but I think that again depends on what industry you’re in. They have financial ads that’s going to pay $2 per click. They’re not going to show a surfboard ad that pays $.50 per click even if you have that retargeting interest.
James: Right. So they’re working that you’re on this finance site, so you might be interested in that too.
Matthew: Yeah. What has made a big difference, there’s two factors in AdSense. You know obviously, how you make money. One is through traffic and that’s going to be on the scope of this discussion, but two is the content that you write about. So if you can find highly paying keywords in Google and you write about those and you get traffic for those, your cost per click will go up.
And then the third is your placement, so which ads you put on your website. There’s a lot of different places that you can put them. Google publishes a heat map that shows you kind of suggestions where to place your ads. Generally, around content is good. Above the fold is good. Wherever are most people likely to see them is usually a pretty good place.
James: Right. So above the fold means that it’s viewable without having to scroll.
James: And am I right in thinking you’re running this AdSense as a monetization technique in addition to your email newsletter?
Matthew: Yeah. It’s a business that has multiple monetization points. So there are a lot of different steps in a funnel that I have. You make money at different points along the way. You get the quick money upfront with AdSense and you get more money down the line from subscriptions and then showing ads to your email list. So it’s kind of a nice way to have multiple streams of income there.
James: So you can reinvest your AdSense in common to buying more traffic to drive it to your offers to build your email list to make more offers of your own products.
Matthew: Yes you can.
James: Very clever.
Matthew: Yeah. I mean I used the AdSense money, I probably buy about 20,000 opt-ins a month through co-registration advertising networks now, so I just take the money from AdSense and funnel that back into getting new subscribers.
James: The AdSense on my blogs were funding all of the hosting for them and development of the websites, so it was a good business model while I had the content happening. Of course when we switch over topics, we’ll talk about options that you have, in terms of what you can do with that real estate.
So we talked about why you might do it, we’ve talked about AdSense is, it’s literally putting a little banner or piece of code somewhere on your site that when people click on, you get paid. What are the best ad sizes? Is that a relevant question?
The best ad size
Matthew: Yeah, I think it is. You see, a 300×250 is a pretty safe bet. That’s just kind of a square. You see them all over the Internet. There’s a 336×280. That’s a slightly bigger square. You can stick it in your content. You can stick it in your sidebar. And then the 720×90, which is kind of the big leader board that you see on top of a lot of different websites.
James: And are we trying to stick out or blend in?
Matthew: You know, the colors don’t matter so much anymore because most of the ads that show are banners. They give you all these options to pick different colors. Yeah, you should generally have your links on your AdSense match up with what’s on your website and blend it in but if 75% or 80% of the ads that run in your ad unit are banner ads, then those colors don’t really matter so much because you generally don’t see those type of ads as much.
Should you block ads?
James: Are there any specific settings that you find effective in terms of what you might block or not allow?
Matthew: I allow everything. So I never block any specific advertiser. I don’t know any reason why you would unless you want to block a direct competitor or if you want to block adult stuff. But they don’t even allow adult stuff on there, but if you had like a website for kids, then you might want to be more careful. But generally, I don’t block anything and I don’t recommend you look in the section where you can block stuff. It’s not a good use of your time and you’re only going to hurt yourself by blocking stuff.
James: Right. Yeah, one of my customers who does quite well with AdSense can tell when the advertisers are changing because the revenue goes up and down substantially. So maybe you can prune back a little bit by trying to get the good payer.
Now, not knowing so much about AdSense these days, what are the things should we be talking about when it comes to AdSense? What sort of challenges do people have? Obviously, one thing that comes to mind is we really got to know the rules in terms of where you can put them and how many you can have, and how you’re driving traffic, etc. There must be restrictions that you should be aware of.
Things to remember about AdSense
Matthew: Yeah. You can have three ad units on a page generally. If you do a lot of revenue, you can negotiate with them a little bit on that. They let me do for now after talking to people over the phone, which is nice. Don’t click on your own ads. Never do that because they know that right away because you’re usually logged in your Google account. So if you click on your own ads, they’re going to know that. They ban people pretty quickly for clicking on their ads. So just never do that. Never encourage people to click on your ads. Just make them organic. Don’t do bought traffic. Anything that you know you think will get you in trouble will probably get you in trouble.
James: Right. “Bought traffic” for the English speakers out there is an automated program that goes along and clicks on your ads so you can make money. I just find it so fascinating that humans just always want to take the shortcut. It’s like when you do SEO, the first thing someone asks, “Could we put text on the page the same color as the background to get more keywords on the page?” I was like, why do people think that they’re going to shortcut the system like that? The cheap shot, like clicking on your own ads is a very low yield activity in terms of the whole point of doing it, isn’t it?
Matthew: Yeah. It’s just not sustainable. Even if you get away with it, you might make 10 bucks. Who cares? When you’re first getting started and you want to have some results, you kind of feel like it’s tempting to do that just to see something rather that nothing, but it’s just not a good long-term strategy for anybody.
James: Right. So knowing that there’s a lot more information in our How to Make 6 Figures Per Year With AdSense, any final things on AdSense?
Final things on AdSense
Matthew: They have a pretty good help knowledge base in the AdSense website. Just read it and then do what they tell you, and you won’t get in trouble. I read that there’s an AdSense section where people complain all the time that they got banned and they don’t know why. Well, did you read FAQs? Do you read the publish guidelines? No.
James: It’s so true of any platform.
Matthew: Yeah. I love the guys at AdSense and I think a lot of people that run into the issues are people who don’t follow the rules and just don’t pay attention to what the rules are.
James: Well said. That can be applied to the other business monetization model we want to talk about.
Other content ads
Matthew: Before we dive into that, AdSense isn’t only the game in town. Most of my websites have seven or eight banner ads. AdSense are three or four of those. So there are also other things you can add in addition to AdSense to kind of maximize your ad network a little bit. I’ll just touch on two of those briefly.
One of those content ads that you see over the place now from Taboola and AdBlade and a few other companies like that that you know are generally blog post, those pay pretty well. Those are worth checking out.