The AdSense Code by Joel Comm: Book Review
Though I hadn’t actually heard of any of Joel Comm’s multiple money-making websites, his knowledge about and ability to maximize profit from Google’s AdSense is clear. This book is filled with information about building your site, placing your ads, tweaking your results, tracking your progress, and even where to find additional information on generating more traffic and search engine optimization. Comm assumes way more traffic than I’ll ever receive, so some of his tips are out of my league. Despite being plagued by distracting typos, the book is filled with useful content for many users interested in monetizing their websites. Comm suggests tweaking the ads, optimizing the website, and tracking visitor response.
Tweaking the Ads
Comm suggests the twin strategies of optimal ad placement and disguising the ads. Firstly, ads need to be at the top of your pages. Many users that reach your site may not scroll down at all, so to have any chance of turning those visitors into ad clicks, you need to present your ads above the fold. Users are trained to ignore anything that even remotely looks like an ad, so how can you get such ad-averse people to click on your ads and generate revenue for you? Comm disguises his ads by adjusting their text, backgrounds, and outlines to match the rest of his content. The more the ads blend into your pages, the more users will think of the ad content as recommended products or links that they should click.
Optimizing the Website
To generate any advertising revenue, you need to have good, interesting content. But the way you serve your content is important as well. You need to use descriptive titles, directories, and headers, and the right keywords (and right amount of keywords!) to help the Google crawlers find your content and place relevant ads on your pages. As Comm points out, you don’t want visitors searching for content on wedding trains to be served ads on AmTrak. That’s no way to get a click.
Tracking Visitor Response
The most important concept Comm explains is how to track the results of the changes you make. It’s incredibly important to keep a journal of your results. Using a journal or spreadsheet, you can correctly determine your best strategies for tweaking the ads and optimizing the website. Once your site is established, you should try to increase your ad revenue, but how do you know what changes are working for you? Start with the baseline clicks, clickthrough rate, and ad revenues for a week, and make a single change to your page. It could be the placement of an ad, the shape of an ad, the color of the ad text, or any other tweak, but it’s important not to try too many changes at once. How will you know if the increase or drop in ad revenue is due to the change in placement or removing the border around your ads? Once you let your page run for another week, compare the results in your ad journal. Without tracking your results, you would have no idea what changes work for each of your pages.
Initially, I thought Comm’s recommendations to hide ads within your content were disingenuous, and that deceiving users into clicking ads was too tricky. It’s kind of like how his title and book cover are supposed to make you think you are looking at The Da Vinci Code. However, everything he tells you to do is trying to get visitors the content they want. Unfortunately, at this point, most Internet users are savvy enough to notice and avoid ads, even if they want to end up where your ads would take them. Comm’s suggestions should help you gently urge your visitors to click on your ads and increase your ad-related income.