- Internet & the Web
How Do I Create My Own Blog Page: Part III
Monetizing Your Blog
So, you wanna make some money, eh? First off, we need to set the record straight. The odds of you making a mint off of a blog are severely slim, but not totally implausible. For today, we will just focus on setting things up and worry less about where they will go in the future, eh?
So ... how does one monetize a blog? Well, the easiest way is through affiliate programs, and here are the big three:
- Google Adsense
We will focus on each one in-turn, while expressing some dos and don'ts you should know.
- Sign-up page: http://www.google.com/adsense
- Probability for generating income: quite good
- Probability of being cancelled: also quite good
Google Adsense is the 900 pound gorilla in the closet, and they are well aware of that status. As they provide a decent possibility for income, they aren't too worried about who they cancel. If you fail to read their terms of service (TOS) when you sign-up, you do so at your own risk!
- No click fraud! This means once you sign up for Google Adsense you never click another Google Adsense ad again - ever! Also, if you thought about telling your friends, relatives, and neighbors to click on your ads - think again - that's click fraud, it will get you banned, and you will lose all forthcoming income. It's not worth it!
- Never ask anyone to click your ads, never offer rewards for clicking your ads, and never trick people into clicking your ads. In fact, pretend your Google Adsense ads don't exist and you will be doing swell!
- Never write about pornography, graphic violence, gambling, or any illegal activity. Do it once and your canned by Google for life!
- Read the TOS. Understnad the rules. When in doubt, post a message on their forum or email them. Never guess as a wrong guess could lose you your account permanently.
- And if you think someone is clicking your ads to help you or to hurt you, tell Google immediately. Because, once they contact you it's too late to tell your side of the story.
- Also, be extremely careful of mixing Google Adsense with other affiliate programs, as they will cancel you over certain matchings with other affiliates and merchants. Again, if you're not sure - ask them!
As for how you apply Google to your wordpress blog, all you need to do is go to their site, log in (once you are approved) click the Adsense Setup Tab, click adsense for content, and walk through the wizard.
Once your ad is completed, Google will give you a code for your new ad. Copy the text and open your Wordpress dashboard. Click Appearance -> Click Widgets -> Drag a new text box over to your sidebar -> Click the code tag -> paste the Google text into your text box.
Now, go check your blog to make sure it looks good. If not, rinse, wash, and repeat until you get it just right.
And Here's The Google Rules In Greater Detail
Please note: These rules are taken directly from Google's site (cut and paste) so that I am not accused later of misrepresenting them in any way:
- Publishers may not click their own ads or use any means to inflate impressions and/or clicks artificially, including manual methods. Clicks on Google ads must result from genuine user interest. Any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions on your Google ads is strictly prohibited. These prohibited methods include, but are not limited to, repeated manual clicks or impressions, automated click and impression generating tools and the use of robots or deceptive software. Please note that clicking your own ads for any reason is prohibited.
- Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads:
- Compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior.
- Encourage users to click the Google ads using phrases such as "click the ads", "support us", "visit these links" or other similar language.
- Direct user attention to the ads using arrows or other graphical gimmicks.
- Place misleading images alongside individual ads.
- Place ads in a floating box script.
- Format ads so that they become indistinguishable from other content on that page.
- Format site content so that it is difficult to distinguish it from ads.
- Place misleading labels above Google ad units. For instance, ads may be labelled "Sponsored Links" or "Advertisements", but not "Favourite Sites" or "Today's Top Offers".
- Publishers may not place AdSense code on pages with content that violates any of our content guidelines. Some examples include content that is adult, violent or advocating racial intolerance:
- Pornography, adult or mature content
- Violent content
- Content related to racial intolerance or advocacy against any individual, group or organisation
- Excessive profanity
- Hacking/cracking content
- Gambling or casino-related content
- Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia content
- Sales of beer or hard alcohol
- Sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products
- Sales of prescription drugs
- Sales of weapons or ammunition (e.g. firearms, firearm components, fighting knives, stun guns)
- Sales of products that are replicas or imitations of designer goods
- Sales or distribution of coursework or student essays
- Content regarding programs which compensate users for clicking ads or offers, performing searches, surfing websites or reading emails
- Any other content that is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others
- Publishers are also not permitted to place AdSense code on pages with content primarily in an unsupported language.
- AdSense publishers may not display Google ads on webpages with content protected by copyright law unless they have the necessary legal rights to display that content. Please see our DMCA policy for more information.
- AdSense publishers are required to adhere to the webmaster quality guidelines.
- Do not place excessive, repetitive or irrelevant keywords in the content or code of webpages.
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
- Do not include deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve your site's search engine ranking (e.g. your site's PageRank).
- Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Google ads may not be placed on pages receiving traffic from certain sources. For example, publishers may not participate in paid-to-click programs, send unwanted emails or display ads as the result of the action of any software application. Also, publishers using online advertising must ensure that their pages comply with Google's Landing Page Quality Guidelines.
- To ensure a positive experience for Internet users and Google advertisers, sites displaying Google ads may not:
- Use third-party services that generate clicks or impressions such as paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, autosurf and click-exchange programs.
- Be promoted through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites.
- Display Google ads, search boxes or search results as a result of the actions of software applications such as toolbars.
- Be loaded by any software that can trigger pop-ups, redirect users to unwanted websites, modify browser settings or otherwise interfere with site navigation. It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct traffic to pages that contain your AdSense code.
- Receive traffic from online advertising unless the site complies with the spirit of Google's Landing Page Quality Guidelines. For instance, users should easily be able to find what your ad promises.
- AdSense code may not be altered, nor may the standard behavior, targeting or delivery of ads be manipulated in any way that is not explicitly permitted by Google. For instance, clicking Google ads may not result in a new browser window being launched.
- Publishers are encouraged to experiment with a variety of placements and ad formats. However, AdSense code may not be placed in inappropriate places such as pop-ups, emails or software. Publishers must also adhere to the policies for each product used:
- Integrated into a software application of any kind, including toolbars.
- Displayed in pop-ups or pop-unders.
- Placed in emails or in email programs.
- Obscured by elements on a page.
- Placed on any non-content-based page.
- Placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads.
- Placed on pages whose content or URL could confuse users into thinking it is associated with Google due to the misuse of logos, trademarks or other brand features.
- Placed on, within or alongside other Google products or services in a manner that violates the policies of that product or service.
- Sites showing Google ads should be easy for users to navigate. Sites may not change user preferences, redirect users to unwanted websites, initiate downloads, include malware or contain pop-ups or pop-unders that interfere with site navigation.
- In order to prevent user confusion, publishers may not display Google ads or search boxes on websites that also contain other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colours as the Google ads or search boxes on that site. Although you may sell ads directly on your site, it is your responsibility to ensure that these ads cannot be confused with Google ads.
Google uses the DoubleClick DART cookie on publisher websites displaying AdSense for content ads. Subject to any applicable laws, rules and regulations, you will have the sole and exclusive right to use all data derived from your use of the DoubleClick DART cookie for any purpose related to your business, provided that Google may use and disclose this data subject to the terms of Google's advertising privacy policies and any applicable laws, rules and regulations.
If your current advertising services contract with Google or DoubleClick already has a specific provision defining data ownership, that provision instead of this policy will govern with regard to the data collected under that contract.
- AdSense for content: Up to three ad units and three link units may be placed on each page.
- AdSense for search: A maximum of two Google AdSense for search boxes may be placed per page. Also, a single link unit or a search box, but no other Google ads, may be placed on pages with AdSense for search results. Queries must originate from users inputting data directly into the search box and cannot be modified. This includes pre-populating the search box with terms or hard-coding direct links to search results pages. AdSense for search code may not be integrated into any software application such as a toolbar.
Now, that's a lot of rules, but you need to learn them all if you are going to advertise with Google. Sites that display Adsense for you (like Hubpages) enforce the rule as a policy as they do not want to lose their Adsense account to a user. And believe me ... if you violate any of these rules Google's judgment will be swift, probably irrevocable, and definitely earned - as anyone placing their won ads should have read all of this and understood it - or went on their site to ask questions to make certain they are within policy at all times.
Google plays no favorites - you've been warned. :)
- Sign-up page: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
- Probability for generating income: easy for some - difficult for others
- Probability of being cancelled: not as easy as Google
Amazon is a very pleasant affiliate with many options. It's also difficult at times to earn from. You really need to guess what people will want to buy as they read your blog, and then you need to apply appropriate Amazon ads in the hope of getting a click. The Amazon Omakase widget professes that it will automatically figure out the best product for each page, but I still think it needs some work as it gives the goofiest of suggestions at times. You're better off with a best seller banner that is close in topic to what you write about.
Basic no-nos: Same as Google
Applying your Amazon ads to your Wordpress blog is as easy as it is with Google.All you need to
do is go to their site, log in (once you are approved) click the Links and Banners tab or the Widgets Tab, and then choose a banner or widget you like.
Once your ad is completed, Amazon will give you a code for your new ad. Copy the text and open your Wordpress dashboard. Click Appearance -> Click Widgets -> Drag a new text box over to your sidebar -> Click the code tag -> paste the Amazon text into your text box.
Now, go check your blog to make sure it looks good. If not, rinse, wash, and repeat until you get it just right.
- Sign-up page: https://www.ebaypartnernetwork.com/files/hub/en-US/index.html
- Probability for generating income: can be very lucrative - who doesn't want cheap stuff?
- Probability of being cancelled: don't sneeze on their ads - enuf said
Ebay is another monster that rules over its affiliates with a pretty gruff stare. However, they can also be the most lucrative affiliate you can get, provided they are willing to sign you up. Unlike the other two prior affiliates, you really need to prove yourself to Ebay, and they ask for a lot of proof. To sum it up, they pretty much demand the following:
- You need to own your domain and website and you must have full control over it
- They want a track record that shows you are writing real articles and updating often
- They want to know (by looking at your site) that your pages will generate revenue for them
- The want to know that you are in the game for more than a year
Only approach Ebay if you are serious about making money from your blogging, you attend to be around for the long haul, and you are willing to put up with being rejected a few times - as this could easily happen to you - Ebay is stingy. However, with everyone wanting to be an Ebay affiliate, they can afford to be stingy.
Basic no-nos: Same as Google and eagerly enforced
As I am still working on securing a deal with Ebay (yes, they even see it fit to give me a hard time), I don't have the specifics. Howevere, sources tell me it's much like Amazon, so those instructions should get you by.
Yes ... there are other affiliates, but combining them with the above three can be pretty risky and quite often the three above will be your best earners, so you don't want to lose them. As such, I recommend not going with other affiliates until you have thoroughly read the TOS for all three affiliates listed above, asked each one if the affiliate you have in mind would cause any issues, and you have spent the time to research how that affiliate works.
And so, that's it!
If anyone wants more info I can create a Part 4 to answer them, but I think this is a good jump on the basics. So, get moving on those blogs and I hope to see everyone making good use of their free time - and perhaps, getting paid for it.
Remember, you almost certainly won't get rich from blogging, but you can definitely have a good time of it - and you could find yourself being that lucky one-in-a-million that finds that mass following. Good luck! :)