Websites give you an opportunity to express yourself, promote your work, market your products and communicate with others. The medium is flexible and personal, but not always self-supporting. To bring some financial assistance to the endeavor, you have the option of joining Google's AdSense, which pays for the privilege of running display advertisements on one or more of your site pages. In general, the larger the audience you can attract to the site, and the more return visits you can generate with compelling and dynamic content, the better the AdSense compensation will be.
Signing Up for AdSense
Google welcomes new websites to the AdSense program as long as they conform to the company's content policies. Violence, adult entertainment, hacking sites, profanity, drug or alcohol sales, and gambling are among the content non-nos with AdSense. To create a new account, navigate to the AdSense How to Sign-Up page. After you submit an online application, Google will verify your data.
Once the account goes live, you select the ad units you want to run and append them to your website by copying and pasting their URLs into the page code or editor you're using. Google then goes through a second verification to make sure your site content and ad placement still meet the guidelines. AdSense also offers a Search program that allows websites to generate revenue through search boxes placed on their pages, which eventually bring users to advertised products and services.
Click Rates and RPM
Google shares 68 percent of the revenue generated by the AdSense units placed on your page, and 51 percent of the revenue generated by search displays. Revenue will vary by the kind of ad you're running and the frequency of clicks or views by your site visitors. In measuring how well your page is doing, the factors to remember are the click-through rate, or CTR; the cost per click, or CPC; and the revenue per thousand impressions, or RPM.
Cost per click is the amount paid by the advertiser every time a visitor clicks on its ad. The click-through rate is the number of visitors to the page who did the clicking. All of these factors move in tandem. Higher CTR and CPC lead to higher RPM, which is the amount of money earned for every 1,000 times the page was delivered to a web browser. When your RPM reaches $3.50, for example, you're earning $3.50 for every 1,000 visitors to a single page (which is about average). Websites that draw visitors through well-placed, high interest keywords and top rankings by search engines will earn more, relatively speaking, than those that are less frequently visited.
Location, Location, Etc.
Revenue generated by AdSense also will vary depending on the location of the ad on the page. Certain positions have higher value to an advertiser. For example, a glowing banner across the top is worth more than a dull tombstone tucked away on the bottom left. According to many experts, placing at least one ad on the page that can be seen without scrolling down the page is essential for revenue generation. Some types of ads -- text, image, animated -- earn more, as do certain sizes and dimension types (banners, half pages, leaderboards). Another factor is simply the location of your audience. Clicks from customers in certain countries are worth more as advertisers will pay Google -- and ultimately you, the website creator -- more money for reaching a more desirable market.
Tools of the Trade
In any medium, advertising is all about numbers and efficiency. Just as advertisers want to get the most bang for their marketing bucks, website creators seeking revenue want their pages to generate money as efficiently as possible. The key is to run the numbers and find out which pages are generating the highest traffic and the best CTR. The company lets you do that through Google Analytics, which measures the number of site visitors, the number of visitors to each page, the number of clicks generated by each ad on each page, and so on.
Google can also break things down by device type such as mobile smartphone, desktop or tablet, and reveal visitor behavior: how long they stay with your site, how they move through it, and how many different pages they visit. With Analytics, you can optimize your pages by conforming them to the ever-changing supply-and-demand currents of the online advertising market.