Thanks to adsense, blogs, rss feeds and their listings -- not to mention an arsenal of free types of advertising -- it's possible to make a very good income without spending a penny and with minimal effort. The trick is to optimize for it.
PLEASE NOTE: Though adsense may have originated with Google's system, there are many other adsense-type programs available, all of which are as viable -- some even more so -- as theirs. The information included here applies to most of them.
While everyone else is busy optimizing for search engines, by optimizing for adsense, a site can feasibly pull enough traffic that simply clicks on the ads to forget about other forms of sales.
However, bear in mind that most adsense TOS agreements prevent any unfair or "fraudulent" clicking, even so much as a note saying, "click here to support this site," which risks banishment by most adsense companies. This, of course, is to protect those adwords customers who pay to have their ads displayed. It is they who are robbed (not the companies) when an ad is clicked irresponsibly. Furthermore Google, for one, can track clicks effectively enough to detect any artificial or irresponsible clicking will garner any income received this way.
With that in mind, by understanding how adsense-type programs work, one can optimize a page, legally, to create a substantial income. And while guidelines are designed primarily focused on adsense, many of these strategies will increase a sites' general revenue as well.
- TOP SEARCHES
The first step is to design a site around the top searches. There are various tools (keyword selectors and zeitgeist, for example) that help gather this information. Of course, there is also the "niche marketing" school of thought, i.e., to find a smaller group that has less page-per-click competition. In this case, the ideal is to find a large audience-small page ratio. But after more than a year of marketers scouring the web for them, finding one is rare and searching for one can take a LOT of time. Not hours or days, but weeks or months.
- HIGHEST PAYING KEYWORDS
Lists of these can be found simply by searching the internet. Of course combining the highest paying adsense keywords with Top Searches may make a very strange mix. Afterall, the top search (at the time of this writing) is Britney Spears while the top-paying words relate to mesothelioma and asbestos cancer. So, unless Britney Spears speaks out on mesothelioma, there's little chance these could be combined legally*. But, by looking down the lists there are more feasible combinations. The main thing to understand is it's only a combination of the two (high-paying keywords & top searches) that will bring enough traffic to garner any measurable LEGAL income from adsense.
- PLACES, PLEASE
Placing the ads prominently on the site is a no-brainer, though some marketers still tend to hide them toward the bottom of the site. Another TOS factor, too, is a content-to-ad ratio that adsense programs used to insist on, but seem to be slipping. Generally the policy was no more than two banner ads per page though many sites that end up at the top of searches seem to flaunt this rule. But who knows how long they last, too. Traditionally, putting one banner across the top, just below the title, and one "skyscraper" down one side, with content in the middle is the best.
- MULTI-PAGE IT
One pase allows for 2 ads, but more ads can be placed on each additional page on the site. For those lacking ideas for additional pages, the simplest page would be a separate contact page, as well as an "about us" or testimonial page, all of which are viable additions.
Incidently, it's ironic that so many marketers create mile-long splash pages rather than a group of pages and never add one adsense ad to them. As if, by doing this, it will garner more sales, when the truth is, they sacrifice as much as gain because these pages are rarely indexed and annoy visitors as many as they attract, simply because of their set up. Understand this: adsense is a way to profit from EXIT traffic, something that WILL occur at one point or another, no matter how wonderful the page.
- HIGHLIGHT OR BLEND
Some prefer the adsense to blend into their site, almost hiding it from visitors. But this diminishes its effectiveness. Rather, by highlighting it, visitors will be more aware of it, allowing it to stand out. Of course, we'd all prefer our visitors to stay at OUR site, buy OUR product, etc. But the fact is, many won't. Isn't it better to gain something from their departure?
This feature is only available from some of the larger adsense programs. If it is available, placing it at the bottom of a page offers the visitor the convenience of doing a search without having to first go to the SE. Of course, many SEs and browsers offer toolbars that diminish the effectiveness of this. But adding it will create another exit point that is to your advantage-- and seems like a service, too.
- AFRAID OF COMPETITION?
Some adsense programs offer a "block competition" option, one in which specific sites may be barred. However, to believe it's possible to effectively block ALL your competition is naive. Though it may at first seem outrageious to help advertise for the competition, again, at least one will gain from their advertisement (and, for those who need payback remember: the competition is paying you).
MARIGE O'BRIEN works as a writer, web designer and Internet Marketer. Visit her newly re-designed website, Tracker Mo's Den (http://www.trackermo.com) for her latest recommendations in i-marketing tools and biz opps. Sign up for her own 100% original newsletter, Tracker Mo's Report.