Advertising. You may associate it with Don Draper drinking cocktails at lunch or with annoying people yelling at you about a new type of super absorbent towel during commercial breaks, but something you may not realize is just how easy it is to use as a revenue stream for your site. All thanks to Google.
Google's AdSense program enables anyone with a website to display ads and make money from those ads. There are close to 14,000,000 websites running these sorts of ads, so you've certainly encountered them, and likely even clicked on them, in the past. And when you did view and click them, you earned money for the owner of the site where the ad was running. Simple as that.
How Does Google AdSense Work?
Two groups of people are involved with AdSense (aside from Google): the people who display ads on their sites and the people who pay Google to advertise their businesses on those sites.
When you place AdSense on your site, Google programmatically determines what your site is about and runs ads for businesses that are a great match for your site. If you run a blog that rates wines, your visitors will likely see ads for food and drinks. If you write about movies and comic books, then a wide range of what would be considered "geekier" entertainment will show up in the ads.
Then based on your traffic and the number of people who took actions with your ads, you'll get a cut of the profits from Google, and they'll pay that cut out to you once a month.
Is Google AdSense Right for Your Site?
If you're running a site to sell your own products or services then this is the answer: no.
You may want to run your own ads on other sites, but the revenue potential represented by AdSense is not worth distracting potential customers from the things you hope to sell them.
If you're running a blog or building a website in which the sole purpose is to write or otherwise inform or entertain visitors then this is the answer: yes.
The more specific your site, like our earlier example about running a blog that reviews wines, the more money you're likely to bring in. And the better your content, the more likely your site will get visitors and increase the value of the ads you're displaying.
How Can You Get Started with AdSense?
The easiest way to kick things off is to drag the Google AdSense element to any page on your site.
The first time you do this, Weebly will prompt you to Authorize your account. This option allows you to connect to an already existing AdSense account or to create a new one.
Clicking the Authorize link will open a new page where Google will walk you through the process of creating an AdSense account. If you have a Gmail or G Suite (Google Apps) email address, you can sign into it here (you may even already be signed in) and associate the AdSense account with that address, otherwise, you'll need to create a Google account.
Either way, Google will then ask you to verify the address of your website and choose the primary language in which any ads should appear. After this, you'll enter some information about yourself, including where payouts should go, and then submit your application.
Notice the wording at the end of that last sentence: "submit your application." Google looks over every site that signs up for the AdSense program to determine whether or not that site is both legitimate and a good fit.
If your site appears to be spam, you'll be declined. If your site is mostly empty, you'll be declined. Ideally, you should wait and apply to be an AdSense publisher after your site is established and has been running for at least a month. That way you're providing Google with enough content to properly judge (and accept) your site into the program.
Once you're accepted, it'll take at least a few days for ads to begin showing up. You can drag AdSense elements anywhere you like and can even place multiple elements on the same page. Consider limiting the number elements to three or fewer per page or per blog post, since Google may view more than that as too many and may not run any ads in the excess elements.
One other very key detail to note is that you can adjust the size and type of ads being run by clicking on an AdSense element within Weebly and then going to Advanced. You can choose completely different settings for each and every AdSense element you place on your site.
Under the Ad Format section, you'll find a number of different sizes of ads that include the option to run ads horizontally or vertically (vertical ads are great for sidebars).
In the Ad Type section, you'll find an option to run ads that are either just text, just images or a mixture of text and images.
What Should You Expect from AdSense?
Will Google AdSense turn you into a millionaire? Nope.
Will Google AdSense allow you to quit your day job next week? Nope.
Will Google AdSense bring in a substantial amount of money? At least not right away.
Like any other business model, what you put into Google AdSense will greatly influence what you get out of it. If you focus on keeping your site continually updated with new content while working to bring visitors in, then you'll see your AdSense revenue trend upward. If you only update your site occasionally (if at all), then the money you make from AdSense will likely be negligible.
The best way to view Google AdSense is as supplemental income that, if everything goes well, can over time help you move on to bigger things. It can absolutely be a great way to start making extra money with no real risk involved other than the time you put into your site.