Thursday, October 06, 2005

What AdSense Formats Work Best?

Our daughter's grade school is right across the street, so it's easy to hop on the bike and with her on the seat tube we have a nice ride to the playground.

When we get close to the school, signs abound telling everyone to slow to 20 mph from 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM. There is the typical school zone sign, and the white lettering on the pavement.

In fact, at the corner there is even a senior citizen crossing guard!

Ever notice how everything ties together? Each weekday morning millions of kids go to school with hardly an incident? How can that be?

Optimization. Based on years of what works and what doesn't, local governments know what signs to place where, what color, size, style of lettering, color of lettering, reflectivity, height, distance from the school, distance to the school, and many other factors that have made school zones safe.

Likewise, there is a pool of experience that can greatly improve the monetization of your pages with Google AdSense ads. If you were starting a new school zone in your city, and you were appointed to create the "safest zone", would you start experimenting around? Wouldn't it make sense to do as much research as possible into what has been successful?

That's exactly what I've done with AdSense.

Lately I've been writing about different tips on how to get more visitors to your site because that is a vital part of the monetizing equation with Google AdSense. It only makes sense that in order to realize any revenue at all with a campaign, you must have someone visiting your pages and viewing the "ads".

But once those visitors start showing up at your site, either through promotion on your own, or by using Google's AdWords to point them here, cashing in on the experience of AdSense pioneers will insure that you're converting those visitors into clicks on AdSense ads displayed on your site.

Now, please review my other posts on this topic if you haven't already.

Back? Great! Let's get on with it.

When I first learned about AdSense, I thought I was dreaming. Here was a company (Google), willing to pay me for the traffic I was already enjoying to my sites. As I related in an earlier post, my friend, Matt Wright, explained to me that he was making well into four figures a month on his sites.

If you're like most of us, you not only want to enjoy the profit, you want to know the best recipe possible to have the best results possible. (Squeeze that turnip, baby!)

I remember when I started drinking coffee. Wow, good stuff! As the years went by, and the event of being able to get better coffee, I learned that the way I was creating my "cup" was really crappy. It was "good", but someone showed me "better". Much better! Soon, I purchased a burr grinder and bought high quality beans.

I experimented with different roasts and found ones I enjoyed much more than others. I found that water played a great part in making that perfect cup. Bottom line, it took some experimentation and following successful recipes of coffee "pioneers" to get me to a connoisseur of coffee.

Let's look at what has worked best with AdSense. Consider this a recipe you should try.

  1. Displaying images directly above the "leaderboard" style ads. What happens is the pictures draw the eye to the ads and they become even more appealing. You must be careful that you are not drawing unnecessary attention to the ads. In other words, keep the images generic. Anything that may construe the images as being from the AdSense ads is against the Google AdSense Terms of Service agreement.

  2. We've talked about experimenting with colors. Pioneers tell us the very best click thrus are realized when the ad itself blends with the format and colors of your web page.

  3. Make sure you have ads on every page of your site. In this case, more IS better. Again, stick with the program rules. Currently you are allowed three ad groups and one text link group per page.

  4. Get fat! According to Google, a wider is better because it holds more content and make it easier to read without dropping down line after line. The most effective sizes for click-thrus are 326x280, 300x250 (inline rectangle), 160x600 (wide skyscraper).

  5. Guru's say to place your ads in the top section of the page and to the left. Why? Better for maximum eye attention. Visualize the monitor as a piece of paper and cut it in half horizontally. Secret: top left!

  6. Did you know you can earn AdSense money with a Google "search box" on your site? For more on this, see:

    Google Adsense Tour

    Users can search just Google or your entire website. If they click on the ads displayed on the search page, you earn money.

  7. Use "link" type ads. These are smaller text ads ranging in six sizes from 120x90 pix to 728x15 pixels. You can add one link unit to the already allowed three ad units per page, giving you a maximum of four ad units on a page. Again, it gives you another opportunity for revenue.

    Google Link Units

  8. Track, track, track! Use channels to track different ad formats and color schemes you've created to find out which ad units are working best. Then, take that information to tweak and refine your site. For more, see:

    What are Channels?

  9. Tweak even more by adding special tags to your pages. This assists Google in knowing where the "real content" is on your pages which results in more targeted ads and hopefully higher click-thru rates for you. It's called:

    Section Targeting.

  10. Never forget that content is king! Think of content as your resume to the world. It doesn't have to be about you, but it should reflect something of value to the end user.
Alas, another ten tips to help you make more. Let me know about what has been working for you, or ask what might be wrong with your placement.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Create a Newsletter

Perhaps you don't think you can write good copy for a weekly or monthly newsletter, but can you gather information? Most people can use a search engine, and read the trade magazines. And this is what you will need to do to get a newsletter off the ground.

Why a newsletter? Because it's a great way to keep people informed of updates to your posts.

But you must have good content for your newsletter as well. What you can do is use the major search engines to your advantage. Research areas that are in your keyword collection you are using for the topic you are presenting.

For instance, if you wanted to capture a niche on iPods and accessories, it would be very easy to create a newsletter listing places on the web where we could find the latest reviews. If you actually own an iPod, you could write your opinion on a certain feature. This could take up the whole newsletter. It doesn't have to be fancy, just great content - remember - content is king.

Don't copy other people's work. Read it and form your own opinion. That is the very best way to create value - people actually "value" other people's opinions. We value that more than we value the song and dance of the manufacturer.

Here are some fantastic resources for creating newsletters:

That will get you started. Try Constant Contact, I highly recommend them.

And don't forget the whole reason to create a newsletter: tell others about your blog updates!

Tell me about your trials and success. Let me know how I can help you.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Matt Wright of Formmail Wed

Just a quick note as I write from Chicago where earlier today we had the wonderful opportunity to see good friend and associate Matt Wright of Formmail, GuestBook and WWWBoard fame marry his sweetheart of five and a half years, Kristine. The wedding took place in beautiful Wrigley Square at Millennium Park, here in Chicago. And the reception, at the Sears Tower!

They thought of everything, and though personal, we were all amazed at how much work went in to making everyone feel comfortable.

Congratulations Matt & Kristine!

Matt introduced me to AdSense a few years back after telling me he was making 4 figures a month from his popular sites and From that day on, we immediately decided to monetize our sites as well. It boils down to how many people you can expose the ads to, and with that go all the important things such as content, promotion and relativity.

Please review these sites and see how they place their AdSense ads.