I’ve turned into quite a fan of Google Adsense.
Here is a way that anyone can make money online without having to sell anything. And given that selling on the internet is one of the hardest skills to master, the Adsense program provides a way for newcomers to internet marketing to make their first bit of passive income without getting bogged down with the ins and outs of conversion and payment processing.
Yet, at the same time, it can be a complete waste of time if people go about it the wrong way. The most common mistake I see is poor ad placement and optimization, followed closely by keyword optimization for terms that don’t pay!
Having made decent money from Google Adsense for over a year now, I wanted to create a quick 7 step plan that can be followed to generate an income online. And here it is…
Quick disclaimer: don’t expect instant gratification from this strategy – it can take anything from a few weeks to a month to start receiving traffic from the search engines and therefore make any money. But, when you do, it’s very easy to scale everything up.
Step 1 – Pick Your Niche and Keyword Group
Yawn. I know…the same old story – “pick your niche”.
You’re probably about to skip this section because you think you already know how to carry out niche research. Well, don’t go just yet – this is probably the most important step in the whole 7 step process.
There are three tools I like to use for my niche research: Google Adwords keyword tool, Micro Niche Finder and Traffic Travis. It doesn’t actually matter what tool you use, as long as you have an effective way of finding keywords that:
- Are fairly easy to rank for (don’t have much competition)
- Have an estimated ad cost of over $3 per click
- Get enough search volume to warrant optimization
You’ll notice that “fairly easy to rank for” is vague. This is deliberate, because it’s very difficult to give an “ease of ranking” metric. But, here’s what I do:-
I’ll generate my keywords in either the Google ad tool or Micro Niche Finder and then I’ll head over to the free version of Traffic Travis and analyze the competitiveness of the phrase there, too.
If the Strength of Competition in Micro Niche Finder is less than 50 and Traffic Travis rates the ranking difficulty as “fairly easy” – then that’s a good enough sign that I can rank for that keyword.
Don’t forget – choose keywords with a reasonable ad cost otherwise you’ll get paid next to nothing for every click you generate. You can expect to receive around 60% of the ad cost per click.
So, if the estimated Cost per Click is displayed as $3.00 in the keyword tool, then you’ll earn around $1.80 every time someone clicks on your ad (many factors go into the exact amount an ad costs which ultimately effects what you’re paid – the figures quoted are for guidelines only)
Ideally you’ll want a group of keywords (I always start off with 5) all in the same tightly knitted niche.
Step 2 – Create Your Online Home
Now it’s time to buy your domain, hosting and create your WordPress blog. Here are a few helpful tips:-
- Try and purchase a domain that matches (or closely matches) the most popular keyword in your keyword group
- Set your blog up so that it’s SEO friendly with permalinks.
- Create your site title and description so that it’s also optimized for the main keyword.
Step 3– Place Your Adsense Blocks Properly
There are plenty of tips on where to place your Google Adsense blocks. Do a little research and insert the ads in the effective places. You can insert Adsense in any WordPress theme but if you want to cut down on your research you can just look for an Adsense optimized theme.
- Here is a list of few optimised WordPress themes for you to choose from
You want to make sure that your adsense ads blend in very well with your article content for higher click throughs – have a look at this site as an example: http://www.antiques-prices.com
Obviously, you’ll need to add your Google Adsense published ID to your theme. If you don’t yet have a Google Adsense account, then create a few articles on your blog (half decent articles, I might add!) and apply.
You should also take the time to install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both free) on your blog. This will give you invaluable information about where your visitors are coming from and, more importantly, how you can grow the amount of traffic you’re getting to your blog.
Step 4 – Get Writing!
Here’s the not-so-sexy part of the whole process. It’s time to get down and dirty with some good old fashioned elbow grease…Well, typing at least.
You need to create a decent post (of 500 words or more) for each of the keywords that you’ve selected. Each post needs to be optimized nicely for the keyword; that means the keyword must be in the title, in the first paragraph and mentioned a couple of other times through the body of the article.
Don’t go overboard with on-site optimization unless you want to get a backhand from Google. The Google sandbox isn’t as fun as it sounds.
If you enjoy writing articles…Then you can “bolster” your main keyword posts with other internal posts that link to them. Simply create other related articles and link to these posts with their respective keywords as the anchor.
Step 5 – Get Your Site Ranked…
Here’s where a bit of persistence pays off. Building backlinks is one of those tasks that you’d rather not do, but you simply have to do.
Of course, if you have some money at your disposal, then you can head on over to elance.com or vworker.com and tell somebody else how to do it for you…
But, I’m assuming that you’re on a shoestring. In which case, allow me to set some expectations for you:-
- You’ll need to be consistent with your backlink building
- You’ll need to spend 30 mins up to 1 hour per day (or whatever your time allows you to spend)
- Be prepared to this for a couple of weeks before you notice any movement in the search engines.
That’s not to say that you can’t rank sites quicker than that – but it’s always good to have realistic expectations.
Here are some great ways for you to build free backlinks:-
- Create web 2.0 sites at places like Squidoo, HubPages, Wetpaint and Livejournal.
- Write articles and submit them to the article directories. There are numerous article submitters out there (some of which are free – http://articlesubmitter.imwishlist.com/)
- Head over to commenkahuna.com to download free software that will help you to quickly comment on related blogs
- Social bookmark your blog and each posts at socialmarker.com
- Submit content to Freetrafficsystem.com with links back to each post on your blog
Of course there are plenty of paid tools that can help you out with backlinking and complement the above strategy. I’d recommend having a look at Build My Rank and Article Ranks.
Listen, I know this backlinking “stuff” is boring, but a bit of persistence really does pay off. Concentrate on building one affiliate site for one month – give it a fair shot at succeeding.
Step 6 – Analyze for Further Growth
Here’s a step that’s very commonly missed out. Once you start seeing traffic coming into your site, you should take some time to look at your Google Analytics stats to see what keywords are being used by searchers to land on your blog.
Also, I’d highly recommend looking at Google Webmaster Tools – in here you can see the amount of impressions your listings are getting.
If you see that one of your keywords gets loads of impressions but hardly any clicks, then try and understand why that is. Often, it’s because you’re listed on the first page of the search engines, but below the fold. The high impression count shows that it’s worthwhile spending that little extra time to build some extra links and push your page into the top 3 listings (which is where you want to be!).
Step 7 – Expand your Empire
This step isn’t about rinse and repeat. It’s about documenting your system so that you are no longer the one doing all the work.
An ideal business is one where you can go on holiday for a month and everything will still run on autopilot while you’re gone.
The shift from working on your business as opposed to in your business can start to take place with as little as $200 per month income. At $200 per month income you can hire a full-time virtual assistant for 2 weeks in every 4. So, instead of creating and submitting articles, you can place your time in the high value areas of your business.
A Final Note to Anyone Taking on this Challenge
To succeed with any strategy, you have to put yourself in the top 10% of the population who try. In other words, out of 100 people who take this article and action it, you need to make sure that you go above and beyond 90 of them.
And this is true in any business. Average results are a result of average commitment.
If you focus on that first $200 goal then it seems not only real, but very possible, too. And from there it’s just a case of putting one step in front of the other.