Easy way to monetize a WordPress site with Adsense

I created the title before I really know that I have a solution.  We’ll see how this goes.

First, I created a website (this one), and added content.  I’m starting to get a little bit of search traffic organically.  The most important part of monetizing a site is getting traffic to the site.  That’s easier said than done and beyond the scope of this article.  Perhaps some day I will reveal what I’ve learned about SEO – as far as what works and what doesn’t.  The essential answer you should know is that you need to create good content and then I find that good link building is still an essential part of SEO.

Second, I installed the Google Site Kit plugin for WordPress.  Go ahead and find it in the list of plug-ins and install it.  You need to have a google account and connect it through Site Kit.  It is pretty self-explanatory to get it started.  I use it for analytics and the Google search console.  Both of these tools are essential to building traffic.

Third, I waited until I had written at least a moderate amount of content and also started to get traffic to the site.  Over the last 28 days I’ve had 158 clicks according to the Google search console.  I am primarily interested in traffic coming from organic search, and I find this is the best measure.

Fourth, now that I have content and traffic, I am trying to add Adsense ads.  Site kit makes it easy.  You enable it through the plug-in, then you have to submit your site on the adsense site to get approved.  In the distant past, you could put your adsense ads on any site and they’d show up.  I’m not sure when they started to require sites to get approved, but I had a small site idea and signed up when I first started that site – and it did not get approved.  They said to resubmit after the site is more developed.  So, I’ll see if this site is now developed enough, with 158 clicks / month.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

I enabled auto ads, mainly to make it easy to verify my site and get ads showing once it is approved.  I have a few other wordpress sites with auto ads and I have found that it was VERY aggressive in how it places ads.  Way too many ads and they always place some above the fold.  It’s ironic because I’m used to stern warnings in SEO that Google had an above the fold penalty for SEO.  Basically, you wanted to make sure you had content clearly visible when someone first lands on a page, before they start to scroll.  If you put a giant ad right there, especially on mobile, the visitor gets none of the content and only sees the ad – and maybe a title of an article.  I have no idea how much of a factor it is for SEO, but I also find the sites a turn-off if you get bombarded with ads.

So, I went into the ad settings and I turned it to the absolutely lowest ad load.  There is a setting on the adsense site, after selecting the site, to see where it will place sample auto ads.  I also removed the ad placement that is above the fold for mobile.  Yes, I am sacrificing click through rates, as those ads definitely perform the best.

So now I’ll wait and see.  It’ll be interesting if Adsense is doing manual site reviews, as that is very un-googley – their goals used to always be to automate everything, which would allow it to scale everything.  Humans are hard to scale.  Computers are easy to scale.  If adsense is doing a manual review, they’ll have the privilege of seeing this article related to monetizing the site.  Sort of like an Inception of ads and site reviews.  I’m guessing the main approval process is automated though, so no Googler is likely to find their way here.

Last, as I hinted at above, I find it very frustrating that the search side of google seems to run completely compartmentalized from the adsense side of google.  If they worked in concert, the adsense auto ads would be delivered in the exact way that Google search encourages websites to display ads – as unobtrusive as possible.

Of course, I also suspect that most people who visit this site on a computer will have an ad blocker installed.  I also don’t believe in hiding my site because someone uses an ad blocker.  Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point, but I suspect that most people would just leave the site if I forced them to disable their ad blocker.

I hope to make occasional posts with the success of this approach.

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