Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Making your hobby pay for itself

So you have built your website, devoting many hours in a labour of love creating homage to a favourite movie star or pop icon, doing so on a joint notion to hone your HTML and CSS skills, you become proud of your website. It gradually climbs the listings on Google and soon receives a steady flow of visitors. You delight in its success. But had you ever thought about making that weekend project actually earn an income for your efforts? Well why not!

Google’s Adsense (www.google.com/adsense) has grown extremely popular with bloggers and those who run non-commercial websites and is aimed at giving people like you and me an honourable outlet for earning money from our websites of devotion through displaying fee-generating advertisements on your website. Perhaps the idea of covering your shrine with commercials may sound like sacrilege, but with careful placing and a little formatting, their presence may not sound as bad as it seems, and guess what, you will soon find it will begin to more than cover the cost of hosting; your website is now earning its keep.

Adsense works on a simple premise: you designate an area on your website to display adverts and for each click they receive is credited with a referral fee, paid for by the advertiser. That fee of course varies on popularity, though when your account reaches $100 by the end of the month, you will be paid that balance, and should you have not earned that amount, the pot simply rolls over to the next month until you do, but what’s even better, the amount is paid directly into your bank account.

By scanning your content to pick up its keywords adverts are placed by those relevant to your website, that way people visiting your website should technically already be prime candidate to click on them since they will already be of interest to them. My own site, based on a musician, was soon displaying adverts for ticket agents displaying offers for concerts, however you will quickly discover your account will need some fine tuning since every advertiser also using those key phrases will also appear that may have no relevance at all to your subject. Everything from software, to tennis rackets and a chain of eastern European hotels also began appearing on my website, but thoughtfully, Google also allows you to filter any erroneous adverts and you can soon restore order to your website. Although it will demand regular attention, your revenue will rise if you keep all your adverts relevant to your subject.

By being supported by Google, an off shoot of their Adwords tool, Adsense continues to evolve to maximise your earning potential across a multitude of platforms, in particular more recently to display adverts on your mobile content and RSS. So if you have not yet thought of earning a little income from your website, what are you waiting for? And like me, you will be enjoying the wonders of online advertising and have your website work for you, even while you are sleeping.

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