Many websites make their initial revenue through Google AdSense for the simple reason that the program is easy to apply to and is easy to implement. The contextual advertising often helps ensure that the ads being shown to your visitors are relevant to your site’s content, making the ads far more appropriate (and likely to be clicked on) by your visitors.
AdSense isn’t perfect and it isn’t appropriate for everyone
As good as all this sounds, AdSense isn’t perfect – there are many reports of the contextual advertising not working correctly or even appropriately. I have my own example of this – I simply cannot run AdSense on Soap Forum as Google is convinced my website is about body soaps as opposed to television soaps!
Additionally, depending on your niche you may find you can earn more revenue through affiliate programs, private advertising or other ad networks. Remember – Google doesn’t have a monopoly when it comes to online advertising (yet!). In any case, it is always a good idea to diversify your revenue streams – even if AdSense is working great for you, your site should still be making money from more than one source.
Is Google right for you?
Only you can determine whether AdSense is right for your website. One quick and easy way to figure this out is by using the AdSense preview tool. Unfortunately this only works with Internet Explorer, but it is well worth installing as it offers some insightful information by showing you the type of ads you can expect to be served on any page you visit.
Installing the Google AdSense preview tool
Once you install the plugin, you simply right-click on any website page to get a preview of the type of ads you can expect to see should AdSense be running:
Using the Google AdSense preview tool
This can be a great help as you can determine the following:
Are the ads going to be relevant to your site and audience?
Poorly targeted, irrelevant ads are worthless. You want to make sure that the ads you serve are relevant to your visitors to ensure they add value to your site and earn you the maximum possible revenue.
What type of sites are going to be advertising on your website?
You should always be aware of who is advertising on your site – after all, you may not want to advertise the websites of your direct competitors, or sites that contain content you do not wish to be associated with.
Who can you approach for private advertising?
Even if you don’t want to use AdSense, this handy tool will allow you to see sites similar to yours that pay to advertise. At the very least, you can now ‘follow the money’ and consider contacting those websites directly to see if they are interested in advertising on your site.
These ads aren’t particularly relevant to a TV forum and ‘Clone a Willy’ may not be appropriate for my audience!
Geo-targeting and ad formats
You can also play around with the plugin by previewing ads in popular dimensions and according to your geographical location:
Further previews are available via the ‘Choose Options’ link
Have you come across the AdSense preview tool before? Did you use it to decide whether AdSense was right for your site, or did you use it to find advertisers? Are you an AdSense fan or a non-believer? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.