I feel like it’s about time that I paid back to the community for all of the knowledge and help that I received along the way. Hopefully this post will help you get started in the AdSense business even if you have little or no money to spare but desperately want to try your hand at it.
Normally Google won’t approve AdSense applications for free websites, but there is one exception. So if you’re short on cash for hosting and are eager to get started, you might give this a try.
Not long after Google bought Blogger.com, they made AdSense available to Blogger blog owners. Blogger is great because it has an easy interface, Google and Yahoo crawl the blogs quickly, and best of all if you’re broke–they’re free, and Google loves to give out AdSense accounts to Blogger owners. 🙂
So if you’re looking to get started with AdSense and not spend much money, Blogger is a great way to get started.
Before I talk about how to setup a Blogger blog for AdSense, though, let me tell you what an RSS feed is and how it works. If you already know this you can skip ahead. I make reference to this in the setup instructions, so it’s important to understand.
An RSS feed (as it applies to a blog) is basically a list of all of the recent posts made to your blog. People can use “RSS Aggregators” (software that continually checks up on your RSS feed to see if there’s anything new) to keep up with new posts on your blog. Websites will also want to publish your RSS feed on their sites if your content is good. This gives them fresh content for their visitors. And we all know that content is King in the world of website building.
Blogger blogs come with an RSS feed built-in, and you can use this to your advantage to generate traffic to your blog. I’ll discuss that in a bit, but first let’s get into building the blog.
Create Your Blogger.com Account
Determine Your Blog Topic First
Before you create the blog, you need to figure out what topic the blog will focus on. Think about your skills or hobbies that you’re really good at. You might not be a mechanic, but if you’re really good at working on cars on the weekend, and you love to do it, that would make a great blog topic. Brainstorm your skills and interests to determine what you would enjoy writing about. It’s important that you like to write about it, since you will have to do so to build up the blog!
I will say this: If you have some knowledge on a commercial or industrial topic, this will usually get higher paying AdSense ads. But a hobby blog can do very well also (I know this from experience!).
Create the Blog
Once you have a topic chosen, it only takes about 5 minutes to setup a blog. From the Blogger homepage click the “Create Your Blog Now” link and follow the blog wizard instructions. I won’t get into detail about them because it’s pretty straight-forward, but there are a few points I want to make.
First of all, when you choose your blog URL, make sure that the URL contains the keywords for your topic. For example, if you’re creating a blog about health insurance, “healthinsurance.blogspot.com” is ideal, or “health-insurance” or even “health-insurance-blog” or “health-insurance-12345”. Just make sure that your keywords are in the URL, that will help you be found when people search for your keywords in the search engines.
Also, be sure to pick one of the professional looking templates. I suggest you just pick the plain-white one that is first in the list of templates when you’re creating the blog. Once the blog is created, then click on the “Templates” tab and select one of the nicer ones shown there. I’m not sure why Blogger doesn’t show you all of the available templates in the blog setup wizard, but they don’t.
The Settings Tab.
A discussion of the important points of each settings tab is outlined below.
On the “Basic” settings tab, set your blog title to the keywords you want to show up for in the search engines. That will help you get ranked.
Give a good, detailed description about the benefits of reading your blog daily. You want to get people to add your RSS feed to their aggregators and websites so you can get traffic, and this will help.
Answer “Yes” to the question “Add your Blog to our listings?”. This will have your blog appear on the main page of Blogger when you make new posts (albeit for a brief period of time), and allow people to search and find your blog using Blogger’s search tool.
One other, lesser known detail about setting that question to “Yes” is that if you set it to “No” Blogger will shove “nofollow/noindex” meta-tags into your blog template header, which will prevent your site from getting crawled or indexed. I believe this was done to fight what Blogger called “spam blogs”.
Set the “Notify Weblogs” setting to “Yes”. This will send a notification to Weblogs every time you make a new post. Weblogs is a site that lets people (and search engine crawlers) know when new content appears on a blog. You want the crawlers (and visitors) to hit your pages when you add new content, so be sure this is set to Yes.
You can do what you want on this tab–I personally set the number of posts on the main page to between three and five.
Allow comments unless your blog topic is really controversial and you’re likely to get a lot of flaming (people lashing out at you for what you have to say). Allowing comments is good because it gives more food to the search engines and keeps your blog updating and fresh even when you’re not posting to it.
I usually let anyone comment, and don’t limit it.
If you’re concerned that people might flame you, but you want to allow comments, enable comment moderation so that you have to approve each comment that is added before it goes live.
If you want to be notified when a comment is made, set the Comment Notification Address to your email address.
Set your archiving to daily if you post every day, or weekly if you only post every few days. If you post every day daily is the best way to go, because it gives the search engines more unique pages to crawl and index. More unique content means more traffic to your blog and more clicks on your AdSense ads (I’ll get to adding your AdSense to the template in a bit).
If you don’t do a daily archive (and maybe even if you do), enable post pages so that each post will still have its own unique page even if multiple posts appear on the same archive page. Having multiple posts on one archive page is not a bad thing if you have post pages enabled, since the posts tied all together make for yet another unique page on the blog.
Definitely enable the site feed. If your posts tend to be very short, you might enable full descriptions. But if you have long posts (which I recommend), do not enable the full feed, use the short feed. Here’s why:
If you put the full post in your RSS feed, then the person reading the feed doesn’t have a reason to go back to your blog since they have already read the full post. No visitors to the blog means no clicks on your ads. AdSense has an “AdSense For Feeds” in beta testing, but it’s not open to all publishers yet, so at least for now you need to induce people to visit the blog.
If they can only read part of the blog post, then if they want the whole story they will need to go to your blog. You can plan for this by making sure that your title and the first 255 characters (about the first 50 words) really pull in the reader’s attention. You need to use those first 50 words to make them just have to read the rest.
Also, if your RSS feed appears on websites, you don’t want to give away the farm by showing the whole post. You’re letting websites use your feed so you can get clicks on the posts in that feed and get visitors to your site to build AdSense revenue.
So set the “Descriptions” to Short, write long posts and make the title and the first 50 words count.
The Templates Tab
If you haven’t already picked a nice template from the list, click on the “Pick New” link under the templates tab and select one of the templates that you like and that fits your topic.
If you don’t already have an AdSense account, you can click on the “AdSense” link and apply for one straight from the blog instead of having to go to Google.com to apply. That’s how badly Google wants Blogger blog owners to use AdSense on their blogs! 🙂
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to paste your AdSense code into your template. Click on the “Edit Current” link if you’re not already there.
There are two methods of setting up your template. You will generate the most clicks by doing the following:
1) Find the section of the template that looks like this: