As you probably know, search engine giant Google, makes most of its money off of advertising. What you might not know as an online writer, is that those ads are not just shown on Google’s own websites. In fact, Google has an entire network of websites that show ads sold by Google; it doesn’t own most of those sites.
Google AdSense and AdWords Basics for Writers
Google advertising works in several different ways. For our purposes, there are two parts to Google’s advertising empire. The first part is called AdWords. AdWords is the system that faces the advertisers. Here, people that want to advertise on websites create ads, choose how and when they appear, and how much they will pay for their ads to be published.
AdSense is the side of the Google advertising system that faces publishers like us writers. The word publishers seems to throw off a lot of writers for some reason. Perhaps because in the offline world, authors are seldom the publisher as well. In books, another company is the publisher. In print magazines, the publisher is the company that prints and sells the magazine, and so on. Technically, that is true online as well. It is possible to be the writer without being the publisher. For example, I do online freelance technology writing for several websites including Tom’s IT Pro. In this case, I am not the publisher of those articles.
However, for any website or blog that you do own, you are both the writer and the publisher. What you are reading currently is my freelance writing blog, for ArcticLlama. I own the website and I write all of the content, so I’m both the author, and the publisher. Google AdSense is for publishers, like me.
If you’ll look at the top of this article, and again to the right of this content, you will notice two different blocks of advertising. Exactly what those ads look like at any given time changes with each visitor who load this, and any other pages, on this website. The website and content are mine, but the ads come from Google. I have no control over what ads appear there or what they look like.
There are some tiny settings that Google allows me to control. For example, I can turn on, or off, certain categories of ads, and I can block competitors from showing up. However, I cannot choose what ads do appear. I also cannot block a specific advertisement. I long ago stopped messing with the configuration, so what shows up there now is pretty much on autopilot.
How AdSense Ads Get On Your Website
Getting Paid With AdSense
There are a lot of different ways for AdSense (and AdWords) to work. For websites that do not draw tens of thousands (or more) visitors each day, the only thing that really matters is pay per click. Pay per click is, like it sounds, getting paid each time a user clicks on an ad. How much you get paid is the result of an automated auction that puts the best performing ads on your website. The top ad’s clicks are typically worth more than the ads lower down.
Depending upon the topic, each click can be worth a few cents, up to a few dollars. The amount of money you make from AdSense as a writer is a function of how many clicks you get times how much each click is worth.
It won’t add up to much money until you have a fair amount of traffic, so keep writing and building your audience in order to watch those pennies turn into dollars.
How Much Can a Writer Make With AdSense
Everytime I write about using AdSense as a writer, someone asks how much money can you make with AdSense. I have to honestly answer that it depends upon your website. However, people never like that answer, so here is a very general, very basic example. Your real world AdSense earnings will very from these numbers, but until you have enough traffic to get a feel for what your own website’s earnings would be, this can give you something to look forward too.
There are several variables that determine how much money your website makes every day, or every month, or whatever.
(For purposes of our example, these numbers will all be net to the publisher, that is these numbers will be like the AdSense reports which report data after Google takes its cut.)
- The first variable is how much each click is worth. Again, this is a function of an auction and will change from page to page and day to day. For the sake of our article, our average keyword Cost Per Click (or CPC) will be 50 cents per click.
- The second variable is how often the ad is clicked. A 1 percent click through rate is considered a good average rate, although again this varies by topic and from page to page.
- The third variable is how much traffic visits your website. This is really the only thing under your control. The more traffic you can draw, the higher your earnings go. The CPC and percentage of ads clicked are things Google and the users control.
So, the math works like this:
For purposes of our example, we are going to assume that everyone who visits your page sees one ad. This is called an ad impression and you may actually have a higher number of impressions than visitors if you have more than one ad block on your pages.
If 1,000 people visit your website each day, and 1 percent of them click on an ad, that means that 10 people click on an ad. If the average CPC for each ad is 50 cents, then you will earn $5 each day.
$5 per day doesn’t sound like much, but it does add up to $150 per month. If you are going to be writing your websites anyway as a part of building an online writing business, then, you may as well collect that $150 every month. More to the point, if you keep building your business up, the number of visitors will increase. At 2,000 daily visitors, you’ll earn $300 per month. At 5,000 you’ll earn $750 per month. And, if you are doing this all for more than one website, you can see how this can add up to $1,000 per month very quickly. Build 5 websites up to that 5,000 per day level and you’ll see $3,750 per month, which if you don’t have your calculator handy calculates to $45,000 per year, all from writing your own websites.
As you can imagine, this $45,000 base makes building a freelance writing business much easier. At that rate, you only have to earn and additional $45,000 to make $90,000 as a writer, which if you ask around is pretty darn good.
Have you used AdSense on your blogs and websites? How has it worked out for you?