Websites Make Money

Websites Make Money

Jun 27, 2011

Adsense is one of the things that has always intrigued me. (Before I forget, grab this blog’s free 55+ report on how to make money with adsense).

My first earnings in ‘passive income’ was through Adsense – a proxy website in 2007/8 that was making $20.00+ per day without me working on it. I promoted it in the standard way you promoted proxies at the time – social bookmarking swaps (Digg/StumbleUpon) mainly and for some reason it shot up to those levels in less than a week.

I used to get excited logging into my account every day, realizing I’d done jack all work and seeing that twenty dollars. Eventually I moved onto other things after I was scammed out of that site… but I’ll always remember the ease of it.

I’ve recently (as in the last few months) concentrating on focusing on niche website development again, focusing on building basic websites around long tail keywords and using Adsense/affiliate products on them. This was the main reason for starting my company – I want to build up enough passive income so that I can retire I can relax a bit more than I’m currently doing so. :)

Anyways, I’ve seen a reasonable amount of success with Adsense, but wanted to take it a step further and build it up to higher levels… here’s my strategy, the tools I used and how you can get started.

My Adsense Inspiration

There are two main people that are the reason for this focus:

a) Grizz – I suck up to him all too often on here (when I owned it in the past, at least :razz: ) and it’s because he’s awesome. There’s enough free information on his site to get you started – check outHow To Make Money For Beginners. Solid info.

b) Xfactor – another Adsense king (to the tune of $300 – $500 a day). Read his Warrior thread for 30+ pages of free information that will help you get started with Adsense.

Now see, the main problem people have is getting traffic. Once you get that targeted traffic, you can pretty much use it for whatever you want – Adsense, affiliates, products, whatever. My primary goal is Adsense and self created products, but what you do is up to you.

What John (Xfactor) recommends is that you go after product keywords, where the searcher is looking to buy something / information about buying something and thus are more likely to click your ads. I’ve followed this for some sites and have found it works pretty well – a CTR of 50% and over at times depending on the template used.

Now of course there are tools that help shorten time with various parts of this however knowing that a lot of people don’t have money to get started I’ll provide both the free way (how I started) and a few tools that I use now.

The Free Way To Making Money With Adsense

Blogger vs Hosted Websites

Although I used to look down on Blogger, despite starting with a blogger blog myself (about football, in case you were wondering), Grizz and a few other sites changed my opinion. See the misinformation I was given after reading various ’social’ blogs was that blogger blogs couldn’t rank, were less powerful than standard sites etc. Through experience (I’ve tried blogger blogs to rank for one day/week “hot trend” keywords that I didnt want to buy and setup a site around) and from looking at Grizz’s blog, which is a Blogger blog and ranked for top keywords, I have to admit that Blogger is just as powerful as WordPress or HTML sites – it all depends on how you use it.

However, if you’re going after a keyword that has any kind of long term value I always recommend you buy the domain ($9 from Name.com using the coupon code CRUSHIT) and setup a WordPress site on hosting ($0.01 your first month with Hostgator using the coupon code 404page or jury).

The main reason for this is because I love WordPress, being a code newb and more importantly this gives you a way out.

See I’ve always been someone that looks at the immediate rather than the long term, which has been stupid in the past (for example I’ve taken an up front $2,000 for a site making $200 passively per month), something I’m going to change however if you have a need you have your way out in the form of selling the site when you own it. Selling a Blogger blog is against TOS whereas you have no problem listing your own site (say you have an emergency and need $$$, or don’t have the time for online stuff anymore, you get the idea).

So get your own domain and hosting.

Okay, now step by step the free way to making money with Adsense.

Finding a keyword – Google Keyword Tool

Google Keyword Tool gives you suggestions for keyword variations (for example, if you type weight loss it’ll give you 50-100 long tails/related keywords).

Type in a keyword of your choice and play around with it. Make sure you change “Match Type” on the drop down box to Exact.

You’ll get dozens of keywords. Look for anything with 2,000 searches per month and up on the Global Monthly Search Volume after sorting it in descending order.

Above is an example search for “table” shown sorted in descending order (taken a long time ago but the tool hasn’t changed since then :) ).

Your next step is judging the competition for individual keywords.

Read this post on how to analyse your competitors to see whether you could outrank them.

A simple rule – I’ve found that if the exact keyword is available in .COM / .NET / .ORG and there isn’t another site developed with that keyword (for example, if dressingtable.org was available and .COM and .NET weren’t developed sites) the term is easy as hell to rank for.

Domains are powerful – I’ve found simply by setting up a WordPress blog with plugins and the exact keyword as my domain I’ve ranked top 5-10, sometimes without any backlinks at all.

If there is another site and it’s developed, it means ranking is still possible but you’d be pitting your skills against another internet marketer. Never scared me but if you’re starting out you may not want to do that. :)

Once you find a keyword, and after checking out your competition you want to see if the domains are available.

A site that helps you check whether the keyword is available as a domain in .COM / .NET / .ORG extension is Instant Domain Search. Simply enter your term and it’ll automatically search for you.

You may want to do this before you analyse your competitors.

Next step – is this keyword going to make me any money?

Two ways to do this.

Easiest way is Spyfu.com – plug in your keyword and see if are ads.

Generally you’d estimate you get around half of the ad cost so look for a minimum ad cost of $0.40 per keyword. :)

Here it’s just under $0.40, but there are a lot of advertisers – depending on competition strength we’d still probably go for this keyword.

Now we’re still covering the free way to get started – this can take a lot of time but I’ll list it. If you’re going to use Blogger.com, you’d check if your keyword is available as keyword.blogspot.com and setup a site.

I’m going to assume you have enough money for a domain and hosting (under $10 for your first site – if you don’t have that write a couple articles or sell something you own on ebay) so let’s cover WordPress setup.

With Hostgator your control panel has Fantastico – I’m not going to cover that as that would make this post too long but basically it’s a breeze and takes about 2 minutes to setup.

Once WordPress is setup, you need a theme:

Best Free Themes for Adsense

There are two I’ve used in the past:

1) Pilkster

2) Bluesense

I’ve found that Pilkster tends to do slightly better CTR wise but Bluesense looks a lot more professional (a lot less like an MFA site :) )

Plugins for your WP Blog

1) Google XML Sitemaps

2) All in One SEO

The first two are the main ones you need. If you want to save time, though, get:

3) Easy Privacy Policy

4) Ultimate Google Analytics

5) Contact Form 7

The bottom three help track stats, and add a privacy policy / contact form to your site (needed for Adsense sites)

Also get an Akismet API key (if you don’t have one) and activate it to stop most spam.

You’re looking to setup a website with 2-5 articles as pages, targeting your main keyword and any sub keywords you’ve managed to find.

An example niche site that was sold on Flippa recently is Cheap Picture Frames (this site is HTML).

Once that is done your aim is to build backlinks to it. John recommends article marketing, but you can also use forum signatures, blog commenting, social bookmarking, linkwheels… or even hijack existing links.

Sites will bounce around for the first couple weeks so build a few and build backlinks depending on whether they’re ranking (ie if you’re ranking at no5, building a few backlinks may see you rise to no2).

The paid way to make money with Adsense

There are three things I recommend you get that will save you time.

1) Micro Niche Finder (aff link)

Basically does all the steps of the keyword research above in about 3 minutes for all your keywords. I’ve heard Market Samurai is decent too and plan to try it soon, but I’m pretty happy with MNF.

MNF costs $97 and if you have the money get it as it drastically saves time. If you don’t want to spend, that’s fine – you can get it later.

Here’s a couple examples of the results MNF gives you:

Keyword, local / global results, ad cost, strength of competition and domains available (exported into Excel).

 

Here’s what the actual results from the tool look like. Pretty slick. :)

So instead of going to Instant domain Search, Spyfu, Google Keyword Tool and Google to check the various results, you have everything displayed for you.

Again, you don’t need it but it’ll save you time. You can get Micro Niche Finder here.

2) Clickbump themes (non aff link)

Another thing that’ll save you time. The Clickbump theme provides you with five variations of a theme made for Adsense / affiliate sites, and have a sweet backend that lets you input your ads, change theme, colour etc easily.

Costs $47. Not needed again (you can go with the free themes) but it gives you some variety if you want that. Check it out at clickbump.com.

3) Xfactor course (non aff link)

Basically all the content of the thread and a little more than that summed up into 90+ pages of Adsense advice. Costs $77. Not needed (spot a trend here…? :) ) but it’s very detailed and will help you understand Adsense better / save you some time. Check it out at Adsense Masters Course.

Another couple resources:

Forum thread with more Adsense information

Make Money With Adsense Today.com Griz

Unfortunately since I rebought this blog the posts seem to be way too long… but I hope the information above helped. And of course if you have questions/comments etc, the comment section is below. :)