Having ads on your site is a great way to make passive income. You spent a lot of time setting up your site and keeping it updated with the most current information. Now you can start earning money on that site by integrating ads on it.
If you have a website, chances are that on day one you learned about the importance of Google products. From webmaster tools and analytics to AdWords, AdSense and more, Google products are a key element to a productive website. Now, Google has just released a plugin to make it easier for publishers to work with the Google products platform. It’s a brand new plugin, still in beta as of this writing, but I find it so important, that I wanted to give you the jump on this must-have plugin. The current version supports only AdSense and Webmaster Tools, but there appears to be a push to add more services once beta testing is completed. Putting AdSense ads on your site usually requires you to generate snippets in AdSense and paste these into your site, or to manually edit PHP files. This plugin lets you place AdSense ads using a simple point-and-click UI.
For those of you not familiar with these two services,
Google AdSense helps you earn money by placing ads on your website. The plugin links your WordPress site to your AdSense account and makes it easier to place ads on your site — without needing to manually modify any HTML code.
Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. The plugin allows you to verify your site on Webmaster Tools with just one click.
Installing the Plugin
We’ll talk a little more about the Webmaster Tools section in my next tutorial, but for this tutorial we’ll discuss the installation and AdSense setup. Google Publisher Plugin is available from the repository, so simply download it like you would any other plugin.
Be sure that you have at least WordPress version 3.0 and PHP version 5.2.0 to install this plugin.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, in the plugins panel, choose “Settings” under Google Publisher Plugin. Then you’ll see a page that looks like this:
Click on the “Get Started” button if you already have a Google account set up or create an account if you don’t. If you already have an account, it will ask you to verify your account.
Setting up Google AdSense Account
To set up a new AdSense account, click on the “Sign Up for AdSense” button. It will then redirect you to this screen:
To signup for a Google AdSense account, you will need to
- be 18
- have a verified Google Account, which is a email address and password that allows you to access Google services (this can be your gmail account)
- a website that is compliant with Google’s program policies
- and a postal address
If you’re set with those, click the “I’m ready to get started” button. Then you will be sent to this screen to give them information about the content on your site.
Read through and make sure you agree to Google’s terms and then click “Continue”. Then you will be asked to fill out the form with your information. There will be a choice to fill out the form as a business or an individual. You need to be careful in your choice here because this can not be changed once you choose. If you choose to apply as a business, you need to have a checking account under that business name. Otherwise, the questions are very basic and easy.
After submitting your AdSense form, you will be redirected back to your site where you will get this message:
You won’t receive that verification email right away. The notice says you will receive it within “one day”, but in my experience, it was four days. I did apply on a Saturday, so even if the weekend days don’t count, it was still more than one day. So don’t expect to have your ads set up that instant. Google needs to verify your submission. They check your information and will send you an email either stating that you are approved or that you are not approved and why. If you are not approved, they will tell you what steps to take next. This is the first of two verification processes you will need to pass in order to enable ads on your site. Google says to plan on another week for the second part of the verification process, but for me it took only one day. In the meantime, if you have questions about the AdSense process, you can get more information here.
Setting up Google AdSense Ads on Your Site
Once your account has been verified, you will need to sign the huge terms of service agreement with Google. You can then create your first ad unit and place the ad code on your website (if you have more than one website, this ad code is only good for the website that you have just verified). Of course, you will want to make sure that visitors are actually seeing these ads so you can make money, so be sure to have the ads on a page that receives a lot of traffic.
The AdSense page your Google acceptance email sends you to includes an AdSense Direct option. This would allow you to sell a specific ad unit on your site to an advertiser you already have direct contact with. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are assuming that you are setting up ads for the first time, so we won’t deal with that today. So just click on the blue “Get started now” button under Welcome to AdSense.
For the name, I chose “sidebar” so that I will know that is sized correctly to fit into my sidebar. Note: You will need to know the pixel dimensions of the place on your site that you plan to insert the ads. My sidebar is 240px wide, so I chose the wide skyscraper as one of the recommended sizes that will still fit in that area.
Once you choose the ad size, you will be asked if you want to create a custom channel. This helps you group ads together to track them, but since this is a beginner tutorial, we will not go into that today. Simply click the orange “next button”. Then you will be asked to choose an ad style. I’m not crazy about the colors, so I chose the high-contrast white option.
Then simply click the “save and get code” button. You will be given code to copy and paste into your site. In my case, I’m going to simply copy and paste into a text widget for my sidebar.
Special note: You will only see blank ad units on your site until you have passed Google’s second review. You will also see a red bar across the top of your Google account page saying that your account is still under review.
Once you have placed the ad code, Google will automatically start the second review process to make sure that your site complies with their policies. In my case, they said once they completed their review they would send me an email telling me if I’d been approved, but they did not. However, after checking my AdSense account, I realized that I had been approved the very next day. If you are not approved, I assume they will send you and email and explain the reason why and tell you the next steps you should take. When your AdSense account is approved and fully activated, you will begin seeing live ads within a few hours.
Don’t expect to earn big money from these ads unless you have a large viewership for your site already. For my personal blog, I have about 2500 views a month, and received only 8 cents for my first 9 days with AdSense. However, keep in mind that I only placed one small ad and placed it rather low down on the page. Better placement could certainly bring better results.
Setting up Google AdSense Ads on Your Site
Now, to the most important part – getting paid! In order to setup payment for AdSense, you will need to go to your AdSense account (https://www.google.com/adsense/) and click on Home at the top left, and then on Payee Profile. You will need to fill out your tax information, which includes if you are a citizen of the US, then your business information. You will also be required to fill out your Tax Identification number or SSN and sign. Then you are ready to move to the Payment Settings section on the left.
Once you enter your bank account info, Google needs to verify that account. (Lots of verifications going on here!)
Then, basically sit back and let the cents roll in! For full disclosure, currently I have between 3,00-3,500 visits to my site every month. Over the last 2 months, I have earned about $4 with these ads. Keep in mind that I am only running one ad and it’s not in a very prominent location. Hopefully you will have more viewership on your site than I have on my personal site, and those cents will be dollars – lots of them! But this is without a doubt, a very simple way to get AdSense running on your site.
Google offers an AdSense Academy to help you gain more success with your account.
Also, see my article on how to Integrate Webmaster Tools Into Your Site Easily With Google Publisher Plugin.