Maximize Earnings from Your Website’s Ads

I have a variety of blog-like websites that earn anywhere from $60 to $1200 per month per site. This income comes from ads that I place on my sites through a service called Google Adsense. Sounds pretty easy, right? Yet, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll be lucky to bring in a few dollars per month, and you’ll be scratching your head wondering why. Through years of experimentation and data analysis, I’ve discovered three huge secrets that can multiply your earnings by an order of magnitude or more if you’re not already using them.

Secret #1: Location Location Location!

The first secret is the location of the ads on your site. I’ve experimented with placing ads on sidebars, footers, and body. After lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered the best place to put ads to maximize your click-through rate. The funny thing is that most of the websites out there have the ads in the wrong place: the sidebars!!

Let me make an analogy. Let’s pretend that all of the commercials on TV only happened between the shows. That is, there were no ads during the shows, but only at the end of the shows. Would you stay in your chair and watch ten or fifteen minutes of commercials after your favorite show was over? Of course not! You’d use the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, or just do something else at the end of your show!

That is why TV advertisers place commercials in the middle of the programs. That’s the only way people will watch them.

The same theory is true of websites. Your ads need to be in the middle of your content if you want people to actually pay attention to them, like this:

Sites tend to have ads all around the edges of the content. But the human brain is too clever for that. As soon as the reader recognizes that these areas are just ads, he or she will mentally block them out. For all intents and purposes, those areas will be invisible, and the visitor will have no recollection of what was in those zones if you ask them later. Not good if that is your source of income.

The exception to this rule is the header area around your main menu. People do look at that area in order to navigate, and also, it’s always “above the fold”.  Therefore, the header area around the main menu is also a good place for an ad.

Secret #2: Use the Correct Number of Ads

When it comes to ads, some people think “more is better”. More ads means more revenue, right? Wrong! If you have too many ads on your site, it won’t seem professional or useful to the visitor and they’ll just leave. You don’t want your site to seem like a big bucket of ads. Do you stick around when you encounter a site like that? Furthermore, sites like that will get a very poor Google search ranking.

This brings me to secret number two, which is don’t overdo the ads! Google used to limit the number of Adsense ads that you can place on your site to three for good reason. If your site is riddled with ads, no one will want to sift through it. Three is a very good maximum number of ads to have on your site. Place two or at most three ads in the body of your content and that’s it. If your content is really long, split it into multiple pages and places ads on each of those pages.

Secret #3: Use the Right Type of Ads

Google Adsense offers a variety of ad sizes. Which ones are the best? Well again, I’ve done the experimentation for you. I can’t say I’ve tried every single size, but I’ve tried enough to notice a very clear trend.

It would make sense that the bigger ads would pay you more per click, right? On the other hand, bigger ads take up more space and detract from the overall look of your site.

Well, based on my results, your earnings from the larger ads will completely overwhelm any cosmetic advantages that small ads might offer. Let me give you some numbers. A medium-sized banner ad 468×60 pixels in size might pay ten or twenty cents per click. A large banner ad 728×90 pixels, on the other hand, typically can pay nearly a dollar or more. But we can do better. Let’s move to what I call the “Rolls Royce” of ads: the 300×250 “squarish” ad. I’ve had this type of ad pay almost six dollars for a single click!!!

Why such a disparity? The small banners really only have enough room for text, where as the big square ads can have graphics, animation, and even video! Advertisers can do all kinds of cool things in this real estate.

For these reasons, the 300×250 ad size is very popular with advertisers, which means Google has a ton of ad inventory in this size. Advertisers basically get in a bidding war for these ads, resulting in high payouts for those that use them on their sites.

Also, which type of ad is more likely to grab your attention? Not only do these big ads pay more, they have a much better click-through rate.

Let me talk about another advantage of my beloved 300×250 ad. By 2014, the majority of web traffic will come from mobile devices. The 300×250 pixel ad is perfect for mobile devices, whereas banner ads will appear either chopped or shrunk down to the point of being unreadable.

Below is an example of a 300×250 ad:

The Takeaway

Let me summarize. To maximize the ad revenue from your site, follow these guidelines:

  1. Place ads in the body of the site content and in the header.
  2. Use a maximum of three ads per page, no more!
  3. Use big ads. My favorites are the 300×250 square-ish ad and the 728×90 large banner.

Hope this helps.

Tell me about your methods to maximize ad revenue!

– Brian

4 thoughts on “Maximize Earnings from Your Website’s Ads

    1. Hi Twohnuvo,

      Thanks for your comments!

      Yes, ads anywhere “above the fold” (in the upper part of the site) are indeed effective. However, I generally avoid those areas just due to personal taste. Those are important areas of the site which I’d rather keep uncluttered for the site navigation and to explain the purpose of the site. I would like to have people get at least a little bit of content from my site before presenting them with an ad. But like I said, this is just personal taste, and the areas you mentioned indeed generate good income.


    1. Hi Maria!

      There is no minimum amount of traffic that you need in order to place ads on your site. I use Google Adsense. You simply sign up, and paste the code into your site.

      However, the one limitation you might have is that some free website services don’t allow you to post ads. For example, if you are using the free WordPress hosting, they don’t let you post ads. Other free website services might not let you post any custom code into the site. If you are paying for your hosting, you should have no problem.

      Hope this helps!

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