If you have a website, blog or any other online presence, making money through adverts couldn't be easier and here's our beginner's guide.
Google's Adsense program is a great way to cover your hosting costs and make money from your site without much effort.
Google do all the hard work such as attracting advertisers and sorting payments for you (for a cut of any profit you make, of course), so all you need to do is place a bit of code on your website.
There's not many limitations on what websites that can use Adsense, such as having a certain number of page viewers or users, which is what makes it so great and easy to get going with.
Here are some of our tips for beginners to get the best out of the progrmme.
Don't get banned
If you read webmaster forums they are generally full of stories from those banned from Adsense by Google for some reason on another, 9 times out of 10 it's because they didn't read the Adsense program policies. If you haven't bothered to read them - do it now. The Adsense policies aren't just some terms and conditions you should mindlessly agree with - if you get banned you won't get paid - however much is in your account.
The policies aren't particularly strict and most of it is common sense: Don't click your own adverts, don't host anything illegal and so forth, but read through them to make sure you're doing everything right.
With all that in mind here our tips for not getting banned:
Don't click your own links
Google is far smarter then a lot of people realise! Don't click your own ads, whether you're on your own computer or not, Google's software can detect fraudulent clicks and if it does you risk being kicked out. You may want to download some adblocking software or disable ads on your site just for you - this is pretty easy for forums and blogs as there are lots of plugins available.
Don't ask for or encourage clicks
Never ask people to click your links - that includes your friends or family! Using slogans such as "Support us" near Adsense ads is strictly forbidden.
Furthermore don't try to encourage links by other means - this includes putting misleading images near ads or using other graphics to highlight or direct attention to ads.
Optimize your placement
The placement of ads is very important, firstly place more than one ad unit per page - you can place up to 3 ads on the same page. Be careful not to go too overboard though - if you've only got a paragraph of content large banners aren't going to look too pretty.
Use a mix of ad formats across your websites, this allows your ads to get maximum exposure and helps reduce "ad blindness" - users subconsciously filtering out adverts they've seen multiple times. Large box ads and 728x90 leaders tend to do well where 468x60 banners can be much weaker.
Place ads above the fold - that is the part of the page the user can see without having to scroll. Ads to the left also generally perform better (assuming left to right reading).
The final placement tip is to place ads near and around the content but be careful not to confuse users to mislead them. Content around "rich content" - your article body or navigation areas - tend to perform much better as that is where the user is focusing.
Optimize the ads themselves
As a publisher you control which types of ads show - text, image based or both. There is always a lot of debate about which option is better but our suggest is to show both image and text ads. This increases the variation in ads shown to your users which is helpful for repeat visitors.
You can also change the look and style of your ads but this sometimes takes a bit of trial and error in getting the best color palette for your website. Generally you want to use colours already on your site so that ads either blend in the complement the design and content. Depending on your site's content and audience however, more bright and prominent colours could be better.
If you follow these simple introduction tips to Adsense you're going to be well on your way to your first check so good luck!