You’ve established a website, a blog perhaps, and have worked diligently to build a loyal and reliable following. You spend hours in your off time to keep the site updated. Sooner or later, no matter how much you enjoy running your site, you are going to ask yourself why you are doing it for free. There are several ways to get your website to earn online ad revenue, and one of the most popular is through online advertising.  Here are three tips to help your website start paying off through online advertising.

Provide High Quality Content

Providing content that people trust and want to consume is the critical foundation for earning revenue through advertising. Quality content helps to drive web traffic, whether through word of mouth or other means. Content quality has become even more important this year, as Google Panda, a spam-fighting search algorithm, has come online. Panda factors quality into a web search, meaning that if the algorithm rates your site as “thin” (bad bounce rate, duplicative of other sites, etc.), then the search engine is unlikely to deliver people to your site. So working to ensure your content is what people and search engines are looking for is critical.

Build Traffic

If you are working to provide high quality content, then the next thing you need to worry about is that people are consuming it. The more people who view your pages, the better positioned you are to earn revenue from advertisers. Businesses don’t want to spend money on ads no one will ever see. Use keywords throughout your document – titles, headings, text, and graphics tabs – to help search engines find your page more easily. Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find the right keywords that will drive traffic to your website. Your site needs to get links and mentions from other websites, especially heavily trafficked sites, to aid in building page views. A final option is to advertise yourself; placing ads on popular websites can help your own site gain exposure, and more rapidly build a following.

Set your Ad Strategy

When you are ready to earn online ad revenue the next step is to determine how you want to do so.  The easiest way to integrate online advertising into your website is with Google AdSense. AdSense is the biggest advertisement service in the world, and is extremely easy to use. In relatively short order, you can sign up, format your website so the ads appear where you want them, and then let the ads go live. AdSense will use keywords to ensure that the ads that appear on your site match your niche content. The service also allows you to block ads you do not approve of, and provides a suite of analytical tools to optimize your site to earn more revenue through AdSense as well. Alternatively, you can work to directly recruit advertisers for your website, develop a pricing strategy, and then place their ads directly on your website. While this takes more legwork on your part, and a bit more tech sophistication, there are many software companies that offer tools to place ads on websites. OIOpublisher and BuySellAds are just two of the many companies that provide ad design and placement services. While a more labor-intensive effort, this strategy will enable you to set the precise terms you desire with your advertisers.

There is no reason that your website, a labor of love, cannot also serve as a means to earn passive income as well. If you are providing search engine optimized, high quality content, and maintaining or building web traffic, then it is more than likely that your site can be monetized. Do some research and determine how much time you want to devote to the ad process, and select an advertising strategy that works for you. Then get started placing the first ads on your site, and begin earning revenue.

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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