Make Money With Blogging: Google Adsense, Affiliate Programs, Banner Advertising


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Making money with blogging is a nice thing, but can also lead to legal problems. You must pay attention.

In-Text advertising1

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Sense and nonsense before affiliate advertising: Sascha Pallenberg is to blame

For a long time, I found affiliate programs pointless: very few readers really buy anything, but I advertise on the site all the time. Gradually I change my mind - you have to know how to use it. Blame is Sascha Pallenberg. He said in an interview that the majority of his five-digit, monthly sum, which he generates with his blog, comes from affiliate programs.

That's exactly what I could hardly believe, I had been experimenting for years with affiliate programs and also try to market my books through Amazon - with moderate success.

Depending on content and target group

But you have to look more closely. Pallenberg's example also shows how much the success of affiliate programs depends on the topic of the blog and the target group - because both must fit passively to the affiliate advertising. Pallenberg himself writes about expensive technical devices. If a user buys his blog, he has earned an unequal higher than if a reader with me eg a rezensiertes book buys.

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An example: My best blog post is on health insurance at Minijob, which finds thousands of readers every month under the keyword “Minijob health insurance”. Google Adsense advertising is doing great on this post.

At some point I came up with the idea to add an insurance comparison to this site - because it fits in some way to the topic.

Juristically questionable

He was busy clicking, but nothing was completed. The reason: Minijobbers, who generally have comparatively little money, will rarely conclude private health insurance - or only if they have no other choice; eg if they do not meet the pre-insurance periods for the statutory health insurance fund. Not everything that seems to fit fits also!

With the affiliate offerer I was recommended to mention the insurance comparison in the text praising. This would not only be unlawful, but would also contradict my moral claim of objective, critical reporting. By the way, this is not the only time that I am amazed at the lax attitude of online marketers to the mixing of content and advertising (more in more reports)!

Passgenaue products

In contrast, some BahnCards 25 have already been sold through this blog. Because sometimes I also handle consumer issues, I have written a whole series of articles on the fares of Deutsche Bahn, which I am Google listed on the search terms BahnCard 25 or 50 astonishingly far ahead - at least as the stern.de, for me wrote the article at that time!

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That brought me to the idea of ​​integrating Deutsche Bahn's affiliate advertising, which I also criticized at the same time. My reason: Anyone who is informed about BahnCards, thinks in any case about buying one. I say my honest opinion in the texts. And there are no competition products to the BahnCards - why should not people buy one over my site?

Advertising and objectivity?

However, as someone who wants to earn money, I cut myself into my own flesh: I think the BahnCard 25 economically cheaper, which I have written, the BahnCard 50, however, I criticize, inter alia, because they can not be credited to the savings. In fact, not a single BahnCard 50 has been sold through my site.

This also shows once again how far consumers in their buying decisions can be influenced by blog texts and opinions on the Internet - and what responsibility we have as bloggers against our readers.

Google Adsense - the placement matters

A good way to get started relatively quickly is Google Adsense. Easy to use, quick to install - however, success depends heavily on positioning and visitor numbers.

As a journalist, who earns money with his texts, it was clear to me from the beginning that I would like to earn money with or through the blog in the long term - because that alone justifies the high amount of time I spend on the texts and the design , Like many bloggers, I experimented with Google Adsense early on. At the beginning, I had the ads in most different formats in the sidebar, like most of them. The results here, however, were in the cent range.

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I quickly realized that adapting Adsense blocks in color and style to the design did not lead to the desired results: the nonsense of the Adsense blocks in the text, the less they were clicked. I had therefore long time blue-lit advertisements in a white-gray-red-black design - successful, but optically just not nice.

Plugin solutions are unsightly

Later, I used plugins to display the texts at changing positions in the text. The result was much better, but I did not like this solution, because I could never determine exactly how the advertising blocks broke the text. Often enough this led to unsightly results in the text, especially in the interplay with photos.

A better solution was needed! In the meantime, two 250 × 250 Adsense blocks have been integrated between the text and the heading, which led to significantly better Adsense earnings. Unfortunately, I lost some readers again in this way, because the text below was often no longer noticed.

The more conspicuous, the better!

With the Adsense format 468 x 60, however, I did not reach the same results by far - apparently this format was too unobtrusive again and offered only too few clicks with only two ads.

So I fell with some effort on the current solution: Two Adsense blocks in the format 300 x 250. Technically possible was that in which I had made the page still a few pixels wider.

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Adsense installation with the More-Tag

And by using the More-Tag: Over the respective Adsense block, a teaser with an introductory text is displayed before the More-Tag, then followed, optically placed, the Adsense blocks - and finally the actual text.

The results have improved even more: Obviously, the readers reward the better readability and clear demarcation of the advertising blocks, while the Adsense blocks are not completely unnoticed. And also the fact that now 6 250 x 250 only 4 ads can be seen, leads to higher revenue.

More visitors, more revenue

Of course, simply a higher number of visitors leads to more clicks on the Adsense blocks.

And this can be influenced by a higher blog frequency, because the more I blogge, the more visitors come to the blog - not only on the new blog, but also on the Adsense-strong older posts.

They are still considered as the non-plus ultra of advertising: advertising banners! Rotating, flashing, somewhere on the side edge and almost always as a Java script. But is the pioneering role also justified?

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When I then quite naively went in search of a marketer for my blog, my goal was finally to get a banner ad on my page. However, I have overlooked one thing: banner ad is not the same ad banner. There are huge differences.

What are the banners?

There are affiliate banners for which there are only forms of money when people log in or buy something. There are banners that are paid after a simple click. And those who are rewarded after viewing a page, that is, when the advertisement is displayed on the page, there's money for it.

I have already written about affiliate advertising, which brings relatively little, and Google Adsense, which runs quite well on my blog. What does advertising mean for page views? The answer is: little. At the very least, if you interposing a marketer that takes 40 percent a month from the advertising revenue. In my case, per 1000 site calls came out about one euro, the result can now be calculated by myself after a look at my current mediadaten.

Quantity instead of quality: When does banner advertising pay off?

So that real banner advertising pays off, you already need a large blog with several hundreds of thousands, even better millions of page views a month.

According to Sascha Pallenberg, there is a gradual assessment in the US that it is important to know who is reading a blog - and not just how many page views it has. Since the Germans are always lagging behind five years, we need some patience here, even if small and medium-sized blogs with a specialized (target) target group, as in my case recruiter and personnel experts, get a bit more from the advertising cake.

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As long as it is a matter of pure quantity and not quality, blogs like mine can easily forget the topic of banner advertising. Especially since each banner, which is built as a Java script, not only the look, but also makes the page lame. Especially since the Java scripts gladly jump to the wrong place, which, as my marketer communicates, is a tolerated error in Firefox. How nice that the error has disappeared since I expanded the advertising banners!

New Advertising Forms Wanted!

Especially since I still haven't really understood why advertising banners are so popular: They can be easily hidden with ad blockers, they look ugly and are proven to be barely noticed by readers (keyword: banner blindness). Nevertheless, they are still the most popular form of advertising. Or as Katharina Borchert said so nicely in an interview: "We have not yet thought enough about new forms of advertising."

So people, there must be possibilities for advertisers, readers reach something more goal-oriented (but of course still legal!). And, on the other hand, there must be advertisers who also want to have new forms of advertising and do not want to book the same banners forever? Or is the mood among the advertising deciders momentarily so bad that there are no new forms of experimentation?

In-Text Advertising

Something that I thought was very successful was InText advertising. Nevertheless, she flew out: brought too little and the reader left a bad feeling.

Advertising via mouseover

InText advertising works like this: A script provides certain terms in a text with hyperlinks. In green (while the classic link color is more blue) and underlined twice - in contrast to conventional links, which are only underlined. If you then move the mouse over it, the advertising marked as such pops up. If you click on it, a new window opens with the advertisement. Only here is the link to the advertising partner.

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Unlike text links, the built-in links are not search engine relevant and also marked. And unlike other forms of advertising, the advertising is still exactly where the reader is most likely to look: in the middle of the text. The ideal form of advertising, then?

The ideal advertising form?

From the advertiser's point of view, maybe. Unfortunately, not from the reader's point of view! Because they felt guilty and asked me by comment, why you would get every time you click on a link only on advertising. Say: The difference between the normal, correct links and the context advertising links was not clear to everyone. Even internet-savvy readers do not seem to be. I honestly did not expect such a thing: Probably because it has been clear to me for years that double-underlined links mean advertising, so I do not even click on it and do not bother me with the form of advertising.

And because you can not adjust which keywords are now hyperlinked, because sometimes the right links were overlapped and the whole thing was just 30-50 Euro a month - I have finally removed the InText advertising. From an entrepreneur's point of view, I still consider InText advertising to be a good idea, but I also understand the reader's position.


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  1. Simone Janson

    Hello Sascha, thanks for the super comment. I found your interview really great because you are one of the few well-known bloggers who honestly talk about the topic of making money.
    Was only on vacation and offline for a few days - hence the late answer, sorry.
    And I would find it urgently necessary to speak more pragmatically about the subject.
    You will therefore not only appear in my blog, but also in my lectures - soon again at the Medienforum Mittweida:

    By the way, it's nice that you like the series - there is still a lot planned. Unfortunately I don't have four employees :-)

  2. Sascha Pallenberg - Filmography by type

    now I forgot to say that I really liked the whole series “Make Money Blogging”.

  3. Sascha Pallenberg - Filmography by type

    Hello Simone and thanks for the nice feature.

    Not only the fact that you are concerned about the subject, but also the point of objectivity, I find very important.

    On my side, I always point out that I only recommend products, which I bought or bought myself. I can not allow myself to recommend something, which promises me very good conversion, but ultimately only because of this fact is recommended. My reputation would be immediate.

    Of course, I generally report on products, which makes Affiliate much easier and yes, there is also a little more than for books, however, electronic products are limited via Amazon on 10 Euro commission. Annoying when a Mac for 2000 Euro over the virtual shop goes: /

    My readers love Amazon and that is mainly due to the great support, which is offered there. To give you a house number: The conversion rate is 2-3%!

    Honestly blog, make personal recommendations, which should be more recommendation than potential merit and it works with affiliate. At least with my niche theme.

    Many greetings from Taipei

  4. Simone Janson

    Freshly blogged: Series - Earning Money With Blogging: Affiliate Programs - Sense & Nonsense

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