I've had a Web site since 1999 - and most of it was made ten years ago. The weird thing about marketing is that you never know what's going to work and what isn't. While I was putting in all the moves for cat's cradle, with a photograph for each one, I thought:
"Why am I doing this? No one is ever going to read it."
People did read it though - and that became the most popular page on the site. It gets about 30,000 visitors a month. But -- does this Web site help my children's book career? Who knows. The site costs $19.99/month -- so it's cost me about $2500 over the years....and this week, I decided to make it earn its keep with Google ads.
How this works:
1. You submit your site to Google
2. When you're accepted, choose the ad formats you want
3. Paste the code for the ads onto your pages (theoretically, this just takes a second - and so it would, if I didn't start cleaning up the rest of the page once I see it!). You can choose exactly where they go, but you have no control over the ads' content, beyond barring pornography.
4. The ads themselves then just appear-- they are supposedly related to the page's content.
5. Once you've earned $10, Google starts sending you checks.
My ads have only been up for three days, so it's too early to tell how much money I'll be making, or even what the ads are like.
Some are clearly connected to the content -- on my Cinderella page, one of the ads was for a TV show about Cinderella. Some of the connections are harder to see -- the Sleeping Beauty page featured an ad that said "End Tax Worries." (I love that way of ending tax worries, going to sleep for a hundred years!) The story "The Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was" had an for some kind of eye-wrinkle cream.....and, my favorite: the page where I show kids how to make hovercraft has an ad for REAL helicopters!
Alas, when I went back to take a picture of this ad -- which showed several helicopters, including a bright red one-- it had been replaced. I think the kids who are interested in how to make hovercraft might have been curious about how much a real helicopter costs -- *I* was!
Sadly, one of my favorite stories ("Jack, the Clever Thief" -- if you haven't rea a witty, romantic, Irish folktale) attracted ads for religious stuff. No way to block those....so I may take the ads off that page.
Most ads were for things like this:
Can you read that? It says "What does the length of your fingers say about your personality?" I was tempted to click that one myself. But, I didn't --you're not allowed to click the ads on your own site. You're also not supposed to tell people to click the ads. (But if there is a huge surge after this post....thanks guys!)
So, how much can you make? There isn't a simple formula for how much you get paid per click -- each click pays really differently depending upon -- what? I don't know. So far, I've had 16 clicks; one paid 62 cents, one paid 6 cents, some paid between one and two cents each, and some paid between 4 and 5 cents each. (They only report the number of clicks per day and the total per day.)
I've made 95 cents so far. Nevertheless, I'm going to persist with this, maybe even add some pages to my Web site and put ads on them; right now, I only have ads on 12 of the 100 pages. If I could get 60 cents a day, the site would be self-supporting. Is this revoltingly commercial of me? Will it make potential readers avoid my site? Will I lose all my recommendations? (The site is on lots of good lists.) And if anyone sees the ads, and has suggestions for better places to put them -- or thinks some should be removed -- please tell me.