A monetized blog is one of the top goals for every blogger. To be able to make money from something you love doing and would do for free is a blessing and even if its just supplemental income its something that should make you very proud. The problem is, monetizing your blog is not as easy as driving traffic. Although getting your blog approved by top ad networks is not an exact science as approval standards change year to year there are a few standards that remain the same. In this post I will give you some basic tips on how to get approved for Google Adsense and take the first step toward a profitable blog.
1. Design and Layout
I’ve read many blogs and articles on this topic and almost all suggest that you need to purchase a professional template to improve your chances at getting Google Adsense approval. I’m here to tell you that’s B.S. and its bad for you. Its especially false for those of you using one of the CMS platforms like WordPress for your blog. My husband and I own a design company and he’s always amazed at how many people pay a premium for templates in which 99% of their look and functionality could be achieved using free WordPress plugins and templates. As a matter of fact we successfully launched a apparel design and manufacturing company that’s been going strong for over a year now using a free template and plugins from WordPress.
When it comes to Adsense approval you don’t have to have the most modern site in the world. Mainly they are looking for a clean design that offers easy navigation and a positive user experience. That means autoplay songs and videos are a no no, so are life sized gifs of your cat on your homepage. Your homepage needs to be uncluttered and load quickly so if you are using WordPress or any other CMS system that uses sidebars, its best to remove them from the homepage or limit the number of widgets to 3 or fewer.
Lastly make sure your website is responsive. “Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be.” Much like traditional SEO the age of optimizing your site for desktops and notebook is dead. In most of the world mobile traffic is going to make up 70% or more of your traffic. You can’t continue to gear your blogs design toward a small minority of your total traffic simply because that’s been the status quo. Unless your content and niche is targeting certain users (E.G. graphic designer or editors who spend a lot of time on desktops or notebooks) or an older demographic of user who may be more likely to browse from a desktop or laptop, you need to pay serious attention to your blogs mobile browsing experience.
In sports and war they say speed kills. Well, the same applies to your website. How fast your sites pages load plays a major part in Google Adsense approval. Their algorithms place heavy emphasis on user experience. A slow loading site is going to lead to a frustrated user who either bounces from your site quickly or navigates away before the page finishing loading. Even older 3G devices and connections should be able to load your site quickly. If your site is built upon a CMS system like WordPress, the first solution you need to try is installing a cache. If this doesn’t work you should first deactivate all plugins and test your stie. If the speed has improved then you need to reactivate your plugins one by one and test your site speed after each activation until you find the plugin setting your sites feet in cement. If that still doesn’t yield a solution, you’ll have to turn your attention to your beloved theme. This is going to be hard to say but I’m here to tell you what you need to hear not what you want to here…
Sometimes things just don’t work out and its not your fault but there are plenty of fish in the sea. There’s thousands of great themes out there and you need to pull yourself together and start testing the waters. There are a few other technical solutions that you can try to speed up your site and improve the user experience but they vary from host to host. That information will be available in our upcoming free E-book.
3. Required Content
With Adsense text content is ranked above amount of traffic. If you have 5000 people a day clicking on your post that includes 100 characters of general text and a lot of very nice photos, chances are the Google Adsense bots are not going to find your post or site relevant in terms of Adsense. Contrary to popular belief not all of your blogs need to be 500 or 600 words. If you have 30 blog entries and 3 or 4 are under 500 words its not going to hurt your rating within the algorithm. Speaking of entries, your site should have 20 to 30 entries before applying for Google Adsense approval. Also pay attention to the age what my husband and I call the activity ratio. This is more important the simply age as you’ll hear your site needs to be 6 months old before you consider applying for approval. If you site is 3 months old and active with new content ever few days and 100 to 300 page views per day coming from good quality sources you have a better chance at getting your account approved then a site that is a year old with one post a week or a site that’s 6 months old with 20 post that have all came withing a 2 or 4 week period of time.
Also the bulk content needs to be authentic. Authentic doesn’t mean it has to be unique (although that doesn’t hurt) or revolutionary but your post should be in your own words. Citing articles or writers is ok but copy/pasting entire post or articles actually violates Google Adsense terms and conditions. Make sure your post are well formatted, spell checked and grammatically correct. Post that are hard to read lead to a bad user experience and as I’ve mentioned above, user experience is weighted heavily by Googles algorithms
5. Understand Useless Denial Emails
Many who’s applications are denied are sent generic denial responses without a clear explanation as to why their site was denied. If you’ve received that dreaded email see our guide above and create a checklist of the things we mentioned above, if there is a single one missing more then likely you’ve found your culprit.
I also feel its important to stress that Google Adsense approval is only the start of the journey. Its simply like graduating high school and going to university. Understanding how to maximize Adsense earnings is much more difficult then gaining approval and driving traffic. If you want to learn more about Google Adsense check back in a few weeks as we will be giving away an E-Book to help understand the strategies, simplify the terms and reduce the Adsense learning curve. The guide will be available in English and Portuguese.