Pay per click advertising is one of the most common ways to monetize online content. The process behind it is simple: you embed an advertisement into your online content from Google Ads or an affiliate program, and every time a visitor to your website clicks on that content, you earn money. With good online content, it’s possible to make an almost entirely passive income with pay per click advertising, but there’s far more to successful pay per click advertising than just putting an ad on your site and hoping the money starts rolling in.
How pay per click really works
When you secure advertisers for your site, it works one of two ways. Either you enter into a private contract with the advertiser for a flat per-click rate, or you send an ad request to an advertising network, and multiple advertisers bid on your ad placement based on your keywords and site traffic. Once the ad is placed, every time a visitor to your site clicks on the ad, you earn money. Pay per click ads typically pay higher rates than cost per impression ads, but, since the conversion rate is much lower, you have to work hard to ensure that visitors to your online content actually click on the advertisements.
Optimize your content to bring in traffic
The best ad placement in the world is no good if it’s on a site that no one visits. The key to success with pay per click marketing is exactly the same as the key to success in e-commerce: high-quality content, optimized to rank highly in keyword search results. You can design your content and ads as well as you like, but beyond a certain point it becomes a simple numbers game: a certain number of site visits translates to a certain number of ad clicks. The more traffic you can drive to your site, the more likely you are statistically to secure the clicks that will earn you money.
Optimize your content for good ads
This is where good keyword selection is really important, because the same keywords that secure your search rankings and drive content to your site are also what advertisers use when deciding whether to place their ads on your site. Successful pay per click ads fit organically into your own content, so that your site visitors do not feel as though they are having ad content thrust at them. Your site design should also allow organically for space for ads. Headers, footers and sidebars are all good places to place ads, but placing ads on all four sides of your content can make your content feel crowded. You also need to consider what type of ads match your content, and what will ruin your site visitors’ browsing experience. A loud video ad might fit organically into a film review website, but would probably be a distraction on a blog about summer knitting patterns. Visitors are far more likely to click on your ads if they feel at home in your web content, so you should avoid having ads that are at odds with your content or aesthetic.
Work with affiliates that support your content
If you’re worried about finding pay per click ads that integrate well into your content, or concerned that your keywords don’t lend themselves to ads that will persuade your readers to click, you’re not without options. Plenty of affiliate marketing services either give you the opportunity to select ad categories, so that you can stick to products that align with your own content. Other affiliate marketing services are designed to work exclusively with certain media: for example, if your primary content is a webcomic, you can enter an ad agreement with Project Wonderful, which specializes in placing ad content on webcomics. Because Project Wonderful deals only with ads placed on webcomics, all of its ads are targeted directly at webcomic readers, making it much more likely that readers who see the ads will actually click on them and earn you money. The Amazon affiliates program works similarly, giving you the ability to select Amazon products to which you can link directly in your content. If you base your online presence on writing book or movie reviews, you can link to the reviewed media directly from your content, making clicking on the link an organic step for your readers.
Learn affiliate marketing in more depth
Of course, placing pay per click ads on your own regular content is barely scratching the surface of what is possible with affiliate and pay per click marketing. Very few blog writers or web comic artists generate enough traffic to really make an income with pay per click, but if you are willing to put some additional time and effort into training, you can build an affiliate marketing network to make a substantial income with pay per click advertising.