Many photographers have a website these days. It is an important tool for promotion and marketing in a highly competitive field. Photography websites are very popular with many sites receiving several hundred visitors a day. Google AdSense is a program of Pay Per Click (PPC) whereby you place ads on your site and earn revenue every time someone clicks an Ad.
In order to participate in the program you must apply to Google.
Not all sites are accepted into the program, any sites with pornography, gambling or pharmaceuticals are not allowed. If your site is not in one of these categories you are sure to be accepted.
Once accepted it is a simple matter of adding a few lines of code to your site. Google AdSense’s web based user interface is easy to use and allows you to customize the look of your ad units. You simply log in to your account select from a number of ad formats such as banners, boxes and link units, in different sizes and that will display a different number of ads in each box. Once you have the code that Google AdSense generates you simply copy and paste the code into your pages and upload them to your server.
Google then reads the content of the pages usually from the Title Heading and displays ads on the same topic. You are able to specify channels for each of the different pages in your site which allow for detailed reporting of which pages receive the most clicks and revenue.
In addition to displaying AdSense on your site, Google also allows you to put a Search Bar on your site. When people enter a search term and click on one of the ads in the SERPs you get paid.
Not all Ads are created equal. Where you place the ads on the page and the color you use to display them will have a huge impact on the number of click you receive. Google has a very useful page that shows the “hotspots” of a page, helping to determine the best position for the ads on your page.
Now when it comes to Photography, many other photographers use Google AdWords (You pay to advertise on other peoples sites and in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)) and it is very possible that your site will end up having ad units displaying other photographers ads. Now why would you want to advertise your competition, even if clicking that link brings you some revenue.
A couple of issues with this. First, Google allows you to block up to 200 URL’s of your competitors. It is a good idea is to block all the competitors in your local area. A photographer advertising on the other side of the world is not much threat to you. Many people like surfing photography websites, just looking at pictures on random sites, and these people make up the majority of users looking at your site. You want to provide them with opportunities to look at other photographers work at the same time paying you for the referral.
Next it is a good idea to create a page explaining to your potential clients why you have ads on your site. It helps to explain that you are earning money from the traffic to your site and that you are happy to refer people to your competition. This shows that you have great confidence in your work and your ability to close sales, and everyone respects legitimate attempts to earn extra money. Of great interest to photographers many of whom have no retirement plan is the fact that this program allows them to “Earn Money while they sleep”. It is a great boost to check your reports everyday to see how much you earned. As well Google’s reporting features give you some insight into what people are looking at on your site.
Google is a very high profile company and having their Ads and Search Box on your site lends it a certain amount of credibility.
There is a whole industry growing up around Google AdSense and Google AdWords, with many people selling products that will maximize your revenue from this program. As your photography websites primary purpose is to advertise your good photography services you will have to balance the desire to make money from your site with the need to attract new customers.
Finally, how much money will you earn from this program. Well let me tell you that unless you have Massive amounts of traffic you are not going to get that new Porsche anytime soon. However it may allow you to buy that ‘L’ series lens you have had your eye on, the one you just can’t justify buying.
One final note, if your thinking of clicking your own ads or getting your friends to click on them – DON’T. This is considered CLICK FRAUD and is looked on very seriously by Google. Google knows the natural pattern of ‘clicks’ and any unusual ‘clicking’ will get you booted out of the program and you will not get paid for any previous clicks. Google is very smart.