Thursday, February 18, 2010

Setting up AdSense on your Blog

This article is about the issues involved with using AdSense ads on Blogger blogs.  It discusses some things you should do (using the AdSense application), even though Blogger doesn't currently enforce them.

Blogger have made it very easy for you to put AdSense ads onto your Blog: you simply go into the Earnings tab, and go through an apparently simple sign-up process.

But there are a few things that you should be aware of, and they're not all obvious from the information that you are given initially.

There's a two-step sign-up process - and if you are successful, there are things that you a really should to to protect yourself from people who might do things to damage your account.

Read on for more details.

Getting Started

Go into Blogger's Earning's tab, and say where you want the ads to appear

(Initially, just accept the recommended option:  you can choose the ad positions again later, and when you do, you will be able to customise various ad-features, eg colors, as well.)

Either choose an existing account, or apply for a new one by filling out the form they give you.

Each person is only allowed one AdSense account so you must  always use an existing account if you have one.

If you don't already have an AdSense account, think carefully about what Google account it should be associated with.   (I made a mistake initially, and almost set mine up on an account that I want to give away one day - luckily I got help from Google to sort it out, but it could have been a major mistake.

At the bottom of the form, you agree to some terms and conditions, including the AdSense program policies and a summarised list, which currently says that you
  • won't click Google ads on your own pages.
  • won't put ads on sites that have incentives to click on ads.
  • won't put ads on sites involved in distribution of copyrighted materials.
  • won't put ads on sites that include pornographic content.
  • don't already have an approved AdSense account.
  • have read the AdSense Program Policies.
  • can get cheques made out to the name you've given.

From the Blogger side you may think that this is all that is needed.   But that's not quite true:  Bloggers who apply to AdSense needs to go through the same application and approval process as anyone else, they just have a simpler way than most of providing the necessary information to Google.   And completing that form is just the first step.

Approval Process

Update @ January 2013:

If your blog uses a .blogspot domain, there is now an updated one-step approval process for hosted-publishers.

But if you use a custom domain, the following information about the two-step process still applies.

And I suspect - but have not yet confirmed - that if you switch your blog from blogspot to a custom domain after you have signed up via the one-step process, then you will have to go through the two-step process on the new domain.

Original information:

Google do a two step process, beginning with preliminary checks on the site and the submitted details.   If the application passes through this first stage, Google
  • Notify you by email, 
  • Give you "account access", and 
  • Give you some ad code to place on the submitted site. 

You must put the ad code on your site, as the review process can’t be completed until the ad code is implemented.

Real advertisements don't appear once the initial ad-code is put onto the site.   Instead, temporary "blank ads" are placed that blend in with the background.    And if you log in to your AdSense account at this stage, you'll see a note saying that you are still under review.

After you've placed the review code, Google look at your site again, and decide whether or not to accept you as a publisher.    Then they send you an email, telling you the decision.

Note:  that is what Google say for all AdSense signups (ref:   New Publisher Application Process).   It's possible that it is automated for prospective AdSense publishers who sign up via Blogger.   (And I cannot check it out myself, because I now have an account!)

All going well, your application will be approved and you get an email notifying you of your publisher ID,  and this ID is saved to your Blog as well.

However sometimes it's not quite so straightforward.   Advice from the AdSense help forums is that what is required to get approved varies between countries and even applications:  as time has gone on the requirements have become tougher, because so many people think they can get rich from Adsense by setting up a blog with a single post that they copied from somewhere.  It's always a good idea to have 10+ pages of original content on your blog before applying for an AdSense account - and be aware that for people from some countries, the blog needs to have been running for at least six months.


You need to have a Privacy Policy

One of the Terms and Conditions that you agree to is that any site where you display AdSense Ads will have a privacy policy.

You didn't need this in place when I applied to AdSense, although I've heard of cases when prospective publishers were to do one before their account is approved.

But you do need to have it when you start having AdSense ads on your blog.

As an example, see the privacy policy for this site, which is found at the very bottom left corner of the page.   You might like to make your policy similar - but you must not just copy it:   you need to think about the privacy issues that apply to your site, and also about the laws that apply in your country (since you may be storing some off-line information too).

Customizing your Ads

Once your AdSense account is approved, you can change to the ad-position options using the Earnings tab.


you can go to the Layout tab, and to add AdSense gadgets to the sidebar, header or footer (depending on what your template allows). 

Also, you control whether ads are shown between posts from the Layout > Blog Posts (edit) tab:  if you do this, you need to be aware of the limits on the number of ads per page.

OR you may want to put ads right into your blog posts, rather than having them on the sidebar etc where many readers will miss them.

All that said, my own preference is to get the ad-code from AdSense, and install it like I would install any other 3rd party HTML code:   this lets me access the latest ad-sizes and have better control over colour-schemes and showing image-only ads.

Next steps:

Blogger makes this whole process very easy, and you don't have to log in to the AdSense application at all. 

However there there are some reasons why Blogger users should get to know the AdSense application, and do some things in it.  These include:
Also, at the moment you need to use it to monitor your income because there are some problems with the data in the Monetize tab.

And once you have an AdSense account, you may like to consider setting up a custom-search-engine for your blog, instead of the standard search-widget, so that you can display your ads instead of Google's ads on the search-results page.

If you need to troubleshoot why your ads are not showing properly, use this Google-provided tool:

Related Articles:

Securing your AdSense account against malicious use

Fiiltering the categories of ads that you show

Showing image-only AdSense ads

Putt AdSense ads into your blog posts

How many AdSense ads to show on each screen.

Putting HTML from a 3rd party into your blog

Transferring a blog from one Google account to another

Giving your blog a search-widget

Setting up AdSense on your Blog

Showing image-only AdSense ads in your Blog

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