Don’t put all your eggs in the Google basket. There are other ways to monetize your blog besides Google AdSense. (And always remember that step one is building a readership worthy of advertising income. ) Only once you have at least 30,000 unique page views in a month’s time should you seriously look at ads as a viable monetization option.
Google ads are ubiquitous and easy to set up but that does not mean that they are remunerative. One of the problems with Google AdSense is that the ads are not always relevant and can end up just annoying your readers. The second and more pressing problem is that without a lot of readers (and by a lot we mean readership numbering in the six figures) you are most likely to earn just enough to pay your monthly hosting dues.
So you would need a plan B. Consider passionfruitads.com. This easy to use site is free to set up and you only pay $1 per ad that you sell. In about ten minutes, you can set up your ad inventory which describes what spots are available on your blog. You have control over your ad sponsors, the color and font, and passionfruit takes care of the rest. They even handle ad rotation so that if you have multiple ads, they will swap without your involvement. The only downside I’ve seen so far is that if you have no current advertiser listed yet, your reader will see an “advertise here” space on your blog. But, in a way, that’s a way to show you have advertising availability.
And if you do have a fair number of readers numbering in the tens of thousands – consider BlogAds.com. They allow you to set your own rate – of course you have to pay them a percentage of your ad dollars but that’s fair considering a lot of reputable companies go to them to look for blogs to advertise on.
Other ad networks to scrutinize include Lijit, however I find their process and website sterile and more difficult to use. Glam Media is terrific conceptually (especially if you’re running a fashion blog) but you need to run through their network so that becomes limiting.
Beyond ads, I am following the still-in-development bitcoin.org. This is a software that will allow for no (or low) cost transactions. My idea is that you could make it easy for your readers to “tip” you for a particularly informative or inspired article. Now that I get all of my news and lifestyle content on-line, I’ve saved so much on newspapers, magazines and cookbooks I haven’t purchased over the last few years. I, for one, would be happy to “tip” a blogger who provides me with a particularly helpful article or fantastic recipe. Who knows – the virtual tip jar may become the wave of the future. Until then, remember that Google is not as omnipresent as they would have you believe.