Friday, January 27, 2006

Make Easy Money With Google

Make Easy Money With Google walks users through how to earn money through Google’s AdSense banner ad program. Some caveats. First, there are many ways to make money with Google: using Google Answers to turn expertise into cash; Google Base allows you to advertise your wares for free: this book isn’t about these other ways to make money with Google. Second, I scoured the aisles of the bookstore for this book. I found it in the financial section a shelf over from the likes of “Start Your Own Gift Basket Business.” If you want a hardcore way to cook the Google functionality into cash-- more cash than a schmuck could make for plunking a Google ad on his Geocities page—give up considering this book. When you learn the rules of the game, Google is good at changing the rules. There is a wisdom to not setting them in ink. Also, the hardcore methodologies taught by the likes of the Adsense Jerk, really become the cart that pushes the horse: the monetization overshadows the content.

This book has a strong narrative much like “The Wealthy Barber” (maybe it’s an Ontario thing—both authors hail from that province). Imagine writing down a 248 page discussion between a web savvy Adsense user and his uncle who bought his last computer to store recipes. This book is intended for an audience who is computer literate but much of the content is a basic how-to for getting onto the web. Web designers may scoff that this material isn’t worthy copy, but I really disagree. If you don’t know how to get a domain name, a web host, how to FTP, how to choose an HTML editor or many of the other necessities; you need this book.

Section 1, “Starting” gives us the basics of advertising and how to advertise on the web. I’m a sucker for tech history and the “How Things Work” view, so I found this section was a win.

Section 2, “Content” covers how to put together content and put it on the web. More basic than web design: this is a discussion of what to say not how to say it. Did you ever see that Simpson’s episode where Homer builds a web page? He had nothing to say, so he threw up every animated GIF he could find. This book really focuses on that topic and its so important. Remember the Adsense Jerk from above. If you followed his school of thought any piece of crap could onto your page and that couldn’t be further from the truth: quality content yields quality ads and quality coin. You can’t ignore that and Giguere doesn’t. Later in the section, the book talks about how to secure a domain name and web host.

Section 3, “Design” is mostly about how to design a serviceable web page: a set of best practices like site maps, clean designs and search engine friendly layouts. A lot of ink goes to using blogging services to put your content out there. That’s not a bad idea: blogs are an easy way to get your content out there with a minimum of fuss and muss.

Section 4, “Adsense” finally gets to talk about the subject: ADSENSE! What’s nice is how much details the author puts into this section. To be honest, I had been using AdSense for two years and didn’t know some of this stuff. Some of the stuff is insightful. While I would have like some super-user material—information how to really wring all the potential out of Adsense. We don’t get that, but if adding this is always one EULA tweak away from being a violation of the Adsense terms. In the time I’ve been using Adsense I think I’ve had to approval 6 new versions of Google’s terms and conditions.

Section 5 is “Traffic.” The web is definitely not a “build it and they will come” place. You can dump out tons of pages and material and never see a single visitor. Though brief, the Traffic section talks about how to get your site listed. With so much of the book talking about the role of blogs, I would have included the invaluable tool of blogging: tags. I would talked about traffic events. Though the promotion section is a little skimpy is it fine for the intended audience.

This book is for web novices who want to learn about this new fangled way to monetize their web pages. For that audience, I would recommend this book. I bought it fill out my knowledge of AdSense and then pass this off to my boss who was considering adding AdSense to our site. Web developers look for their books in the computer section. Money makers look for a way to make money in the personal finance aisles. I think this book ended up in the right part of the bookstore.

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