When youre sure everything is correct click Continue to complete the application process

After you finish the application, Google reviews your blog, and if it approves your application, you have to provide some additional information: Social Security number, Employer Identification Number, and so on. The review Google conducts ensures that the Web site the ads are placed on meets Google's editorial guidelines (for example, no obscenity).

After Google completes its review, you receive instructions on how to customize and place the ads into your blog templates. You may need a little help from your technical staff or some HTML skills of your own.

The ads appear automatically on your pages based on the content of your blog after you add the code to your templates. Visit the Google AdSense site to customize the look of your ads, check your earnings, and remove certain advertisers (such as your competitors!) from the ads that appear on your site.

Advertising your blog on other blogs

You probably have realized that other blogs are a great place to find readers who may be interested in your blog. That being the case, Blogads, AdBrite, and other services are great ways to advertise directly to that audience. The open nature of the blogosphere means that other bloggers may welcome your advertising, if your site is useful to their readers, even though you may be competing for the same eyes. Try using one of these services to advertise the launch of your blog or to drive traffic during a lull. Be sure to target blogs whose readers are likely interested in your topics that also get good traffic.

Using Blogads

Blogads, a service created by former journalist Henry Copeland, is a service that puts ads on blogs. Advertisers select blogs they want to target; bloggers choose whether to accept the ads on their sites.

Advertisers using Blogads can put together an ad that uses an image, text, and links, and then select blogs they want to reach. They also choose the length of time they want their ads to appear and can pay extra for better placement in the queue of Blogads on a site. The blogger then gets a chance to approve the ad and the terms of its display before it goes live.

You can see an example of Blogads on Utterly Boring (www.utterlyboring. com), a blog by Jake Ortman in Figure 14-3.

Figure 14-3:

Blogads in action on Jake Ortmans Utterly Boring blog.

© Utterly Boring.com

Figure 14-3:

Blogads in action on Jake Ortmans Utterly Boring blog.

© Utterly Boring.com

The Blogads service is designed to match up advertisers and bloggers. Participation is free to bloggers; remuneration obviously depends on what kind and how many readers your blog attracts. Blogads itself keeps a percentage of your earnings in exchange for serving the ads and managing the relationship with the advertiser. If you want to sign up for the Blogads service, visit www.blogads.com.

Using AdBrite

AdBrite is a similar service to Blogads that lets you place text ads, banners, and skyscraper ads on your blog. (Skyscrapers are those tall, thin vertical ads you see on many newspaper Web sites.) Businesses visiting your blog have a chance to click a link and purchase advertising directly from your site. You, the blogger, choose what advertising opportunities to offer, whose advertising you accept, what to charge, and how long the ad appears.

The popular Gizmodo blog (www.gizmodo.com) runs AdBrite text links in the right-hand column, along with a Buy a Link Now opportunity for potential advertisers, as shown in Figure 14-4.

AdBrite manages the relationship between blogger and advertiser, serves the ads, and facilitates billing. In exchange, AdBrite keeps a percentage of your ad earnings. Visit www.adbrite.com to sign up and begin accepting advertising on your blog.

Figure 14-4:

Gizmodo uses AdBrite to serve targeted text link ads.

Afternoon Bits

^ Filed under Gadgets Product Highlights

• Resident Evil 4 Chamsaw Controller. [ModernJackass]

• 3D Holographic Television [Economist]

• Samsung develops 3D mobile display [Thelnquirer]

Business

• Merry Merry Christmas for Moto [GigaOm]

• Cell phones take iPod challenge [CNET]

• Dell gives AMD another look fArsTechnical

• Dell profits up 25% [GuardianBlog]

Reviews

• Logitech's Z-5S00 [Wired] Culture

• Problems in OQQ-land [jkOnTheRunJ

• Network changes at G4 [KevinRose]

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Making Use of Affiliate Programs

Many online retailers — and some service providers — have begun to offer affiliate programs. The basic idea of most affiliate programs is that the publisher, or blogger, can earn money from recommendations made on a Web site. It's seen as a win-win-win scenario. The consumer gets a product they want, the blogger gets a commission from the sale, and the retailer makes sales without having to spend advertising dollars.

To use most affiliate programs, you must register with the retailer, who provides you HTML code or other mechanisms for linking the products you mention on your site to them. Your readers can then click directly from your site to the retailer's product page, put the item in a shopping cart, and check out. Because the reader clicked the link on your blog to get to the product, the retailer can then credit you a commission on the sale.

One of most commonly used affiliate programs — and one of the earliest in existence — is that of Amazon.com. I tell you how to use it in the following sections.

Using the Amazon.com Associates program

Amazon.com sells books, electronics, games, hardware, and more, and most of these products are included in the affiliate program. Interested? Here are a few ways to use Amazon.com's Associates program:

i Ever recommend a book, CD, or DVD? Got a cool new gadget that your customers can also love? Link directly to the product page from your blog.

i Can your product or service be used in conjunction with something Amazon sells? Create a list of these items as a resource your users can use to get information and then make purchases.

i Does a category of product appeal to your audience? Tell Amazon the types of products you want to display, and let it do the work in selecting, updating, and displaying them.

i Let your customers search Amazon directly from your site and earn money from anything they purchase from the search results.

Many bloggers use Amazon's affiliate program to add value to the discussions on their blogs or to promote specific products. Not surprisingly, the affiliate program is especially popular with book authors. You can see an example of the program in action through the blog of author, actor, and blogger Wil Wheaton (yes, that Wil Wheaton), WIL WHEATON DOT NET (wilwheaton.net), which is shown in Figure 14-5.

You may be able to use an affiliate program in some creative ways so that you earn a little money and also provide your readers with a service that gets them information they need. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even sign up for an affiliate program with your competitors and link to their products. If you're going to lose customers to these companies, you may as well still make a little money!

uses an Amazon Associate account with his book, music, and DVD recommendations.

With so many affiliate programs out there, you can probably find one to suit your needs. When you visit the sites of companies you want to affiliate with, scroll directly to the bottom of the home page — most of them place an affiliate link there somewhere.

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Be careful not to come across as money-grubbing when you implement affiliate links. Most people understand that clicking a product link on your site might result in profits for you, and if the entire blog starts to look like a way to earn money off your readers' purchases rather than a way to communicate and inform them, they won't stick around. And they certainly won't click your affiliate links.

Signing up for Amazon Associates

To sign up as an Amazon Associate, open a Web browser, and go to www. amazon.com/associates. Be sure to read over how the program works before you sign up!

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