How to Personalize Google's Search Engine

Eric flicked me an email about Google Adsense asking if it was worth the effort and what other alternative information products/services should he look at. Here’s an extract of the email I sent back.

Google Custom Search
Google Custom Search

~Hi Eric, thanks for the kind words. As you can imagine, it’s hard to know if you’re going in the right direction with a site like this, so every time I get a word of encouragement it gives me a little boost to continue.
I run a few other sites as well as this is/was designed to complement their offerings and also to act as a funnel for material that doesn’t suit elsewhere.
<I noticed you use Google AdSense. I’ve been reading up on it this week and trying to separate the reality from the mire of get rich quick schemes. How’s it working for you? Has it been worthwhile?

Using Google Custom Search To Increase Sales

Yes in the sense that is does work. If you can get a nice stream of traffic to your site, it will bring in revenue. But, to keep it in perspective, I get over 200k page impressions per month on the sites. This generates about 1k USD.

1,ooo USD  is fine but it takes a lot of effort to get 200k people to click around your sites every month.

I should add that I haven’t really tried to ‘optimize’ the site for Adsense as some webmasters do. The ads are there and if you want to click them, then it’s a bonus.
But, here’s a tip!
Looking at the stats, it’s the Search that generates the most revenue, not the ads themselves.
You can create a Google Search box, link it to your Adsense account, and use this as a way to encourage visitors to surf around your site.
And here’s an even better tip!
You can configure the Google Search box so that it searches specific sites only. See

How Google Custom Search Works

You can setup Google Custom Search to create a customized search experience for your own website.

  • Include one or more websites, or specific webpages
  • Host the search box and results on your own website
  • Customize the look and feel of the results to match your site
  • Provide fast and relevant search results
  • Make money with AdSense for Search
  • Automatically search across links, bookmarks or blogrolls
  • Control branding and enhance results presentation via XML results
  • Provide quick indexing of your website via On-Demand indexing
  • Embed a Custom Search Element into your website for a highly customized in-line search experience.

In other words, you can limit the search to your site and other sites that you specifically want the visitor to go to, such as affiliate sites or partner sites (you could link up with a similar site and arrange cross-searching).
With that said, it does take time to master Adsense, but if you have a long-term strategy, yes it is worthwhile.
I’d recommend using the Adsense plug-ins you can get for WordPress as these help automate the process. Real time-saver.
Because other areas are much more profitable!
Such as?

Example of Reliable Affiliate Programs

Method123 have been a winner for us from day 1. There a lot of sites offering affiliate/partner programs but this is absolute gold dust!
Their site is right when it says:

  • Our Affiliate program differs from others because:
  • We are a profitable company and only do business over the web
  • We offer large affiliate commissions
  • Our average sales amount is extremely high
  • Our conversion rate is also high

So, if can write articles about project management or anything to do with running projects, then you can link to their site, drive traffic over and claim your commission.
Things you could write about might be:

  • 10 ways to improve your Business Case
  • Learn how to write a Feasibility Study in 24 hours
  • What you need a Project Charter
  • 7 Ways to develop a Project Office Checklist

It’s pretty straightforward. I use other affiliate programs, such as GoDaddy, aWeber and Paypal. They’re all fine but Method123 has worked very well for me.
FYI – their head office is in New Zealand and you get that nice feeling that you’re working with a real company whereas with other programs you get an auto-responder back and then a relationship manager after a few days.
Darren Rowse has a great article if you’re thinking of getting into problogging.
Before I forget, Amazon has been a total time-waster. When I consider the effort v the results I got back – avoid!
I know others recommend it but if you apply yourself and find a 2 or 3 quality affiliate programs, you’ll do much better.

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