One of the first things you should consider to monetize your forums is Google Adsense. Its perhaps the easiest and most successful program for many vBulletin forums. Google Adsense gives you a block of ads which, every time someone clicks on an ad, you earn money. Its that simple. You can have up to 3 adsense ad blocks on a page. There are a number of locations on a forum where Adsense is typically placed. The most common is right below the navbar, just above the footer and after the first post, but there are other placements too. In this article I’ll give you some tips on how to take the most advantage of this program, and give you some links to advice and suggestions written by others as well.
Step 1 – Sign up for Google Adsense
First thing, is to play by the rules. 100%! New publishers sometimes make the mistake of clicking the ads on their own pages, or asking firneds to do that for them, thus increasing their earnings falsely. DO NOT DO THIS! You’ll only make a few dollars and if Google finds out, which it almost always does, they’ll ban you from their service and refuse to pay you for anything you have coming. Trust me, don’t do it. It really isnt worth it. Ok, with that disclaimer out of the way. Lets move on.
First, dont think your going to get rich on Google adsense. As with most advertising on your site, it generally depends on how busy your forum is. The more traffic you have the more money you’ll make. Thats the heart of it. There are ways to maximize your earnings, by size, placement and color of the Adsense ads, but you have to have traffic to make anything.
Where to Place Ads
I generally advise forum owners to do the following:
- For unregistered visitors, place the following
- Two 300 x 250 ad panels under the navbar, centered.
- One 728 x 90 ad panel either after the first post (ideal) or at the end of the page (above footer)
- For Members – Change the two 300 x 250 panels to one 728 x 90
But there are other placements as well. A 300 x 250 could be placed inside the first post, or you could place a 160 x 600 leaderboard in a sidebar.
Here is a video showing you how to implement Adsense Ads on vBulletin 4x
One thing I find to be VERY helpful is using channels with Adsense. Adsense will let you assign an ad to a particular channel so you can monitor its performance. What I do is assign ads channels for the site homepage, Forumhome, forumdisplay and showthread. I have a set of channels for guests and a set for members. By looking at the adsense reports over time, I can see what ads are performing and what ads are not, then make changes as necessary, removing ads that dont produce much. Each site is different in how people will respond.
Adsense ad colors can be changed also. I suggest you start by blending the ad colors to match your site, NOT making them stand out, but appear to be part of the site design.