What Is AdWords, and Should I Use It on My Site?

If you want to either promote your business or generate income with your website, you’ve probably heard that Google AdWords could be the solution. But what is AdWords, and how is it useful?

Online advertising versus traditional methods

AdWords is Google’s online advertising service. To understand how it and other online advertising services work, you’ll need to compare it to traditional forms of advertising.

Online advertising is the digital equivalent of the ads that appear in real-world media outlets like print (magazines, newspapers), radio, and television. If you want to advertise your business, you pay for the advertising space and the media outlet runs your ad.

With the advent of the internet, websites have become additional outlets to advertise your product or service. Solely building a website does not automatically mean that your customers will find you, so advertising online is a good way to attract people to your site. There are also opportunities to monetize your site using these services by choosing to display other companies’ ads.

Creating your ad with AdWords.

Ads created with AdWords are called campaigns. These campaigns are eligible to be displayed within Google’s search engine results pages. You likely see AdWords ads every time you search for something on Google. They are usually the first set of results that are displayed and have a little “Ad” image next to the text.

example of adwords ads on google search
Example of Google search with AdWords ads.

When you create campaigns, you select the target market for your ad and the keywords related to it. For example, if you own a bicycle shop in Los Angeles, you could select a target market of folks living in L.A., using the keyword “bicycles.” If someone from the Los Angeles area searches for “bicycles,” your ad might be displayed.

Another feature of AdWords campaigns is the ability to choose how much you want to spend on your ads. You set a budget upfront, and each time someone clicks on your ad, you are charged a small fee. If you are just starting out, you can select a small budget for your campaign.

However, your ads are more likely to be displayed if you’re willing to spend more money on them. For example, if five different companies have campaigns about bicycles in Los Angeles, AdWords runs a digital auction to determine whether your ad is displayed over those of your competitors.

This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot to get noticed, but it does mean that you need to research your keywords and audience to stand a better chance of winning that auction. You are then charged a small fee every time someone clicks on your ad.

But wait, there’s more!

Another advantage of online advertising is that as a website owner, you can also earn money from them.

Once advertising campaigns are available, they need to be displayed somewhere. By featuring ads from other companies on your website, you will earn money every time someone clicks on an ad. So, as a bicycle store owner, you might enable bicycle or Los Angeles-related ads on your site. If someone clicks one of those ads, you earn a small portion of the cost of that ad.

Building a clever advertising strategy is one way that popular bloggers earn a living. By implementing good search engine optimization practices, they grow in popularity — and people will likely click on ads that are displayed on popular sites.

Monetizing your WordPress.com site

Making money from AdWords or any other online advertising platform requires some technical knowledge to implement the advertising code from the network. Fortunately, WordPress.com’s WordAds service doesn’t require technical knowledge, as WordPress.com Premium and plugin-enabled plans provide ad-integration features.

Simply check a box, and WordAds starts to work in the background to display relevant ads on your site. If you want to monetize your site with other advertising services, this is possible with a WordPress.com plugin-enabled plan.

Advertising is an essential strategy for earning money online, whether that means gaining more traffic from your own ads or making money by placing others’ ads on your site — or both. By using AdWords in conjunction with WordPress.com’s ad services, you can earn much more from your online business.


Jonathan Bossenger

Full-time sponsored Developer Educator working on the WordPress open-source project. Employed by Automattic. I like to get stuff done. Husband and father of two energetic boys. Brazilian jiu-jitsu for fun and stress release.

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