How can I clean up my Google AdSense Channels?
I've been an AdSense publisher for over a year and have been very pleased with all Google has to offer. I'm now thinking of starting a new site and again incorporating AdSense. Here's my problem ... as with many things in life, I took the 'learn as you go' approach with AdSense. When that specifically applies to 'channels' in the AdSense program, things are disorangized to say the least. And now that I want to add a new site, things would get even worse. Is there any way to clean things up or start from scratch? Thank you.
This is a common problem with Google AdSense, actually, because when you're just starting you don't bother with the advanced features like being able to differentiate results by using site or style specific channels. Fortunately, it is something you can clean up!
I would start by reading through my tutorial on getting started with Google AdSense Channels to see how they work and how you can add just a single line to your existing AdSense code blocks to enable this feature.
Then go into the AdSense management area and create a number of new channels, either one for each of your sites or one for each of your AdSense blocks (for example, you could have "copjokes" for your police joke and humor site and "textlinks1" for your primary textlinks block). If you want to track things with more granularity, consider having hybrid channel names as I do, like "copjokes-bigrect" or "furniture-store-textlinks". It all depends on how much effort you want to put into it, of course: the more channels you have, the better you can ascertain exactly how each ad block on each of your sites is doing, but, well, it's more work to set up thirty different channels than three.
Since you already have AdSense on your pages, however, the good news is that once you do establish a channel within the AdSense system, all you need to do is paste a single line into the existing adblocks to get everything to work. For example, if I wanted to change a stock AdSense block to one that included a channel, I'd simply add google_ad_channel ="7151328846"; to the block, producing something like this:
google_ad_client = "pub-7950118917489847";
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;
google_ad_format = "728x90_as";
google_ad_type = "text";
Hopefully you have your sites set up with templates of some sort or perhaps utilize server-side includes so that your AdSense code is in one file rather than duplicated across hundreds of pages that will need to be edited by hand. If you don't have things set up that way, now is a great time to learn how to change it.
You might find that you can, for example, add a line like:
everywhere you currently have the actual AdSense code block for a large rectangle ad. Then simply put your actual code into the file "adsense-block-bigrect.txt" and you now have one file, one place where you can tweak and modify your AdSense code to test color schemes, etc., rather than having to edit lots of pages with the exact same change.
If you do want to go in this direction as part of your AdSense update, check with your site admin to find out what kind of inclusion options you have. PHP-based sites can add PHP code too. Oh, and if you have a site built on a weblog tool like WordPress or Movable Type, you should be able to just update the AdSense code in your main templates and "rebuild site" to get everything deployed.
Since channel codes are consistent across pages, you can also go into Google's AdSense management system and create a dozen or more channels, write them all down on a notepad (or copy and paste them into a sticky/post-it note) and then do all your editing as a second pass, adding the appropriate google_ad_channel as you go.
It'll be some work and there's no great shortcut, especially if you have lots of pages that require manual editing, but I have no doubt that being able to differentiate sites and specific ad block formats in your Google AdSense report is a critical capability for you to learn how to maximize your AdSense results and payout. Good luck!
What's that? You aren't running Google AdSense on your site and making a few bucks through their advertising network? Then please start here: getting started making money with Google AdSense and cover your host bill -- and perhaps quite a bit more -- today.
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