How ads on the internet work

Internet advertising- at first it was irritating, invasive and in your face!  Pop-ups, Pop-unders, ads that played music and jumped onto your desktop scaring the shit out of you and causing you to reach for the volume knob so no one at work knew you were surfing the net looking for porn or torrents.

Over time those annoying ads slowly evolved into slightly less invasive banners such as the ones we display on this page.  How these ads work and pay us is as follows: Google Adsense is a program Google has set up where advertisers come to Google and offer a certain amount of payout per click they receive on their ad.  Google acts as the middle man and then turns around and offers people like me who own their own blog the choice to put ads on their site for a return based on how many clicks they get.  Granted, for a site like NERD TREK it doesn’t pay the bills- far from it actually as we only make money when someone actually clicks on one of our ads.

If you are curious about setting up your own website and placing advertising, make sure you are getting some serious traffic before you bother.  Also, make sure your ads are in a good position to be viewed.  We previously located our ads in the sidebar to the right but noticed that our CTR (Click Through Ratio) was terrible.  After doing some experimentation I found that by placing the ads within our news articles we suddenly increased our CTR to more of a normal number.  Normal of course depends on your field and what information you display on your website.  We seem to get between .5%-1.5% CTR on average.  The CPC which is the amount you get paid per click can vary day to day from .03 to $1.00!

Obviously Google Adsense is not the most reliable means of income for your website as most people aren’t going to be clicking your ads like crazy.  Instead you can opt to sign up for affiliate programs with reputable companies such as or Apple.  When you market their products on your site you will score a % of the comission depending on two factors – how many people click on an ad and what percentage of those people actually make a purchase.  Another factor could be if the person who clicked the ad bought what the ad was displaying or if they searched the website for something completely different and purchased that instead.  Usually it is more profitable if you sell the main item you are advertising.

There are many other affiliate programs out there that get even more complicated.  If you’re interested in learning more please comment below and I’ll be glad to follow up this article with another more in depth article regarding affiliate advertising on your website.  We can even take a closer look at your site on NERD TREK and obtain some extra exposure for your website.

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.