I often get asked to share what the best WordPress themes for creating a niche site that get great Adsense click through rates (CTRs).
I usually try to explain that CTR is less about the theme typically and more about the Google Adsense Placement (or other monetization ads) and less about the theme.
The theme today is much less important than your layout.
Here are some of the best Adsense examples.
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Best Adsense Layouts
Right off the bat: things have changed quite a bit. If you're not the type to go really in-depth with technical placement Google's default is auto ads.
That means automatic ad placement done by Google itself.
Just let Google do the work and don't worry about it.
However, if you want more control then you should test layouts.
This helps you learn how display ad placement works, what areas on your site are hot zones, and that information can be used to promote particular offers later. If you so choose.
But with getting the most out of Adsense manually it's much more about placement than themes.
Ad Layout > Theme
So, in my opinion, much more important that knowing the “best Adsense themes” is knowing the PRINCIPLES of where to place your ads. I am going to show you 5 quick examples of some different Adsense layouts that I have used in the past.
But even more important than that is to try and understand WHY I put the ads where they are.
Then you can literally come up with hundreds of different ad placements, sizes, colors, or other combinations to create your own unique sites and ad placement.
In a nutshell, here are the principles that you need to consider when you are trying to optimize your CTR.
- Ads “above the fold” will have a better click-through rate than ads below the fold.
- Place ads near where visitors eyeballs naturally go to in order to get the best CTR (top left, near titles, near site navigation, etc).
Knowing where visitors tend look first on your sites can help you determine where to place ads to get the most attention (if that's what you are going for of course).
You can find all sorts of “heatmaps” that show you where users look first of spend most of their time on sites.
From looking at these and from my experience, I would say that users tend to look first at the Top Left part of the page. Pprobably because we are all trained to read the text of a book from the top left and then move down.
In addition, big bolded items such as post titles also get attention.
Finally, navigation bars at the top or in the sidebars are also used frequently by people because this is how a traditional site is set up.
This information can help us determine what type of Google ad is right for each part of the layout.
Okay, now that you have the principles of where you should be placing Ads for maximum Click through rate, I want to give you some specific Adsense layout examples.
Adsense Layout Example 1
This is a fairly non-aggressive ad placement that may not get the highest CTR in the world, but still is an overall good site layout. The ad unit under the article title could be a large rectangle, medium rectangle, or other size.
My favorites to use here are the 300 x 250 or the 336 x 280.
The sidebar unit could also be a number of ad sizes just depending on the width of your sidebar itself. This will be the case will all of the Adsense layouts discussed here – multiple adsense sizes could be utilized with these placements.
These just give you a general idea of where ads could be placed.
Adsense Layout Example 2
To be honest, this is a layout that I originally used on a lot of my sites.
The primary ad unit within the content is above the fold and gets a lot of clicks because the eyeballs tend to go to the top left of the website.
In addition, the sidebar at the top fits well because its not sitting right next to another ads – its separated by the primary content of the page.
Adsense Layout Example 3
This is an extremely aggressive Adsense layout. I personally don't use this layout, but I expect it would get an extremely good CTR.
In addition, I want to point out that another popular layout is one that removes Ad Unit #2.
I often see Adsense sites with what is shown above minus ad unit #2 – still aggressive, but slightly less so.
Adsense Layout Example 4
This layout is very similar to Layout 1 with just the sidebar on the left. The advantage of this again is that the eyeballs of people visiting your site naturally look to the top left.
Even more so, the sidebar on the left is often where the navigation of the site is located so they will look here to scroll to other pages.
Perhaps they will see an ad that interests them?
Adsense Layout Example 5
This is an interesting ad layout because it is set up to display the ads after the first paragraph of the article.
So, this is less aggressive than layout 3 for example, but would still get a very good CTR because the ads are still above the fold, in the content, and left justified.
This also has a chance of catching visitors who instantly hit the back button when a page loads with 2 or 3 ad units on top.
Overall, its still obviously an aggressive ad layout but is certainly still within Google's TOS.
My Caveats About the Layouts
I literally could have created probably a hundred different layouts of potential places to insert ad units. I could have created a layout with 2 sidebars with one on the left and one on the right. Or I could have given examples of 2 sidebars both on the same side (either right or left); or lots of other site structures.
Then obviously there are hundreds of combinations of ad sizes, exact placement, and options of using 1, 2, or 3 units in the content.
Hopefully these 5 simple ad layout examples will allow you to come up with your own based on the principles I have discussed here.
I also want to point out that you don't have to use Link units on all your sites under the navigation bar – I just showed that here because it was easier.
If you are not comfortable doing that – then don't!
Or if you want to use MORE link units than I showed here either in the sidebar or in the content, then by all means go right ahead.
Be Aware of Google Ad Placement Policies
Just be sure to read up on Google's policies for the total number of ad units that you are allowed to use, and which ones.
These do change. And some limitations on the ad size you can use for a specific location exists. Don't make a mistake and get your Adsense account banned.
Overall, the purpose here was to show you a few layouts that will get good click through rates. Most importantly, you need to consider what the strategy or YOUR business is and whether or not a more or less aggressive ad layout is more appropriate.
If you don't want to test ad layouts on your own, I recommend Ezoic.
They use AI technology to run a sort of split test on your website. They are always testing where your ads perform best at and maximizing for user experience and revenue earned.
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This software is free.Use Ezoic to test your ad layouts for free
Adsense Website Examples
There are tons of websites that use Adsense as a form of monetization. Here are a few:
OwnTheYard.com is my own site from Niche Site Project 4. I used Adsense to generate an income and I'm earning about $15.50 per thousand visitors, which is great. The number has gotten as high as $17.05 per thousand, but it's come back down since then.
I use Ezoic to manage all of my ads for my site.
CNN.com uses Adsense on their site as well. I don't know if they're using any kind of ad management service like Mediavine, Ezoic, or AdThrive. But I'd be willing to bet that they make a pretty penny from the ads on their site.
BackyardChickens.com is a site about, you guessed it: backyard chickens. They've got several informational articles, some affiliate content, and then a lot of super popular forums. They run Adsense ads on their site and probably make a killing doing it.
Pretty Much Any Blog
Can you find a blog online? If they're just beginning with getting monetized I'd bet my left leg that it's monetized by Google Adsense. Adsense is just such an easy option to monetize your site.
Although the returns are often low. Since the returns are low, I recommend using an ad management service like Ezoic.
A bigger return on your display ads is always a good thing.
I am interested in hearing what you have to say about these 5 simple layouts. Are any of these ad layouts that you have used in the past or would consider using on your sites?
What additional thoughts do you have to add about getting optimal click through rates?