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Sometimes it's the small events that are the most exciting. Like the day I made three cents. Not three dollars. Not thirty dollars. Just three cents. And yet it was a very exciting event because of what those three cents represented.

I made those three cents the first time someone clicked an advertisement on one of my Web pages. And it was just the beginning. Every time an ad was clicked, I'd make money. The more visitors I had, the more money I'd make. The pages that I had created purely out of interest and paid for out of my own pocket could pay for themselves, or possibly even turn a profit. That's what was so exciting about those three cents.

The great thing was that it was really easy, because Google was doing all the hard work for me, through their free AdSense program. All I had to do was give them space on my pages to display the ads. They chose the ads, tracked the clicks, and charged the advertisers. Even better, they analyzed my pages and selected ads that were relevant to the topic of each page. All I had to do was keep my pages updated and do my best to attract a steady stream of visitors, which I was already doing. The truth was, anyone could do what I was doing!

Just as exciting was the day a few months later when the first check from Google arrived in my mailbox. It was a small check, but it was real. I almost framed it instead of cashing it!

That's what this book is all about—the excitement of making money with Google without having to be a computer expert. You'll need some Web pages, but I'll show you how to build those. Don't worry, there's no programming required! All you need is a computer and a connection to the Internet.

Can It Really Be Done by Anyone?

You're skeptical. Maybe you're thinking, “This author is an experienced writer and an experienced Web page and application developer, so of course to him it all seems very simple.” While there's no denying that having a background like mine helps, it's definitely not a requirement. Making money with Google is easy to do with the right guidance. The concepts are not hard and can be mastered by anyone with the patience to learn them. Kind of like most things, really.

I think what scares most people about computers and the Web is the terminology involved, not the concepts. I'll be the first to admit that technical people use a lot of buzzwords and obscure terms when they're talking about technology. It really is a specialized vocabulary. But specialized vocabularies aren't unique to the computer industry. Look at medicine: Doctors talk to one another in technical terms that the average person doesn't understand. This is good; specialized vocabularies are concise and more precise than general, everyday vocabularies. They can make communication quicker and more accurate—as long as all parties to the communication speak the same language.

What if you don't understand the language? That's where technical people often come up short compared to medical personnel. Doctors and nurses learn to talk to their patients using terms the patients can understand. Many techies don't learn this skill, which is why technology can seem so foreign and unapproachable to nontechies. But there are people like me who can bridge the gap and write books like this one.

Please understand that there are no secrets in this book: Like many things, everything discussed here is already described somewhere on the Web—you just have to find it and understand it. Not only do I save you the hassle of finding the material, I also make sure you understand it. That's the primary value of this book.

Is This the Book for You?

If you're reading this book because you've read one of my previous works, be aware that this book is something of a departure for me. My previous books have all been programming books. This book is different, because it's written for the average computer user, not the average computer programmer—people like my wife or my father, not my co-workers. If you're looking for a technically oriented book, you're reading the wrong book—you can safely put the book back on the shelf and keep browsing.

The rest of you are about to begin an interesting journey, because Make Easy Money with Google is as much about understanding the Web as it is about making money on the Web. The Web may seem mysterious to you now, but it's built on simple (yet powerful) foundations. It's a tool for finding and sharing information, and that's exactly how you'll make your money.

The book is written as a narrative, which is not the typical format for a “computer” or “digital lifestyle” book. Though the stories are fictional, the characters you'll encounter are composites of people I've interacted with before. They all have nontechnical backgrounds, and you should relate to them quite easily. The light, conversational style will, I hope, make the book a pleasure to read.

Please note that I didn't title this book Make Oodles and Oodles of Money with Google. I'm sure there are people who make lots of money using the techniques I describe, but I'd be lying to you if I said this book is going to make you rich. I'm not rich. But I have made money with Google, and so can you. And you can have fun doing it!

How to Use This Book

Before we get started with our adventure, here's some important information about using this book—the resources you'll need to gather, descriptions of each chapter, and information about the companion Web sites.

Resources You'll Need

As I've already said, this is a book for nontechnical people. If you can surf the Web, you can understand this book. The only resources you'll need are these:

  • A computer. Regular access to a computer is essential. Not only do you need a place where you can sit and create your Web pages, you'll want to have a copy of the pages stored locally for safekeeping and for testing. The operating system doesn't matter, though the examples and software discussed in this book are for Windows XP or Macintosh OS X only.

  • A high-speed Internet connection. This should be a given, but it's worth mentioning. You can still build and maintain your Web site using a slow-speed dial-up connection, but a faster connection is so much more pleasurable.

  • A credit card. You'll need a way to pay for some expenses. There aren't many, and they're not large expenses, but a credit card is the easiest way to pay for them.

What you don't need to do is buy high-priced software to help you build Web pages. There's enough free software available on the Internet to make those kinds of purchases unnecessary. We'll be looking at some of this free software later in the book.

Chapter Descriptions

As a narrative, this book is meant to be read sequentially, so please follow the chapters in the order in which they're presented:

  1. Making Money with Google. Introduces the four-step process for making money with Google and reviews important concepts like Web sites, Web servers, and blogs.

  2. Understanding AdSense. Describes Google's AdSense program: what it is, how it works, and how to join the program. Also discusses why advertising is so important to the Web.

  3. Finding Something to Say. Lists techniques for choosing page topics and building content that attracts visitors.

  4. Getting Ready to Say It. Explains how to register a good name for your site and find a hosting service.

  5. Designing Your Site. Discusses how to design your site: choosing a look and feel, handling site navigation issues, and making the site attractive to humans and Google.

  6. Building Your Site. Shows how to build Web pages from scratch using HTML and CSS—don't worry, it's not programming—and how to ensure that viewers see the site you want them to see.

  7. Becoming an AdSense Publisher. Describes how to become an AdSense publisher, how to manage your AdSense account, and how and when you can expect to be paid.

  8. Publishing Ads on Your Site. Discusses the different ad formats and how to track page performance. Also lists tips and tricks for making effective use of AdSense.

  9. Making Money from Your Site. Explains how to drive traffic to your site and how to optimize your pages to get better clickthrough rates and better-paying ads.

  10. Expanding Your Horizons. Wraps things up with a brief discussion of affiliate and referral programs.

As you can see, there's a deliberate progression that takes you from learning the basic concepts to building your site to making money with the site.

Companion Web Sites

Not only have you purchased a great book, you also get access to four great Web sites, including www,MakeEasyMoneyWithGoogle.com, the official companion site for this book. On the companion site you'll find additional information that updates or enriches the material you're reading. The other sites are example sites built to complement the narrative. You can register yourself with the main site to download your own copies of the other sites for use as additional study material.

The companion site can also be accessed using the short form www.memwg.com, an unremarkable name derived from the initial letters of each word in the book's title. Within the book, links to the companion site always use this shorter form to save you finger strain and to avoid difficulties in typesetting the text.

And as a bonus, registered readers who build Web pages using this book can also apply for a link from the companion site back to their pages, with no strings attached. This is an easy way to get some extra traffic to those pages. (See www.memwg.com/free-listing for the full details, but please note that I reserve the right not to link to inappropriate or otherwise unsuitable pages.)

Let's Get Ready

It's time to start our narrative. If you don't already have a computer and a high-speed Internet connection, now would be a great time to get yourself set up. In the meantime, let's begin the story.

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