When people can’t find what they are looking for on your blog one of the things that they’ll often do is head for your search tool and see if they can find what they are looking for on your blog that way.
On my blogs hundreds of people use my search tools every day. I know this because until recently I’ve been using the search tool provided by AdSense for my search tools and it gives some basic statistics on how many searches there are and what people are searching for. It also gives you a way to monetize your search results by running AdSense ads in your results (you can see an example of it running in ProBlogger’s side bar at the moment).
The AdSense tool is OK – it does a reasonable job of giving good search results – however it does take a few days for newer posts to become searchable and I’ve found that the money that it brings in is almost non existent (around the $1 per day mark across multiple blogs).
I’ve long been dissatisfied with the return on AdSense search but thought that the dollar a day was better than nothing ($365 a year isn’t something that will go astray).
So this week when I found an alternative to AdSense for search to monetize the internal searching on my blogs I was interested to see what would happen.
Monetizing Internal Searching with Chitika
In short – it will allow you to show Chitika eMiniMall ads in the search results page of your WP blog (if you use the default WP search template) with products in the ads that relate to the search.
The process is pretty simple to do (outlined below) and I’m happy to report that the results have brought me an improvement on the money earned from internal search. While I’m still not earning a lot from it, the last few days have seen a 500% improvement (remember I didn’t start with much) on some of my blogs. Don’t expect big dollars but do let me know how it goes for you.
I’ve not used it here at ProBlogger because this blog isn’t a product related blog (and as a result Chitika doesn’t work well with it) but on some of my other product related blogs it works well.
Here’s the process outlined by Chitika:
1. Sign in to your Chitika account, click the eMiniMalls tab, and generate your eMiniMalls code.
2. Go to your WordPress dashboard (e.g. http://your-domain.com/blog/wp-admin/). At the top of the page, click on the part of the bar that says “Presentation:”
3. Click on “Theme Editor:”
4. On the right side of the screen, click on “Search Template:”
(*NOTE:These instructions are for the “WordPress Default” Theme*)
5. Change the permissions of the search template (so that you are able to edit it) by running the following command:
CHMOD 777 wp-content/themes/default/search.php
(*NOTE: If you do not have access to the shell, have your administrator do this for you*)
6. Find the following line in the template code:
<h2 class=”pagetitle”>Search Results</h2>
7. Paste your eMiniMalls code underneath this line.
8. Change the following line:
var ch_queries = new Array( );
var ch_queries = new Array(“<?php echo wp_specialchars($s); ?>”);
9. Click “Update File”
Your search results will now have an eMiniMall (targeted to the search query) at the top of the page.
A variation on this process is to add the ad with a different default channel at the bottom of your search results also so that there is an ad both at the top and the bottom of the search results. Also consider adding one to the ‘no results’ page.
Make sure that each time you ad an ad unit that you add a different channel code so you can track the results of these ads on your internal search pages.