By ALEX BRYANT
Many journalists and readers are turning to blogs as a way to distribute and read about news on a more regular basis. People from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to everyday citizens are using blogs to become a serious source of news. Freelancing independent journalists out there that are trying to break into journalism by having a blog and those just trying to improve readership and distribution of content, need to know about Google’s Custom Search feature. Through Google Custom Search, a journalist not only can improve his or her blog, but actually can find the search bar to be a source of revenue.
Google Custom Search bars pop up all around the web as a simple search bar at the top of a page that says search powered by Google. The bar allows a reader to search through all content on a website to find exactly what they are looking for. There are two versions of the software: standard and advertisement free. The standard version is free, but whenever a reader searches for content on a website, Google-powered ads will pop up along the sides of the search results. For about $100 per year, this can be blocked by choosing the ad-free version of Google Custom Search.
However, instead of spending money to block ads, some journalists may choose to instead make money by installing the AdSense for Search program, which is another Google tool, that pays the site every time someone uses that particular search bar because of the revenue generated by the on-page advertisements. It is a small sum of money, usually amounting to no more than a dime per search, but it can add up if a blog gains enough readership and usage and it can become a nice little addition of cash every month.
After choosing the version, the URL of the desired site is entered and a color scheme is chosen for the search bar. There are several defaults, but any custom combination of colors can be created to tailor the needs a specific website. Then comes the testing phase, where practice runs of the search engine can be utilized to make sure that the search bar is collecting data from the proper URL. Finally, Google provides HTML code that can be embedded one the desired Web page.
This tool is not going to turn a ho-hum blog into the first choice for news, but it will make life a little bit easier for readers, which should always be a goal for journalists.