There are a million ways to make money (or if you're already making money, there are a million ways to make more money). But none of us has time to do all of them. And few of us have the desire to do all that we have time for. Part of the secret to success with search engine optimization, or any method of making more money, is getting motivated enough to do it. A personal experience may be instructive.

I joined Google's AdSense program in January of 2004. I added AdSense ad units to a bunch of my webpages and then sat back and waited for the money to roll in. It didn't make me a fortune, but I did get a check every few months. But it wasn't enough to motivate me to spend a lot of time on the program.

At some point, I heard about Joel Comm's book on optimizing AdSense (yes, that's an affiliate link). I thought about buying it, but wasn't convinced that it was really worth shelling out $97 for. Instead, I took a look at a few of the sites mentioned in the sales pitch. From them, I picked up a few ideas for how to improve my AdSense ads, made a few changes here and there, and what do you know? They worked. I was making enough money to get a check every month.

Not long after that, I bought the book. Making more money motivated me to make the financial investment. And after I got the book, I also found that I had the motivation to make the investment of time required to tweak my existing AdSense ads and to place AdSense ads on more of my webpages.

And my income increased some more. And I found that I had more motivation.

The moral of the story is twofold: first, we're most motivated to do the things that we believe will benefit us the most. And second, sometimes we have to take the plunge and try things that we're not quite sure will be worth the trouble in order to discover whether or not they will.

Do you believe that putting your keywords in header tags (h1, h2, etc.) will move you higher up in Google searches for those terms? Do you believe that doing that will move you enough higher to be worth the trouble of modifying all those pages? Do you believe that setting up an AdSense account and putting ads on your webpages will earn you enough to be worth the trouble? Do you believe that taking the time to optimize those ads will increase your income enough to be worth the trouble? Do you believe that spending $97 on an eBook about AdSense will lead to enough of an increase in profits to cover the cost of the book?

Perhaps a good action plan would be to spend a little time every week on things that you think might help, even if you don't yet "have the love". When you see some of them paying off, you'll find it easier to spend time doing them more, and that's when you'll really start to see the benefits.