But you must see this on the long run, there is no easy way to bring your website under the top-10 visited places (if this is your goal ;-)
I wouldn't quite say that... Simply research the history of how myspace.com started. From their parent companies countless lawsuits for spywar, including one that cost them several million dollars to admit no wrong doing to their original campaigns that included mailing to millions of users on lists gathered from other sites.
Not saying it is a smart move, nor do I even suggest marketing to paid email lists, but it sure can have benefits. If not, we wouldn't all get so much spam.
If you go that route make sure to follow CAN-SPAM and research other local laws. Not a best business practice to start by breaking FTC laws.
As for AdSense, it is an amazing tool, just make sure you do you're research. You can easily see your investment deplete if you don't watch your ROI or run software to stop click fraud.
As for other ways, it all really depends on your market. AdSense surely isn't the best way if your starting, say a social market with little start up funds. If your going after a specific product such as sponge candy in buffalo ny, targeting "Sponge Candy Buffalo" wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Theirs a lot of books out there that will help you learn more about SEO and buying paid keyword placement. I can suggest some to you in the AM cause my books are in the other room, but like I said it all comes down to what you are actually marketing and making sure you watch your return on invest.
If you would like to talk about other possible options or I forget to post the books, you can always IM me on my AIM CoderGuruInc. I am always willing to help others, though I just signed up here today so might not read it alot.
Have a great night =]