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  • Can You Really Rely on Adsense to Sustain Your Blog?

    15 April 2011

    Adsense for BlogsOne of the first (or only) strategies that bloggers use to monetize their blog is Google Adsense. Don’t get me wrong, Google can be a great way to monetize a website.  But there are other strategies that bloggers need to take into consideration, which may yield much better results.

    My friend Onibalusi just shared his traffic and income report for March on his blog.  In the past month, he made approximately $5,000.  Of that $5.000, a whopping $9.70 came from Google Adsense.

    Now don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean that Google is not a good way to monetize a website.  Onibalusi probably made so little money from it because he decided to focus on his other services.  His writing services made up over 90% of his revenue.

    However, keep in mind that Onibalusi had about 21,000 page views on his website.  Assuming that only a few percent of viewers click on Adsense ads, he would be looking at making a few hundred dollars in revenue at best.  He has created a successful blog because he found other ways to make money with his online business.

    How Should You Monetize?

    I recently discussed some different ways that bloggers can monetize their sites.  There are probably a million ways to do so if you are creative enough, so you just need to find one that works.

    One of the most obvious ways is through selling affiliate products.  You can do this in one of two ways.  You can either place affiliate links in your blog itself or you can create a list and an email marketing campaign.  This can be very effective if you promote a product that is in line with the readers in your blog.

    You can also sell your own products and services to your readers.  This is exactly what Onibalusi did.  He made almost all of his money through his writing services.  This takes a lot more work, but it should really be worth it in the long run.

    Even if you choose to focus exclusively on advertising, there are a variety of other advertising tools that can help you make your site more profitable.  One of the biggest limitations with Adsense is that Google only allows you to have three ads on each page.  Consider adding additional ads through services such as Adbrite.  More importantly, there are a variety of independent advertisers who may pay you more if you have the right readership demographics.

    If you do rely on Adsense, make sure that you are careful with how you optimize your pages.  You want to make sure that your ads are placed in the areas where they are most likely to get clicked.  Many readers unconsciously ignore Adsense ads.  Blogging guru Darren Rowse has shared some excellent tips on positioning Adsense ads to increase traffic.  Know the best places on the page to place your ads and you can make your traffic generate much better conversions.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with using Adsense to monetize your blog.  It has stood the test of time for many bloggers.  However, you want to be aware of all your options and take advantage of other opportunities to make your blog more profitable.  Always test new approaches, and don’t be afraid to take a few risks.

    About the Author: Kalen Smith is the founder of Engineer-a-Business, a provider of business-to-business services and informational products for developing technology businesses. Read more about Kalen here.

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    16 Responses to Can You Really Rely on Adsense to Sustain Your Blog?

    1. Carl Pruitt April 15, 2011 at 9:49 am #

      Adsense works best if your site was designed with Adsense in mind in the first place. It can be horrible if you are just adding it as an afterthought. Picking the right niche and keywords and optimizing the site correctly can make Adsense as profitable as other methods. When done correctly, a site monetized by Adsense can be extremely easy to maintain. More ads doesn’t always equal more income.

    2. Howie April 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      Hello,

      Outside of placement on one extremely long post I wrote awhile ago, I won’t touch my blog with Google Adsense with a 10-foot pole. With many other highly effective marketing tactics that can be integrated into a blog layout, Adsense has become highly ineffective…especially if you are hoping to develop and reinforce a trusting personal brand. Instead, I would look into the tactical integration of a powerful “resources” page….among many other tricks and tips. People will appreciate not seeing Adsense everywhere.

    3. currency converter April 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Online marketing is one of the fastest growing industry in IT. Many people are making reasonable amount of money from home just by doing online advertising and placing links on websites.

    4. real estate solutions April 23, 2011 at 5:21 am #

      Adsense is a nice way to sustain a blog but is not the only way of sustaining a blog

    5. Peter Buzzrain April 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      I would say it depends on what your niche is. On some niches Adsense is actually one of the worst ways to make money on a blog.

      The Adsense advertising model is something of the past, in my opinion. I mean, why would you do such an effort of finding and converting your users to finally let them leave through an ad?

      The best way to make money in the long-term and without a great effort is selling a product, most specifically, building a membership website or selling an e-book.

    6. Scott P April 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

      Good article and links. I recently added Adsense to my site and have yet to see results yet. I will look into the alternatives you mentioned depending on the success I have.

      Scott P

    7. Bleka Tänderna May 4, 2011 at 1:33 am #

      Be resourceful, get to know your strengths, and don’t be afraid to explore. This may be a trial and error thing but still keep on discovering.

    8. Curso Fondant May 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      AdSense is a good way if you know how to work with it, otherwise you will be wasting your time. Want to have a great marketing campaign for your business? Plan a Affiliate Program.

    9. Cheap Curtain Rods May 10, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      I can say that Adsense so far is doing really well on our end… It gives us money but we know that it’s not that enough yet because we’re just starting but we know that we can do it… thanks for sharing this blog…

    10. Traci Bell August 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      This is a great post. I do tend to rely more on adsense than other sources for my main website, but for a blog specifically, there are so many ways to earn through links, reviews, etc. I also use infolinks, which has been pretty good too.

    11. Jess Peterson Photography December 26, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

      I don’t have adsense on this blog because my other two (a political blog and a health blog are under a different goggle email address) and they won’t let me put it on this one. However, my other two, took me about 4 or 5 years to finally get a check for a little over $100.00. Pathetic, I know. But since I started paying more attention and switched to the text plus photo ads, I have been getting at least a few pennies a day. One article hit the big time and got me over $4.00 in one day. I also do affiliate ads, (just got a check for $10.00) but nothing seems to help much.
      But I think placement does make a difference. Am still playing around with it, and will use some of your ideas.
      thanks.

    12. Jess Peterson December 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      P.S. My political blog was listed in your 2009 best of women bloggers. :) Thanks again.

    13. Donna January 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      Great post about whether you should only use google adsense or branch out using other ideas for monetization. I personally believe that google adsense works best on smaller niche sites and not big, authority sites.And most people do often ignore the ads. If you plan to make major bucks using adsense, then you should build a lot of different sites so you will have access to more people than just through one site.

    14. Pamela April 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

      It is not best to rely on adsense as an only source of income. I’ve had adsense for a while almost 2 years and barely made $1.30. Income needs to come from affiliate marketing, your own product, or some other services you provide.

    15. shasha June 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      I guess adsense works best for websites which have a larger chunk of people coming through search engines as they are the best bet to click on a relevant ad. I have a blog which is 1 year old. 90% of my readers find me through search engine and I am making close to 120$/mo from adsense. I guess it takes time to bring substantial money on the table through adsense but it sure is possible.

      • Matthew T June 13, 2012 at 11:49 am #

        @Shasha It takes time and the right kind of traffic to build up your Adsense revenue. Keep on doing what you are doing and you will build that revenue higher if you have a strong drive to succeed, which it sounds like you do. Cheers!

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