In this post I’ll explore some of the reasons why bloggers should consider using AdSense as a way to make money from blogging.
I recently released a video post which explained some of my reasoning for stopping to use AdSense as a means to make money from ProBlogger. The post got a lot of attention – however some readers thought that it meant I was giving up on AdSense altogether on all of my blogs. A couple even called me ‘Anti-AdSense’.
This is not the case – while I don’t use AdSense any more on ProBlogger – I do use it on some of my other blogs and it continues to one of my biggest income earners.
In fact since I started to use AdSense it’s earned me just under $400,000 USD.
That’s not bad considering that I’ve been using it for 4 years and it started out earning me just a dollar or two a day.
With earnings like that I’d be a little silly to be Anti-AdSense.
Like every method of making money for blogs – AdSense isn’t always the best choice – however there are plenty of good reasons to test it out. In the remainder of this post I’m going to explore when it IS a good option. Later in the week I’ll share the other side of the coin – when it ISN’T a good option.
Hopefully between the two posts we’ll have a good balanced look at AdSense:
10 Reasons Why You Should Consider Using AdSense on your Blog
1. International Traffic – if your blog has a considerable amount of traffic that comes from outside of North America it can be difficult to find an advertising network that will allow you to participate (particularly if your traffic is from some parts of Asia). Some ad networks will simply not accept you as a publisher, others will not serve their ads to non US traffic and others will serve other less relevant and lower paying ads to this traffic. AdSense does none of this. The beauty of AdSense is that they have such a large supply of advertisers using them that there is almost always some advertiser who wants traffic from your your reader’s part of the world. Of course there is more competition for some traffic than others (which drives up prices) but I know as someone who has a large Australian readership of some of my blogs that it is one of the best ways that I’ve found to make money from that traffic.
2. Easy Implementation – when I first started experimenting with making money from blogging just over 4 years ago I experimented with a number of options. The reason that I stuck with AdSense was that even as a complete technical idiot I could get an AdSense ad unit up and running on my blogs within minutes. Of course since that time AdSense have made implementing ad units on blogs even easier (particularly in the last couple of weeks with server side ad management). While other ad networks have followed in the footsteps of AdSense in how they let publishers design and add ad units to blogs – I still find AdSense one of the easiest to use. This makes it ideal for the beginner wanting to experiment for the first time with an advertising network.
3. Massive Advertiser Base – AdSense has had years to establish itself in both it’s back end but also it’s presence in the Advertising community. The result is that they’ve managed to build up a very large base of advertising clients. This increases the chances of them being able to serve relevant ads to your blog (see my next point). There’s no way that an individual blogger would be able to have access to such a wide array of potential advertisers.
4. Obscure Topics – one of the issues that some publishers face when starting a blog on a tightly targeted niche is that it can be difficult to find ways to make money from it either through finding a sponsor for the blog, finding an ad network that is relevant to the topic or by finding an affiliate program that relates. While AdSense is better for some topics than others (read on for more on this) I’m constantly amazed by just how targeted ads can be on even obscure topics. The myriad of advertisers using this system are competing by bidding on millions of keywords on virtually every topic that you can think of.
5. Make it Easy For Advertisers to Target Your Blog – AdSense servers ads from advertisers to your blog in a couple of ways. Firstly there’s one that is completely contextual – they look at your content and then serve ads from their system that they think will relate to that content and have a good chance of earning you (and them) money. The second method is where advertisers specifically target your blog to have their ad appear on. This all happens without you really having to do anything – but it’s good because it is often used by advertisers to test your blog – which can lead to other things. Every few weeks I get an email from a potential advertiser who had been testing ads on my photography blog via AdSense and then wanted to further the relationship (whether by going with private ad deals, sponsorships, affiliate programs etc).
6. Set it and Forget it – many bloggers just want to write content. They don’t have the time or expertise to approach, pitch, negotiate with and then collect money from advertisers. AdSense takes a lot of this work away from you and many bloggers simply add the code to their blogs and then forget it. Of course for best results you should pay it a bit more attention than that and experiment with different design and positioning of ads – but it does take a lot of the work out of things.
7. No Minimum Traffic Levels – if you are just starting out and don’t have much traffic yet it can be difficult to find advertisers or an ad network to take you on board. Some networks have minimum traffic levels before they’ll accept you into their program – but not with AdSense. While your blog may not earn you much – even with small amounts of traffic you can begin to make a few dollars over time.
8. Able to be Used with Other Ad Types – when I first started experimenting with AdSense there were fairly strict rules in place as to what other types of advertising you were allowed to have on a page that had an AdSense unit on it. However in more recent times it has become a little more relaxed and you can run many different types of ads on the same site and page as AdSense.
9. Multiple Ad Formats – one good feature of AdSense is that you’re not just restricted to one type of ad with them. Not only do you have many ad unit sizes to choose from – but you have the ability to serve Text Ads, Image Ads, Video Ads, Adlink units, referral ads (CPA) and use their ‘search’ tool which also is monetized. Many other ad networks just major in one or two of these different formats – in a sense AdSense is something of a one stop shop.
10. Reliable Payment – one of the questions that I’m regularly asked about new ad networks coming onto the market to compete with AdSense is ‘how do we know if they’ll pay up?’ The reality is that most ad networks do pay up – but you do occasionally hear stories of publishers who are not satisfied with this aspect of some ad networks. AdSense has had a few problems over the years with individual publishers – but considering the vast numbers of publishers that they must have – they’ve done pretty well. My payments come in like clockwork and the one time that I did have a check go missing it was promptly replaced.
Of course this post has only argued one side of things (and I’m sure others will give more reasons why they love and use AdSense). So to give a well balanced view on whether to use AdSense on your blog – later in the week I’ll take a look at the flipside and explore some reasons why AdSense might not be the best option for making money from your blog.
Nice one, but the thing is the newly started blogs cant use Adsense because they dont have enough traffic. I am using it, but Darren trust me i am not making any thing.
I do respect of opinions, but at the moment its not working for me. I will wait hope for the best :)
and the main thing which i like about you is, you dont buy the traffic. People love your posts because of unique vision and approach.
Thanks, for the post.
i also enjoy AdSense but i have one complaint: they limit you to three ad units per page.
this means that when you try to put ad units between your blog posts, they will only display after the first three blog postings and then stop. i get a blank box after the fourth posting on my blog.
i’ve read elsewhere that Blogger blogs now have the means of implementing ads between blog posts but lots of folks have complained about the three ad unit limit.
i’m hoping Google will reconsider the three ad limit. from everything i’ve read, you want ads as close to the actual content as possible and having them appear immediately after the blog posts should be a no brainer were it not for the ad unit limit.
thanks for the post, darren.
I have AdSense on my blog, but don’t get much out of it (probably because I don’t post much). However, I have it on my main website, and it pays for both my domain and my husbands every year, and it’s a seriously niche site. I mean, seriously. It’s for women considering religious life in the Catholic Church *laughs*. How much more niche can you get.
Off topic: This is my entry to win the Premium News WordPress theme. =p
On topic: Implementing adsense is as easy as ABC, however, to really succeed at it later is terribly frustrating. It requires a lot of hardwork and time to blend, optimize and test the ads. It took me more than a year to get my first 100 bucks, pathetic. Traffic ain’t an issue for one of my blogs, but low CTR and eCPM are getting on my nerves.
very informative and simple to understand post. i have put up my blog with Adsense for quite some times already, but i have yet to see any income from Adsense.
you did mention about optimizing the Adsense ads, may i know what exactly it means and how to optimize besides changing the position and the color of the ads?
i appreciate your kind advice, thanks.
This post is so good that I will translate it into Chinese in my Essential Blog.
I just started my first blog in November. So far, my Adsense account is at $0.65. I know that it will grow with my readership, but I think for the small, first time blogger, Adsense and their minimum payout of $100.00 is a bit daunting.
Very informative article! I just started a blog a few days ago and, yes, you can add Adsense with no traffic (at least I did). I know your probably very busy, but if you have a chance could you take a look at my site and let me know what you think of my ad placement? I am a newbie and my hosting company told me I could only add Adsense in the sidebar, so that is what I’ve done. Also, if you would be interested in exchanging links I would really appreciate it!
I found that it really depends on the niche of the blog. I’ve tried several niches and I found out that the payout per click differ largely from niche to niche. For instance some financial niches and health niches pay way more than technology niches.
Also, the advertisers type…. some niches you’ll find big advertisers that need more branding than sales and they really don’t care how much they pay per click. Other smaller niches have lots of different affiliate offers and they don’t bid much.
It also depends on the content itself. For instance if you’ve lots of high paying keywords in a page that has ads, the system will pick high paying ads that are related to these high paying keywords.
So it’s a good idea to have different alternative ad network including AdSense and test which one is more profitable… you never know which one will work better for you niche.
$400,000? So that’s probably nothing these days with the weak dollar, right? ;)
Blogads worked far better for me, a C-list blogger. ;) It’s hard to get into (you need an invite) but you can place as many adstrips as you like, setting the price. It’s pretty consistant, and if you can get people signed up under you, you also get a cut.
A blog such as this would make a killing. :D
BlgoHerAds is also working well, but they are also a niche network, and often close signups. Primarily geared towards women bloggers, they recently opened up to more.
Why worry about CPM or pay per click when you can just get paid to show an ad for a certain amount of time?
Not a huge fan of ads but this is helpful regardless
Great article. Just starting to generate some decent traffic and ad views across a few domains. Good times to come.
I am a newbie (my site is a few weeks old) and my latest CTR (click-through-rate) is 3%. Just wondering if this is low, high, or typical? Perhaps we could take a poll: What is your CTR?
One more question (sorry!)…It has come to my attention that I may have to many ads on my site. Does anyone have any advice how you know when you have overdone it?
I will use it for my travel guide.
I have a question: If I get reach a 1000 viewers, do my ads switch, because right not I only get money if they click on the add, but I read if it changes to a different type of add, it will be partly based on the page impressions. I would love some clarification.
I have noticed that once not so long back most of the big names in blogging were recommending adsense, but these days you see neither hide nor hair of it on their blogs…
Adsense is a great way to moneytise your blogs. I choose not to use it at this stage for my own blog.
I am just starting to blog and have been reading about adsense. Why are some people banned because others clicked on their ads? Isn’t that the purpose of adsense, to get people to click on the ads and visit the site?..i dont understand….
One thing I have struggled with is where to show ads on blogs. If you show too many ads, you turn off users. If you show too few, then you don’t make anything. To solve this problem, I’m working on a new product I’m calling Empty Space Ads which is a way to show ads to users in white places on blogs and other sites.
I’m a small developer, so I’m looking for beta users to try it out and give me feedback. I’m pretty excited about this, because the users who have used it tell me that it helped them out but of course I need more users :)
Anyway, if you’re interested, feel free to sign up for a beta on http://www.emptyspaceads.com/beta