Welcome to my very first monthly Adsense earnings report!
In this post I’m going to share with you exactly how much money each of my websites made last month in Adsense revenue, along with the lessons I learned and my plans for next month to grow my income.
Now, you’re probably wondering why someone would want to expose themselves, with their naked bits flashing everywhere, by revealing publicly how much money they’re making.
Good wondering! I have a few reasons for discussing my Adsense earnings – in detail – on this blog:
What about competition? Well, I’m not going to reveal the URLs of my sites, so direct competition shouldn’t be an issue. And I believe there’s so much opportunity in building and monetizing niche sites that I’m not too worried about getting muscled out of my niches by other IMers.
So let’s get into the details…
In January I made $1,038.66 in Adsense revenue.
Although I’m pretty happy with that, it’s well below what I was making last year when my sites were earning up to $2,500 in Adsense, before my traffic nosedived from Google’s Panda update.
Here’s a table showing the breakdown in Adsense earnings per site:
A few observations on this breakdown:
The result is a distribution of income that’s way out of whack:
There are a couple of things I can do to increase my overall earnings, and I talk about those in the last section of this post.
So the problem with some of my low earning sites is not the amount of traffic or the cost-per-click. It was the clickthrough rate on the ads.
My goal in coming months will be to try to increase that CTR, while still providing a good user experience for my sites’ visitors (i.e. without making them look “spammy”).
Why didn’t I include those sites in the table? Because none of those sites received over 100 pageviews in the past month. In other words: they had hardly any traffic! So those sites are duds because they’re not getting traffic. With more visits I KNOW the clicks would start happening.
Here’s the lesson from this point: if you’re just starting out, don’t worry about conversions (i.e. clicks on ads, or affiliate sales) first. Worry about getting more traffic!
If you only have a few visitors straggling onto your site each day, you should take that as encouragement (because it’s better than zero visitors), but focus your mind on what you need to do to get more visitors to your site. Or, if you’ve done backlinking and other SEO techniques on a site for months and still aren’t seeing visitors, consider shelving that site and starting a new one. But this time, make sure to do good keyword research, because that’s your biggest obstacle to launching a site that gets ranked in the search engines quickly.
Analyzing the results from last month has been a great learning experience, and has influenced what I’ll be doing in February to increase my Adsense earnings.
Here’s what I plan to do to try to increase my Adsense earnings this month:
An example: on my largest health site I regularly post small (100-200 word) summaries of new medical research that I don’t even do keyword research for, and those small snippets of content regularly get traffic, because Google has ranked them for long-tail keywords. It’s not a huge amount of traffic, mind you, but it all adds up.
So this month I plan to start regularly adding new, original articles to my top money sites.
I was actually hoping that my VA (virtual assistant) would get this done earlier in January, but I’ve just started implementing a process for launching niche sites in batches (including step-by-step checklists with video walkthroughs), and we’re still working out the bugs.
And in doing the keyword research for these new sites I made a MAJOR mistake that I won’t be repeating – I only researched the primary keyword for each site, not the primary AND secondary keywords!
What that means is I only have one low-competition keyword for each site, even though I need to launch each site with at least 4 articles on it.
Lesson learned for next month: find at least 4 low-competition keywords for each new site!
Once I have enough pageviews from one experiment, I’m going to change the layout so the ads are placed in different positions on the page – and see how that affects the clickthrough rate.
The idea behind this experiment is to (a) test the layouts of popular sites that rely heavily on advertising revenue (under the assumption that they must know what they’re doing) and (b) test layouts that are proven winners according to experts, e.g. the Adsense layouts in the Ultimate Heatmap.
This month, I’m testing the ad placement used on eHow.com. Here’s a sample page from eHow.com to show you what I’m talking about (note the three ad blocks that I’ve put a red border around. That’s the placement layout I’ll be testing this month):
What do I mean by “duds”? Sites that target keywords that are just too hard to rank for. Despite being the self-proclaimed “Keywords Blogger”, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always nail the best keywords, and sometimes make dumb mistakes (like the point above about not finding good secondary keywords for new niche sites. D’oh!)
It’s commonly understood among internet marketers that you can’t make a good income from Adsense. To that I say: poppycock! Just look at sites like eHow, Huffington Post, and Livestrong. The revenue model for those (and many more “brand” sites) is based largely on advertising revenue.
January 2012 marks the first month of my Adsense Challenge. In the next twelve months I’m going to be launching new niche sites, trying to get them ranked high in the search engines, analyzing the results of tests, and learning from mistakes. And I’ll be posting what I’m learning right here on the blog.
What questions do YOU have about earning a living from Adsense?
I've been making money online since 2009 and have a passion for research. My focus is niche research: finding profitable niches, keyword research, and competition analysis, as well as creating outstanding content.
My Monthly Adsense Report: February 2012
How to Find Keywords with Low Competition and High Search Volume: The Ultimate Guide
My Adsense Challenge: How to Earn $10,000 per Month in Adsense Revenue
How I Went From $0 to $2,000 per Month in Adsense Revenue (and How You Can Too)