Chris, along with many other bloggers, are strongly against AdSense. To be fair to Google (and staying away from some silly reasons to hate AdSense), it’s not so much AdSense that’s a problem rather than the way you need to use it to get maximum revenue from it.
If you, like Chris, do not want to turn your blog into an ad clicking machine, then you’ve probably explored alternatives to Google AdSense. At this point, 2 things happen to 99% of the people looking for alternatives to AdSense:
One, they find out that the alternatives don’t pay as much in their niche.
Two, they realise that the alternatives are not as easy to implement – whether because of more work required on your part (affiliate / own products) or because of ad network requirements (minimum monthly pageviews, etc).
While Google AdSense has been a good friend to me on Soccerlens, In the last few months I’ve made a move away from it. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- CPM ad deals push you to aiming for pageviews / new visitors – which, in some niches, means that people spam news aggregators and social media sites (not to mention search engines) in an effort to build their pageviews count. In the football niche, it’s NewsNow that bears the brunt of this spam.
In my view, this just replaces the need to grab clicks with the need to boost your pageviews – in both cases, there is space for abuse.
- Affiliate products work best on a product-oriented blog – it is best to setup a separate blog for affiliate products if your main interest in news or how-to stuff.
- Paid reviews and text links are a good, short-term way for increasing revenue, but they can hurt you in Google. Once again, going after this stream of revenue forces you to run after Page Rank, which is a whole different can of worms.
Sometimes people sell reviews / links based on their blog’s search rankings – once again, this *may* cause problems if not done discreetly.
- Consulting is an excellent way to make money off your blog (directly / indirectly), although it takes time to build up your reputation.
Tip: If you’re running a successful niche blog, you can offer consulting in that niche to other businesses looking to set up websites / blogs.
Currently Soccerlens has 5-6 different income streams, I’ll list them here in order of revenue:
1) Google AdSense
2) YardBarker (CPM-based sports ad network)
3) Direct Ads
4) Affiliate Programs
5) Vibrant Media
AdSense, YardBarker and direct ads bring in 90% of the site’s income, and bring in roughly the same amount of money each.
If I had been relying on just one ad network, I would have been earning roughly 1/3rd of what I’m earning now. So, lesson #1, diversify your income.
Also, I spend only a couple of hours a day on the site at this point, partially because I’ve outsourced a lot of work and also because of the work I’ve put in building search rankings and courting guest bloggers in the last 18 months or so.
If I was using just one income stream, be it direct ads, a CPM network or AdSense, I’d have to put a lot more time / money into the site to make the same amount of money. For example, I’d need 3 times my current monthly pageviews to earn the same via CPM ads.
Soccerlens is not AdSense-free, but neither is it living solely off AdSense. Through diversification, I’ve not only made more money from the site but I’ve also managed to reduce the time spent working on the site.
So, have you weaned you blog from AdSense yet? What alternatives are you using, and what lessons have you learned?
I agree. I have stopped using them. It is a waste of my reader’s time and attention.
It’s been a month and a half since I took the dive and removed Adsense. I replaced the Adsense ads with an ad to my own product and I’ve made nearly 5 times more/month with the site than what I did when Adsense was running. Still no direct buy advertisers (haven’t really tried looking), but not really concerned about it either. I had Adsense running for a couple of years…can’t believe I missed out on all that extra moola.
On my main blog, Groovy Veg, a month or so ago, i added a plugin or widget and my adsense went all wacky on me, so i took it out, and i never got a chance to fix it, so in essense, i’ve gone without it all this time.
The blog is poorly monetized, i’ve still alot to learn when it comes to monetization of Groovy Veg. For now i am trying out some affiliate marketing banners and paypal banners. (i know, lame.) But like everyone else, i too do NOT want to become dependent on Adsense.
However, i do use GA on my blogger blogs, because it integrates well and blogger makes it soooooooooo easy to add/use.
1. Go directly to the websites which are already advertising on Adsense.
2. Find out who the owers are and contact them with an offer they can’t resist
Instead of doing it yourself keep Adsense and outsource the direct selling of your ads until you finally build a loyal list of advertisers and don’t need Adsense anymore. Adsense will point you directly to the main advertisers on your website.
Oh, avoid contacting the lame websites, they are usually arbitrageurs.
I finally took the plunge and took adsense off my biggest site about 10 minutes ago. I replaced it with ads to a home-grown product. Figure if I sell even two of my product, I will make more than adsense brought in in a month. Not sure what I’ll do with all my time though — seeing as there is no reason to login to Adsense every 10 minutes to see how many pennies I made since the last login.
It got to the point where I was basically selling a prime piece of real estate for pennies. (Although Adsense did pay for my hosting and then some) – but like everyone else, I felt enslaved to them.
Going to have to investigate selling ads directly. Anyone have any advice for contacting businesses regarding ad sales?
pholpher – well put mate. AdSense cramps you into one corner, multiple income streams force you to make your site better across the board.
having said that, I actually work less on my site than I did last year, but then again I’m outsourcing
I find that when I focus mostly on AdSense I become lazy. With multiple income streams, I have more motivation to work hard because I stand to earn more money than with AdSense alone.
Maybe it’s about time we formed a GA Trade Union
Writers Guild of America
Represents working writers in film, broadcasting, cable and new media.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
Represents working actors in film.
I have heard about new click region rules on adsense, perhaps that is what is happening? To be honest I don’t follow the news for adsense any longer
I have one blog, my photography site, that still sports adsense. Ryan did give me advice on how to optimize to make adsense work better but at the time I was talking to a couple of people who were interested in buying so I thought it would be too little too late. As it happened, both sales opportunities went away and I never implemented Ryans advice. I should go back and do that.
For me affiliate links tend to do better across the board, but it could be a style thing. I am after all more of an indirect monetization kind of guy I must admit there was only a short period where I was properly motivated to make adsense work and most of those sites are loooong gone now.
Yeah, the same happened to me early in the month.. (My earnings dropped about 30%).. but things have gone back to normal since the 21st..
I refuse to use Google Adsense. Simple.
I’ve been testing year long sponsorships with nice results. It takes a lot more work, but at least I know my advertisers and I’m creating relationships. You can sell year long sponsorships with direct, redirected or no follow links.
I should not say it takes a lot more work. Adsense makes us lazy while owning the right to sell to our advertisers over and over. Now that Adsense hardly pays, we are out looking for advertisers.
Because I blog about tobacco I’m persona non grata to Google and cannot use AdSense. However I’ve found Chitika to work really well for product related blogs. After Direct Sponsorship it is my highest money earner.
I saw eCPM drop for the first 2/3 of November. Seems to be picking up though.
I don’t know what’s going on. I’m getting double the traffic I had for October, but the clickthrough rate has plummeted. I wonder if it has anything to do with the clickable area being reduced.
Adsense always made up 70 – 90% of my revenue and it was a good amount. For November however, the numbers are absolutely dismal. It’s still my highest earner but I’m seriously studying other alternatives to pick up the slack.
Is anyone else experiencing a major plunge in Adsense earnings for November?
AdSense is less than a 3rd of my monthly revenue. So though I’m still somewhat dependent on it, and wouldn’t give it up, you could say that I’ve weaned my blogs off it and could live without it.
I’ve learned that Adsense works well for some niches but not for some. Unfortunately, my niche doesn’t seem to be Adsense friendly. I’ve just applied for some Affiliate programs and will see how it goes. I think my best bet would be to make the web site popular and start selling banner ads. I’ll be blogging about my foray into being at the other side of the fence (I’m a writer, not a web master) later on in December here in Performancing.