Should Bloggers Forget Adsense?

Jim at Reve News has learned the lesson that most bloggers writing about making money from blogs has learned – Adsense doesn’t pay well on these types of blogs.

‘On ReveNews that is. Let this be a lesson to the other publishers out there. Never try to run Adsense on a site that is read by people who are Adsense experts, let alone a site read by affiliate marketers. Geez, talk about a pathetic click rate. I haven’t seen something fail so badly since Gigli.

Putting Adsense into our content was an experiment by me to see if it could work for us, even though I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t, I had to find out. I’ve learned my lesson and have removed 98% of all the Google ads off of the sit’

If you want to make big money via Adsense I’d pick another topic – readers of such blogs are remarkably blind to Adsense ads and the ads themselves are notoriously poorly paying.

Jim also gives a case study of a ‘typical blogger using adsense’ in his post where he shows how little the average blogger will earn using Adsense. His figures talk hypothetically of a blogger with 1000 impressions per day, with a 10% CTR and a 2 cents per click payment earning $730 per year.

Nothing wrong with the maths – the only problem is that there is such variation between blogs on almost every element of the equation. CTR can vary widely – but 10% is probably an over estimation looking at most of my blogs. 2 cents per click is an estimate that varies widely also (it’s probably an under estimate looking at my blogs).

For example – I’ve got a few blogs that hit the 1000 impressions per day mark. [Read more…]

High Search Engine Ranking – A Blessing and a Curse

One of the beauties of having a highly ranked site that is regularly visited by search engine bots is that you can very quickly rise to the top of search engines on a breaking news story. This can be a wonderful thing – but it can also be something of a curse. Let me illustrate.

My original blog is LivingRoom – a blog that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea because it’s a personal blog that touches topics of personal interest to me including issues of spirituality, culture, the church I’m part of (LivingRoom) weird, wonderful and bizarre links as well as an occasional story from my daily life. In the early days of my blogging this blog it became extremely popular (a long story for another day) that was on the receiving end of many thousands of incoming links. As a result it quickly climbed the rankings in Google and now has a page rank of 6. SE bots visit it daily (sometimes more than once per day) and most posts rank pretty highly on Google for their topic.

For example this week after the London bombing I started blogging about the situation (along with thousands of others). I didn’t do so for any other reason than we were nervous for our family and friends and blogging seemed to be something constructive to do with my time while we waited for news. The post got a few links from other bloggers but at the time didn’t get much attention in the blogosphere – I didn’t mind this as it was not my intention when I posted to do it for such motivation.

[Read more…]

Serial Blog Buyer on Valuing Blogs

Blogging Pro’s new owner (Jacob) has written a good post (in response to this one)on some of the factors that he, as a blog buyer, takes into consideration when valuing a blog to buy. Whilst current earnings is a factor for him he writes that Traffic levels are perhaps more so. I’ll let Jacob explain:

‘The more visitors you have, the easier it is to start the website on the moneymaking track. What kind of traffic do I like? Well for me, the most appealing traffic is search engine traffic. It is a lot easier to make money off of search engine traffic. Why? Because search engine visitors(as opposed to people who have bookmarked or subscribed to your site) have never seen your ads before. This is an advantage because they are more likely not to have seen the same ads over and over and over again on the site, and therefore more likely to click it. Case in point, CSSVault does terrible on Adsense and Blog Catalog does wonderful on it. This is all simply due to the fact that most of the visitors who come to Blog Catalog have never been there before.’

He goes on to talk about Page Rank, Incoming links and income levels. It’s an interesting post, especially keeping in mind that Jacob is a serial blog buyer (he’s bought up quite a few lately if my recollection is correct). Good post mate.

New Bloggers Join ProBlogger Network

Paul over at Blog Logic announces that his network has a couple of new authors helping out on his blogging. This is great as over the past couple of months we were unsure if the network would continue – looks like things are on the up and up there.

I also am really happy to announce that at least two of my guest bloggers from June are staying on as permanent authors. Stan from the Daily News Blog will continue posting at the SEO blog and BJ from Adventures in Net Marketing will continue posting over at Camera Phone Blog.

Both BJ and Stan are great bloggers who have numerous blogs of there own so I’m very happy to be working with them and am looking forward to growing those two blogs to the mutual benefit of us all.

A number of other bloggers are set to continue also as I slowly work through touching base with the guest blogging team from June.

Bots, Aggregation and Content Creation

There is a helpful post of Richard MacManus over at Read/Write Web that takes a balanced look at the topic of Bots and Content Creation / Aggregation.

It’s a touchy subject for many bloggers who see some automated content creation systems (particularly those that aggregate RSS feeds) as a threat to their own livelihood.

Richard looks at a number of Content Creation systems and ends up taking some middle ground, liking some systems and being very wary of others. It’s worth a read as this is a topic we’re going to have to grapple with more and more in future. In fact in the past two days I’ve had emails from 4 different software makers announcing these sorts of packages. In all cases I promptly deleted them as I could see that they were being pretty blatantly marketed to spambloggers.

As Richard notes in his post – systems like these can actually be used in positive and helpful ways (he gives examples) – the problem is that they can also be used to rip off the content of others and to clutter the web. I guess it comes down to the individuals using them to make a call on how they’ll approach their content creation.

What do you think about these systems?

Poor July Adsense Earnings

I’m interested to see today that there are a number of threads at Webmaster World’s forums that seem to be reporting poor earnings by Adsense publishers over the past few days. (for example here, here and here).

These sorts of threads appear all year around of course but particularly at this time of the year. In fact I’ve had a number of emails and IM’s from people today expressing concern about their Adsense earnings. Why are they down? I’d say it’s for a number of reason:

1. Summer – Whilst I’m currently shivering down here in Melbourne, the Northern Hemisphere is into Summer which is traditionally a flat patch for many websites. People are traveling and enjoying the great outdoors. Until we work out a way to get them surfing the web more whilst sunbathing, swimming, playing golf etc – many sites will have to put up with a little less traffic. Of course for some sites summer is peak time. I imagine travel sites, sports equipment sites etc would be doing ok.

In addition to lower traffic levels – many believe that advertisers decrease the amount they are willing to pay per click at this time of year as a result of the summer holidays. In fact my traffic levels are not too bad at the moment – fairly stable – it’s mainly a decrease in earnings per click that are bringing my overall earnings down (check out this thread for more summer holiday theories and information).

2. 4th of July – a fairly significant proportion of the web surfing market in North America had a long weekend. This always has an impact.

3. London Bombings – a number of bloggers and websites are reporting decreases in earnings today with lower CTR and traffic in some cases. This is understandable. I suspect web usage would be high at the moment (BBC’s site crashed and many others were very slow last night here) but most people were not searching for the type of information that they are normally looking for. Understandable.

My advice – take a ‘blogging as normal’ type approach. In fact while everyone else is on holidays either join them or work doubly hard on your blog so that you reap the rewards in the months ahead. Oh and remember that the Pre-Christmas rush is less than 6 months away!

When Blogging Means More than Money

I emailed Cary Miller this morning to ask how hi Cancer NewsWatch blog is going (you might remember I mentioned it a while ago – Cary’s wife Lori is battling cancer and he started the blog (I think after a conversation we had) to do something positive in the midst of a pretty terrible situation.

Cary answered with the following email (I’ve got his permission to post it and have edited it slightly to delete a few personal things. I’m posting it because I think it’s an amazing story of how blogging can make a serious difference in the lives of both bloggers and their readers. Check out how other bloggers are rallying around Cary and Lori at this time.

‘Hi Darren, welcome back : D

And thanks for asking… things are going really well, I’m slowly getting the hang of what I want to post, and how often, and more importantly I’ve already made some great new friends, via Cancer NewsWatch and ironically, via all those great guest bloggers you had, and all the great commenters too. I’ve had some great, and rather heart-felt talks…. I really appreciate everyone supporting my efforts.

Oh! perhaps the biggest thing you missed, as far as my site is concerned, was that after reading about our story via ProBlogger, Scott Randolph and his friends over at Triathlon Training Blog decided they wanted to run their triathlon in the name of Lori & I, and help raise some money for both cancer research, and also to help us out personally, as we are struggling with ever-deepening debt due to our situation. Anyways, I don’t know how much they’ll raise, but of course it’s the thought and support that really count. Scott had wanted to see if you’d mind writing a post about it, but you had just gone on your trip, and I thought it best not to bother you. Oh yeah, and then seeing that, Allen Heat, who is one of your loyal readers and is only 15, decided to dedicate a week’s worth of his graphic design downloads to Lori, too. What a sweet, sweet kid. He’s going to grow up to be something incredible, I’m sure.

The most exciting thing for me is all the cancer patients and caregivers I’ve made contact with through the blog, and I have to say that when someone writes something like “hey, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story, and all of your great research” it really touches me, and lets me know I am actually helping someone, and that is the greatest reward i could ever imagine.

Oh yeah, and it’s got my wife Lori a lot more into her own blog, which is starting to get a really great readership, and has helped her to really reach out and connect with people, which until recently she has had a hard time doing. That alone is priceless.’

I’m really amazed and excited by the way that blogging has helped Cary and Lori find something positive in the midst of a devastating time. I’ve long been a believer that blogging can make a difference, that it gives a voice not only to those seeking fame or fortune but those who have something profound to share with the rest of us about their lives. This is one of those times.

As the ProBlogger community can I urge you all to stop by Cary and Lori’s blogs to give some encouragement but also to help out financially either directly or through the Triathlon Training Blog’s challenge if you’re able.

How much is an AdSense website worth?

There is an interesting thread going on over at Webmaster World titled How much is an AdSense website worth? The discussion revolves around selling websites and determining what price is fair.

It’s interesting to see the variety of approaches people take to determining a site’s worth. The dominate theory seems to be its worth up to a year’s earnings (there is a wild variety of opinions on this ranging from 3 months income to 50 months income on this) but others consider a variety of other factors including how many pages of content there are, page rank, history of the site, incoming links, current site growth levels, originality of content, domain name etc.

I predict that these issues will become increasingly pertinent to bloggers in the next 12 months as we see more and more blogs selling. Hopefully some norms will emerge to help those of us in the selling market make good decisions.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Contextual Advertising

There is a good look at the Pros and Cons of Contextual Advertising over at Online Journalism Review today. Here’s a couple of snippets. Firstly a look at successful use of Adsense – they go to the usual suspects including Jason Calacanis:

‘For a general news site, the breaking news sections might not perform as well as lifestyle, travel, business and technology. One great example of a fertile ground for contextual ads is Weblogs Inc., the network of blogs set up by entrepreneur Jason Calacanis. Calacanis has used AdSense to help jumpstart his business as he also sells display ads on his 80-plus blogs that are very targeted into vertical categories — from digital photography to babies and pregnancy.’

And on the topic of relevant ads a quote from my favorite Adsense expert:

‘“Bloggers have a harder time with relevancy, particularly on their blog index page when they post frequently,” Slegg told me via e-mail. “Because Google indexes about once per month, writing a single entry about popcorn right before the [Google] bot visits can result in popcorn ads for about a month, even if the majority of the posts are about a tech subject. Targeting on individual blog entry pages is usually very good. This is why many of the news sites running contextual ad programs do not often run ads on the pages that change frequently, such as the index page and the subsection pages, but run it on the articles themselves.”’

Overall it’s a useful article which is worth a quick read if you’re starting out with contextual advertising.