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AdSense Turns 10 Years Old: Why I’m Grateful for it!

NewImageThis week Google’s AdSense program celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a post on their blog and a G+ Hangout.

While they launched AdSense in June of 2003, I first began to experiment with it on 7th October that year.

I had been blogging for around 11 months by that point and had begun to experiment with the Amazon Associates Program as a way to help me cover my costs of hosting, domains and design.

So I signed up as an AdSense publisher and set up my first ad to put on my blog.

I had no idea what I was doing and so put the ads at the top of my right hand sidebar to see how they would perform.

At that time the only way you’d earn anything from AdSense was if someone clicked the ads so I made them bright pink and green to stand out. Boy, were they ugly!

The next morning, I woke up to discover that I’d earned my first $7 USD from AdSense. I was pretty amazed by this as it was significantly more than I was able to make from Amazon. Over the coming days, I watched in amazement as I continued to earn a few dollars here and there.

It turned out that that first days earnings were artificially high as some of my loyal readers thought it was a good idea to click the ads repeatedly to make me money. Things quickly settled down and by the end of the month I’d earned $42 USD.

By no means was it spectacular money but it was enough to give me a little hope.

I began to experiment with placing a few more ads on the page and tweaking the design and colours I used. I discovered that blending ads into the design of the blog was better than making them stand right out. I also discovered that putting ads into the middle of blog posts worked well.

The results of my experiments were that I quickly saw my income from AdSense rising. The next month I made around $90 from AdSense, the following month – December – around $170 USD.

I began to experiment with a new blog in the months that followed – a camera review blog. This really helped things to grow a lot faster and blogging was fast becoming something I saw as a part time job.

  • May 2004 saw me hit over $1000 in a month for the first time.
  • 7th June saw earnings go over $100 in a single day for the first time.
  • By November 2004 AdSense had allowed me to go full time as a blogger with earnings of close to $10,000 for that month alone.

While there were ups and downs in my earnings over the coming months (in January it all took a big dive due to me falling out of Google Search results for 6 weeks) since then I’ve continued to earn a monthly income from AdSense.

The combined total of what AdSense has earned is well in excess of a million dollars! Yes – I’m glad I started using AdSense back in 2003!

In 2005, I posted here that Blogging had bought my family a house, something that a year before was not even in our wildest dreams. The bulk of that came from AdSense.

These days I don’t put as much focus on advertising revenue (Advertising revenue makes up about 25% of my business revenue these days) but the bulk of that revenue still comes from AdSense.

While I know AdSense is at times looked down on by some bloggers and online entrepreneurs – I for one am grateful for it.

Happy birthday AdSense!

Blog Smarter: A Step-by-step Strategy to Boost Your AdSense Earnings

This guest post is by Daniel Scocco of DailyBlogTips.com.

Let’s start with a question: What’s the single most important factor when it comes to making money with Google AdSense?

It’s organic traffic (i.e. traffic from Google and other search engines).

Here’s a simple example to illustrate the point. Suppose you have an online forum which receives 500,000 unique visitors per month, but 100% of those are coming directly to the forum, either by a bookmark or by typing the URL on their browsers, because they are already regular members. The second website is a niche site that receives only 250,000 unique visitors per month, but 80% of those are coming from search engines, while the remaining 20% are coming from referring sites. Despite the huge different in traffic levels, if both sites started using Google AdSense the niche, one would earn a lot more (I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be five or even ten times more).

How come?

That’s because visitors coming from search engines are already looking for something in specific (i.e. they are looking whatever they searched on Google) and when they end up on your site they are very likely to click on your AdSense units should they see something that is related to what they’re looking for. Other types tend to click on ads much less often (the ones that visit your site regularly even stop seeing your ads—it’s called ad blindness).

The bottom line is that if you want to increase your AdSense earnings, one of the best things you can do is to increase your organic traffic. That’s easier said than done, I know, but it’s totally possible, and below I want to to share a strategy you can use for this.

The long tail

The central idea of this strategy is to use the long tail to increase your organic traffic.

If you are not familiar with the term, the long tail refers to the tail-shaped curve that is produced when you consider the distribution of certain things. For example, consider the books sold on Amazon.com. There are some books that end up selling millions of copies. Those are the best-sellers, and they are responsible for a big part of Amazon’s revenues. Nothing new here. What about the more obscure books that sell a much fewer number of copies (e.g., from 100 up to 1000). One could think they are negligible to Amazon’s business model, but quite the opposite! The sales volume from each of those books individually might be insignificant, but there are hundreds of thousands of such books, so if you combine their sales the result is quite significant (and some people argued that this is a key advantage for Amazon).

The same principle applies to many things online, including search queries on search engines. A small number of search queries (e.g. “money”, “health”, “business”) take the bulk of the resources on search engines. However, if you sum all the rare and obscure search queries (e.g. “how to make money selling pets”, “health therapy with dolphins”), their volume end up being significant. The image below illustrates this:

How can you use this principle to get more organic traffic? It’s simple: discover the long tail keywords related to your niche and create content to fill the needs of those users. Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing this:

Step 1: Use the double-filter process to find long tail keywords

You can do this step using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Before getting started, on the Filter options make sure to select the locations as “all countries” and the language as “all languages” (after all you are aiming from global traffic). Also, on the left sidebar, change the type of match from “Broad” to “Exact” (this is to ensure the data will be more reliable).

Let’s suppose you have a blog about PC games. You should start with the broadest possible keyword, “PC games”. Now scroll through the results looking for narrower keywords that have at least 50,000 monthly searches. For instance, “pc games download”, “free games for pc” and “pc game list.” Write those on notepad. This is the first filter.

To filter the keywords one more time, pick each of the narrower terms you selected on the previous step and put the on Google’s tool. For instance, I’ll use “pc games download”, as you can see with the screenshot below:

Now you need to scroll through the results one more time, looking for very narrow (i.e. long tail) keywords that have between 1000 and 15000 monthly searches. Some examples I found are: “old pc games download”, “full pc games downloads”, “free pc games downloads for windows 7″, and “games download free full version”.

The longer the keyword the better (as long as it has at least 1000 monthly searches) because ranking for it will be easier.

Step 2: Create a piece of content filling the needs of those users

Google’s main business is search. This means that it needs to deliver results that will completely satisfy its users, else it will start losing money. Knowing this, the starting point for any promotional effort to increase your organic traffic should be the needs of the users you want to attract.

In other words, if you want to receive traffic from the keyword “old pc games download” you must make sure that the page in your site that is supposed to rank well for that keyword has all the information, links and resources someone searching for that term could be looking for.

Now your goal is to create one page/blog post for each of the long tail keywords you found in the first step. You don’t need to do this all in the same day. Instead you could aim to publish a new one every week or so.

Just make sure that the content on that page will be complete and top notch (i.e., don’t be afraid to spend some hours researching and composing it).

Step 3: Promote those pages like you mean it

As you probably know, having great content is only part of the equation if you want to rank well in Google and receive organic traffic. The other part is promotion and backlinks.

Here are some methods you can use to promote each of your pages/posts once you publish them:

  • Email the URL of your page to bloggers in your niche saying they might find it interesting. And I don’t mean five or six of them. I mean email it to 100 bloggers and website owners. If you can’t find 100 in websites your niche, you aren’t trying hard enough.
  • Guest post on other blogs and, instead of linking to your homepage on the byline, link to the page you are trying to promote. Again, I am not talking about one or two guest posts, but ten or 20 for each page you publish targeting a long tail keyword.
  • Leverage social networks like Twitter and Facebook to promote the page, and perhaps create a contest to encourage people to share the page with their friends.
  • Post about your page on online forums, Q and A sites, social bookmarking sites, you name it.

Step 4: Wait and profit

That’s pretty much it. After you do all of the above, you’ll just need to wait while your pages go up in the search rankings. Usually this take between four and eight weeks to happen. At this point you should start seeing an increase in the organic traffic, and consequently on your AdSense earnings.

If it works as planned you can go back to Step 1 and repeat the process with other keywords or with other niches as well.

editor’s note: tomorrow, we look at blogging smarter with affiliate sales.

Daniel Scocco is the owner of DailyBlogTips.com, and today he’s launching his AdSense Profits Course. Check it out if you want to discover new strategies and methods you can use to boost your AdSense earnings.

AdSense Release Toolbar for Chrome Users: Ideal for Stats Junkies

If you’re an AdSense publisher you’re probably used to the AdSense stats shuffle. You know it – constant logging into your AdSense reports to check how earnings are going.

Today AdSense released a little toolbar for Chrome users that makes checking your latest figures a breeze. Install it and with a click you get a snapshot view of your latest stats including todays figures, yesterdays, this month, last month, some channel data and lifetime revenue.

It’s not giving a heap of drilled down info but for a snapshot glance its not bad.

Here’s how it looks:

201201200906.jpg

I actually don’t check into my AdSense stats as much as I used to – but this little tool will make doing so all the easier.

Link your AdSense and Google Analytics Accounts for some Profitable Analysis

  • Are you an AdSense publisher?
  • Do you use Google Analytics?
  • Have you linked them together?

If your answers are yes, yes, and no, you’re missing out on some interesting stats.

It’s been possible to link Analytics and AdSense for a while now, but I come across plenty of publishers who are either yet to do so or who are not actually doing anything with this information. To get them linked, check out this page on Google.

Once they’re linked up, over time as the data begins to collate, you’ll have at your fingertips some interesting information that will hopefully enable you to increase your AdSense earnings further.

There are a heap of stats that you’re given in the AdSense section of Google Analytics, and as a result, there are plenty of ways to dig in. But a simple starting point is to do some analysis of which content is generating the biggest income for you.

I’m not sure that I’m able to show my stats for AdSense earnings, so I won’t show any screen grabs, but here’s what I do:

  • Once I’m in Analytics, I head to the Content section, under which there’s an AdSense section.
  • I click on the AdSense Pages menu item, which opens up a report of the pages on the blog that earned money in the last month, and ranks them by earnings.

By analyzing the posts listed there, you’ll hopefully begin to see the reasons why certain pages earn more than others. For example I did some analysis today of my last month’s earnings and found:

  • My post on ISO Settings did well. It had a higher than average CPM, a pretty good CTR, and decent traffic—an all-round good performer.
  • My post on Wedding Photography Tips, on the other hand had a much higher CPM, and higher CTR, but less traffic than the ISO page.
  • My photography tips for beginners page again did well mainly because of traffic but less so on a CPM and CTR basis (it has less ads on the page),
  • My how to buy a DSLR guide has particularly good CPM—for a topic on which advertisers are obviously bidding against each other.

With some basic analysis, you can start to see a number of things:

  • which types of posts attract higher paying ads (higher CPM)
  • which topics seem to be performing best
  • which post lengths seem to convert best
  • which posts you should try to direct more traffic to, because they’re well optimized
  • which pages on your site might be good candidates for an extra ad.

Out of the analysis, you might want to tweak some pages to see if you can add more ads, position them better, and so on.

You might also want to think about replicating some of them—taking a popular topic and writing followup posts.

You might also want to find ways to promote some of them more. For example, if you have a really hot page, why not link to it more prominently from your navigation bar and try to get more people to it?

I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll find when you do this exercise, but it’s rare that I do it and don’t get something out of it! Give it a go!

How I Monetize Mobile Traffic on My Blogs

Over the last few days, I’ve been experimenting with monetizing my blogs for mobile readers who view mobile versions of my sites.

Those who read ProBlogger on an iPhone, Android phone, Palm, or Blackberry Storm will know that you’re given the option to view this blog within a theme designed for mobile devices. I use WPTouch to serve this up—it’s a WordPress plugin that I’ve found incredibly easy to use. I have it installed both here on ProBlogger and on Digital Photography School.

I had to switch it off recently while making some server changes, and I was amazed how many complaints I received. It seems a lot of readers these days read my blogs on mobile devices!

WPTouch offers a lot of great features that I won’t go into here, except to say that it lets you customize your display far beyond what I’ve done to date.

One feature that I will mention quickly is that the plugin offers those who view your blog on an iPhone a way to actually add a web app to their iPhone homescreen. This will increase the number of people checking out your blog on mobile devices.

One of the other great features WPTouch offers is the ability to monetize your mobile theme with advertising. Once you’ve got it installed on your WordPress blog, all you need is to open up the WPtouch area, and look for the Advertising tab.

wptouch-advertising.png

In this view, you can select a variety of options. You can see here that I’m testing AdSense, and that I’ve put the ads below the header (you can also put them in the footer), and that I can select a variety of positions for them.

I did try the ads in the footer area initially, but they end up so far down the page that I doubted they’d ever be seen (note: it’d be good to have the option to display ads in the header and footer).

The ads are not the prettiest in the world, but here’s how they look on both the home page of the theme, and in individual posts.

wp-touch-ads.png

The ad position is prominent, yet they don’t completely take over the page, and the ads are contextual—all a good recipe for performance (at least, it is in theory).

WPTouch also gives you a way to use AdMob ads on your blog, or even to show custom ads (so you could advertise your own products or sell ads directly to advertisers—something I’m yet to test.

I’ve had these ads working on the ProBlogger and dPS mobile sites for a few days now, and the signs are promising. Obviously their success on your site will depend a lot on how many readers you have and how many of them are reading your blog on a mobile device. However, already I’ve seen my ads earning more for each day of my test than I’m earning through RSS ads with AdSense.

In fact, the eCPM that I’m seeing is around five to six times what AdSense earns on normal ads on my pages. While the actual traffic numbers to my mobile site aren’t as high as traffic to the blog via computers, I’m excited to see the potential of this tool.

I’m averaging around $30 per day so far in earnings from mobile visitors, so the WPTouch plugin paid for itself in 24 hours. While that revenue figure isn’t huge in comparison to other earnings on my blogs, it adds up to over $10,000 a year. That’s $10,000 which was gained simply by installing a plugin and adding my AdSense account—certainly some low-hanging fruit that I’ve been overlooking.

Note: This post contains affiliate links to WPTouch.

Repeat Visitors vs New Visitors – Which is Worth More to Your AdSense Earnings?

A few days back I shared a little analysis of my AdSense earnings as it related to sources of traffic and looked at how – for me – traffic from newsletters was actually the most valuable traffic that I get on my photography site.

This dispelled the myth that loyal readers to your site become blind to ads and are not likely to click them – but I wanted to dig down a little deeper to look at the difference between first time visitors and repeat visitors and how they interact with ads. Here’s what I found when I looked at the last 3 months.

adsense-visitor-types.png

On my photography site it is the case the new visitors click ads and earn more per 1000 visitors than repeat visitors.

In addition to those coming from newsletters repeat visitors on my site would include RSS readers, visitors from social media (facebook and Twitter).

This makes sense – those there for the first time are probably clicking around more, exploring and looking for things to click on. They’re also seeing ad units for the first time and are likely to click them.

However repeat visitors are not far behind. I’m not allowed to share the exact figures but the difference in CTR was tiny and the eCPM difference while noticeable was not huge. Repeat readers are still valuable – particularly as many of them are coming back on a daily basis so on a per visit basis they’re not earning as much but over a year they’re earning considerably more than a one time visitor.

update: I should say that one of the reasons that I suspect AdSense is better at converting for repeat visitors these days is that they not only rely upon CPC (cost per click) ads but also use CPM (cost per impression) ads which means that people no longer need to click ads for you to earn anything.

Newsletter Readers Do Click Ads

I recently attended an event where a presenter talked about the reasons that they didn’t use email marketing as part of their online business. One of the main reasons that he presented was that he didn’t think that people coming from a newsletter would click the ads on his site.

His reasoning was that people coming to his site week after week from a newsletter would become blind to the AdSense ads he was using (his main source of income). So rather than working on building loyal readers he put all of his efforts into SEO to generate one of readers.

There were lots of nods in the room from attendees – on one level what he was saying did make some sense – but for me it didn’t quite ring true.

You see my biggest days of earnings from AdSense are always the day I send out my newsletter. It drives a lot of traffic but also does seem to convert in terms of income (all kind, including eBook sales, affiliate promotions and AdSense).

Today I decided to dig a little deeper into my Google Analytics stats (which now integrates with AdSense) to see if what he said was actually true. Here’s what I found when it comes to AdSense earnings on my photography site from different sources of traffic over the last 3 months.

adsense-traffic-sources.png

I’m not able to share with you actual eCPM (earnings per 1000 impressions) or CTR (click through rate) as I think it’d break the terms of service with AdSense – but I think the chart speaks pretty clearly for itself.

‘Aweber’ is the traffic coming from my newsletter and I’ve included a number of other sources of traffic to compare how it performs. You can see on both eCPM and CTR that Aweber out performs not only Search Engine traffic but traffic coming from different types of social media and referral traffic from other sites.

Newsletter traffic is certainly converting on both CTR and eCPM. This is confirmed when I look at other newsletter traffic (for example traffic coming from AOL and Yahoo’s mail servers) which is similarly higher than other types of traffic both in terms of eCPM and CTR.

What I also found interesting in these results was traffic coming from sites like Facebook and Flickr which both again out performed Google traffic on both CTR and eCPM. I had always assumed that social media traffic didn’t convert as well as other types of traffic but at least on these results it seems that not all social media traffic is alike. On that topic – Twitter didn’t convert anywhere near as well as Facebook.

Of course these sorts of results will vary from niche to niche. Perhaps because my photography site is not specifically a ‘product’ site but is a ‘how to’ site the traffic from Google is a little more general and less in a buying mood which could decrease the conversions – but for me at least it is an indication that I’m on the right track investing time into growing my newsletter list!

9 Tricks I Used To Triple My AdSense Earnings In 30 Days

Guest post by Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips.

I have been using Google AdSense to monetize my blogs and websites for as long as I remember. In fact it was the first method I ever tried (I made a whooping $15 on my first month… back in 2005). Over the years I migrated to other methods (e.g., direct sponsors and affiliate marketing), which made AdSense become merely an inventory filler. I was still making around $1,000 monthly from it, but whenever I could I would use other methods over it.

Then some months ago I started noticing an upward trend on the CPC of my sites, and I figured that I should give AdSense another try. I started applying some tricks here and there, and the next month I made over $3,000 with it (that is combining all my sites). I was pleasantly surprised, and I decided to keep using it actively on some sites.

In this article I want to share with you the tips and tricks I used to triple my AdSense earnings in one month.

1. I added units to my Big Websites

Daily Blog Tips and Daily Writing Tips are my largest websites in terms of traffic. They are getting close to one million monthly page views (combined). Despite that I was not using AdSense on them, mainly because the direct sponsorship model was working relatively well.

Some months ago I decided to load some AdSense units on the sites, however, and the results were very positive. Around 70% of the boost I generated to my earnings came from these two sites. At the same time I managed to keep the other monetization methods working fine, and no reader ever complained about the new ads (more on that later).

Even if your blog is already making money with direct sponsors and affiliate marketing, therefore, you could still manage to increment your earnings by strategically adding some AdSense units.

2. I added units to my Small Websites

As many webmasters do, I have a bunch of small websites scattered around the web. Some are on free hosted platforms like Blogger, and others are self hosted sites that I abandoned along the way. Most of these sites still get traffic, however. Not much, but combined the numbers get decent.

I figured that adding AdSense units to all these sites could yield some money, and I was right. The main reason is that, since these are abandoned sites and don’t have loyal visitors, I can place the units very aggressively. The result was a very high CTR (Click-through rate), which compensates the small traffic levels.

Don’t underestimate the earning potential of small websites, especially if you are willing to place AdSense units aggressively.

3. I used the Large Units

If you want to make money with AdSense you’ll inevitably need to use one of these units: the 336×280 large rectangle, the 300×250 rectangle, the 120×600 large skyscraper or the 728×90 leaderboard.

Whenever I tried to use smaller units the results were disappointing. Even if I positioned them aggressively the CTR was just too low.

All four units mentioned above can produce good results, but the best performing one is by far the 336×280 large rectangle, and that is the one I used to boost my earnings.

4. I placed the Units above the Fold

My first trial was to place the 336×280 large rectangle between the post and the comments section of my blogs. The results were OK. I then decided to try placing them below the post titles for one week, and the CTR skyrocketed. In fact I still need to find a placement/unit combination that will beat placing a 336×280 unit below post titles.

I knew this rule, but I guess I needed to test and get confirmation. The rule is: if you want to make money with Google AdSense, you must place your units above the fold.

5. I Focused on Organic Traffic

My main concern with adding a large AdSense unit right below my post titles was that some of the loyal readers could get annoyed with it. At the same time I knew that loyal readers become ad blind quite fast, and that the bulk of my money would come from organic visitors (i.e., people coming via search engines to my posts).

To solve this problem I decided to display the large rectangle only on posts older than seven days (using the Why Do Work WordPress plugin). It worked like a charm, as loyal readers don’t even notice the ad units when they are browsing through my recent posts, and organic visitors almost always see the ads because they usually land on posts older than seven days.

6. I started using AdSense for Search

I was not sure how much money I would be able to make with AdSense for Search, but I was not happy with the search results provided by WordPress, so I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Currently I am making around $60 monthly with AdSense for Search. It is not much, but if you sum it over one year we are talking about $720. On top of that the search results are as relevant as you’ll get, so it is a win win situation.

7. I started using AdSense for Feeds

Another AdSense product I decided to try was the AdSense for Feeds one. I opted to display the ads below my feed items (you can also place them on top, but this would be too intrusive in my opinion). The results here were pretty good, both in terms of CTR and earnings.

You obviously need a large RSS subscriber base to make this work, but I am guessing that even with a couple thousand subscribers you could already make $100 monthly from feed ads.

8. I played around with section targeting

Section targeting is an AdSense feature that allows you to suggest specific sections of your site that should be used when matching ads. You can read more about it here.

I found that on niche and small websites section targeting can help a lot. Often times Google was displaying unrelated ads on these sites because there weren’t enough pages. After using section targeting I managed to increase the relevancy of the ads and consequently the CTRs.

9. I tested with Different Colors and Fonts

If you enabled both image and text ads on your units you should be able to customize the colors and fonts. I did some testing with both of these factors, and it helped to increase the numbers. Nothing dramatic, but it was definitely worth my time.

You just need to track your CTR for a couple of weeks. Then change the color or font and track it for another week, seeing if you can beat the original CTR. If you can, keep the new format. If you the performance decreased, try a new color or font and track the CTR for another week, until you find the optimal combination.

On my sites the best results came from making the ad units merge with the look of the site, but on some sites contrasting colors perform better, so testing is a must.

Daniel is the owner of Daily Blog Tips. He is also the author of the Make Money Blogging ebook, which you can download for free by signing up to his newsletter.

The Parable of the Lemonade Stand: Is AdSense Costing you Money?

A guest post by Kevin from BeginnerBloggerTips.com (with some comments from me below too). Image by Shawnson.

My journey into affiliate marketing.

Before I start, I’d like to make two disclaimers:

  1. I don’t hate google or AdSense—this article isn’t a rant against either.
  2. I recognize that every blog is different—what I’m about to say may not apply to your blog. Regardless, I think you should ask yourself the question I’m presenting here.

Disclaimers finished; let’s get to the point:

The Parable of the Lemonade Stand

42549598_b0780fcbfe.jpgImagine a lemonade stand. The entrepreneurs get the ingredients, start up their business, and have dozens of customers per day. It earns twenty dollars a day. Not bad for a humble lemonade stand, right?

Now, let me throw in a twist: imagine the before-mentioned entrepreneurs are in their 30’s. They own the lot on which the lemonade stand is located. The lot is located along a major highway in a rapidly growing suburban area. All adjacent lots have businesses making thousands of dollars per day. Suddenly our lemonade stand seems rather silly.

This concept is called opportunity cost—the economic consequences of choosing one thing over another. I’m learning about this the hard way — I’ve been making pennies per click when I could have been making dollars per click.

Let me explain in a little more detail. As I’ve mentioned before, strongandfit.net is the first profitable blog I’ve ever had. As my traffic increased, so did my AdSense earnings. A few dollars a day ads up, so I was finally seeing checks come in at the end of every month (I’m new to making money online, so I’m easily amused).

But I started noticing something: a few products in particular kept showing up over and over on my blog (in the AdSense widget). “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “these products obviously convert well if someone is willing to spend money promoting them.” I realized I had inadvertently put myself at the bottom of the economic food chain: I was getting paid a few cents per click while someone else was earning commissions on sales produced by these clicks.

I did a little research and started directly advertising these products with affiliate marketing. So far it seems to be paying off—my blog is making more money.

But there’s another benefit: I have complete control over what gets advertised on my blog. It’s turning into a win-win situation: my readers are referred to high quality products, and I earn more in commissions.

I still use AdSense, but I’m devoting more of my prime “real estate” on my blog to affiliate marketing. Maybe you should also consider doing this.

A Note from Darren

Like Kevin says, I don’t have anything against AdSense either. In fact I find that it works quite well on some of my sites. For me the idea of ‘Opportunity Cost’ is a powerful one. For every decision you make to use ANY type ad unit on your blog (whether it is AdSense, some other ad network, an Affiliate product, an ad sold directly to an advertiser, an ad for a product of your own there is a potential opportunity cost of that decision.

The key is to test different options. Kevin has had success in substituting affiliate ads in the place of AdSense, for others affiliate products might not work, but an ad for your own product might. For others it might be about swapping ads to Chitika or another ad network. For others it could monetize better by selling ads directly. For others still it could be better to not have ads at all but to sell yourself on your blog as a consultant.

The key is to test and experiment with different models.