The following post was submitted by DJApe as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series
In August last year I quit my full-time software developer job and decided to go back to Uni. Since I had more free time than before, I decided to start a blog and show the world a couple of shareware applications that I wrote. The first one was a Sudoku puzzle game. This is how my www.djape.net blog started.
Having read a few tips on ProBlogger, I decided to experiment so I signed up for every advertising program known. In early days, ads were everywhere – AdSense, Chitika, Amazon, CafePress. There were more ads than blog posts! But one tip that Darren posted worked out very well for me – ‘create controversy’ is what I remember from one of Darren’s posts.
So I did.
I created and posted one Killer Sudoku puzzle that was so difficult and pretty much unsolvable by a human, but people just wouldn’t give up. They kept coming and from double-digits number of daily visitors, in a couple of days it went to 5-6 hundred a day! Many Sudoku sites linked to my blog because of this puzzle.
I’ve come a long way since then. Daily unique visitors are around 1500 nowadays, although at one point there were some 2000 for a period of a few weeks. The income is significantly better from syndicating puzzles to newspapers than from ads, but I’ve learned a few things about ads, too.
I got rid of everything but AdSense, simply because it pays best. A few weeks ago I also decided to keep only 300×250 ads and remove all others! Why? Again – they pay much better. Skyscrapers and 728×90 leader-boards never paid almost anything, but I also removed 468×60 which were paying well, but nothing like 300×250. Further, I no longer show ‘Get Firefox’ and ‘AdSense signup’ ads, because they were not content related. My niche is very low paying, but since I made those changes, ad income has doubled!
When I started blogging I never thought that it would become a serious thing for me. It was an experiment and something that I thought would look good in my CV. But due to increasing popularity of my site which resulted from my quick reaction to the new Sudoku puzzle variation (Killer Sudoku), I have now published 2 puzzle-books and a couple more are coming. My puzzles feature in a number of magazines around the world. Not sure how long it will last, but I’m already extremely happy with it. This experience has convinced me in the power of the internet and shown me how the global marketplace works.