Google AdSense Program article which I first wrote back in 2008, updated April 2014.
When I got into the AdSense program I didn’t think it was worth much of my time, which was a big mistake in hindsight! Signed up for the AdSense program in February 2002, according to the “Choose date range” search facility when choosing “All Time” it was the 22nd of February I was accepted and the 27th of February when I got my first ad impressions.
On the first day received 110 impressions and made $0.08, didn’t have a clue about increasing AdSense CTR etc…
It took until Tuesday, 30 March 2004 for my first day of making more than $1 (made $2.10 that day :-)).
How To NOT Make Money With AdSense
I’d not taken the AdSense program seriously as a money making opportunity and had added the AdSense ad code to a handful of not very important pages, had few impressions and rarely made over $1 a day.
This confirmed what I thought I knew about the AdSense program, you can’t make money this way, that was until mid 2005.
By April 2005 I’d added AdSense code to a lot of my Classic Literature site pages, but because I didn’t consider AdSense important I only added one small rectangle ad right at the bottom of the menu (that was the only ad unit I tried and it was below the fold) and didn’t add AdSense to other important websites: I’d already confirmed you can’t make money with AdSense after all.
AdSense Heat Map
If you’ve done any research on AdSense you’ll have seen the click area AdSense heat map, image below.
This heat map shows where website visitors tend to click the most, the hot areas are in red/orange and the cold in white.
The image you see below is roughly where you’d find my only AdSense ad unit on sites that during March 2005 (1st to the 31st) were seeing ~14,000 impressions a day, but only made $7.68 a day from AdSense (that’s very low)!
Classic literature isn’t exactly a high money content niche, but I wasn’t monetizing this traffic well at all. By believing AdSense wasn’t a good way to make money I’d shot myself in the foot, normally I do lots of research, but this one time I did NONE!
Screenshot below of AdSense revenue for the last half of March 2005
This could have gone on for another year of lost AdSense revenue, but I started building thin Amazon affiliate stores and as their only goal was to make money from Amazon I decided to cover them in AdSense ads as well: if 3 content AdSense ad units per page is considered covered in ads that is :-).
Finally Making Money With AdSense
By luck (yep, no research again) I managed to add some of the ad units in the red/orange areas of the Adsense heat map and when my Amazon stores started pulling in thousands of visitors a day in their own right I got a very nice boost in AdSense revenue.
You can see from the screenshot above, impressions roughly tripled, but revenue increased by about 20 times! Yes some of this traffic was better money making, but most of it was from Amazon stores on my literature sites, so it wasn’t like we are comparing classic literature traffic to mortgage or insurance traffic, (those are money making AdSense keywords) closer to comparing it to general Amazon book store traffic since Amazon does sell books (better, but not 20 times better!).
I’d stumbled on the fact that you can make some nice money from AdSense if you have a fair amount of traffic AND your ad units are placed in the right areas (see heat map for best AdSense ad placement areas).
Knowing this I optimized AdSense ad placement for all my sites and maximized AdSense revenue for the traffic I received. Unfortunately as mentioned in other posts the traffic from the Amazon affiliate stores wasn’t to last and a year later I was below $50 a day.
Still $50 a day while watching TV isn’t something to complain about, so quite happy with the AdSense income.
I took it easy (working a few hours a day rather than the usual 10+) for about 9 months when I popped a disc in my back (see last post) and AdSense revenue dropped to under $40 a day. Didn’t help having a series of server disasters due low quality technical support at the places I rented dedicated servers from (see my dedicated server problems post for details).
Have got an excellent dedicated server now and am back to my normal 10+hrs of work a day which is seeing my AdSense income recover.
All in all it’s a nice way to make money with low maintenance in most cases, but by itself it’s never going to make me a millionaire. Even at $200 a day (which is possible) that’s only $73,000 a year.
What I do know is when I build anything online I add AdSense to it and place the ads in optimized areas.
I’ve been using AdSense for about 12 years now and it’s around 9 years since I realized there’s was money to be made with AdSense. In that time I’ve developed the best SEO WordPress package available and it includes built in support for AdSense including the newer AdSense Responsive units.
No longer just about ad unit placement on a desktop PC, now we have to take into account the growing numbers of mobile device users: AdSense ads have to be responsive.