First off, as a disclaimer, I am not a making money online expert by any means. I am more of a making money online novice – a blogger looking to find ways to monetize my sites, sharing my experience, and seeking advice.
After receiving my first check from Google for reaching the $100 payout threshold for AdSense, I was psyched. Each month, although the earnings were small, they were steadily increasing, so when I got my first direct deposit from Google, I was certain that I would be reaching the next threshold soon.
Since the beginning of 2010, however, I feel like I have seen a steady decline in the earnings per click. Here are some theories, and why they may or may not be the contributing factor.
Possible Factors Affecting Earnings
Changes in Ad Management
Between December and January, the only thing I changed was moving my sidebar ad (which is gone as of this past weekend thanks to my new sponsor blocks) down a bit in relation to other sidebar items. Although I received only one less click this month on the sidebar ads than last month, the earnings on them were 50% less.
On the other hand, one of my sites with no changes in ad placement which had the same amount of ad clicks is 75% less.
Changes in Site Traffic
All of my sites traffic, even though the month hasn’t ended, are on average higher than December, a statistic that I find very pleasing on all other levels, except that it hasn’t seemed to help in AdSense conversion.
Changes in Site Topic
All of my sites have stayed on the same topic. In fact, I optimized Kikolani mid-month to be more targeted for blogging and social media, but I haven’t seen any significant changes, AdSense wise, since that change. One of the sites I am analyzing is static, so the topic has not changed since October, so having the same amount of clicks and less revenue seems strange.
Addition of Mobile Ads
This one is quite new, so I don’t have a comparison of how it does from month to month yet. I just made Kikolani mobile blogging friendly using a plugin that allows you to add AdSense to the mobile theme. So far though, all of the ads have been public service announcements, so I’m not very confident that this will get me anywhere.
Ways to Increase AdSense Earnings
So what am I going to do to try to raise my AdSense earnings? I think I’m not going to focus on my main blog so much in the AdSense game, as I know the sidebar ad was producing more revenue than the link units in the single post ads (but getting advertising sponsors for that zone will generate more revenue than AdSense anyway). For my more static sites, however, I want to get those earnings on the move up again.
Blocking Low Paying Ads
I ran across an article on how someone doubled their AdSense earnings, which discussed ways to block low paying advertisers, deselect categories of ads you do not want displayed on your websites, and allowing / blocking certain Google Certified Ad Networks. While this sounds good, the flipside were other articles that were against doing the things I just mentioned. One article that was particularly convincing was on the fact that Google sends ads to your site that should generate the most clicks based on your site’s content. And why wouldn’t Google want you to have the highest paying advertisers, considering when the ads get clicked, Google gets paid too (duh).
Blocking Ad Categories
The one thing that sounded good was changing the categories of ads that can be shown on your site, which can be found under AdSense Setup > Ad Review Center. For me, these category selections are confusing though. The only options I have include cosmetic surgery, religion, politics, drugs & supplements, dating, get rich quick, video games, weight loss, and two categories for sexually related ads.
These are obviously not the only categories of ads I get on my sites, as my poetry site gets poetry ads, my blogging site gets blogging ads, and so on. So I must be missing something, that or they only allow you to de-select the main categories they know people will possibly dislike being on their sites.
Using Google Analytics
Another method I am going to try (and I’m not sure why I haven’t before this point) is looking into Google Analytics to see which pages converted the most in AdSense earnings. Knowing the top posts and AdSense referrers will help in determining what type of content converts the best, and where to promote it when trying to increase AdSense clicks and income.
Your Google Adsense Tips
I know there are more ways to make money online. But for some sites, monetizing with AdSense is just less complicated and time consuming than seeking out advertisers, affiliate products, writing eBooks, etc. So for those of you using AdSense for monetization on static websites or blogs, what methods / tools do you use to increase earnings?