Monday, September 8, 2014

Google Adsense - 30 Lessons in Blogging

I signed up for Google Adsense advertising on my blog quite early on in my blogging journey. At the time I struggled to sign up. I'm not sure why, but couldn't get my account set up and ended up using my old yahoo email account to set it up as it was the only way it would work. Unfortunately that means that I can't check my Adsense account without signing out of my Blogger account first.
Still - it's no big deal and so long as it's working and bringing me in a little money, I'll cope with that minor inconvenience.

Anyway, after it took me such a long time to set up, I was a bit disillusioned with the whole thing for a long time - especially since back then I was lucky to be earning even a couple of cents a day.

My earnings with Adsense so far

Google Adsense sat on the back burner for a long time, until I received my first pay cheque from Google in November 2011 . I was so excited - even though it had taken me 16 months years to earn over $150 so I qualified for a pay cheque. The threshold has now dropped to $100 so I get paid more often.

Thereafter, my earnings did start to increase as my blog started to grow and get a fair bit more traffic. I was paid again after 6 months, then 4 months, then it dropped to 3 months.

Last year it settled into around $100 per month, which I was pretty pleased with. Then towards the end of the year and the beginning of this year, 2014, it started to drop back to around $70 per month.
This drop in income was very frustrating, especially since I hadn't had a corresponding drop in pageviews. A plateau yes, but not a drop. So why had my Adsense revenue dropped? No idea.

I Googled a bit to read about Adsense wondering if it was time to research a bit more to understand how it all worked.  Reading one article, something caught my eye about advertising placement on your blog, and how the best place to put an ad was at the top of your main posts. Thinking this was something I could try simply and quickly, I tried it straight away.
WOW - almost immediately, my income increased. It went from $70 one month to $120 the next month. No change in number of pageviews or traffic, but simply a change in location of my ads!

Ok so time to learn more I thought!

Studying Adsense

Last month I sat down and worked my way through a Google Adsense course. It was a series of small videos and only took me about 1.5 hours to complete. The course had been suggested to me via a message on my Google Adsense dashboard.

What did I learn?

I learned how to read and understand the analytics on my Adsense dashboard. All those letters now had a meaning:

RPM - Revenue per 1000 impressions. So how much you get paid for every 1000 times an advert is seen (not clicked). This is an average for all the adverts you have on your blog.

CTR - Click Through Rate. So how many of the people who see the advert actually click on it.

CPM - cost per 1000 impressions. This an industry term to say how much advertisers have bid to pay for 1000 views of their advert.

Clicks - number of organic clicks per advert. So how many people actually clicked on a particular advertisment.

CPC - Cost Per Click. How much money you get every time someone clicks on an advert.

Knowing what all these terms meant was great to understand how I was earning income from adverts!

Action to take

As a result of taking this mini course, I made a couple of changes straight away.  First of all, I found that there is an optimum size of advert for your sidebar. This is 336 x 280. I checked the ad size that I was already displaying and was a bit confused since I didn't appear to have a particular sidebar ad of any size.  Checking my analytics now that I understood it, I saw that ALL of my recent revenue was from the 728 x 90 size ad I had only just added to the top of my main posts.  So where I'd been getting revenue from before that ad I have no idea!

I set about creating new ads for the sidebar of my blog and also the top and sidebar of my other much smaller blog (Be Our Best).

That was basically a month ago - and in that month, I made $180!! A new record for me. My biggest earning day was $17.89. I was amazed and very excited at the possibilities.

Different Types of Adverts

Text or image?
I also learned from my mini course that you should always select text and image for the types of ads you want on your blog, as this opens up more possibilities for companies to bid for the space.  This seemed pretty logical to me and I'd already done this.  But I was surprised when I looked at the statistics (now that I understand what I'm looking at) and saw that 45% of the revenue came from text ads and only 30% from image ads. (the rest from rich media and animations)

Contextual or Interest based?
I also found that the types of ads I was earning from was evenly split between 'contextual' which means ones related to my blog content, and 'interest based' which means ones that are geared towards the individual reader and what they have been looking at on the internet recently.

85% of my advertising income is coming from that main advert above the main posts, and the remaining 15% from the sidebar.  This holds true for my other blog too, although it is much smaller and currently a bit neglected so the income is only a few cents a day.

I'm not sure how I'm actually going to use this information - but at least knowing something is a start!

So what now?

There is so much information out there to read, digest and try to implement. I just found a great article, 
Wouldn't that be nice?
My initial thought from the article is that the topic of my blog (creating and sewing) is not one that naturally attracts higher paying advertisers - unlike finance and internet/ computers. Although I noticed 'health' is up there in the higher paying bracket, so perhaps I should pursue my newest blog more (A Fitter and Healthier Me)!!

But back to "what now" - I'm going to make a concerted effort to continue to learn and experiment with Adsense.  Although I had my highest paying month in August, September hasn't started quite as well, so I'm wondering what to try next. Perhaps changing things around regularly is part of it - who knows?

I am feeling very positive about the possibilities of increasing my income from Google Adsense after my recent small learnings and experiments. Now I just have to keep the momentum going!

How About You?

Do you use Google Adsense?
Do you actively watch and change your adverts to maximise your revenue?
Do you have any tips or suggestions?


  1. Very interesting and useful. Unfortunately, they stopped mine, and i have no idea why !! :-(

    1. Hi Agy,

      I've heard of people's accounts being suspended and they don't know why. Sorry to hear it happened to yours. Maybe you could try again with a new email account?

  2. This is interesting. I've never tried using ads, but the returns you are getting are certainly worthwhile. I usually read your posts in Feedly, so I don't see the ads. I've just clicked on to your blog to have a look and I still can't see them! I can only find the three fabric ones, which I'm guessing are not Google adsense?

    1. Hi Megan,
      I wonder why you can't see the ads!? Nothing shows up in analytics for me or on other browsers on my computer. Yes those other ones in the sidebar are my sponsors rather than Google ads! You should definitely give the Google ads a go though - easy to set up and hopefully make a few extra dollars!

  3. Hey Jill,

    Thanks for mentioning my blog post "How Much Traffic Do You Need To Make $100,000 with Google Adsense?". :)

    1. You're welcome Mahesh! Great post that has really got me thinking! :)

  4. I've read that setting up custom channels is the next step to increasing adsense revenue, but I haven't figured it out yet. I'm still taking about 2 months to get to the threshold, but I'm at least moving in the right direction. My goal is to figure out the channels this month and see if that helps or not. Let me know if you try and if it makes any difference, and I'll do the same if you're interested. Thanks for your series. I'm enjoying looking through it.

    1. Thanks Kimberly. I shall have a look into custom channels and see what I can find out and learn! I'll let you know how I go with it and I'd love to hear how you get on too!


I love comments and try to respond to them all. Thanks for taking the time !