Are you a small blogger thinking about advertising but unsure how much money could be made?
This will be the first of an ongoing series of posts on how a blogger like myself makes (a small amount of) money using Google Adsense. Expect one post per month, but no more.
Some background: I currently have three blogs on which I actively post: Systemically Important, Nearby Pen, and The Guru 5. As of this writing the blogs are between two and three months old. Traffic over that period has averaged roughly 150 page impressions per day, meaning I am most likely in the same exact position as many of you (new bloggers):
Not only will I not be making loads of money with Adsense, but at this stage of the game I should not expect to.
So why use Adsense? Quite simply, because--as the title suggests--pennies make dollars. Or to put it differently, a little bit of money adds up, even if little by little. And who knows, perhaps those pennies will grow faster with traffic at each site. In my view, it pays (at least a little) to learn more about how advertising on one's blog works while the blog is growing. I also think it is interesting. Here's the data for my first three months:
January...........4,291 page impressions...........$1.97 earned
February..........4,242 page impressions..........$3.62 earned
March.............4,411 page impressions..........$11.15 earned
[If I understand correctly, Google AdSense does not allow publishers to share confidential information about the number of clicks and the amount paid with each one (a number that varies), so this somewhat important information can not be shared.]
Notice the percentage at which earnings are growing every month, despite the number of page impressions staying pretty much the same.
In January, I got a huge bump in traffic after having a post of mine (at Systemically Important) mentioned by Abnormal Returns, one of the top finance-related blogs on the web. This brought me a stream of visitors that stayed for a second or two, then left.
While I operate under the premise that "tiny streams of traffic will in time lead to rivers," when comparing the amount of page impressions to dollars earned, I expect that the quality of interested traffic is much more important than the quantity of uninterested passers-by.
In March, I didn't get any huge bumps in traffic at any of the sites--but I did achieve a lot more return visitors who were interested in what I was writing and stayed around to read it. Some of these visitors were no doubt the one's who clicked on ads. And the most likely reason they did that was because they found something relevant advertised.
Having passed the three month mark, I am starting to get a steady stream of visitors from the search engines, thanks in part to google-juicy titles, and am slowly picking up spots on people's blog rolls or in their blog posts. (Here's looking at you Rational Jenn and Simoleon Sense and SemiConductor Girl!)
The steady accumulation of these over time, like so many tiny streams, should lead to a river of traffic. And that will bring with it more money.
However, while money is good--and I'll write more on how I plan to monetize what I have written later--my main focus is on producing quality content. This is what matters most to readers, to search engines, as well as to me. Any money I make after that is gravy.
All that said, do the ads display here bother anyone? Do you find that they sometimes distract you from the content? Any comments are welcome, including comments as to why you don't personally use ads on your blog.