Google AdSense – Bringing in the money

When I signed up for AdSense in October of 2006 I thought “Cool! Free money!” I already had a website, complete with affiliate links and paying customers. Adding a few Pay Per Click ads sounded like an easy way to bring in more money.

Here is my real-life Google AdSense story

2006
In October 2006 I signed up for Google AdSense and added it to SnugharborProductions.com , a low-traffic website selling family-specific genealogy CDs and handmade clocks. At this point I knew very little about the AdSense program. I just wanted some sort of residual income to help pay for my new life as an independent, self sufficient single mom. Maybe I would even get my first check before Christmas 🙂

… It didn’t take long for me to realize that my little website, averaging less than 10 page views per day, was not the traffic-rich advertising goldmine I thought it was.

In those first few months, I:

  • Learned the importance of actually tracking your traffic levels instead of just assuming that making a few sales and being listed in a few newsletters meant my website was popular.
  • Decided that I need to learn more about SEO (search engine optimization) and website promotion
  • Earned 37 cents from AdSense
  • And realized that my website that was already successfully selling stuff was not the best #1 choice for AdSense.

2007
In 2007 I removed AdSense from SnugHarborProductions.com and placed it on two of my hobby websites, TexasCarnivals.com and MyBlueCrayon.com . I knew that AdSense wasn’t going to be a big money maker on any of my current websites, but it did at least have the potential to stop me from loosing so much money on my “for fun” and “practice” websites.

2007 was a busy year. Most of my time was spent putting in overtime at the office and taking care of my little girl. I didn’t have much time for improving my hobby websites, but they still managed to bring in $5 for the year.

2008
2008 was filled with its own drama in my personal life. But I did accomplish the following:

  • Learned more about optimization and promotion
  • Cleaned up my existing webpages – giving them a cleaner, faster loading, more uniform look for future visitors.
  • Sign up for Google Analytics so I could start collecting a detailed history about my visitors.
  • Tripled my traffic and earned about $17.50 for my efforts.

2009
2008 was spent getting ready. And 2009 was when I really got to work, adding content and finding places to properly promote my websites. I:

  • Researched, researched, researched and wrote informative articles about the topics that interest me.
  • Found appropriate forums where I could participate in conversations and post a link back to my relevant webpage(s).
  • Created sitemaps to help major search engines find my pages.
  • Looked at my Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to find out where my visitors were coming from and what they were interested in.
  • Wrote more articles based on common interests. (things that I and my visitors were interested in)
  • Started noticing trends where the ads for some topics perform MUCH better than others.
  • More than tripled my traffic and earned about $45.

2010
2010 was a VERY exciting year in my AdSense career. The efforts implemented in 2009 continued to pay off and I received my first payment in May 2010! My second $100 payment threshold was reached in December 2010. I got that payment in January 2011.

In 2010 I also:

  • Added Google AdSense to my other websites
  • Made sure I had appropriate privacy policies on all of my websites
  • Encouraged visitor interaction by adding a comment box to many of my pages
  • Continued finding relevant places to talk about my websites
  • And continued adding fresh content as I found the time to show that my websites are “alive”.
  • Earned $168 for my efforts

2011
2011 is getting off to an excellent start 🙂 So far I am consistently earning $25-$40 per month.

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Many people have called me crazy for all of the hard work I put into my websites for such a small AdSense return. But I don’t do this just for the adsense money.

I admit, the money is a very helpful bonus. The payment I received in January 2011 paid for my daughter’s glasses. But there is something rewarding about being in charge of my own content and seeing that people appreciate my work enough to come look and tell their friends.

I make websites because I want to.

I also point out to those who think I am crazy that although I may not be getting a flat $10 per hour for the work I do on my AdSense-using websites, a well written article can pay very well. My 3 most popular pages took a combined total of 3 or 4 hours to write. Over the last 2 years, those 3 pages have brought me a combine total of over $100. And they are still going strong!

There is another set of pages that I have spent about 8 hours researching and perfecting. I expect its popularity to be high but short lived. It has brought me about $9 in its first few weeks. Only time will tell if it takes off in May like I expect. But that’s the fun of this project!

2016 Update
My best performing websites now have sponsors who pay me directly. Their ads have replaced my best Adsense units. I still get a fairly steady $100-$120/year from Google for ads placed in the less valuable spots.

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