Adsense can be used on any type of blog except for ones that have gambling, adult content, or anything illegal. It’s a straightforward ad revenue stream that Google has banked everything on. I think we can all agree that they have been highly successful in this area for the past 17’ish years. They outline all of their terms here in case you want something to read before bed.
Before we break things down we should probably talk about ad blockers. They are real and tearing down revenues left and right. No one wants to see ads or popups. Don’t underestimate this and plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Everyone is feeling the pain of lost revenue and this is when, as a website owner or manager, you need to think if this is the right choice or not. People are earning 40-80% less from Adsense compared to years ago depending on the niche and the type of website they run. Is it better to look for other options like memberships, donations, or sponsors? Consider all of the options before thinking that Google Adsense is going to be your bread winner.
You will notice I don’t run ads on this site and it’s for good reason. I simply want a clean site that works as intended. I could probably make a little money but the tradeoff isn’t worth it. Ads distract from quality content and that is the purpose of this entire journey. I want the focus on the content and not sending readers off to another website just for a couple of pennies. My traffic and time are worth a lot to me and I would certainly take it over a few bucks per day.
Does Niche Matter?
There are niches that make boat loads of revenue because they are highly “searched for subjects”. There are also the complete opposite spectrum of niches that struggle to earn even pennies on the dollar. The best way to figure out where you might be in this range is by using keywords and see the search volume. There are sites that you can use to see what keywords are good and search for communities where others discuss what niches are getting big numbers per click.
Competitive keywords like “Make Money Online” or “Buy Car Insurance” are some niches that have high click values. If you are after this particular world and can write quality content no matter the niche then pick a winner. Write about topics that people care about and have high rewards. I can write about almost anything and if I wanted to get competitive I could in a matter of a few months. You just have to do the research and then build the content to start ranking in the organic search results.
Avoid getting into low volume keywords and keywords that don’t have much to offer. Remember that Adsense shows relevant ads on the pages you create by the keywords that the spider reads. If you create top notch content you are better positioned than someone hiring freelancers for $1.00/100 words for low quality content.
Join communities like Digital Point forums to see what niches are paying off and which ones are really good to skip. There are communities all over the internet that discuss keywords and how to thrive using Google Adsense. I used to use the Warrior Forum but they were bought by Freelancer.com and immediately ruined what it had left to offer. I hate both websites and avoid them, but searching Google for a place to hang your hat will show this result. Don’t waste your time or money.
The bottom line is that niche matters a ton. You have to have the right name, the right look, and the right media for people to consume and click ads. Anything short of this is a waste of time and money.
My Experience With Google Adsense
In 2005-2006, I was starting to make better sites using Joomla that I thought could generate a bit of money with Adsense. I applied for the program and was accepted right away. It took 6 months (felt like an eternity) to finally hit the $100 payout mark and I was excited because this paid for my shared hosting expenses.
Once I cross the mark, there was an email from Google that said I was banned from Adsense due to click fraud. Without any reservation I can say that I followed every rule and never clicked on my own ads. I spent 6 months putting effort into showing their ads and playing by the rules and it resulted in them using my website (yes, it is insignificant in the grand scheme) for 6 months at absolutely no cost to them. You could say I have been a bit jaded ever since. I go out of my way to advise against using Adsense, but I know almost no one takes my advice. Money is a hell of a drug.
I can’t and won’t apply for Adsense again. You are at the mercy of a third-party that can decide not to pay their bill when it comes due. I don’t like to be in that position so I always advise against using Adsense on your site. If you do then it’s all a hope that they will make good on their end. For me, it didn’t end well and I would never ever think about working with Google in that area. They still have more than enough people lining up for their program so I am nothing more than a drop in the bucket.
If you do get banned like I did, please don’t sweat it. You don’t have a way to call someone at Google and sort it out. They have almost no customer support for little websites and will only give you canned email responses after weeks or months…if at all. I am shitting on Google for this and I have been since 2006. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon because it’s important if you want to avoid feeling defeated like I did. I found other ways to make due and build my websites, but I still haven’t forgotten that feeling when I read that email and got my canned email saying they were still banning me. I just want to make sure that I share my experience because it’s real and it happens everyday without any kind of recourse.
May the Ad Revenue Be With You
Your experience may be the complete opposite of mine and I want it to be. I will never put their ads on my sites, but I am not a fool to think my own protest means much to anyone. If you think you have the traffic, the right content, and you understand all rules then go for it. Jump in head first because this pool is deep.
Make sure you apply for the program when your website is ready for it. Don’t go and apply when you just installed WordPress or whatever you plan to use because they check your website. Develop, design, and write! You want to be ready for the big dance and make the best impression possible. I want you to make that money and come out a winner. We all do. Going in mentally prepared will help you achieve just that.
Oh & One Last Thing
Before I wrap this up I want to put a small list of alternatives to Adsense in case you want to go a different route. Here are a few options:
- Sponsorships – You can get sponsors for your content if you have a good site with traffic or a good YouTube channel.
- Sell Things – Open a store and sell things like shirts, hats, books, or whatever it is that you are interested in.
- Memberships – Offer a premium membership for supporters and offer them something in return like special content.
- Patreon – People will donate to you if you have a Patreon account and have something good to offer. Don’t ignore the possibility.
- Donations – Most won’t be able to pull this off but donations by linking your Paypal or Bitcoin wallet might bring in some revenue.
- Banners – People still sell banner ads space on their website and you can too if you have the traffic to warrant the interest of a sponsor.
- Affiliate Links – There are many affiliate link programs out there. Find one for your niche and direct traffic to them for some kick backs. I affiliate for my hosting company and Envato for example. It helps a bit here and there.
- Amazon – Become an Amazon affiliate and help sell products through your website and get good kick backs.
There are certainly other ways as well but I wanted to give you something more to walk away with. If you want to add more ideas please comment below. I would love to hear other creative ideas that people can tryout instead of Adsense.