Several people recently suggested that I try using Google AdSense to place context-relevant text ads on the side of the blog. Initially I rejected the idea because I didn’t like the idea of putting ads on the site. I’ve kept Dexterity Software ad-free for years. And when my wife tried using AdSense on her VegFamily Magazine site, it didn’t work well (vegetarians don’t like seeing ads for beef), so she dropped it. Also, I’m sensitive to the potential problem of ads detracting from the content.
But since I was hearing some positive stories about AdSense too, I decided to find out what other bloggers who used it thought about it. One of the most informative articles I read on the subject was Blogging for Dollars, written by the owner of PVRBlog (you can see how AdSense is used on the side of the blog). I like that he included his results:
From approximately 3,000 visits (not too shabby at all), enough people clicked through that I made $40 in the first 24 hours.
He writes that he made the same amount the next day and continued doing well after that. StevePavlina.com is now getting about 3500 visits per day (and still growing fast), but the content may not be as tightly focused or as AdSense-suitable as PVRBlog (which is about digital video recorders).
I did a few tests with AdSense Sandbox to see what kinds of ads might be displayed for various blog posts. Some are highly appropriate and even beneficial, like ads for goal setting and time management books and software. Other ads seem based on a keyword used out of context and just aren’t relevant. And some of the ads are pretty funny, like the one that invites you to shop for “new and used goals” at eBay. Is there actually a market for used goals? Anyone wanna buy “get married and have kids” or “run a marathon” or “start my own blog?” Are used goals worth less than new ones? If I sell one of my new goals, can I still keep a copy for myself?
Anyway, I decided to give AdSense a try to see how it works out. I signed up this morning and am waiting for account approval (hopefully the AdSense folks have enough of a sense of humor to approve it even if they read this post).
If you already have a blog or site that uses AdSense, I’d also love to hear feedback on your experiences with it.