Life After Adsense, What To Do When Adsense Starts To Suck Ass

Adsense Sucks AssNow anyone who has a website that receives consistent traffic over a long period of time and uses Google AdSense to monetize their traffic have noticed a few things. In the beginning the earnings are really good for a couple months, they have higher payouts depending on the time of year, and the click through rates are much higher in the beginning. Over time all of these things change and in many cases depending on the topic of your website the changes in the earnings are so drastic that it does not make sense to even continue to use Google AdSense as a primary income stream. As a matter fact you might want to consider removing AdSense all together in order to find new ways to make money with your blog or website.

So Whats The Cause Of These Changes?

Ad Inventory: The most obvious reason for the drop in earnings is that the ad inventory for AdSense has gone down, when the economy took a turn for the worst so did the Ad rates and not just for AdSense but for all Ad Networks across the board. Advertisers have much smaller budgets to work with thus Google AdSense has to lower there rates, now of course there are some exceptions to the rule such has the health industry and few other markets that still have healthy ad payouts but they are few and far between. I can tell you from personal experience working in the music industry that music and entertainment related websites and blogs are not making much from AdSense, last year my hip hop blog was making a full time income and this year even with more traffic the site isn't even making half what it made last year. In fact AdSense has become a third tier income stream for that site.

Ad Formats and Placements: Believe it or not this plays a major part in how well Google AdSense performs on your website, depending on your site design and what ad formats you use, it will directly affect how much money you will make. The best way to figure out which site design, ad formats and positions will perform the best. I suggest you setup three different variations of your website (Designs), run each different design with different ad formats and ad positions. Run each variation for at least a week depending on your traffic, if you have a high traffic website you can make it less than a week. This is split testing in it's simplest form. To know exactly what your visitors are interacting with on your website I suggest you check out CrazyEgg, it's a really sick analytic tool that gives you a visual view of your website with a heat map overlay that shows exactly where your visitors and their mouses went and where they didn't go.

Visitor Retention: Now of course visitor retention is a good thing, it means your brand is growing and your keeping your visitors interested in your content but in terms of Google AdSense it's almost guaranteed to kill your income. The problem is that your repeat visitors have become immune to the ads, they see the same set of ads with the same ad copy every time they come to your site. Eventually ads will become invisible to them and you'll notice shortly after that the only clicks your receiving is from brand new visitors most of which come from search engines. The problem with the new visitors clicking on your ads is that once they click that ad there gone and they may never come back, this will hurt your overall visitor retention and stunt the growth of your brand. Now of course this does not apply to you if you just built the site to specifically to make money from Adsense then building a brand is really not important.

Seasonal Traffic: If you noticed a sudden drop in your earnings and your traffic, this is probably due to time of year. In most niches it's common for blogs and websites to have lower earnings in the summer time. If you can afford to, wait to see what your earnings are like in another time of the year and if you don't see any changes in your earnings then it's time to try something new. Personally with my media site Music Video Cast, the daily AdSense earnings has gone up and the same goes for my blog iHipHopMusic.com since the beginning of September.

So What Do You Do When AdSense Starts To Suck Ass?

Find Other Advertising Networks: There hundreds of Advertising networks out there that you can test out, especially if you have a high traffic website with high visitor retention. Your visitor retention is too valuable to be wasting it on AdSense, instead find some ad networks that will pay you according CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions) rates, most networks out there pay anywhere from $0.50 to $3.00 per CPM. The great thing about this is that you don't have replace AdSense but instead just diversify your income, lets be honest the chances of you getting rich from AdSense in this day and age is highly unlikely, it's not like 5 years ago.

Partner With Vertical Ad Networks:More and more niche specific ad networks are popping up all over the place, the great thing about these networks is that they have higher payouts than the large ad networks, I'm currently working with Global Grind Network which is a Hip Hop related ad network owned by Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons and I'm currently in talks with CraveOnline to start a running multiple campaigns from numerous major brands on Hip Hop Music Dot Com, right now the payouts are looking like there going to be anywhere from $4 to $7 per CPM (yep you read that correctly). Currently I'm averaging 48,000 page views daily on Hip Hop Music Dot Com so I'm looking forward to getting those campaigns rolling, usually if you have great website these companies find you and make you a offer, so far I received 18 offers this year already. Global Grind has been on some bull shit lately but I'm going to save the bashing for another post.

You can find many different niche specific networks at Adify.com which hosts many popular networks such as B5media (A Blogger Network), Green Ad Network, and Martha's Circle (Martha Stuart's Ad Network) just to name a few.

Rotate Your Ads. This is pretty self explanatory and very important but surprisingly not enough people spend time doing this, which is probably due to do all the testing and analytics involved. They are a few services out there that simplifies the whole process which include Rubicon Project, Yield Build and Pubmatic.

Affiliate Programs: While every other form of generating income and adverting has taken a dive, the affiliate marketing/performance based industry has been thriving in this horrible economy and many networks have been showing record earnings.There are hundreds of Affiliate Networks such as ClickBank, Commission Junction, Affiliate.com I (I love Affiliate.com) and LinkShare just to name a few. I'll have to cover affiliate marketing in a few upcoming posts and how I'm using this method to make more money than I am with AdSense.

Sell Ads Directly: Just like affiliate programs this is a whole other subject that I will be covering in a upcoming post, from what tools to use, where to find advertisers and how to pitch your website. When this is done right it can completely replace AdSense as a income source, as I mentioned earlier in this post that AdSense is now a third tier income stream on Hip Hop Music Dot Com. I'll cover all that in upcoming post so stay tune.

In conclusion

Don't make AdSense be your end all be all income stream, the same way you try to find different ways to expand your website or blog is the same way you should try and find ways to monetize your content. Just pay attention to most of the big guys in the industry, there not talking about AdSense anymore. Don't get comfortable with your current earnings a start playing defense, before you know you'll be dependent on a declining income and you'll end up with your head up your ass like the image above.

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