22 cents actually. A day or so after enabling Google Adsense, my blog generated its first income from a click. A day later, another cent appeared. I’m not sure where the extra cent came from. It’s not from a click and it can’t be from impressions. I guess Google were just feeling generous.
I’ve read many posts recently saying that Adsense doesn’t perform as well as other options. Some people are even removing Adsense from their sites. It seems that Adsense is no longer the flavour of the month.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I know that Adsense will probably not work well with this blog’s content or with my target audience. I know there’s a chance it may even drive some readers away. I know there are other ways of monetizing a site. Despite all this, I am giving Adsense a whirl. Why?
I’m starting to do a little freelance web development. Adsense does suit some sites very well and is popular with my potential client base, so I need to have first hand knowledge of working with it.
I’ll also be trying out other options as well, but don’t worry, I’ll keep the ads to a minimum on the site. Making money is not the primary aim of this blog.
Of course, despite my previous statement, I fell into the very common trap of checking the Adsense site every 10 minutes to see if I was a millionaire yet. Not quite, but that first 21 cents felt almost as good!
I quickly tired of constantly checking the total, but didn’t give up. Instead I installed the AdSense Earnings Reports plugin which displays your Adsense results in the Admin area of WordPress. Unfortunately the plugin didn’t work for me (nothing happened, the stats weren’t populated, not even to say 0).
Then I read a ‘Top xx Firefox Extensions’ post (I lost the URL unfortunately), which lead me to the Adsense Notifier extension for Firefox. I spend more time in Firefox than I do on my Admin screen (in Firefox), so my obsession can be fed more easily with this! However, there is a problem with it. You must manually log in before it will work (it should log you in automatically).
My guess is that Google has changed something recently that has broken both the plugin and the extension. Then again, I can’t find any reports of other people having problems, so it may just be me.
Anyway, my obsession is fading now. I’ll just check it one last time…
For the moment, I am putting one 468 x 60 Banner in the post body, one 120 x 240 Vertical Banner in the sidebar and one referral unit in the sidebar.
I have tried to blend the ads in by using similar colours to my theme. I don’t want them to stand out too much and annoy everyone. Neither do I want people to be blind to them.
However, I have placed a border around them as I don’t want them to blend in too much and have people click them by accident (although this seems to be essentially what many Adsense gurus recommend).
I’m interested in any feedback on this. As a reader, do you prefer ads to stand out clearly, or do you prefer them to blend in? If you use Adsense on your site, have you found it to be better to blend them in?
Displaying The Ads
There are quite a few WordPress plugins for displaying Adsense, but at the moment I’m using a ‘home grown’ solution for the post body. I wrote a quick plugin (took 5 minutes) that replaces a tag I enter with my Adsense code.
This is probably not the long term solution. I’ve had a quick look at the Adsense-Deluxe plugin, which seems pretty powerful. I’ve also been hearing good things about the Shylock Adsense plugin, so I may have a look at that. Any advice is welcome.
For the sidebar, I’m using the Google Adsense widget plugin by Otto. I tried text widgets at first, but I use quite a few already and after a while it’s hard to remember what Text 4 is for. Otto’s plugin gives you widgets which are basically text widgets but with Google Adsense in the widget title.
The number of Adsense widgets is restricted to 4 (the maximum number of units allowed under Google’s old Terms of Service). These days you are allowed up to 11 units when you combine ad units, link units, referrals and searches. I’m not planning to use that many, but if I do, I could always use text widgets for the extra ones!
The Final Word
I’m looking forward to seeing how Adsense works. I’ll probably play with the positioning and type of ads to see how they perform. It’s a learning experience for me.
If you have any tips for me, please leave a comment. Thanks.