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Expanding Your Site for AdSense Success
Linear Expansion versus Exponential Expansion
Andrew Bassett




msg:1330721
 4:18 pm on Mar 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

I must admit, this is a spinoff of ronburk's thread.

With all the talk of constantly adding content, nobody seems to talk about the fundamentally different ways of adding content.

Idea 1: Linear expansion
This is the idea where you sit down, drop your head, and pump out x new pages per day on a consistent basis. Maybe they're useful, maybe they're not, but your rate of expansion is somewhat fixed. You'll have 20 pages, then 40, then 60, and so on.

Idea 2: Exponential expansion
This is the idea where you say to yourself "OK, I'm going to have 30 pages in my first few months, ~1,000 in year 2, ~40,000 in year 3, ~3,000,000 in year 4, etc."

Idea 1 is the most touted around here, but idea 2 has more potential. In order to actually DO idea 2, you need the following:
- Technical knowledge on how to make a scalable website
- Ideas on how you're going to get your content (I can't write it all myself, and it's too expensive to hire someone, so maybe there's ANOTHER way...)
- The constant shift of power (make a community-driven site, delegate tasks to your trusted members and give them fancy titles, and turn your web SITE into a web APPLICATION). Make people feel like they NEED to visit your site every day (you all know the feeling)!

Those who bang away at idea 1 will, for the most part, be the bottom-feeders of AdSense. Those who have a vision and a plan for idea 2 have the best fighting chance at living off AdSense.

So if you're thinking about becoming an AdSensei, you need to seriously drop idea 1 and think about idea 2. Anyone can build a megasite; you might need to learn a programming language, develop a fancy data-mining algorithm, and study internet addiction, but anyone with an idea, some free time, and the burning desire to make it exist can build such a website.

 

superpower




msg:1330751
 9:33 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

User-generated content and automation is the best and most profitable route for most webmasters.

The exception is if you have a well-known brand or don't mind putting in the time/marketing money to achieve that brand.

ogletree




msg:1330752
 9:36 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

MFAs are not touted around here- they are reviled.

That is not true. There is a very large chunk of WebmasterWorld members that make these sites including some mods.

You may hate them but some people are able to have very nice incomes from them.

ronburk




msg:1330753
 9:47 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Any site, whether it is one page or a million pages, must generate return visitors in order to be successful.

I disagree. If I can create a 1-page website that is visited by 1/10th of all Internet users and have 1/20th of them click on an ad, I can have a wildly successful site without ever having a single visitor return for a second look. (That's about 5 million clicks, if you do the math).

There are many different ways to skin the AdSense cat.

Kufu




msg:1330754
 9:48 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

ronburk,

What are the chances of a one page site actually getting that much traffic? That is not very realistic.

incrediBILL




msg:1330755
 9:52 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

anyone who makes a site just for the sake of AdSense revenue is a bottom feeder

So anyone that builds a site designed to make income is a bottom feeder?

That's crazy logic as many people build web sites designed to earn money but slapping AdSense on it makes them "bottom feeders"?

I don't buy it.

Scrapers I consider bottom feeders no matter how they monetize the site.

joeking




msg:1330756
 10:02 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The reality is that both idea 1 and idea 2 can and do work in real life.

And the reality is that the tortoise approach of idea 1 is more likely to cross the finish line before the hare approach of idea 2 unless you happen upon the next big thing in your niche.

Andrew Bassett




msg:1330757
 10:12 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

So anyone that builds a site designed to make income is a bottom feeder?

That's crazy logic as many people build web sites designed to earn money but slapping AdSense on it makes them "bottom feeders"?

I don't buy it.

I don't buy it either.

The point is this: If your train of thought is "I need some money; I hear AdSense makes some people rich. What kind of stuff should I write about?" then you're the most likely of anyone to be a bottom feeder.

If your train of thought is "Man it's cool making these pages. It's satisfying watching this thing become more popular. Hmm maybe I can have a site with some ads on it." then you're less likely to be a bottom feeder.

Then of course, if you've found a gimmick and your site is starting fires around the internet, you're the most likely to be a top cat.

The reality is that both idea 1 and idea 2 can and do work in real life.

And the reality is that the tortoise approach of idea 1 is more likely to cross the finish line before the hare approach of idea 2 unless you happen upon the next big thing in your niche.

Ah but remember that there is no finish line.

joeking




msg:1330758
 10:19 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Andrew, the finishing line is creating a site that fulfills your financial goal.

leveldisc




msg:1330759
 10:23 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is the point trying to be made here?

There are 1000s of ways of developing websites with adsense (and without it for that matter). Sometimes one way works, sometimes it doesn't.

Why the obession with "the right way" to do it?

Grassroots




msg:1330760
 10:29 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are no real rules on the web or right and wrong way. What works for one may not work for all and vice versa.

There is no such thing as a bottom feeder either, a site designed to make money is a site designed to make money whether it be via affiliates, AdSense or by selling books like Amazon. Money is money whatever currency it's in.

What I will say is that if you build a site with quality content and target that site towards a demograph who will find that content useful, you will make money regardless of site size or volume of traffic whether it be via affiliates, AdSense or selling books like Amazon.

*If done right*

As the saying goes: content is king!

But again, your content doesn't really need to be of a high quality for you to make money which takes us back to the "there are no rules on the internet" point.

I once built a 1 page 'FAQ' type site on a certain subject that earned $50 a day through affiliates, it was on page 5 of Google or something and only got 150 visitors a day or so. The 'FAQ's' weren't particularly helpful but the affiliate links were, thus I made money.

This visitors never returned either, it was an entrapment type of site, to catch certain users with garbage content aimed specifically to grab the attention of those users in a spam type of way.

That is one of many thousands of money making examples using one of many thousands of 'content' examples.

Today I try to focus on a set of my own guidelines that I know works, that I know will make me money 99.9% of the time. A rule of thumb that suits my own skills and working hours.

In time, you may find your own ideal template that works best for you. But remember not to dismiss other ways, other ideas, ways and ideas that don't conform to your own guidelines and experience/knowledge because if the web is one thing, it is an ever changing world that operates a few speeds quicker than the 'real world' offline.

incrediBILL




msg:1330761
 11:11 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The only "right way" is whichever way pays in the end and doesn't violate Googles T&C's.

LifeinAsia




msg:1330762
 11:24 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

If your train of thought is "Man it's cool making these pages. It's satisfying watching this thing become more popular. Hmm maybe I can have a site with some ads on it." then you're less likely to be a bottom feeder.

Then of course, if you've found a gimmick and your site is starting fires around the internet, you're the most likely to be a top cat.


Exactly! You started out making the pages because it's cool. Your initial intent of making the pages was NOT AdSense.

markus007




msg:1330763
 11:37 pm on Mar 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

There are about 5,000 sites that get more then 1 million pageviews a day. I think someone tossed out the number of 400k plus adsense publishers? The ability to nickle and dime your way to the top with a site generating millions of pageviews is limited. Stastically you are better off making a review site in a high paying area and cranking out content. At the same time people with massive sites will make a heck of a lot more money then some little review site. But for every monster site there are probably 200+ successful medium sized review sites like europeforvisitors etc

disgust




msg:1330764
 12:13 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

in my opinion, there are four categories of potential-niches:

high quality, high volume traffic: obviously the ideal, but the hardest to find. and once you find them, they're going to be hard to compete in.

low quality, high volume traffic: this is personally what I've got a lot of. "entertainment" sector sites, etc. on some of these sites I'm getting 500,000 pageviews a day... but not breaking 1$ CPM.

high quality, low volume traffic: this is the sort of thing that a one person operation isn't likely to be able to get 500,000 pageviews/day in no matter how hard you try and how much effort you put into it. but you don't need it, because these are the sectors where a $20 or even 50$ ecpm aren't unheard of.

that leaves just "low quality, low volume" niche potentials. these aren't desirable for obvious reasons.

this division of niche type is inevitable, but leads to a lot of frustrated webmasters: the high quality, low volume folks are left baffled as to how the low quality, high volume folks get so much traffic. and the low quality, high traffic folks are left baffled as to how the high quality, low volume traffic folks get such an incredible cpm.

either strategy works. what works in one type of niche won't work in another. there's nothing wrong with exchanging notes with people (hell, I wouldn't mind picking apart someone's brain that can consistantly get 10$+ ecpms) in radically different niche types, but you need to keep in mind that they live in a different niche, and they therefor have a whole new set of rules.

annej




msg:1330765
 12:37 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Idea 1: Linear expansion
This is the idea where you sit down, drop your head, and pump out x new pages per day on a consistent basis. Maybe they're useful, maybe they're not, but your rate of expansion is somewhat fixed. You'll have 20 pages, then 40, then 60, and so on.

There is nothing wrong with Linear Expansion but it has to be done smart.

Maybe some people make it by pumping out pages. My original site was a matter of pumping out pages but they were topics that interested me and they were well researched so that added something unique to the internet. That got my rankings up there.

Now I never write a page without doing some research on what people are looking for. I use the tools that tell how often given key words are used in searches plus suggestion tools along with my site search stats and my domain stats. I also keep open to what people are talking about on related mail lists and discussion boards.

Only then do I do the research and write an article. It sure beats writing a dozen articles that no one will be interested in.

CanadianLove




msg:1330766
 1:23 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

"idea" #2 looks awful like "lets make a tons of pages so we can generate tons of Page Rank" circa 2003.

iblaine




msg:1330767
 2:17 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

>IMO, pretty much anyone who makes a site just for the sake of AdSense revenue is a bottom feeder.

Very true. Create value. There's more to online advertising than trying to please your favorite ad network.

gopi




msg:1330768
 2:49 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> low quality, high volume traffic

This kinda sites are a non-earners now but will become cash cows if adsense implements behavioral targeting (displaying ads based on user's surf/search history irrespective of the page context) in the not so far future...

Andrew Bassett




msg:1330769
 2:59 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Heh, woohoo, I sure hope so.

Teshka




msg:1330770
 4:10 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I've written all my own content, and I make 5 figures a month from Adsense. I don't think I've ever spent more than two hours a day writing, if that. You have to be smart picking your niches, but by no means are you limited to being a bottom feeder because you prefer to handle everything yourself.

The hassle of moderating user-submitted crap gives me a headache just thinking about it. Not to mention that repeat visitors don't click ads, so I see little appeal in starting a community site.

I'm not saying you couldn't make buttloads if you grew something into the next epinions, but that's certainly not the only way to make a good living with Adsense.

disgust




msg:1330771
 4:23 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

This kinda sites are a non-earners now but will become cash cows if adsense implements behavioral targeting (displaying ads based on user's surf/search history irrespective of the page context) in the not so far future...

be interesting if that'd actually happen. I have my doubts, as people are already so paranoid about google's collection of data. seems like a lot for them to risk in terms of PR.

then again, there is a lot of potential there. if google doesn't do it, someone is bound to.

calling that sort of niche "non-earning" seems a bit extreme to me, though. I've got multiple sites in that sort of niche-style (low quality, high traffic) that're each earning me 300$+ a day.

maybe that is "non-earning" to someone that's figured out how to succeed in the high traffic, high quality niches. I guess my point was that there's more than one way to make a decent living doing this sort of thing. people that stick to one niche-style tend to get tunnel vision. I haven't really run into a lot of people that run incredibly successful sites in both areas too often.

shinyblue




msg:1330772
 4:57 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

This isn't a debate about content: obviously quality content is better in the long run. Duh.

Try this on: you start writing quality content on a consistent basis, the turtle approach. Then as you start making money, you re-invest it in your site. You hire content writers, good ones, and have them pump out quality content. As you make more and more money, you hire more writers, and people to find out what kind of articles people want the most, and you write about those. You invest in usability testing, in marketing, in PR, in SEO. Whatever you need to invest in to grow. Obviously you're going to make more than someone just writing their 1 article a day for a year.

The point is, if you treat your AdSense sites like a business, and reinvest your capital in them, they will grow like a business (with potential for exponential growth). If you try to do it all yourself, then it will grow linearly, because you only have as much time/energy as one person.

This is the point of "work on your business, not in your business" that is made in the E-Myth and some other books. Many people starting sites aren't really taking an entrepreneurial mindset, and that's what's required to really make lots of money. At anything, not just AdSense.

gopi




msg:1330773
 6:55 am on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> if that'd actually happen

Most of internet's ad inventory is non-contextual (think myspace, news sites etc ) and behavioral targeting is the best way to monetize it ...IMHO Google as both the worlds biggest search engine and the biggest ad network is in the best position to go in that direction. Yes , there are big PR issues to deal with but the upside is so big that google will eventually take the risk.

dataguy




msg:1330774
 1:51 pm on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

This isn't a debate about content: obviously quality content is better in the long run. Duh.

The point is, if you treat your AdSense sites like a business, and reinvest your capital in them, they will grow like a business (with potential for exponential growth). If you try to do it all yourself, then it will grow linearly, because you only have as much time/energy as one person.

Right on, shinyblue.

I think most people responding to this post are missing the point. Andrew isn't condoning low-quality content, he's reiterating one of the points Markus makes in his famous thread.

Whether your site grows exponentially by user generated content or by reinvesting the profits to increase expansion, exponential growth will take your business farther than linear growth. It's like the old question of having the choice between receiving a thousand dollars a day for a month, or receiving a penny the first day of the month, then doubling every day after that. Do the math.

As ronburk has pointed out, you can build a typical content site and earn an average of $5.35/hour for your time. If you are above average you may even be able to make $30/hour for the time you spend pecking away in front of your computer. But what happens when you aren't working? You may still keep earning AdSense revenue, but your web site is not growing and your business is not expanding.

Or you can take your entrepreneurial talent and create a new and unique web site which user post their own content to and then pay a few stay-at-home moms $10/hour to police your user generated content. This is the model I use on one of my sites, and it has grown between 20%-30% every month for the past 3 years. I've now bought out my hosting company since they spend most of their time building new servers for me anyway.

I guess I just don't understand the arguement for having an idea #1 site, outside of it being a hobby.

Andrew Bassett




msg:1330775
 5:25 pm on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks, dataguy, for the correct interpretation of my comments.

Can idea #1 be wildly successful? Yes, absolutely, because as was mentioned earlier in the thread, you can have linear expansion with exponential traffic growth.

Kufu




msg:1330776
 7:33 pm on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

dataguy,

Very true what you are saying. For now I am making only a little bit of money from AdSense, but every bit of it goes right back into the site, and though the results are small for now, they are growing slowly, and I can see that once a certain threshold is reached where I can reinvest a good sum of money back into the site every month that the growth will be much faster.

There are a lot of ways to make money from content and traffic, but long term goals and planning are what is going to be the difference between the truly successful sites and the ones that come and go, or come but don't go anywhere (he he).

httpwebwitch




msg:1330777
 10:02 pm on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

AdSensei

Your post would already be deemed invaluable just for coining that word.

dataguy




msg:1330778
 10:59 pm on Mar 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Kufu,

Very true what you are saying. For now I am making only a little bit of money from AdSense, but every bit of it goes right back into the site, and though the results are small for now, they are growing slowly, and I can see that once a certain threshold is reached where I can reinvest a good sum of money back into the site every month that the growth will be much faster.

Very good. I believe that there is a nearly magical threshold that is crossed when a website is able to take on its first employee. It may be because the web site will get a fresh prospective from a set of eyes other than the creator/webmaster. It could be because visitors sense that the web site isn't dead as it will change more often and support emails get answered more quickly. Whatever it is, it really separates a web site from the gazillion other set-and-forget web sites.

I've been able to witness a few of these sites "Go Nuclear" as they quickly grew to the point where two employees were needed, then 4, etc.

incrediBILL




msg:1330779
 4:43 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exactly! You started out making the pages because it's cool.

Give me a break.

How many people open gas stations and Denny's because "they're cool"?

People open a business to make MONEY, so why is the web any different?

Building a web site to earn a living is NOT bottom feeding.

sheesh

Andrew Bassett




msg:1330780
 5:43 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Basically, if you do it because (to you) it's cool, then you're more likely to have a passion, and therefore more likely to know what you're talking about and be able to talk in depth, and therefore more likely to have really useful content.

If you pump out pages 'cause it's profitable, then you're either a MFA'er or just really really good at writing lots of stuff.

mm1220




msg:1330781
 9:22 am on Apr 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

How many people open gas stations and Denny's because "they're cool"?

What about open source software? People do that because it's cool.

This 87 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 87 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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