True. I was thinking more of regular visitors who will come directly to your site.
As for the pages that might be reached through search results, you make a good case for the importance of optimizing your entire site!
If anyone hasn't seen the heatmaps Arctrust mentions, you can find all them (recently updated and localized) here:
Removed my home page adsense last year, and found almost no difference in earnings, and the site experience I believe went up. People still navigate deeper and invetiably find what they need. Sometimes it works better as instead of hitting general ads on the main page, they hit more niche ads on more specific inner pages and are then more apt to click on them.
[edited by: CainIV at 8:39 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2006]
Ok, since reading this thread, I decided to check my stats for this month and found the leaderboard on my homepage got the second highest number of clicks amongst all pages, earning the second highest!
Maybe that suggests my site is cheap (I definitely don't think so) but I suppose in my niche, people are looking for quick answers and jump around fairly quickly. And because my ads are quite targetted, they click on them.
I would also like to know what Hobbs asked.
Which ad format has the largest inventory of image ads?
If your site is monetized by adsense, then absolutely run the adds on the home page. Your goal is to sell the click, why beat around the bush.
On the other hand, if your site is monetized by selling your product or service, then no way. If your site is so bad that a newly arrived visitor would rather click an add than learn more about your product or service, well then you have deeper issues than where to place adds.
When I see, for example - a web design firm - based on a previous reply, showing adds for their competitors, I lose 100% confidence in that site and would never buy from them.
My main site is monetized by AdSense (and an affiliate program) but it exists as a service to the public and the members of the community. The front page is the gateway to the community that does "the good". The internal monetized landing pages, while also offering good info also offer ads that finance the operation.
The site existed before AdSense and hopefully will continue to exist should AdSense not be available to me.
Altruism aside, if you want to grow a community, you can't send every visitor away to your advertisers and/or your competition, IMHO.
[edited by: RonS at 12:19 am (utc) on Sep. 15, 2006]
I've been looking into your question, Hobbs and Khensu, and the image ad volumes vary constantly as AdWords campaigns are created or closed throughout the day.
Even assuming a constant set of advertisers, the ads available will depend on your users' locations, your site's vertical, your particular content within that vertical, any filtered URLs, any site- or content-targeting campaigns reaching you or other publishers....
Long story short, it's not possible to tell you where the image ads are, because they're moving all the time.
I don't have ads on the home page of my main travel site.
My philosophy is a deal I make with myself:
If I am showing a home page ad to a reader, it says that I don't trust what could be taking that ad's place to get users to my content.
If there is a 50/50 chance of a user clicking the ad and giving me money .. or going deeper into my site and taking the chance of not getting the ad revenue .. I'll take the latter.
|If there is a 50/50 chance of a user clicking the ad and giving me money .. or going deeper into my site and taking the chance of not getting the ad revenue .. I'll take the latter. |
Do you also leave ads off your inside pages so that readers who arrive via search won't click the ads instead of exploring your site?
(Of course, if most of your users arrive on the home page, my question isn't relevant--but if that's the case, you need to learn why your inside pages aresn't showing up in search results.)
To add another variable to the mix, I think that how heavyweight your content is can be an issue.
Many of my site visitors that are truly interested in the topic itself simply don't see the ads wherever they are! For example, visitor does a search on google, and due to the serps position finds my site. Finds that unlike others it's not trying to sell the product, but is a truly informational site with very deep content. They stay around and read a few of the pages, often they will come back later and read some more.
These pages can be difficult to monetise, and the more detailed the information the more difficult they are to monetise! But when they do get clicks, often they are biggies. However, I believe that having ads on every page simply makes the visitor ad blind for the pages ads do work well on. Hence my decision to not have ads on most pages.
In contrast, the main site index page has very little information on it. Currently just a few paragraphs on what they can expect to find on the site. Traditionally, that page has had a good ctr, and worked well with adsense until the last couple of months. It's now ad-free for the moment, but I'm working on a possible solution to my current predicament.
But to answer the question, I would prefer not to have ads at all on the home page, but as it's the best earner for me without detracting serious researchers browsing the site then that's where the ads will (hopefully) go. I don't think it looks tacky if you think about the design, and integrate them well. If you spend time and effort on it, they can seamlessly form part of the page and provided the ads are complimentary (not the MFA s**t that appears) the page can work as well with ads as without. And it earns you money :)
|(Of course, if most of your users arrive on the home page, my question isn't relevant--but if that's the case, you need to learn why your inside pages aresn't showing up in search results.) |
Actually, all of my pages are indexed and many of them show up as high or higher (for appropriate 2-3 word phrases) as does my index page.
I realize that my comment may not make immediate bottom line sense. Adsense $$ are not my only motivation.
Based on this thread, I thought I'd test it out. I have a high traffic site that hadn't had adsense on the home page, I just added a block with it's own channel, I'll let you know how it goes.
I have also added a nicely blended block to my home page and it has been running now 24 hours.
The results are amazing.... I am seeing positive clickthough rates....
However - my whole site is about one subject with different variations on each page therefore the home page always has very relevant content.
My home page runs no ads because AdSense never could target that page right anyway. It never paid well.
If you can put ads on your home page that outperform your main product dump your original business and retire on adsense. Otherwise it just cheapens the space, sell your stuff on the main page.
I run a large informational/commentary site. My home page accounts for less than 1% of my traffic and when I used to run AdSense on the home page, it accounted for less than 0.1% of total AdSense revenue.
There are a lot of copy-cat sites out there and I want to make sure that anyone viewing my site doesn't mistake my site for one of the scraped copies. I also have a quite a few competitors who all put AdSense on their home page, and I want my site to stand apart from them.
My quest for the last year has been to try to figure out how I can keep this site profitable for the next 10 years or more. I know that the few dollars I could get from putting AdSense on my home page will not make a difference to the longevity of my business, but the image that AdSense on the home page conveys could do some damage. It's just not worth it for me.
|Right now the newspaper industry is all abuzz about putting ads on the front pages (WSJ just started) and on the front of the sections (NYT just started). Does it hurt the product, blah, blah, blah. |
Many (possibly most) newspapers have been running ads on the home pages of their Web editions all along, so what's new to print is old hat to their online audiences.
|My home page runs no ads because AdSense never could target that page right anyway. |
I've had times when Adsense would grab some keyword off my homepage and use it for the whole site.
Loosely speaking that's not so bad, except that keywords on the interior pages could give a bit more targeting.
At times like that its helped to take Adsense off the homepage for a few days. Why that would make a difference is beyond me, but it seems to work.
By removing the ads from the homepage, when visitors get inside the site they won't think, "There's those ads again" but instead possibly, "That looks interesting."
For me the problem is that my site is a portal and the home page has more than 100 categories. It shows article titles and descriptions too. I can target the ads but target to what content? So it's going to be just like another category with a ver little likelihood of clicks.
I think it really depends on the purpose of the site. I wouldn't want my CPA to have a bunch of adsense on his home page, but I wouldn't mind it on a purely informational site about finance/accounting. I think it also out of place on a site with a primary purpose of selling something, it's just distracting the primary goal: conversions.
And don't forget the problem of other webmasters being less likely to link to a front page that has AdSense on it.
|And don't forget the problem of other webmasters being less likely to link to a front page that has AdSense on it. |
How many Webmasters link to a home page without peeking at a site's inside pages?
For what it's worth, I could name a travel site that made the FORBES "Best of the Web" list with an AdSense leaderboard on the home page.
I usually suffer from poor ad targeting on my home page. I am thinking about just putting an "AdLinks" bar on the home page - no other ad blocks.
I feel soooo cheap!
I'm just gonna take my bag of quarters and sit in the corner :)
|How many Webmasters link to a home page without peeking at a site's inside pages |
I surveyed WW members regarding this at least twice, and one of which was in the AdSense forum, and the consensus was that they (WW members) are much less likely to link to another site with text ads on their front page.
It's not about hiding the ads inside, it is almost expected to see ad there nowadays, we're discussing the front page.
Don't ask me to explain why you webmasters don't link to front pages with text ads, it is an observation that has been confirmed twice.
|I surveyed WW members regarding this at least twice, and one of which was in the AdSense forum, and the consensus was that they (WW members) are much less likely to link to another site with text ads on their front page. |
I'm skeptical about unscientific surveys, and about samples that are limited to Webmaster World. I'm much more interested in whether major magazines, newspapers, libraries, etc. are willing to link to sites with text ads on the home pages, and I haven't noticed any problems since I put AdSense on my home pages in 2003. (Mind you, magazine and newspaper sites often have ads on their own home pages.)
I'd be more concerned about hostility toward affiliate links or display ads, especially from academic institutions and public libraries. Still, everything's a tradeoff, and revenues--not links--are what pay my mortgage, put dinner on the table, and cover the expenses that go into building an authoritative site.
Also, many links are "deep links," not homepage links, and a Webmaster who's leery of ads on the home page of Communion-Wine-Reviews.com won't be any happier about linking to that site's ad-supported inside page about Merlots from an article about the best grapes for sacramental sipping.
|I'd be more concerned about hostility toward affiliate links or display ads, especially from academic institutions and public libraries. |
I'd be EXACTLY as concerned about those ads as AdSense, not more or less.
But anyway as you say, it's a tradeoff. There's no absolute best course of action.
|I'm skeptical about unscientific surveys, and about samples that are limited to Webmaster World |
In the lack of another "scientific" study
WebMasterWorld where webmasters hang out is as good as a venue gets.
As for the value of links, I'll take links and traffic any day over front page AdSense earnings, which by the way is covered for me by direct advertisers most of the year.
Sine we are on this topic, how about a third run for this survey:
Would you as a webmaster link to homepages with text AdSense ads as readily as you do to ones with no text ads?
(putting aside other reasons for linking or not linking out)
a) No I don't link to homepages with AdSense on them
b) Sometimes I link but only if the content is exceptional to make up for the existence of AdSense on the home page.
c) Yes I link, AdSense is not a factor.
let's get to the bottom of this one more time.
[edited by: Hobbs at 5:43 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2006]
|There's no absolute best course of action. |
Sure there is. First, go back and read everything I said in this thread. After that, whenever you have to make a decision in life, have some coffee and ask yourself, "What would Car_Guy do?"
>What would Car_Guy do?
and do the opposite ;-)
btw my personal asnwer is (b)
|Would you as a webmaster link to homepages with text AdSense ads as readily as you do to ones with no text ads? |
However, it's unlikely that I'd link to a site where AdSense dwarfed the actual page content (whether on the home page or on inside pages). In other words, I probably wouldn't link to a site that used large AdSense rectangles above the content or that or had three AdSense ad units on each page--though I might make an exception if the site were such an authority in its niche that I felt obligated to mention it to my readers.
In the end, it comes down to editorial judgment. Some people have it; others don't. If you can't tell good from bad, then arbitrary rules may make you feel better, even when they lead to bad decisions.
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