Reading all the bearish posts about AdSense lately would make it seem like the bottom is dropping out and nobody is on the upswing with AdSense. This would be incorrect because some of us are so busy improving our bottom line that we simply don't have time to relate all of those positive stories. Finally, I decided today looked as good a time as any to time to write a nice bullish post about AdSense, so you bears keep off this thread and post your tales of woe elsewhere, this one is for the bulls.
Make a Compelling Mission Statement
What does your site do and why should I bookmark it and come back?
You need to explain what your site is about to a first time visitor in a single compelling sentence. Find something you could turn into a site motto that catches their attention and makes them bookmark your site. Lots of articles and content are nice but if you don't SELL the customer (yes, visitors are customers) on your site it's a one time encounter.
Busting the Earnings Cap Myth
A couple of years ago I once thought I was at the peak of my online potential with one of my sites, for both traffic and earnings. This temporary mindset happened because my site was performing very steadily, very predictably, very status quo day after day, week after week, month after month. I looked at the situation and realized I had a ton of information to attract people to my site but they weren't finding it as well as they could be finding it in the search engines.
My daily traffic at the time was around 10K visitors a day so I took a step back and re-evaluated the situation and decided is was worth re-engineering my SEO site-wide to see if I could boost it to 15K/day as a simple goal. With a lot of research and keyword tweaking I was able to change how I positioned my site in the SE's and in 4 months traffic was up to 15K visitors. Not so surprisingly, the types of ads being displayed got better as well and the AdSense CTR improved as I was delivering a overall better product to both the search engines and visitors.
The encouraging thing was I added 50% more traffic and income with my first effort.
At this point, I figured the sky's the limit and my own imagination is the only thing holding me back.
Expanding your site's horizons
Just cranking out more and more of the same old content will not always bring you more and more visitors or improve your AdSense earnings.
Sometimes you need to expand and broaden your niche, take it local, make a compelling RSS feed for something other that just your articles. Depending on your niche, there may be a lot of local traffic you're missing because you don't address local markets. When I switched from solely doing generic content to also incorporate local content as well there was an almost immediate bump that propelled my site to 20K+ visitors a day and AdSense income improved as well.
Thin out thick content for more traction
Blogs and some CMS software are bad about having too much information on a single page. The best way to get good traction and leverage all of your content to the max is to break down each piece of content to it's own unique page. This is important because that piece of content now has the full weight for the entire page and the SE's and AdSense aren't trying to figure out the mess caused by multiple items jumbled on a page.
Learn from the news and information services and use headlines and snippets to drive visitors to the full blown content. As an added bonus, you're also driving them through multiple pages with multiple opportunities to display a wider variety of AdSense ads!
Maximizing each AdSense impression
Get rid of PSA's and have appropriate affiliate ads installed for "alternative ads" when AdSense has nothing to display. We've discussed how to identify and get rid of PSA ads in the past, but it's important you keep vigilant about this as every PSA ad is lost opportunity. The easiest way to identify when PSAs are being displayed is to look at your site stats and see how often your "alternative ads" page is being utilized. If it's a statistically small number of page views then I wouldn't worry about because I've seen PSAs pop up randomly for no reason and never show again on the same page. However, if PSAs are responsible for over a full percentage point of your page views you have a serious problem you need to fix.
How high is high?
I'm now getting about 700K visitors a month with that site and heading toward a million, that's the next goal. Not a shabby improvement from when I really started moving upward with only 300K visitors a month. It's a struggle and pushes my creativity to the limits to figure out how to take it to the next level, but that's also the thrill to see if it can be done. Yes, I'm also working on other sites that are starting to achieve good growth as well, but the thrill of hitting 1M visitors/month with a single site has it's own rewards in what you learn taking it there. At some point there is obviously a cap in how many people actually search for my topic on a daily basis but I'm positive I'm not there yet, not even close.
Competition in my area is heating up and in some parts I'm even taking a pounding from some newcomers, yet my traffic is still increasing. Some might see more competition as a problem but I see it more as a validation that I'm on the right track, doing the right things, and there will be huge rewards to gain.
How good is your imagination?
While others imagine the AdSense system is set up to beat them with earnings caps, smart pricing, and all sorts of other problems, I imagine I can improve my service and earnings and have done so successfully just like many others on WebmasterWorld.
If AdSense turns sour I imagine I could also do well with YPN or something similar.
There are lots of options, lots of things you can do to improve your bottom line, but if you can't imagine it can get better then it probably won't, so imagine it will and take the proactive steps to make it happen.