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Does your "worst site" makes more money than the others?
I'm honestly confused, the abandoned website is working just fine

 9:43 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

As many webmasters here I have more than one website. Here is the deal.

Abandoned site: 5+ years old. Hasn't changed for like 3 years. Redesigned 3 times and came back to using a simple clean design. Gets no updates, in fact, zero updates for the last 2 years. Traffic has gone down a little bit but still the earnings make me happy (no, nothing like $200 or $300 per month).

I "abandoned" the site for complex reasons... more related to committing myself to my other sites to make them grow.

The other sites... (from 1, 2 to 4 years old) well, they have more traffic (from 2 to 3.5 times more). Way better design, better looking and receiving comments every day (and congrats every week). Still they make less $ than the "abandoned site". I decided to work harder on the websites reading and researching, still... can't beat the performance of the "ugly website".

It is obvious I should work more on the site that's working fine as it has a very good ROI, but I find myself surprised and confused as all the work done (fresh content, constant updates, great pictures of widgets and great-fast design) have worked little compared to [doing+nothing] on my other site.

Any of you have an ugly duck like this? funny huh?



 1:57 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah I have a small, older, not updated web site that makes more money than my big one with 10 times the traffic and 100 times the content. It's the topic. It's more commercially oriented while my bigger one is not. Live and learn.


 11:36 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have several sites which I update frequently - and I have noticed that if I left one of them (doesn't really matter which one) without any updates for months, CPC increases a bit (1-10%). After I start to update that site again, CPC falls to the "normal" level.

I have tried to reason with the phenomena:
- content doesn't change so adsense has time to learn what ads work really well.
- updated site gets poorly converting traffic (changing site = news, vs stable site = hobby instructions or something).
- unchanged site is deemed somehow better/more trustworthy.
- updates usually mean more content, which means more non-ads text to divert visitors.


 11:59 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

sometimes sites don't need updating ...

i have a site that has been in adsense since the 2nd month of adsense launch, it has never been updated in any way ... it is however a useful resource for those interested in the topic.

earnings have been up and down over the years but generally on a monthly basis they are solid.

>>Any of you have an ugly duck like this?

well that is subjective and i know for sure from my main ecommerce site (not adsense) that i sell more product than the competitors of mine that i know personally, some would say my site is old fashioned, uncool and boring looking - i'm only interested in how much people buy!


 3:45 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Domain age is a big factor. As long as you take care of any impending linkrot, an old website will usually rank well.


 10:41 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some of my old sites that are rarely updated are doing really well these days.

I also got into the habit of micro developing a site, perhaps just creating one page, and then leaving it for a year or so.

I would then going back to it to develop further and place affiliate links etc. Surprising how many natural links you can pick up this way. This method has worked out pretty well for me.


 11:03 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

>- updates usually mean more content, which means more non-ads text to divert visitors.

I think that's some of it. The other is that haute design, even good, solid, user-friendly design gets in the way of conversion.

Welcome to the Ugly Sells Club, one of the oldest on WebmasterWorld.

site:webmasterworld.com +"ugly sells"


 8:34 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Could it be that since the content isn't updated, more visitors are clicking the ads to get to more relevant sites?


 8:35 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I actually am playing in the kid's league in terms of revenue, but have the same situation with the old and moderately attractive site and the new one into which I have invested enormous amounts of time.

Apart from age, it is also the kind of traffic that you attract. I think there is no simple way to determine how much the age does and how much other factors play a role. I think it is more useful to compare your site's performance with the one of others that are older, but competing directly. For example, my new site has 10 times more and better content than many of its competitors (one especially annoys me), but simply can't beat it. The competitor is probably 8 years old and has grown a huge number of inbound links from similarly stable sites.


 10:19 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Could it be that since the content isn't updated, more visitors are clicking the ads to get to more relevant sites?

I have been experiencing something quite similar: Adsense CTR seems to drop when the content is more relevant (they want to read more), and CTR would be higher when the site has a bad design (they just want to get out) so that could bring in more money in the short run. However, in the long run that is a questionable strategy to survive.

I tend to think that you would make even more from the "ugly site" in the long run, if you added some content every now and then. Perhaps the site is ath the moment generating more revenues because you have a better paying niche, more valuable traffic sources, ...


 10:43 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think it is certainly good advice to work on the old and ugly site - in a dynamic environment like the web, you have to keep moving to stay where you are. Don't risk loosing traffic from the old stie as long as it seems to make money.


 11:08 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Way better design, better looking

Design isn't as important as the topic. If the sites are about different things, they attract different kinds of traffic (e.g. one could attract more click-happy visitors than the other).


 11:09 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

It is so weird this has come up. I don't often look through my adsense account as the money is always around the same figure.

The interesting thing is the two sites that I haven't touched for 4 years are out performing the other 6 (which I update monthly) by a long way.

I tend to agree that adsense does seem to settle down and perform well with content that doesn't change much over the years.


 12:20 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Are the sites about the same or different things? If the latter, then you compare apples and oranges.


 1:33 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

it's a 1:3 ratio on both which is why it stood out so much.


 2:19 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I launched a basic version of my mega-site a few years back. I have not really catered too much to it. Very basic layout, very slow growing content.

It actually earns better per visitor and click than my mega-site by a long shot. Similar niche, but very different services being offered.


 2:47 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Could it be that since the content isn't updated, more visitors are clicking the ads to get to more relevant sites?

I've been thinking about it. I've read some threads here about how some "techniques" to improve AS performance just mean visitors leaving your site, I see some relation here.

Are the sites about the same or different things? If the latter, then you compare apples and oranges.

All the site are inside the same bubble. The ugliest and my prettiest are in fact like 80% the same with the difference of design, 5X the traffic (got higher this week) and like 20X more content.

I'm agreeing on the reading. Once can't stay for hours at one site, there is like a "curve" of time-interactivity.

I'm thinking on putting some new content to see what happens.


 4:56 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is the exact frustration I have this morning. I made some great enhancements to the code and look of my long running website. The result? People appear to stay on the site longer, view more pages but my CTR and overall revenue plummet by 50%. Ugly sells again big time.


 8:23 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Any of you have an ugly duck like this?

I have an old ~ 5-10 page website that almost makes as much as my fairly new website (currently has over 1000 pages).


 5:42 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi, do you use any seo methods to promote your little site?


 4:59 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't promote my old site anymore. The last work I made on it was optimizing it, it validates, is just fast, simple, clean and SEO friendly. Most of the links came naturally (just as the other sites).


 6:27 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you know why those links will come naturally?

I have tried hard to promote my sites and get more links, but it seems like google don't like the way I do.

I only use article marketing method.


 6:40 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

One of my sites has 100s more impressions than the other. The smaller website does better on adsense.


 8:04 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you know why those links will come naturally?

Buying cheap articles on the subject you know nothing about and throwing a 10 pages web site will probably not do it these days.

Nowadays, to get enough links with just the content, you either bring a fresh perspective on a subject, you're an authority on the matter or you are the first to write about it.

A lot of webmasters here have been doing it a long time and have old, badly designed, web sites here and there that acquired good links when it was much easier.

But now, you better bring something new on the table and be prepared to fight for your ranking against copiers and competitors.

Especially when more than half of the links you'll get will be nofollowed just because people use social media sites instead of making their own freely hosted sites.


 4:18 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

simply put: advertisers have to pay different bids based on the vertical in which they are marketing. further, you will find that people classified under distinct demographics, psychographics and interactive behavioral profiles will act differently when online. a tech savvy market will at times automatically block ads; a less tech savvy group or even those who don't find much information online pertinent to their queries, will click links across a wider expanse of their eye paths; thus you may generate more revenue;


 5:56 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think old "ugly" sites perform better because they get seniority from search engines which brings people in, but when visitors get there the ad text which is likely better up to speed with current events than the sites copy, gets their attention.

I can't remember who the guy that said this was, but I'll never forget what he said, "You don't get paid to bring visitors in, you get paid to drive them away."


 6:47 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Absolutely, the sites that I'm not touching, and indeed, some of the ugliest sites I've created (intentionally ugly by the way) have remarkable eCPM and CTR all things considered. Go figure.

Sometimes it does seem that readability and usability work against ad revenues.


 10:50 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was thinking about this the other day..... I am small time, and revenue is low, but provides some extra fun $$... anyways. the sites i ignore seem to do the best. Weird, because the plants in my greenhouse that I forget about also seem to do the best. i thought it was a funny coincidence. probably a theory or law about giving things too much attention there somewhere.

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