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Is it Still Possible to Make a Full-Time Income From Adsense?
working on adsense only

 11:40 am on Mar 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

My ecom site has been hit with some sort of filter/penalty/panda - not quite sure what but, google has fallen out of love with it.

This problem means that my income is down, but my mortgage still needs paying!

I've played around a bit with adsense over the past 18 months or so, making a few dollars here and there.

Wondering if it is possible to do this full-time or is it something that I should just have has a small income stream?

If it is possible to make a living off it, does anyone have any best advice, or up to date course I could follow that still works, post panda etc etc?



 5:00 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

superclown, do you deal with those companies directly or with other adsense-type programs?


 5:33 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

They typically don't participate in threads about daily fluctuations in income because they know it's going to be a bunch at the end of the month regardless of the periodic ups and downs

I have already come across a few of these after being registered for only a couple of weeks. You cannot possible have time to give stats on forums in virtual real time, if you're busy with your business.

And you are also right, I'm looking for someone making serious coin that can throw me some proper advice, learnt on the job. But, for me it is hard to see the genuine from the smoke and mirror charlatans!


 6:11 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

The Rules of AdSense Club.

1st RULE: You do not make a living off AdSense earnings.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT make a living off AdSense earnings.


 6:33 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

My ecom site has been hit with some sort of filter/penalty/panda - not quite sure what but, google has fallen out of love with it.


FWIW, I built my online business so that I basically generate my own daily traffic to my sites. Anything I get from Google, Bing, etc. is icing on the cake. I would give that advice to anyone else.

You have to pay the mortgage, so that may mean backing off on your full-time AdSense efforts for a while to get a job to pay the bills and slowly build your online business in your free time.

Is it Still Possible to Make a Full-Time Income From Adsense?

For those who say it's not, the answer is probably "NO." For those who are willing to work hard AND smart and learn to avoid the negativity the answer is "Yes" - it's possible. As the saying goes, "it's hard to soar with the eagles with so many turkeys trying to pull you down."


[edited by: farmboy at 6:39 pm (utc) on Mar 12, 2012]


 6:38 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Getting to the point of making a living with Adsense, which I've actually been doing for some time, has been a LOT of work. Lots of mistakes, trial and error, tears, etc. It does not happen over night. Now I am diversifying my income, but I think it will take several other little businesses to match my Adsense revenue.


 6:48 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google must come up with something new either for publishers, advertisers and average internet users.


 7:55 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

(yea, that'll happen)

I don't even consider a site seasoned enough to put full bore AdSense on for a year after it launches. Build traffic first, then the money comes.


 10:27 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

you still can make money from Adsense, but you have to be very specific at what you do. General information and UGC will only earn enough if you have huge amounts of traffic and aren't looking like MFA. AND, it is SIGNIFICANTLY harder to get big earnings than 5 years ago because of Big Business waking up to the web (which was clearly a series of tubes to them 5 years ago), and because of the SE land mines.

the best way is to have either a completely commercial site, or a site where you can generate visitor's interest yet can either tie it to actual products or have completely commercial sections on it (please, not another 1000th social network!). so, how do you like to rave year after year about vacuum cleaners (this is a hypothetical example of a widget)?


 11:42 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

i think the worst mistake that people make is that they think of a subject, before they think about the ads.

I totally disagree. The internet has been totally debased by AdSense and other affiliate programmes.

The theory of having a site about something you are passionate about and can effectively record your knowledge still rings true [unless dopey Panda doesn't like it].

A good, knowledgeable site is still the way to go. By all means make it SE friendly, solely because it is easier for people to find.

A site made with AdSense [or anything else] in mind will always be a site with AdSense in mind. The amount of MFA I have to drill down through today, compared to ten years ago, is utterly appalling.

Write about what you know best and love.

The only valuable suggestion I can offer, in retrospect after 15 years, is learn Server Side Includes or SSI. Someone will no doubt suggest something they think better.

SSI allows you to alter one text file and, as with CSS, one simple small change becomes site wide, including the ads you present.


 3:43 am on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do, if I move to Thailand :P

Which I might just do one day


 9:24 am on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do, if I move to Thailand
Its extremely cheap over there :)

 9:40 am on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nice and warm.. pleasant friendly people too...

what am I doing sat on a sinking rock, full of angry, miserable people just outside of the Eurozone?


 10:16 am on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

superclown, do you deal with those companies directly or with other adsense-type programs?

I checked on who was placing Adwords ads in the categories I was producing clicks for, contacted them and offered to provide business for them directly on a cost per sale, as against cost per click, basis. Some of them were a bit dubious but once one came aboard they all did. We now have a win-win situation, I make more money and so do they. Google get zilch. And most of all, no constant fears of an email out of the blue telling us our accounts are cancelled because some 50c an hour guy in the Third World doesn't like the site I've put Adwords on.


 3:21 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's worth pointing out that most of the posters who say yes to your question launched their sites many years ago.

I see the same thing everywhere. The answer is yes if you built your site in the early years and bought a domain name based on a valuable keyword.

Those people got established and made good money when the good money was available.

The answer is no if you started recently, or at least very unlikely.

Consider a few facts:

1. Indexed Web pages are growing 70% a year.

2. Domains are growing 30% a year.

3. Internet advertising is growing less than 20% a year, and the rate of growth is slowing.

In other words, page and domain growth is far outpacing ad growth. More sites and pages are competing for fewer ads.


 3:47 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've deliberately kept out of this thread because I feel that AdSense is now useless insofar as I am concerned.

My sites are authority, my sites are also niche widget specialised, my first site on its own domain name was started in 1994 and I have been in AdSense from the very beginning. My real world B&M business is 170 years old, we are one of the leading international suppliers within our widget industry.

That said, as many know, I am at the point of removing AdSense because of its extremely poor performance especially with regards to CTR. For example let me compare 1-12th March 2012 v 2011:

CTR 53.9%
EPC 96.2%
eCPM 51.0%
Earnings 35.9%

This is my busiest time of year yet my earnings so far this month v February are 85.5% with my CTR at 85.7%

Don't ask me what's going on, May 6th 2011 my CTR was slashed overnight to under 50% with, as usual, no freakin' explanation.

wokka - If you can live with this kind of crap then good luck to you however I wouldn't recommend AdSense to anyone wanting to try and earn a decent living, it is far too volatile and unpredictable, and unless you get some serious traffic numbers, probably a waste of time.

AdSense is precisely like a casino, there's only one big winner however there are occasional success stories and especially so, seemingly, if you have MFA keyword sites.


 3:58 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I use a mix of direct ad sales, Adsense, Commission Junction and Amazon Associates. I also sell a "kit" related to one of my niches directly.

Yes, I could live off it, but I still have a day job in the tech sector.


 9:57 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes you can make a living off Adsense, it provides me with enough to live on.

Problem is that earnings seem to be reducing in the last year or so. So look for alternate sources of income as well. Intext advertising, private deals etc.


 8:26 am on Mar 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's a lot harder now than it used to be. There's a lot more competition and I have the impression that (at least in my niche) businesses are spending less on advertising and that Google is probably giving publishers less than they used to do.

About ten years ago I created a website as a hobby, it started getting thousands of hits per day and after I started to monetize it I was able to pull in a nice four figures per month at its peak with AdSense and some other CPC and CPM ad sources. Unfortunately, EPC started dropping like a tank when the housing crisis arrived in 2007, and later Google search updates more than halved my traffic. As a result my online earnings are now less than 1/10th of what they used to be.


 8:47 am on Mar 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

The message is coming across that I'd have to be mad to rely on adsense as any sort of stable income, but it could be one of many income streams.

Just couldn't build it up to $X/mth and then expect any sort of income stability.

However, what I am thinking is: if I can actually get a site to the point that its receiving a healthy amount of visitors/day then I could turn this skill set into other forms of income generation.


 12:27 pm on Mar 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yep. Just consider it incremental income, till you have enough streams that losing any one wouldn't put you under.


 5:58 pm on Mar 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

The message is coming across that I'd have to be mad to rely on adsense as any sort of stable income

Actually, you have to be mad to rely on any sort of stable income without alternatives. Even people working a 9-5 job can be terminated on the spot, there is no such thing as a stable income IMO. The real issue in my mind isn't even AdSense, it's relying solely on search engines, the organic traffic which is fantastic when you have it, can vaporize in a day.

So yes, you can make a full time income off AdSense, but I'd mix it up with multiple affiliates and other potential ways to earn.

Additionally, I'd work on multiple ways of generating traffic, whether it be from search engines, social media, directories, link pages, PPC, bookmarks, direct type-in, whatever.

Last but not least, don't put all your efforts into one niche, target more than one interest area so if the competition (or Google) knocks you down in one location you have a fall back position.


 7:56 am on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Excellent advice incredi - nothing in life can be taken as given and it's therefore worth spreading your risk with many potential income streams.

I've only ever created sales income from either free google traffic or paid adword traffic, so will now start looking at other ways and means.

Many thanks for everyone's input, this is the best forum!


 12:25 pm on Mar 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Also, you may want to note that any work on a website is great for padding your resume for a tech job.

HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, SQL, Apache, Javascript, Perl, Ruby, etc. can all be learned through web development. Look at it this way, you may not be earning a lot of money, but you're probably learning a lot.


 4:12 pm on Apr 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Working for a single employer is also putting all your eggs in the same basket! AdSense is no different.

If AdSense implodes, I'll find something else to do. It's not like it's the only skill I have.


 12:42 am on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

What I love about earning money with websites is that if you utilize user generated content and you reach the point where growth becomes self sustaining then you can lean back and watch your earnings grow.

At first you have to put a lot of work in it but other than a normal daytime job the work decreases over time where income increases.

I can lean back and do nothing for a month or two (besides writing an invoice here and there :D) and still earn my money.

However to get to this point you have to work hard.
At the end it comes down to hours spend vs. revenue earned.
If your hourly rate is still less then your day job you are not quit there yet :)

ps: AdSense is great for small publishers as a sole income. It is good for medium publishers as another stream of revenue and good for big publishers as fall back. The bigger you get the more you should focus on selling your ad inventory directly. You can make much more money with direct advertising than with AdSense IF you are big (and interesting) enough.


 12:10 pm on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

The bigger you get the more you should focus on selling your ad inventory directly. You can make much more money with direct advertising than with AdSense IF you are big(and interesting)enough.

Any tips on how to accomplish this would be appreciated. The one network I've looked at where you can sell your inventory doesn't seem to have a single publisher on it that is outperforming my AdSense earnings.


 12:30 pm on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I started with a webpage "Advertise with us" and I created a mediakit with information about placements on my forums.

You can also cold call advertisers in your niche and make them offers however this can be a lot of work.


 3:09 pm on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

In one of my niches, a lot of the advertisers use billboards. So I wrote up a little one-sheet on how advertising on my sites beats advertising on billboards (cheaper, direct click through to order online, don't have to rely on them remembering the message on the billboard WHILE DRIVING 70MPH) etc. Posted it on the website, and I'm actually going old school and mailing it out via snail mail to parties I think would be interested. There's no "adsense-easy" way to do direct ads; you have to do the legwork yourself.


 11:30 pm on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've been with adsense since 2004. Earning enough that I left my main job to concentrate on Adsense. I've had some ups and downs but I was able to buy a house and car and support a family of 4. I'm not earning as much as I used to but I survived. Sometimes I regretted leaving my job but on the other hand it's nice to work at home and spend quality time with my family.

Ive been successful because my focus is building a quality site and not making money. Thus visitors keep coming back and my page views keep increasing. It's really a lot of work. I'm surprised to hear other people updating their site only once a week or a month. I work almost 9 hours a day creating good content. If you are serious making money, you readily have to work hard on it. You need to be passionate about what you're doing.


 4:27 am on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I want to add that success did not happen overnight. I was only earning $50 per month when I started with Adsense. But I had a main job and Adsense was just extra money. I said to myself I will leave my main job when Adsense surpasses my monthly income. It happened in 2007. So I left and focused on AS. I also took some English lessons to improve my writing skills. If only I am well verse in English, I would earn even more. When you create a site, you have to talk about a subject you are very passionate about. And make sure the subject is very easy to update and write. Your goal is to get as much page views/ traffic. To achieve that, your visitors need to keep coming back to your site. I hear complaints that earnings are down these days. It's true because of the economy. But someday it will pick up. Just focus on increasing your page views. You have no idea others who got banned would want to have AS because there's just no other better out there. Believe me ive tried them all. Aol, valueclick, yahoo, you name it. I hope someday, AS will have competition so it's good for us publishers. But it looks like its not gonna happen any time soon. I just want to tell every one who complains how lucky you are you have AS. Money will just flow over time. The key is to work hard and be innovative and clever. Good luck!


 1:21 pm on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just want to tell every one who complains how lucky you are you have AS.

That's exactly how I feel each month when I get my check! I also support my family with my income from my sites. Page Views is the key as you say and if you haven't done everything you can to increase that you are selling yourself short. I do get frustrated with AdSense every once in a while but just like I do with my kids...it's because I love them and have high expectations for them.

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