diberry - 4:31 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
hannamyluv, thank you so much for this thread. Whether or not we all agree, there's a lot to take away from it.
The most crucial thing you said here may be the part about not relying on search. Any engine can suddenly go wrong for anybody, no matter what a great job they're doing, but if they have other traffic streams, they'll be able to scrape by and eventually thrive again.
Putting money back into the business and/or saving it for lean times is also crucial. Always have a plan for lean times because ad rates fall, recessions happen, etc. Even if you're totally awesome, outside factors can drop your income like a stone temporarily.
For anyone fretting about relying on Adsense - then don't. There are other terrific CPM/CPC providers out there. I maintain relationships with as many CPM providers as are worth my time - and many of them pay better than Adsense, at least in some niches - so that if any of them suddenly stop doing so well, or go out of business, I have others to work with and my income stream is uninterrupted.
But whether you work with Adsense or other CPM providers, what hannamyluv is saying here still applies. You do NOT break their rules. You do NOT assume the income will always be at this level. You DO reinvest as needed, you DO conduct user testing (if you really can't afford $30, have some friends from various demographics use the site in front of you - very revealing), and you DO have backup plans for all sorts of eventualities.
What you do NOT do is party like a rock star and assume you're golden no matter what you do from here on out. Even rock stars have to keep at it because there's always someone else trying to outshine them.