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I'm ready to go out on a limb and say that a lower CTR shows your website is doing well.
I won't discuss specifics, but I have a small website that is running in the .001% CTR to the 100% CTR, but I digress.
If people aren't clicking on the ads, there might be some reasons:
1. They are ill-placed.
"Below the fold" is a newspaper term and we could adapt the "Below-the-scroll".
If it isn't seen, it isn't clicked.
2. The ads aren't compelling enough.
A good, no GREAT, website doesn't give reason for people to leave. 'They've had their lunch and aren't looking for dessert.'
3. You have users that are not targetted to begin with.
Sometimes we can do so well with SEO that we get visitors that didn't mean to visit our site to begin with....ooops!
I dont think anybody provides "free public sevrice information" without any reward. Whether it comes down to ad revenue, publicising a cause or individual or organization that one beleives in, or providing links to such, or just ego gratification or the satisfaction from a weekend hobby.
Its just the reward model that differs.
In your case its seems your model is to pull people into your site on the pretext of receiving a "free public service" when in reality your goal is to offer them nothing but to get them to click on the highest paying commercial link?
Im really having difficulty understanding how at the same time you can say you are providing a "free public service"... an "agency" perhaps with a commission to boot based on not what you think is best but what product gives you the biggest payout, but free public service?
As my granma used to say..
pull the other one...
if you combine passion with money earning oppurtunity like AdSense then great things may come out...
While I agree with this statement, I also see the other side of the argument. This guy may just be passionate about earning money. And if that means creating sites that are only useful in generating clicks, so be it.
Some might say that this is abusing the system or creating garbage, but I disagree. After all, Google's only purpose is to find relevant links for users to click, and look at how that's worked out for them.
All I do is give people exactly the information they are searching for - they are happy - and I am happy watching my bank balance rise :-)
Just because my purpose is to get people to click on links, doesn't mean the site is a spammy banner fest
Sometimes it is good to build an ad free, content rich site whose purpose is to get visitors to stay around and read every page
Sometimes you just want to earn money from a website
Usually, but not always, this requires a different approach for each type of site - I am quite happy to build either
Depends on the purpose of your site.
The whole point of my site is to get people to leave - by the highest paid link possible.
Then you probably aren't a good candidate for AdSense. Why? Because you'll be putting all your eggs into a very few baskets (a handful of revenue-optimized "money pages"), and that's a risky strategy.
The real way to make money with AdSense is to have a large, authoritative site that draws traffic and AdSense ads with many different keywords. Your CPC and CTR may not be as high, but revenues will be steadier and (in most cases) higher.
I'm not interested in providing free public service information for no reward.
If a significant number of your pages have public-service ads, it probably means that the topics of those pages (and your topic in general) aren't attracting a lot of advertisers. One option, if you don't like PSAs, would be to take the AdSense code off pages that don't attract paying ads. Of course, if you do that, you'll miss out on any AdSense ads for those topics that do come along.
When I said public service information, I really should have said 'free content' - ie just building a site with lots of info, without any real method of generating income.
I don't have any adsense 'public service' links on my site - all my pages have different, well targeted, paying links
All I am doing is simply building an affiliate site - no seedy casinos or viagra or anything like that.
The whole purpose of an affiliate site is to get as many people out of there through your links to the merchant or adsense - and earn as much money as possible
The point I was making was, if you are making a site like that, then a low CTR means you have failed - if you are building a 'quality' site, then I agree - a low CTR is an indication that your site is really great!
Are lower quality affiliate sites risky? of course they are! If my google traffic dries up however, I won't be here crying about it - but if there is money to be made, is the fact that one day the traffic may vanish reason not to build it?
I agree that 'quality' sites are better 'long term' investments - but why not do both if you can?
I am happy to do both - as it happens, at the moment I am building a website for free for a local animal charity - my contribution to the cause!
I am also planning another personal site that wont have a single affiliate of adsense link anywhere - packed full of 'quality' content - but if it goes to plan it should generate a very nice income too :-)
You make some good points here. I like the idea of just building some of each kind of site. While the quality content sites wlil certainly make you more money in the long run, you can use the affiliate sites to keep you going until you get the content sites where they need to be. good luck! :)
By design they are 'slippy'.
I agree with Tiebreaker on this one - I want them to leave by an advert - sooner rather than later.
I see no problem with this.
The page the visitor lands on has good content that answers his search well - I just don't particularly want him using up bandwidth and browsing randomly through the site.
My ideal visitor lands on the page, prints it (or bookmarks it) and leaves by one of the ads. Anything I can do to speed up this process is a good thing.
Consequently, I am happy to fly in the face of usability and have the ads more prominent than the navigation system and purposely design the sites to look a little 'hokey' and 'home made'.
I'm not in this game just for fun, I want to make some money as well. The only revenue stream that my sites have is the ads - it makes sense to optimise the revenue stream.