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Anyway, to my question(s):
Before I go any further I want to make the disclaimer that I know I am "small potatoes" web-traffic-wise, compared to most of the rest of you. I'm not expecting big money here. Just a little extra here and there. I'm already getting nice little checks from other affiliate programs, and I thought Adsense looked nice too. So far it's too soon to tell how much money I'll earn with Adsense. I doubt it'll be big, (maybe a few bucks a day, if that), and that's okay.
I have three major sites which have Adsense ads. (I also have some smaller sites but I won't get into them now.)
Site A doesn't get what I'd consider a lot of traffic, but it's got over 100 pages of nice and well-thought-out content and gets steady visitors. Site A covers several diverse subjects that are more non-business related. I've got Adsense ads on most pages.
Site B has pretty low traffic (pathetic by most standards), has approx. 50 pages, but it covers a few topics that are so specialized and specific that it actually does bring interested visitors who will are more apt to buy products recommended on the pages. If things continue the way they are at the moment, Site B will pay for itself because of these highly specialized pages. I have Adsense ads on all of the pages of Site B.
Site C is the one that I have the most questions about: Site C gets actually decent traffic (Alexa considers it "medium"). Site C covers one highly specialized topic and is about 150 pages. Site C tells how to make [widgets] and I know how to make [widgets] pretty well. Site C covers the making of [widgets], the philosophy behind making [widgets], what kinds of materials to use and what further reading material are required to learn how to make [widgets], and so forth. Furthermore, at the urging of site visitors, I've even written a book about how to make [widgets] and I sell this book on the site. This site earns a nice little income (nothing outstanding, but nice by my standards) through book sales, etc. This site also gets more traffic (far more) than Site A and B combined.
I've been hesitant to put a whole lot of Adsense ads on Site C. I like the way things are set up now. I like that people stick around, page after page, to read about how to make [widgets]. I feel very strongly about the subject of making [widgets] and I also like the nice little income that site makes. I don't know how putting links on the pages that send visitors *away* to other sites is a good idea. On the other hand, if they can get so easily distracted that they'd click away, maybe they'd lost interest in my pages about [widgets] so who cares?
I apologize for the long-windedness of this and I hope this isn't too stupid of a question. I just would appreciate some advice about what sorts of uses of Adsense are best, and I'd love to hear stories about your websites about [widgets] and how Adsense has worked for you. I appreciate all input. Thanks!
What proportion of your users click on Adsense ads? How much do you earn per click? So how much do you earn per user through Adsense?
What proportion of your users buy your book? How much do you earn per user through your book?
You can then get an idea of whether the people who have clicked away via Adsense would make you more money if they stayed.
Given that people will usually click on what they want, the answer is probably to give them some choice - those who are actually going to buy your book probably won't get distracted by other ads, those who browse through from ad to ad probably weren't actually going to buy your book.
We have pages with both Adsense and our own revenue-generating activities - the CTR for our own buttons is significantly higher than for the Adsense ads, so that reinforces my view that user choice doesn't just average out over the various click choices on the page.
[edited by: John_Caius at 9:47 pm (utc) on July 15, 2004]
1) If readers can't find what they want on your site, they're going to leave anyway. (In fact, they're going to leave at some point even if you do have what they want on your site.)
2) If your site has value for readers, they'll come back for more--either via the back button or on another occasion.
(Note that I said "readers," not "users" or "visitors" or "customers." It's fairly apparent from your post that you're talking about content sites, not e-commerce or affiliate sites.)
Yes, what you say about visitor choice makes sense. Thank you!
Europeforvisitors, yes, you are right--I do not have e-commerce or business-related sites!
Site C is a good source of information about the making of [widgets]. It's gotten very good feedback and is considered probably one of the best sites on how to make [widgets] out there. (I don't pretend to be the best [widget-maker], however.) Other "how-to" [widget] sites are either much smaller, or of very poor quality. So, I guess what I'm saying is that yes, I think people will return to my site.
Arrowman, yes, you make a good point!
Now my question is about ad quality: On the few pages I've put Adsense ads on, I've seen varying quality of ads. Some ads are related to materials needed to make [widgets] and those are excellent. However, some ads are for people who sell their own [widgets]. Oh my, some of these [widget-makers] make very, VERY poor quality [widgets]. I do not want these abysmal examples of [widgets] showing up on my site! So far I'm using Adsense's Filter feature to filter out these bad [widget-makers]. I hope that will fix the problem?
[edited by: Jenstar at 5:03 am (utc) on July 16, 2004]
[edit reason] as per member's request [/edit]
Another thing that I found interesting: an *illegal* business ad! It "looks" legal to the casual observer but I am familiar with the scheme and it's very illegal. I definitely don't want that ad on my site and I've used the filter to exclude it (and reported it to Google, of course).
1 - You're probably banning the ads that offer the highest paying clicks (which costs you revenue).
2 - You're filtering out competitors that offer an inferior product. Competitors that offer an inferior product are actually good for you. Look at it this way:
a) Your readers see the quality of widgets they can make by following your instructions or reading your book.
b) They click an Adsense ad to visit an inferior widget maker's site. You get paid for the click.
c) After having visited your site first, they recognize the poor quality of that site's widgets and click back.
d) They buy your book hoping to build a superior widget. You get paid twice by the same customer.
Granted, this isn't likely to happen in every case but it will probably happen fairly often. IMO banning a site for the reason you state simply doesn't make financial sense.
Some posters here hold the opinion that Google ads to inferior sites will lower your visitor's opinions of your site. I disagree. The "Ads by Google" link clearly indicates that Google has placed those ads, not you.
Besides, your visitors have already seen your site and have formed an opinion about its quality. The way I see it clicking through to an inferior site can only enhance their opinion of your site.
Of course if keeping inferior widgets out of the world is more important to you than making money (and it very well might be), then this entire post is irrelevent.
I will think about the banning of useless [widget-makers], but I'm leaning towards banning them because:
You're right. I want to prevent the making of bad widget-makers. I certainly don't want to have my site *link* to them, even though it's obvious that Google is doing the choosing of the links.
My site visitors aren't usually looking to buy other [widget makers'] widgets. As far as I can see, they are not looking to *buy* widgets at all. They are at my site because they have a burning desire to *make* their own widgets. So, it is my opinion that a ad for a bad widget-maker is probably wasted space, since wanna-be widget-makers aren't so interested in buying anyone else's widgets (bad or otherwise). An ad selling widget-making *supplies*, however, is a useful ad and I think they'd be more likely to click on that.
However, you do make some good points, and I will contemplate the possibility that my wanna-be widget maker visitors might get a kick out of seeing some other bad widget-makers' ads. That's really the main reason why they might click through. But I seriously doubt it would be to buy the (bad) widget-makers' products. Because I simply do not think that most of my viewers are in the market to buy already finished widgets.