Think Outside the (AdSense) Box

Google AdSenseToo many times, I see people focused on AdSense as the sole source of their revenue. That is a huge mistake. Even Eric Giguere admits that AdSense is a crapshoot.

Don’t get me wrong. It is often fantastic for getting a site off the ground — very often I can instantly make my money back with good AdSense placement — but you’re leaving a ton of money on the table if you settle for nothing more than AdSense.

You need to have built up some healthy traffic first (and the definition of “healthy” will vary by industry), but there are several sources of revenue that are much more lucrative than AdSense.

The first is direct advertisers. If you run a content site, you can sell ads for much more than you can make in AdSense. And the best thing is, you can usually have your cake and eat it too. In most cases, I’m able to sell advertising and still keep AdSense running. The AdSense earnings may take a little hit, but the combination is much more lucrative.

Another much better earner than AdSense is affiliate advertising. If you can weave affiliate offers into your site seamlessly, you avoid the “ad blindness” that users have, and that leads to a much better click-through rate than AdSense. Not only that, but affiliate offers pay much better than AdSense.

But both of those ways pale in comparison to selling your own product or service. If you can convert the visitor to a customer and not just pass them along to someone else, you’ll reap much greater rewards than with any other advertising method. What could you sell them directly?

I guarantee you this: if you’re making $1,000 in AdSense every month, I could more than double that with a handful of better monetization methods. They’re out there; you just have to find them.

The best place to start? Take a look at who’s advertising on your site via AdSense. If you can get them to advertise directly, you not only cut out the middleman (Google) and get a better share, but they’ll also pay you much better than they’re paying Google because the specific returns are so much better for them.

Don’t settle for only AdSense. There is so much more money to be made than you can make from AdSense alone.


  • John Wesley

    October 10, 2007
    at 2:13 pm

    What do you do when advertisers tell you they don’t want to buy direct because they are already getting dirt cheap advertising through AdSense?


  • Shane

    October 10, 2007
    at 2:36 pm

    Great question, John. The first thing I do is determine whether they’re being honest or whether they’re trying to negotiate. If you thank them for their time and they don’t come back trying to get a better deal, they’re probably serious.

    And this is very common. In many cases, I’ve been able to easily exhaust my budget just with AdWords, and have done it very effectively. Direct advertising isn’t for everyone, and there may be few advertisers in your industry that want to do it.

    If that’s the case, you might still be able to work a cost-per-lead deal with them. In many cases, you can make much more that way than you could with AdSense — both because the rates are better and because you have the freedom to promote the offer in many more ways — and they often can pay less per lead than they’re paying through AdSense. It’s a win-win deal.

    Negotiations like that can take time, though, so I tend to stay away until I’ve exhausted all my easier options. Are there any related affiliate offers that you could start promoting from within your content?


  • John Wesley

    October 10, 2007
    at 4:47 pm

    I’ve been fairly successful with one affiliate offer, so that’s definitely an area I plan on exploring further. I’m just a bit hesitant to promote within the content because an earlier attempt produced a bit of reader backlash and loss of subscribers. The site is less than a year old (and my first one), so I’m still trying to figure out what works best. I plan on incorporating more book and product reviews.

    Also, I really like your new direction with the site. I think it could really take off.

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