Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Economics

In October 2005, I earned around £175 from Google Adsense advertising on this site. In February 2010, I only earned £12.

It used to be that I could cover this site’s hosting costs for a year from a single month of Adsense advertising – thus any extra cash was profit for me – but now the amount I’m earning per month is actually less than the cost per month to host the site. This is, in part, due to an increase in costs – especially as I have now moved to a new host – but also a decline in the number of page impressions and clicks.

I had around 78,000 page impressions in October 2005, which resulted in almost 2000 clicks on adverts. As for February 2010, I was down to a little over 20,000 page impressions but only around 100 clicks. As a ratio, the page impression to click ratio has therefore significantly decreased, but also less people as a whole are visiting the site.

This might have something to do with a lack of content. Although I have made an effort to try and post something every day since the site came back up on the new host last week, it doesn’t help that I’ve usually only managed 5 posts per month of late. Compare to the 36 posts in October 2005 – more than 1 per day. Less new content means less visitors, which means fewer page impressions and fewer potential clicks. Hopefully if I can carry on blogging more frequently and write about things that are interesting, more people will visit more often and the number of clicks will go up.

But this does not explain why the page impressions to click ratio has changed. Perhaps more people are using ad-blocking software. Or people are more able to mentally block out the adverts. Or it may be that the adverts that are displayed by Google just aren’t interesting enough. I don’t have answers for these, unfortunately.

I’m not going to increase the amount or visibility of the adverts on the site – right now I think the balance between content and advertising is good and to add any more would distract from the content (which is the reason why people visit your web page after all). But I am going to try to post more often. I may also considering feed advertising but I’m worried that will alienate people.

Your thoughts are, as always, welcome in the comments.

5 Comments

  1. It could also have to do with the increasing adoption of webfeeds… if people are reading your site via feed, they never even see the ads unless they click through to your site to comment.
    Of course, if you only put an excerpt in your feed to force people to click through, that often backfires. I usually drop webfeeds with excerpts only, as rarely is an excerpt exciting enough to compel me to click through.

  2. Thats still more money than I made 😉
    Dave’s right though – people will only see the pages if they go through to your site. You could add adverts to the feed but I think people are less likely to click on ads – especially if there’s a danger that the click might take you away from your place in the reading list to a new web page.
    I try to click on ads when I see interesting/useful content as hopefully that helps the author out. I must admit I wonder who/why people click on the ads on my site as sometimes I get loads of clicks,other times hardly any.

  3. Between Dave2 and yourself, I think you have it: reduced content and hence traffic, adblockers and people reading your feed rather than the site – this must be the first time I’ve visited the site itself for months, and I’m definitely blocking ads (including those which appear in feeds)!
    Has it been a steady decline, or are there any key threshold dates in the data? For example, can you see when Adblock was first released/became popular?

  4. A number of years back, my then wife and I ran a rather popular fan-site based on a now retired Australian Swimmer (don’t ask). Anyhoo, the most we ever made was about $250 from advertising. And that’s with some posts getting 100+ comments.
    It was eye-opening to realize the amount of visitors you’d need to actually make a living from ads. Those that have the required number of eyeballs truly amaze me.
    Oh, and I think Dave totally nailed it in his comment.

  5. It’s not just the quantity of the posts – it’s the subject. Your blog has been in my RSS feeder so long I can’t remember why I put it there. Did you used to write about Mozilla/XUL?
    Nowadays there’s not a lot of technical content and what there is is OSX focused (which I want to read about slightly less than zero) so I guess the audience will change to be people who know you and/or OSX users. That’s not necessarily bad.
    Old readers like me will probably drop away as the content changes but at long as they new content is good enough, I guess new readers will come in if you more regularly.