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The guide to whether Adsense is worth it

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Are you considering Adsense as a monetization method for your website? You're probably wondering if it's worth it in terms of earnings. First we'll go over its pros and cons as a monetization method; then we'll explain situations where Adsense is worth it and when it isn't.

Pros of monetizing via Adsense

  • It takes very little time to manage. This is a bigger advantage than you might think, because selling your own ad space can take extra back-and-forth time from answering questions from potential customers. Even though you could probably earn more from selling banner ad space yourself, it takes more time to deal with. If you're simply after a "set-and-forget" monetization method, it doesn't get much easier than Adsense.
  • You do have some control over what viewers see. In your Adsense settings, you can specify your preferred color scheme to make it compatible with your website colors. You can also veto certain categories of ads in your Adsense settings.
  • No minimum traffic requirement to join. Unlike many other ad networks, Adsense has a low barrier to entry. You do need to have your own website which is up and running already, preferably at your custom domain name.
  • Adsense works and you can earn money. I've never had payouts be late or go missing. The system is robust and reliable.

Cons of monetizing via Adsense

  • Even though Adsense earns highly compared to other ad networks, you won't earn much. The amounts you get will vary depending on the topics of the keywords. For a website that's been around a little while and gets some organic search traffic, you're looking at around $1 to $5 per 1000 views. That's not very much per 1000, to be honest, even if it's still better than most other ad networks.
  • You earn money by people clicking away from your site. The problem is that you might lose those users completely once they've clicked on Adsense (and possibly to a competitor of yours). You may instead prefer monetizing via a course you sell on your site, for example.

How many visitors would you need to monetize entirely with Adsense?

Suppose your ads earned you around $3 per 1000 views. If your goal was to make $1000 per month from Adsense, you'd therefore need 333,000 views per month. That's a huge amount! Remember, that's based on only placing one ad slot per page. You can improve that. If you therefore instead placed 3 ads per page, the number drops down to 111,000 views per month to make your $1000. But the problem is, getting to 111,000 views is still an unbelievably huge goal if you're just starting out. If you were just starting out, I bet you'd wind up making only fractions of a cent in the first few weeks.

And because Adsense has a $100 minimum payout, it could be well over a year before you reach your first payout!

Don't worry! There are plenty of other options

Almost none of the most successful website owners make the majority of their income via Adsense. In fact, if you did miraculously happen to have 111,000 views a month (a very impressive amount of traffic) you'd stand to make much more than $1000 per month if you used other methods of monetization.

These other methods are:

  • Affliliate marketing
  • Selling your own physical product
  • Selling your own digital product
  • Membership fees
  • Placement fees (e.g. for directory sites)
  • Webinars or courses
  • One-to-one coaching

My take-home message is that Adsense isn't worth it as the main monetization method - but it is very useful as a secondary method or for other reasons. I recommend that you select another method than Adsense for making money from your site, and you can still use Adsense in addition to that. Let's move on and take a look at when and how you'd do that.

Adsense isn't worth it as the main monetization method - but it is very useful as a secondary method or for other reasons.

For what situations should I use Adsense?

Adsense is wonderful for two things:

  • As a tracking tool
  • As a supplementary monetization method

How to use Adsense to track the number of engaged human users

I find Adsense to be more relevant than Google Analytics as a tracking tool. Often, I just want to find out how many "real" visitors came to my site. Google Analytics tends to wind up with somewhat over-inflated numbers. Adsense is great for simply tracking real visitors to your site; it ignores non-human views. An Adsense unit only gets counted if it gets viewed.

Therefore, one very helpful usage of Adsense is when you want to measure the number of engaged users. I typically place just one Adsense unit per page and place it toward the bottom of the page. That way, I only count the number of people who visited the site and scrolled down that far. That gives you how many engaged human users you have.

How to use Adsense as a supplementary monetization method

I mentioned earlier a downside of Adsense is people clicking away from your site. I still feel that Adsense is worthwhile as a secondary monetization method, just in case your main method goes poorly. It's good not to have all your eggs in one basket. However, you'll want to do this carefully, because you don't want people clicking away from your site.

In this situation, you can simply use your one Adsense unit at the bottom of the page as described in the previous paragraph. Because the Adsense is placed after any of your affiliate links, your course sign-ups, or other calls-to-action, you'll only be getting Adsense clicks from people who've already rejected your main monetization method.

Conclusion

Adsense is not worth it as your main monetization method because you can almost certainly make more money from the same amount of traffic using other methods. However, Adsense is still valuable as a tracking tool and as a secondary monetization method. Above I have described how to arrange your Adsense unit wisely to achieve those goals - without interfering with your main monetization method.


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