A Quick Word About Google Adsense

GoogleGoogle AdSense just sent me an email.

We’re writing to let you know that we’ve identified an issue with the Canadian dollar electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment issued to you on Friday, March 26, 2010. We used an inaccurate exchange rate, but we’re currently working on a solution and will have more information for you in the next few days.

Will their exchange rate correction work in my favour or against me? I could take a peek inside my Adsense account and figure it out, but I think I'd rather be surprised.

People with blogs often ask me if they should have advertising on their sites. I always give them the same advice. First get the traffic, then worry about monetization. Without the eyeballs, it's a moot point.

I waited years before I introduced ads on this blog. Google doesn't pay you until the amount they owe you exceeds $100, so it wasn't uncommon for me back in the day to go 4 or 5 months without seeing a dime. I won't tell you how that broke down in terms of daily revenue, but we're only talking a Timbit or two.

Two things happened that took me from a Timbit or two to a coffee and donut a day: traffic increased substantially and I redesigned the site with Adsense in mind. In addition to the sidebar of ads, I added a banner ad to the bottom of every entry on the permalink pages.

I now get money from Google each and every month. It's not enough to quit my day job, but it fills the gas tank and leaves me with a little walking around money.

And a coffee and donut a day. After all, here in Canada, we measure revenue in terms of what it will buy us at Tim Hortons, eh?

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You should do a small thing on here for those of us who don't eat, sleep and breathe SEO so we might be able to figure out what if anything we can do to maybe draw more trafic to our sites. I mean, beyond the basics of make your site easier to get to and have worthwhile content--God knows everyone's definition of worthwhile content is often miles apart from each other. I'd personally be interested in things like how long it takes typically to get trafic numbers up to advertising-worthy levels (or, failing that, roughly how long it took you), what sort of trafic levels would be considered worthwhile for starting to think about advertising, etc.

I know this is your personal blog, and if what you do for a living isn't something you want to get into on here, that's perfectly understandable. But, at the same time, if you're gonna bring it up, someone's gonna ask. It just happens to have been me.

March 30, 2010 @ 5:51 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I wouldn't worry about advertising until you see >1000 unique visitors a day. That's my opinion.

What I quickly learned was that ads weren't being clicked by regular visitors, the folks who have you bookmarked and visit daily, the ads are clicked by "one hit wonders" who come via a Google search.

Let's say angry country music fans are Googling their favourite country radio station that has just flipped formats. These guys love country and want to take action. They Google the station, and many of them end up on my site b/c I rank highly for those keywords. Then, they're face-to-face with ads for country music on satellite radio, for example. That's a highly motivated, targeted audience that will click through to learn how they can get their country music back.

That visitor didn't bookmark my site, and will likely never be back. But that visitor converted with AdSense. That's how it works.

From a hobby perspective, I'm more interested returning visitors and RSS subscribers. From an AdSense perspective, I'm more interested in unique visitors via Google.

Both numbers will increase if you write frequently and with passion. Just think SEO when you write your title.

March 30, 2010 @ 8:44 AM


Why are you using image ads?

March 30, 2010 @ 8:44 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I have it set to display image or textual ads.

The image ads convert better, but I find they're more obtrusive.

But I've decided the web savvy folks who hate ads aren't seeing them anyway. They're like me, using Firefox or Chrome with AdBlocker.

March 30, 2010 @ 8:54 AM


What about non-Adsense ads?

March 30, 2010 @ 8:57 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Adsense ads are the easiest to implement, and working with Google is a breeze. But, it's not your only option.

There's a great SEO advantage for other sites if you link to them from a page on your site that ranks highly for their targeted keywords. I remember about five years ago my ticket stubs page, a page where I literally dumped scans of ticket stubs I'd saved, started ranking in the top 5 for Google 'concert tickets' searches. You can imaging how sought after those keywords are.

That's when I started selling textual links from certain pages / permalinks for X dollars a month. Companies aren't as interested in the conversions, they're just as interested in the SEO benefit when Google's spiders see a top five result for 'concert tickets' is linking to www.concerttickets-althoughafakename.com.

I field such requests weekly. Adsense rules b/c it's easy, targeted and the money just shows up in your account, but there's bigger bang if you sell these SEO text ads... but you need the SEO juice first.

March 30, 2010 @ 9:05 AM


Hi there Mike - I am just glad to know you are compensated for all of the wonderful content you share with us. I find your blog an absolute delight. Life is expensive so if you're able to earn a little walking around money then good for you. Keep up the great work!

March 30, 2010 @ 9:32 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


Thanks for the kind words. I'm definitely not blogging here for the money. I do it because I love to write and I'm a natural born archivist and documentarian.

I'm glad you like it.

March 30, 2010 @ 10:01 AM


I'm surprised the Ford and Disney Canadas' plus a few more local businesses do not advertise here directly, click thrus or just exposure, at such an ad rate - using non adblockable scripting.

March 30, 2010 @ 10:05 AM


@CQ: There's not really such a thing yet as non-blockable scripting. Closest thing to it is custom-designing the ad for the particular site using something like PHP, and well, personally if I didn't have the option of not seeing an ad, I'd probably not visit the site. Why I'm a huge fan of RSS feeds, personally.

@Mike: You ever consider switching to that interest-based advertising thing? It's supposed to be some combination of CPM plus the usual CPC ads. What's your take on it?

March 30, 2010 @ 1:24 PM

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