Guest Post by Rand Wilson
As a webmaster that has enjoyed moderate success with Google Adsense, the one question that I get asked more than any other is: “Can I really make a living from Google Adsense?”
The short answer is, “sure, it’s possible to make a living from Adsense”. Heck, I was earning about $1k per month with Adsense about 5 months after creating my first website, and less than a year after that about $6k/month. However the longer, more detailed answer is a bit more complicated, so, if you want to know if it’s possible to make a living from Adsense, read on – but be forewarned, the truth can hurt. If you came here from Facebook, just scroll down to the very bottom for the TL;DR.
There are many websites that generate huge amounts of money from Adsense. Markus Frind, the owner of “PlentyofFish.com” was reportedly generating over $10,000,000 (that’s 10 MILLION) per year as of 2009. Other websites such as TechCrunch and Mashable also reportedly use Adsense to generate incomes in the millions of dollars per year. Websites that generate incomes like this all have one thing in common: They receive hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every day. Such a feat is reserved for only the very elite of the internet.
Even The Small Guys Can Be Successful With Adsense
There are countless smaller websites and blogs that generate yearly incomes ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 per year, proving that you can make a living from Adsense, but even generating these amounts of income is not easy.
The fact is, perhaps as many as 99 out of 100 new bloggers or webmasters creating a new website with the expectation of hitting it big with Adsense and quitting their job will not reach their goal after the first year. Probably as many as 98 out of 100 of those webmasters still will still have missed this goal after two years. Why? Because most new webmasters or bloggers underestimate the difficulty in generating any significant amount of money online, they fall prey to scammers, or simply give up after realizing it is not as easy as they had hoped it would be.
Write this down: Making a living with Adsense is not easy
The first idea to get out of your mind is that making a living from an online income, whether with Adsense or any other method, is easy. The second thing to realize is that unless you are already an expert, there is going to be someone at every turn trying to sell you tips, tricks, and snake oil. Remember that before you hand over your credit card number to anyone.
As you embark on your quest to make a living with Adsense, remember this:
“There is no fast or easy way to being successful with Adsense. Anyone offering to sell you a fast or easy way is lying to you and trying to steal your money.”
There is nothing in any ebook that you can’t learn yourself, for free. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ebooks claiming to teach you how to use Adsense and you do not need a single one of them. These ebooks aren’t necessarily scams (many are, but not all), but there are no “secrets” to using Adsense. Everything you need to know about how to use Adsense, how to optimize Adsense to generate the most income, etc, is available in hundreds of online forums, Google Plus Adsense Communities and even directly from Google. The only real value that an ebook may offer is saving you the time to research the information yourself.
Even then, there is no way to know if that information in that ebook is outdated.
Programs, Schemes, and “Tricks”: Read this, and read it very carefully. Then, read it again: There is no secret program, method, scheme, “weird trick”, or voodoo that will make you money with Adsense LONG TERM.
It is true that there are ways to to cheat and steal your way to success with Adsense, but eventually, and usually very quickly, those poindexters on the Adsense team will figure out that you are cheating and they will disable your Adsense account. But, just to be sure that you don’t come back and try to lie, cheat, and steal your way back, they will ban you from the Adsense program for life. And once Google bans you from the Adsense program, it is virtually impossible to get back in. Never forget: Adwords, which is where Adsense get’s it’s money, is the lifeblood of Google.
Google does everything that it can within it’s power to keep it’s Adwords advertisers happy, and Google has no problem crushing anyone that tries to cheat them. Just do a quick Google search on “banned from Adsense” if you don’t believe me.
What you need to know before you can make a living with Adsense
First, you need to know, understand, and follow the Adsense rules and guidelines. This is the single most important thing to learn about Adsense, and yet the majority of new bloggers and webmasters that ask me questions about using Adsense never even bothered to invest that critical 11 minutes of their life to read through these rules of the game. Remember above where I said that Google will ban and crush cheaters?
They will also crush you just as hard, without mercy, for unknowingly breaking these rules. Although Google does have an appeals process that allows you to plead your case should your account become banned, this process is to appeal a mistake that Google may have made in deciding to ban your Adsense account. Submitting an appeal because “I didn’t read the rules“, has very little chance of success. If you are about to sign up for Adsense, if you are a new Adsense publisher, or even if you are a long-time Adsense user and it has been a while since you read them, please do yourself a favor and invest that 11 minutes to read through them:
- Google Adsense Policies
- Google Adsense Terms of Service
Traffic, Traffic, Traffic
There are over half-a-billion websites on the internet that you are in competition with. To get your fair share of people to your website amidst all of this competition there are a few things you need to concentrate on. Entire volumes could be written on each of these, so I will just list them to keep things simple:
- Content: Your website or blog has to have stuff – words, pictures, videos, whatever, and I should have a lot of it
- Quality: All of that stuff has to be good stuff. Well written articles or blog posts, great photos, or funny videos that add value to the internet or your visitor’s experience
- Originality: All of that quality stuff has to be original. Earlier I said there were no shortcuts. This includes copying and pasting content from other websites, or simply re-writing someone else’s ideas
- Value: Your blog or website has to add value. Usually Originality+Quality=Value, but not always.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization – Google it, and set aside a few weeks of time to let it soak in
There are few other things to learn such as how you can (or should) use Social Media, Author Rank, reputation, to name a few, but deal with first 5 things I listed first – without them, none of this other stuff matters.
It’s going to take a lot of work and a bit of luck
Let’s be clear about this (because all of the scammers have been telling you it’s easy): all of this learning, content-generating, and optimizing is going to take effort and time, which means it’s actually work! Remember, at the beginning of this post when I mentioned “it’s not easy”?
Another factor to your success that a lot of ‘experts’ refuse to give credit or acknowledge is plain, old-fashioned luck. Sometimes just being in the right place, posting a comment on the right website at the right time, or bumping into the right person (online or in real life) can be all that it takes to go viral, or at least get a big push in the right direction. I credit my first big ‘break’ to this pure, dumb, luck. Of course, had I not been doing all of the right things I would not have been in the right place at the right time and it would have never happened, but it was still just luck.
Thinking outside the box
Finally, being original with your content and the way you market it will also make a big difference. If you are creative enough to come up with something that nobody else is doing, it can go a long way toward your success. The best advertising idea I ever had was new, unique, and just crazy enough to bring in thousands of visitors, generate even more in Adsense earnings, and get me hundreds of viral back-links. If you can nail this one, you get to jump to the front of the line.
Can you make a living from Adsense? Sure, it’s easy, just send me $29.95 for all the secrets!
Yes, you can make a living from Google Adsense, but it’s not easy and the odds are stacked against you.