On Thursday 5th of January 2017, I hit the $1000 mark on Lifetime earnings on Google AdSense. All but about $30 of that was earned in the immediately preceding 12 months. This is a tale of how you can have some minor success with time and effort.
You can see a presentation on this in the presentation section at the bottom of the page.
I started my site, Digital TV Help, in February 2014 on the topic of Do It Yourself TV Antenna work and TV setup. It was something I had previously done as a self employed technician.
Then I had basically zero traffic and zero income from the site. In the month of December 2016, according to Google Analytics, I had 9775 sessions with 8775 users. Last month I had estimated earnings of $102.42 Australian and just under a week later I reached $1000.11 lifetime estimated earnings.
How I got there
I started the site after discovering Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast in December 2013. The site was created in January 2014.
Initially my site was very unfocused and I had the idea of educating both the DIYer and people entering the industry. I didn’t have a very good design, just a typical blog design, and I only had a few articles of poor quality. Didn’t have that many pictures either only the ones I’d taken while running my business.
In August 2014 I went to Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker’s 1 Day Business Breakthrough seminar at Problogger on the Gold Coast. The feedback I received there helped me to change to a narrower focus just on the do-it-yourselfer audience. Unfortunately it took me a long time to implement things suggested.
By December 2014 I had written 65 posts, ranging from articles about how things worked, to tip of the day articles and only a few how-to articles. I’ve always taken a publish first, improve later approach. In December 2014 I had 494 sessions and 437 users, with $2.19 of estimated earnings. In the whole year of 2014 I had estimate earnings of $11.18.
A bit demotivated and busy with full-time work, study, the birth of our first child and other commitments, I didn’t do much over the following year. After March 2015 I didn’t do anything to my site until March 2016.
In January 2016 I discovered my site had received a huge increase of users and was earning me a lot more money suddenly. In that month I had estimated earnings of $7.56 from 4506 sessions and 4008 users. From January 2014 to December 2015 my estimated earnings were $33.70.
Between January and March 2016 I did some changes to my AdSense advertising based on research on various SEO sites. After checking my stats and doing some experimentation I determined that none of my AdSense income came from header or sidebar ads. All of it came from the ads in my articles. I eventually discovered best income came from 2 or 3 horizontal banners in my articles, one after the second paragraph, one before the last paragraph and maybe one in the middle.
Earnings steadily increased over following months until between March and July each month I had between $70 and $85 each month. I started receiving a bank transfer from Google every second month. Regaining motivation in March I started reviewing and improving some of my content and adding some new stuff. I now have 88 posts and about 6 videos. I still need to do a lot of work. (See SPI: 200 on Content Audits)
Eventually I started getting $100 or more a month in estimated earnings. From July to October I got a regular monthly payment of just over $100 from Google. A slight drop in earnings in November meant I didn’t get a December cheque. Since then the income seems to regained its losses.
On January 5th 2017 I hit the $1000 lifetime estimated earnings mark. Finally!
What Made the Difference?
The vast majority of my income has come from one post. It was post aimed at do-it-yourselfers. Over time it had just become my number one landing page with it’s acquisitions coming from Google. It seems I had just done a really good job of making that article. Over the whole time since I wrote it, the article has gradually increased in Google Search hits and income.
Over the lifetime of the site, it had these stats:
- 40655 pageviews (24.91% of site pageviews)
- $215.71 Australian (30.19% of site income)
It is titled “DIY Antenna Alignment Methods for Digital TV”. This title immediately explains its usefulness to people as does the blurb. It matches pretty well to a search of “How to align a Digital TV Antenna” and the alternate searches people might use for that topic. It contains 756 words and is quite comprehensive on the topic. It has pictures, multiple headings and an embedded YouTube video.
I believe it’s just a matter of that as more Google search traffic clicked that post, the higher the pagerank rose. The quality of the article got it into the search initially, but clicks brought higher pagerank and more clicks.
One thing I did do to the article in December 2014 was to add a strong first sentence. A member of the mastermind group I meet with pointed out that the blurb that appeared for the article on Google Search was “In a previous article blah blah blah…” It didn’t say anything about this article. I changed it to add a new first paragraph(which is still there). It now says exactly what the user will get from the article. I think it helped increase clicks, which as I say bring more clicks.
Other articles on the sites do get hits and income. The 2nd best article on the site is another How To article. However it gets only half the landings and income of the best article. The rest of the landings are spread across the site.
I don’t get many landings on my front page(only 6%). Almost all my traffic comes from organic Google Search. I don’t do much social media promotion and no paid promotion.
How to do it yourself
These are my recommendations. I’m not an expert in SEO or writing. I’ve just followed what I’ve read from experts I follow and done some experiments. I certainly haven’t tried everything I could have tried and still have a lot of work to do to increase the quality of my site and increase my income.
This is what I think works for me:
- Use the official Google AdSense WordPress plugin – it automatically makes ads responsive for mobile
- Use only 2 or 3 horizontal banner ads, set between paragraphs of your posts
- Allow graphics or text
- Write lots of deep, quality content, including embedded video and photos
- Write for people not search engines
- Write useful articles, like do it yourself or how to content
- Strong first sentence and paragraph – tell the user what they’ll get from your article – e.g. “Here are four methods to do blah blah blah….”
I think I could have reached where I am more quickly had written a lot more high quality do-it-yourself how-to articles earlier. Also more videos and social media promotion may have got me here quicker.
My aim now is to follow a process of reviewing and improving my existing content. I’m looking to significantly increase the number of high quality how to articles and embedded videos I have. Hopefully this will get me to a level of income where it can become my day job.
I’ve recently presented my story and Google AdSense advice on Network Live Virtually with Sabrina Watson. You can see a replay here:
Sites with useful authority site information:
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income
- Niche Site Dual
- Definitive Guide to Removing All Google Analytics Spam
Here’s what I’ve used: