Ante-Up Post #1: Share Your Story with Adsense

Dear Reader,

Strategy updated: I’m now running two more ads (3 total) on the case study blog as per a reader’s comment.

The holidays are an important time to set goals. As such, I usually blow it and just end up eating cheeseburgers at the snow chalet.

Maybe you’re more productive than I am.

If not, take a moment, read (probably just skim) this post, and set an important goal with me. I double dare you.

Let’s Get Started

Raise your hand if you use Adsense on a blog.


Now raise your other hand if you started blogging (perhaps on Blogger) thinking Adsense would make you rich.

So wh7 are w4 sti;; eating ild cy33zburg+s?

That was me writing “so why are we still eating old cheeseburgers?” with my face.

If you don’t currently use Adsense, you can start today!

Earning Money on Adsense is Easy

Or so it seems.

Quick note: This is the first time I’ve ever really looked at Adsense and revealed my Adsense earnings. I wanted to create a challenge, which I hope you’ll join in at the end.

To start earning money on Adsense you sign up at Google, then copy and paste some code on your blog. It’s that simple.

Google tracks everything and deposits earnings straight into your account. It’s all done automatically, too. Who wouldn’t want in on this?

The simplicity and effortlessness of the process is what’s so alluring to everyone.

Here’s the link to sign up to Adsense. There’s also a button in my sidebar.

Great, you’re in. All you need now are:

  • Clicks: Start at $1 and earn more over time
  • Views: Google pays for views, like a billboard advertiser would
  • Traffic: The more the merrier

It seems great – you start a blog, you’re putting work into it, and you’re bound to earn money. You should, after all – Google can afford it.

The Sobering Truth

At first, you’re super-excited and writing 10 blog posts a day. Next thing you know, you’re burnt out. You check the Adsense bank each day and see no progress.

You try clicking an ad, and earn a dollar but you know Google just knows.

Maybe you even try going to the Apple store and clicking your ad. Great, two dollars!

The sobering truth of Adsense is a lot of us earn $5-20 dollars and give up. It just doesn’t make sense putting effort in when life demands a lot more than $5-20 for a lot of things.

Of course, you keep those ads up on your blog or website hopeful things will add up, right? But you’re really just offering free business to Google and devaluing your own space that your audience inhabits.

The Solution

The solution is to take action – and try something new.

Post a comment right now and tell me how much you think you can make in one month with Adsense, whether it’s $5 or $5000.

I hope it’s closer to the second one but I bet you it’s closer to the first.

The point isn’t to brag or anything though; I want you to set a goal for Adsense.

I’ve been doing some reading lately that indicates there is money in Adsense (I know, I know, I’m like 10 years too late with this) and I’d like to find out if it’s true. I don’t mean millions or paychecks like ShoeMoney’s. I mean good, honest advertising income in the realm of one paycheck per month.

The simple reality is this – even if you don’t click ads, other people do. Some people just think and act differently that you – and that’s how the world operates.

Do you know how much eHow makes from advertising? They started making millions each year after they stopped banning Google bots from their site. Even a mommy blog makes over $500 a month from Adsense. If they can make money, so can we.

Therefore there are actually two realities here:

  • People do click ads
  • Google does pay thousands upon thousands per month to Adsense publishers. They do. Still. Even today. I’m not kidding.

Given this, I think maybe we can make money on Adsense. I really do.

As an experiment, I’d like to offer myself and my Honest College blog as a case study.

Note to you: This is a kick-off post. As such, your encouragement could be everything. If you think this is a bad idea, now would be a good time to tell me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll even post an earnings statement, which is scary for me. It’s the first post in a series I’ll hopefully run for 4 months.

My History with Adsense

To bring you up to speed, for the past two years, I’ve run Adsense on a blog of mine that in fact began on the Blogger platform. Adsense and I broke up for a bit when I moved to WordPress but she had left me about $100 for the cab fare. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Problem is, in these two years, I’ve experimented very little with these ad units – relying on traffic and random clicks to earn about $100 a year.

*Eek, a dollar sign. That felt awkward; I’ll have to get used to this.*

However, things are increasing.

While I have earned enough through Adsense to make blogging itself profitable – proof in a second – what happens if I actually try to “optimize,” as they say?

So far Adsense has been paying me once a year. Screw that. I’d like to make it monthly.

What Do I Mean “Increasing”?

When I first installed an Adsense ad, I started out begging for clicks, asking friends to help out, asking readers to click if they enjoyed a post.

Which BTW is not a bad strategy, really.

However this confused people, made them think I was a scammer, and earned me about enough for a one way train ride to New Jersey. Gr-r-reat.

I’ll show you a screenshot in a moment. First let me tell you how much I earned the first month.

First month of Adsense – October 2010 – Earnings $7.23

It actually took me until March of 2012 until I got my first paycheck. That’s 17 months of work (but I wasn’t working on it).

After employing what I really can only call lazy strategies including moving ads, using more ads, and changing the color of ads, I found myself here:

One year into Adsense – October 2011 – Earnings $85.48

Laziness doesn’t pay – this was still not enough to actually see any money . . .

Direct Deposit #1

My first payment came in March, 2012 to the tune of $108.17. Woo-hoo! Aside from a free Sony Vaio I reviewed way back, I think this was the first earnings my blogging had seen. ๐Ÿ™‚

First Adsense Payment – March 2012 – Paid $108.17

What’d I do with it? That’s actually another story (FYI, I invested it).

Any of you who’ve earned from Adsense know it feels pretty great. I’m not saying this to brag, just to nudge my readers who’ve been equally fortunate to share a comment on it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, what happened then?

Nothing. I continued to be lazy, and a year literally whipped by. Of course, I did do a lot – I started Dear Blogger and answered about 1000 blogging questions in a week.

Second Adsense Payment – March 2013 – Paid $112.63

At this point, a little over a hundred dollars richer, I could have thought a couple things:

  • Cool, I’ll make about $100 a year doing nothing. That’s more than I’m spending on blogging, which makes it profitable, and I’m happy.
  • Not cool; I want to earn more!

Instead, I thought neither. I focused on writing the kind of inspiring content that built a big audience here. The Adsense check buzzed past me and probably funded the bad habit I have for coffee drinks ๐Ÿ˜‰

But . . . Something Changed

I was paid in March, then again the following March. You’d think I would keep getting paid each year, right?

Wrong – the third payment came 6 months after my second.

Third Adsense Payment – October 2013 – Paid $104.43

So, where I had first gotten paid once a year, now (as in now, currently) I’m getting paid twice per year.

Time to take hold of this? Yep.

Time to Amp Things Up

Given I’m realizing that I can double my Adsense earnings in 1 year by just doing nothing, what could I achieve by actually trying to optimize?

More importantly, what can any of us who have been casually running Adsense ads, basically funding Google’s business for free, learn about improving our own earnings?

To be honest, I don’t know, but I’m pumped up.

Here’s why:

This is a screenshot from Honest College taken early December 2013.

Based on the screenshot, and some quick math, this is what I’m figuring:

  • My goal in 4 months: $100/month
  • Current average earnings: $20/month
  • Current visitors per month: 8000
  • Average earning per click: $1

So, basically…

  • I have to find out how to make these 8000 unique visitors 400% more effective. Yikes. That doesn’t sound too good. (100% increase would take me from $20 to $40…and so on)
  • I have to figure out how to get 5 times as many clicks. That’s a bit better. (20×5=100)
  • I have to figure out how to get 100 clicks per month with 8000 visitors. Okay, we’re getting somewhere! That’s 1.25% of my traffic who I need to convert to at least one click.

That sounds doable. Monthly Adsense earnings here I come! All this excitement brings me to what I meanto say all along:

The Dear Blogger Adsense Ante Up

Back in highschool we’d ante up in Texas Hold’em poker to take home some spare change in winnings – so this title seemed to make sense ๐Ÿ™‚

Increase Your Adsense Earnings Over The Holidays

With a little help from Dear Blogger

No, this is not some you-click-I-click scheme silly! I would just simply like to pose a challenge. This is really easy, and really just requires a moment of your thoughts if you’re up to it.

The rest should be fun!

I challenge you to try and make one Adsense paycheck per month and I’m going to challenge myself to do the very same thing.

That means $100 per month from Adsense.

This isn’t life-changing money, but if you’re a creative person who blogs each day, I think it’s well-deserved money.

BUT . . . I’m Going to Need Your Advice This Time

I plan to do the following things to increase Adsense earnings at my college advice blog, Honest College:

  • Remove the ad in my header
  • Remove the 468 x 60 ad at the top of blog posts
  • Insert a large 336 x 280 large rectangle ad unit at the top of blog posts

That’s it…

Head over there right now and check out the current ad layout. I’ll be making these changes at around 12:00am EST on Thursday, 12/12/13.

Those are literally the only strategies I’m going to employ to start off this journey, which I plan to have last 4 months.

It’s a relatively short time period, but this will force me to take action. I’m all about short deadlines. That said, I need your help with any strategies you use on your blog or that you think would work on my blog. Remember, the goal is to figure out relatively quick tweaks to get paid more from Adsense. I don’t care about the earnings and really $100/month isn’t going to change my life. I hope at the end of this we’ve all shattered our expectations in Adsense so we can earn more in order to keep investing in, and growing, our blogging.

What would change lives is a successful Adsense case study run right here, and I think we can do it. I’m inspired; are you?

Think I Can Do It?

If so, here’s how you could help out today!

  • Let me know how I could use my existing traffic to get more clicks
  • Share your ideas on copy that generate Adsense conversions
  • Share your own personal stories
  • Give me just a thumbs up for doing this experiment/case study

Can WE Get There?

Like I said above, this isn’t about the money at all – this is about creating a lasting set of strategies we can all use to actually get rich (or get paid once, or whatever) from Adsense.

The only way we can make much of a splash with this is engagement.

Here are some suggestions for how you could help in the comments:

  • Post your goal
  • Let the community know if you’ve made any money in the past. Bragging definitely allowed.
  • Tell a story of how you got there, or where you’re at, or where you’re stuck!
  • Toss us a thumbs up

As I finish off this post, I sort of know it will be a success, because I’m judging success on whether we have fun with it – how much fun is totally up to you ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t forget, this is the start of a four-part monthly series. I’ll provide updates on my progress (or lack of it) each month.

Please post a comment today and share your many thoughts.

Share This Post

42 Responses to "Ante-Up Post #1: Share Your Story with Adsense"

  1. Hi Greg,
    Great article. I’ve been using Adsense since 2010 I guess. At first it took me about 3 months to get my first check and then the second after about 6 months and now its every month. I tried almost all methods I find to increase earnings, some work great too. The best one I find is placing a text ad inside post(below title or in middle of post).

      1. One of my very best friend’s lives in TX, so I’m hoping to make it down before she gets outta there. As for 24, I am Kristin Bell level (Google it) sloth obsessed. I actually went to go meet one at a local science center, but they had inexplicably moved it to the not-yet-open aquarium. Curses!

  2. Greg, this is a well compled post. If any blogger wanta to earn from Adsense then he/she should have to wait and after the 1st cheque of Adsense I am sure, every blogger will be making $$ every month.

  3. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think Adsense has its place in the blogosphere as a good way to earn revenue online but its not for everyone. Take me for example, I’ve used it for many years. I have added it to some pretty active-traffic sites I’ve ran and still only earn about $100 each year. Maybe I am not investing too much into it, maybe I need to become more of an expert at it. However, I actually started focusing on pitching ‘direct advertising sales’ to companies related to my niche. I failed quite a few times at first and then started changing my tactics. Now I have been known to easily earn $200+ in just a couple of hours of one direct advertiser which seems to fit me better than $100 a year from Google.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Way to go man. You’re exactly like me – I did direct ads also to a similar tune. Problem is, each private/direct ad deal requires you to do something; it’s not automated.

      You said it well – if we become more “expert” like and invest more I’m confident it can pay off.

      +3 clicks yesterday at my case study blog…

  4. I have not used AdSense as I just got started about 6 months ago and wanted to feel comfortable enough around WP and blogging that when the time came to make monetizing the next step, I’d be savvy enough to do so. I will bookmark this page and record results I have, when the time comes! Thanks for the real break-down.

  5. OK, I raised my hand… LOL. The truth is I don’t use Adsense to it’s best advantage. I love how you outlined everything. I have bookmarked it and will be using it as a reference in the coming year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Good info. The amount I make fluctuates month to month . It has never been more than 8 dollars. I am trying to get to $20 a month. I am attracting more readers and using different ad sizes.

    1. Hi Jason,

      You just ante’d up! Great!

      I’ll be updating the blog each month on my progress and using any strategies we can uncover here –> See Arbaz’s comment

      I’ll also highlight readers who are earning well in the next Ante-Up Series post.

      Goal is to make $100 per month.

      Keep me posted on what you think is working!

  7. Hey Greg,
    Great article man. It’s great to see that you are making $1 for every click. CPC is good so adding more ad units would certainly help.
    I see that you have added a 336 x 280 ad banner at the top of your post. I would recommend you to add another 468 x 60 ad unit after 2 paragraphs in your post and one 336 x 280 unit at the end of the post.

    I did these changes on one of my blog a few days back, specially after adding a 468 x 60 unit, I am seeing approximately 40% increase in daily Adsense earnings.

  8. I don’t do AdSense because I am only on the free version of WordPress. However, I have been contemplating a move.

    I’m working a part-time job where I earn $150 per week, give or take. If I could make that doing something online, then I could quit…AND have more free time to make more online!

    1. Hi Steve,
      Free WordPress is AWESOME; hope you’re having fun.

      Good to hear. $150 per week from blogging certainly isn’t out of reach. You could try:

      –Advertising networks
      –Reviewing products
      –Advertising directly for clients
      –Affiliate marketing
      –Email marketing

      Just a few ideas. If any jump out to you I could probably point you in a smart direction to get started!


  9. Hi Greg: I must caution you and all about clicking the ads on your own blog. I did that quite honestly (only once or twice at most) as I was curious about the ad that appeared on my blog and AdSense cancelled me! This was a number of years ago, but I had no idea that they allowed absolutely NO self clicks.

    Quite frankly, I can’t be bothered with AdSense ads. If and when I decide to post ads on my blogs, it will be ones that are chosen by me and will be of interest and service to my readers.

  10. Whew, too much to read so I confess, I did skim. I did want to ask what Leora asked and then I found your answer. I do not use AdSense. This makes me think I might want to. I do however have books on Kindle which pay my monthly StarBucks account. I’m grateful for that. Maybe between the two – Kindle and AdSense – I would have something to do a happy dance about.

    Thanks for the insights.

  11. OK. I’m confused. Where’s the ad-sense banner ad you said you would be running at the beginning of your blog posts starting on December 12th? I haven’t tried adsense yet, but I certainly won’t be retiring on my non-existent Amazon affiliate advertising. It would probably help if I didn’t just park it as a little widget at the bottom of my side bar. OK. Blog resolution for 2014. Pay attention to monetizing. Happy New Year.

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Glad you’re up for our advertising journey.

      I should have been more clear. I’m running this study at Honest College and recording findings here at Dear Blogger.

      You can see the new add there!


  12. Hi Greg,
    Good stuff!
    I’m having a good Adsense revenue on my websites, here is my online income report:

    It’s matter of tuning the ads placement, ads sizes and also very important the ads style colors.
    Keep in mind that is against TOS sharing the CTR screenshoot, better not to risk account closures…

    But I never tried to monetize my blog via Adsense (not that I have much traffic anyway) but I could join you in this experiment.
    I have few good ranking pages that might convert well…

    Keep in touch!

    1. Hi Daniele!

      Wow, that’s a good chunk of Euros.

      Do you run a network of blogs with Adsense on them?

      Glad you’re on board, let’s do this. Definitely keep in touch.


      1. Hi Greg,
        Not really a blog network… I have few job board websites and a couple of blogs with Adsense.
        I’m actively buying existing websites to (try to) improve them… exciting sh@t! ๐Ÿ™‚

        You gave me the idea to monetize my own blog, especially the old articles.
        There’s a WordPress plugin, Ad Injection, that allows to display ads only on posts older than X days:
        This could help avoiding to present ads to the established audience, what do you think?

        1. My stance is usually less plugins more hard-coding but I love the IDEA with that plugin.

          Nice indeed!

          For the community’s benefit –

          Mind sharing how you strategize your ads on the job board website?

          That sounds like a phenomenal passive income generator.

          Also will need to gather some info on Flippa here…because that does sound like a barrel of monkeys! ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Barrel of monkeys? LOL!
            Flippa is 99% rubbish and 1% good, unfortunately ๐Ÿ™

            The job boards monetize via ads (adsense or direct) and services like highlighted job post listing, or resume access.


          2. Hey Greg,

            I’m back after aemhhh… 4 months of silence, to share back the results of my Adsense blog experiment.

            I run the ads for 1 month on my personal blog and got this:
            Earnings: 1.32โ‚ฌ
            RPM: 0.98โ‚ฌ

            I was showing the ads on posts older than a week.


            I noticed the lowest avg. session duration in last 12 months….

            Compared to previous month:
            -30% Avg. Session duration
            +6% bounce rate.

            I suspect that having ads on my personal blog gave a very different feeling to new visitors.

            I won’t even bother to optimize the ads placement, for that money I would rather keep my blog ads-free and give more trust.

            I’ll do the reverse-test this month!

    1. Hi Mike,
      Glad you enjoyed it.

      I don’t – would rather use real estate for things I know could benefit the answers community.

      Why do you ask?



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