I know a question that people new to internet marketing often ask is: “When will I start earning some money?”
If you haven’t yet noticed, I recently put a new running total in the upper right sidebar of my blog. This keeps track of the amount of money that I’ve earned since the start of this blog on Jan 1st, 2011. I will continue to update it each month as I write my Monthly Income Report.
But I’ve actually been making money online since around Feb of 2008. I was contemplating whether or not to add a 2nd line which would total my overall earnings since 2008. This got me to looking at my historical Adsense and eBay statistics.
It’s kind of enlightening to look back at my early days to see just how much I struggled in the first few months. I’m actually kind of surprised that I stuck with it for so long. I’m still nowhere near where I want to be as far as my monthly earnings go, but I have made a big improvement from the days when I was struggling for a few pennies a day.
Hopefully, this can be an encouragement to anyone that is new to affiliate marketing and is thinking about giving up after a few weeks or few months of hard work, with no payout in sight.
My Adsense Earnings – The First Year
Although my initial focus was on the eBay Partner Network, I did try to stick a few Adsense ads on all my original affiliate websites. (My first ever affiliate website is still alive and kicking at thebigboxingstore.com) Here are some stats from my early days of trying to earn income from Adsense:
- It took me 8 days before I received my first click. I made a grand total of 6 cents that day.
- By day 10, I was finally up to a total of 7 cents.
- After my first month, I had earned $1.43
- I slipped a bit in March. I only earned $1.31, for a 2 month total of $2.74. I seriously can’t believe I didn’t give up on Adsense at this point. It really was an afterthought to my EPN earnings, but I really saw Adsense as being useless at that point.
- I had a double-digit month in Jun of 2008. I earned $15.51. Maybe this Adsense thing had some potential after all. I honestly can’t remember why or how I increased so much – I had only earned $1.59 in May 2008.
- After a $25.19 month in October, I finally received my first Adsense check in Nov 2008.
- In my first year, I totaled $227.29 in Adsense earnings
How I Improved My Adsense Earnings
I really wish I could give you an exact blueprint on how to increase your Adsense earnings from $1 a month to over $700 a month. Aside from shifting the focus of some of my sites from EPN ads to Adsense ads, some of the other changes I have made are just little tips I’ve picked up from reading other blogs over the years. I’m sure you’ve probably read these tips in other places, but the fact of the matter is, they actually do help out and that is why you probably read the same thing on a blog after blog.
Choose the Large Rectangle Ad Block Whenever Possible
The large rectangle ads (336X280) tend to have a higher click-through ratio. Try to place the ad at the top of a blog post near the title, somewhere “above the fold”. These ads tend to look the most like other website links, and therefore people are most inclined to click these ads. If you are familiar enough with WordPress and want to modify your single.php page – I’d suggest putting the ad within a left or right floated div tag just before “the_content()” function. This way, your post text will wrap around the AdSense ad. If you are working with a theme that isn’t wide enough, then you can try the 250×250 square ad as well.
Here are some more great tips on increasing your Adsense earnings with ad placement.
Blend Your Ad Colors With Your Site Colors
I always match the link title colors in my ad with the link color of my site. I also match the description color with the text of my website. I’ve heard that you should then match the URL color to some other color that compliments your site OR to some light color. Also, I never show a border on my ads. If the background of your page is white, then use a white border. I like the ads to blend as much as possible with my content.
Write Great Content
This may seem obvious, but you must have good, relevant content on your site if you plan on monetizing using Adsense. Google relies on your content to decide what ads to serve. If you have little content, then it will not be able to show relevant ads, and your click-through rate will plummet.
Build Sites and Build Backlinks
Keep building sites. Once you find your own formula, try to stick with it. I found a certain niche that did pretty well, so I built similar sites in related niches to try to capitalize from the success of my original site.
Weed out your weaker sites. Hold on to the sites that are earning you at least a few dollars a month. Continue to build backlinks. Rinse and repeat.
There is a fine balance between maintaining the right number of sites, building enough backlinks, and writing enough content for each site. I think that balance is different for every person. It all depends how much time you have to work on your sites and how much money you want to get back out of them in the end. Find your balance.
EPN – The Other Side of the Story
Probably the biggest reason that I didn’t quit affiliate marketing in my early days is that of the eBay Partner Network (EPN). I got off to a pretty quick start when I purchased the BANS (Build a Niche Store) script. It allowed me to quickly create niche websites and start earning money right away.
My EPN stats only go back to June 2008 – prior to that, their affiliate program was hosted by Commission Junction – so I cannot see my stats from Feb – May 2008, but I’m pretty sure I made nearly $100 in that period, which was much more than I was making from Adsense. This helped keep my spirits up and kept me pushing on, and is one of the big reasons that I still push for people to try out the eBay Partner Network if they are just starting out. They don’t pay out quite as well as they did back in 2008 because of some changes that they made to their payment calculation methods, but it is still a solid affiliate program and a very easy way to get started making money quickly.
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I am nowhere near where I want to be. Someday in the future, I’d like to write a post about how I went from making four figures a month to making five figures a month – and hopefully, it won’t take me another three years to make it to that point.
But for anyone out there that might be struggling to make a dollar – don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully someday soon you will get that first affiliate check and be on your way to earning a decent passive online income.