I had been using Google's Adsense program to generate some revenue from my various web sites. Prior to Adsense, I was never previously paid to run these and did so for a hobby. Overall I was pleased with the income I was generating. The only drawback was that I was always looking for ways to get people to my sites. I enjoyed working to bring in more visitors but felt that if I looked at my earnings vs. the hours I worked, the economics weren't making sense.
Then I figured out that certain sites were paying way more than the minimum .05 cents per click. I reasoned that if I could get pay visitors .05 - .10 to visit. Then if they clicked enough ads that paid much more than I paid, then Adwords could be a viable way to increase traffic to my sites.
So I paid my $5.00 setup fee and added my two most profitable sites. That same day my traffic jumped dramatically and as I thought. Visitors who came in via Adwords were more likely to click other Google ads on my site. My conversions went up and I thought why not put all my sites on Adwords.
This was where some careful research was needed. I found that some sites I run had adwords sponsors who were only bidding the minimum. Remember the concept was to under bid the advertisers on my sites. While my traffic skyrocketed, my expenses for a few sites seemed to outweigh any benefit. When my reports came in it was clear that I needed to use Adwords for only the sites that featured high bidding advertisers. This creates margin for those visitors who come in via paid ads but do not click to my own sponsored ads.
The exception would be if my site was offering a product or service. Then it would be well worth sticking with Adwords on those sites just to get more buying traffic. Because my sites are purely informational I had to watch carefully to ensure I was putting money into Adwords where it was working for me. In some cases I upped my bid on some keywords that were clearly bringing in steady traffic that converted well.
Google's new offering called Websense may change this a bit. By allowing you to put Google's search form on your site and then paying if your visitors search off your site and click other sponsored links it may make those underperforming sites profitable again. Time and further research will tell.
The moral of the story is that Adwords is a great way to dramatically increase your profits when using Adsense. Care needs to be taken to see that you are putting your money where it is most effective.
About The Author
John Gall is a full time IT Manager and IT Consultant in Minnesota. He runs several websites as a hobby featuring content similar to that in this article.