Your Blog Monetization Options: Part I - Pay-Per-Click Ads

A Good Way To Raise Money

A short while ago Ruchir over at TechnoMoney wrote this article, Monetizing Your Blog: 9 Proven Money Makers (site no longer active), and I wrote a comment responding to it. I thought I’d expand this comment out into a series of posts.

I’ve found that monetizing a blog, particularly one that gets under 1000 visitors a day, to be a difficult undertaking. Of course, we all would love a blog that turns a good 5 figures a month like some well known, A-List, bloggers. But, let’s face it, where most of us are right now, $100-200 a month would be nice. In this series, I’m going to look at some ways that small to mid-sized blogs can monetize and some of the pluses and minuses of each. I’d also like your input into these monetization methods and if your results from them were good or bad.

This article will take a look at Pay-Per-Click programs such as…

Google Adsense

AdCENTS Who doesn’t know about Adsense? Who hasn’t seen someone displaying a huge check from Google? It sounds good until you realize that for most blogs the name of the program should be “AdCENTS” because that’s what most blog sites will earn in a day. What can you do to improve Adsense earnings and should you even use it?

The best way to improve earnings is to have a site that brings in search traffic and to have a site that is targeted toward a product or service that people want buying information about. That’s why “Made for Adsense” sites are a popular money maker because they can earn up to $100 or more a month with a little time or effort if they’re targeted well and place well in search results. Even less visited ones can easily score $10-30 a month. Multiple that out over several dozen or even hundreds of sites and it adds up to a nice income.

For a blogger concentrating on a single site, this means that if you have a product blog you may do OK but if you’re blogging about Internet marketing, blogging or some other topics Adsense earnings will typically be quite low. Adsense is worth keeping around if you don’t have anything else worthwhile to fill the space with plus it gives visitors a way to indirectly ‘tip’ you a few cents but it probably won’t be a huge money maker for you. As I’ve mentioned before, if an ad program can’t beat Adsense, it probably isn’t worthwhile.


Kontera, a jack-in-the-box for your site Kontera puts a double underline on certain keywords and pops up an ad when the user goes over it. It’s really just a different approach to pay-per-click ads. The problem with it is that it’s rather annoying to visitors on top of having the same low earnings as Adsense and others. I’ve heard from several bloggers that the ad relevance was low and the earnings were low. If you’ve had a different experience with them, let me know.


Yahoo! Publisher Network

Yahoo Ads - Also RanThis is Yahoo’s ‘also ran’ version of Adsense. They’re an option for those who’ve been banned-for-life from Adsense although they do have geographic restrictions. As is typical with Yahoo, their version of what Google is doing lags behind considerably. They do offer payment through PayPal, which is nice. In locations where I’ve seen their ads they don’t seem to provide targeting as well as Google and there doesn’t seem to be as many or as varied ads. If you have any experiences with them, good or bad, feel free to comment on them.


WidgetBucks and Shopzilla

Where did that tree come from? These two ad programs are relatively new. Both display product galleries based on keywords, either provided manually or in the page content, and publishers are paid per click. The problem with these two programs so far has been a history of pay out problems, performance problems, random rule changes and other growing pains. From what I’ve heard and observed myself earnings have been low for them as well, below what Adsense could earn in the same slots. A few people have reported good money from them but most have not. If you’ve used one of them, what were your experiences?


Other Pay-Per-Click Ad Programs

Yeah, I got some ads for ya.They’re kind of the poor cousin to Adsense. Typically they don’t earn as much, are usually rather sleazy and have geographic and other restrictions that make them unattractive. The quality of the ads are generally so low that they aren’t worth it. You could probably do better promoting the same things in affiliate ads for yourself. If you know of a program that you think is worthwhile, please leave a comment about it (no affiliate links please, they’ll be edited out).


That’s it for this installment. In the next few days I’ll do articles on Affiliate Ads, Paid Reviews and Links and other options I’ve heard about. As always, your input describing your experiences is appreciated.


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Comment by Saedel
2007-12-05 14:41:42

Good stuff you put there Frank. I have never used Kontera because it is annoying, and it can mislead readers to other links.

Other PayPerClick is Bidvertiser. However, some say that the ads they’re showing are not entirely relevant to the content.

Comment by jfc
2007-12-05 15:54:31

Hi Saedel,

Bidvertiser and AdBrite were two I was thinking of in the ‘other’ category. Their ads just aren’t relevant about 95% of the time.

Comment by Ivy
2007-12-05 23:11:02

Hi Frank,

Am looking forward to your post on affiliate marketing since your blog seems to have quite a number of affiliate ads. A lot of affiliate programs will qualify you only if you have a certain amount of traffic or alexa ranking before they will accept you, so any affiliate programs you know that do not have these requirements will be great to know about!

Comment by jfc
2007-12-06 01:42:47

Hi Ivy,

I’ll try to cover that topic next.

Comment by david
2007-12-07 14:51:45

I heard some mixed review about widgetbucket. Nice review

Comment by jfc
2007-12-07 15:43:19

Thanks for stopping by David,

I got about a $1.25 from WidgetBucks before I stopped using it. It just didn’t do as well as Adsense in the same slots.

2007-12-30 21:32:24

[…] devs joining in! Big Honkin’ Ads … Do They Work? Part 1 of a 3 part series, very good analysis. Your Blog Monetization Options: Part I - Pay-Per-Click Ads Big series with some discussion of some well known and not so well known […]

Comment by Y. S.
2008-01-09 06:27:21

Here are my “Adcents!” stats from a forum I have the Ads on:

Page impressions [a big number]
Clicks [a low number]
CTR [a low percentage]
Earnings $24.71

I read somewhere that Forums are not the best choice for getting revenue from Adsense, but does it have to be this low?!

Note: The main language of the forum is not English.

If the revenue remains like this, I’m considering giving up on adsense.

What do you advise?

Comment by jfc
2008-01-09 09:04:39

Hi Y.S.,

First of all, you’re not supposed to disclose your Adsense impressions, clicks or CTR. I’ll edit these out of your post.

Forums don’t monetize well because they’re sticky content. People want to stay on the page. Plus, because they visit it so often, they get ‘banner blindness’ and ignore the ads.

From the sound of things, the high number of impressions with the low number of clicks has gotten that Adsense account “smart priced”, meaning that most your clicks will be worth about 10% of their regular value. I’d recommend pulling Adsense off of that site and replacing it with a rotating set of affiliate offers geared toward the content of the forum.

Comment by Y. S.
2008-01-09 11:16:53

Thanks a lot :)

Yeah I know. I did it anyway cuz I was fed up and needed a solution.

Do you know how I can make regular visitors click on the Ads without breaking Google terms?

Comment by jfc
2008-01-09 11:31:16

The simple answer is to get regular visitors that will regularly click ads. The visitors most likely to do this are visitors who arrive from Google. They’ll scan your content and, if your content isn’t enough for them or exactly what they’re looking for, they’re likely to click an ad, or at least between 15-30% are.

As for your forum, the best thing to do is to look for advertisers who’ll pay you on an impression count or monthly basis. Your traffic is good but the click-thru is bad and will stay bad. By using banners where you’re paid without needing a click you’ll be more likely to make money.

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