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5 reasons why you shouldn’t use AdSense to monetize your blog

Considering AdSense to monetize your blog? Don’t do it. While blog ads are popular, here are 5 financially compelling reasons not to use AdSense on your blog.

February 6, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

After months of writing and publishing articles on your blog, you’ve grown your readership.

Go ahead… pat yourself on the back.

After all, it takes consistent hard work to grow your blog audience. 

Now, you’re ready to monetize your blog and earn your money from your online business idea.

If you’re curious about using Google AdSense to bring in blog revenue, we have some advice for you today: 

Don’t rely on it. 

While AdSense may match ad content to your blog’s content, we don’t recommend using it as your main way to earn blog income. 

In fact, we have 5 sound reasons for you today not to use AdSense. 

But first, let’s quickly run through how it works, so you have a better understanding of why it’s one of the worst ways to monetize your blog.

How does Google AdSense work?

If you’re a blogger, Google AdSense allows you to make money by displaying Google ads on your site. You get paid per page view and per click. More specifically, AdSense pays by counting two things:

  1. Ad impressions -  They pay you for every thousand page views on your blog.
  2. Ad clicks - They pay you every time someone clicks an ad on your site.

Once you reach your minimum threshold of $100, Google releases your payout.

Unlike other networks that require a minimum traffic volume to join, such as Adthrive’s minimum of 100,000 monthly page views and Mediavine’s minimum of 25,000 monthly sessions, there’s no minimum for AdSense’s network. 

As far as ad formats go, you -- as the publisher -- can choose from text ads, display ads, rich media ads, and others.

While Google AdSense is one of the top ten display advertising networks and touts an upward trend in usage, we still don’t recommend relying on it as your main blog monetization method. 

If you’re wondering why, we’ve got five big reasons for you today, starting with the low pay rates.

5 reason why not to use AdSense on your blog

#1. AdSense doesn’t pay you well

The first reason why AdSense isn’t an ideal way to monetize your blog is it’s very difficult to earn a significant income. 

Let’s do some quick math to demonstrate your payday. Page RPM is your revenue per 1,000 page views. To calculate page RPM, use the formula:

Page RPM = (Estimated earnings / number of page views) * 1,000

The average RPM ranges from $1 to $10 for content-rich sites like blogs. This means to make $100 a day, you’ll need at least 60,000 visitors every month.

It is possible to earn a significant amount, but it takes a hefty amount of traffic. For example, to make $100,000 a year, you need at least 100,000 visitors a day, with a click-through rate (CTR) of 1% and a cost per click (CPC) of $0.25.

(If you’re unfamiliar, the CTR is the ratio of users who click on your ad to the total page views, and the CPC is the amount you earn each time someone clicks on your blog page ad). 

If you’re looking for an expert’s opinion, blog guru Ryan Robinson claims blog ads have some of the lowest returns compared to his other blog revenue channels. 

That’s saying a lot, especially for his amount of traffic. With over 2.4 million readers as of last year, Ryan definitely has the numbers to optimize ad payouts, and yet, AdSense still isn’t the best route for uplifting his blog revenue. 

Take another expert, founder of Blog Tyrant -- a company that spurs other successful blogs -- as another example. 

The founder started a fitness blog 10 years ago, monetized it through AdSense, and sold it a year later for $20,000

Although he was happy with his earnings at the time, he later regretted his decision. The blog expert realized he could have (and should have) used more profitable content monetization methods to increase his blog’s value before selling it. 

Blog Tyrant’s big learning lesson: 

“Every click represented a loss in revenue.”

What’s more, is when you get into the really high-income levels and earn over $25,000 per month from your blog, ad revenue makes up a dramatically lower portion of blogging income at only 3% compared to the 30-35% for lower monthly income ranges.

So yeah, there are better ways to monetize your blog.

Faster ways, too.

#2. It takes a long time to make money from AdSense

The second reason why you should reconsider using AdSense on your blog is the sheer amount of time it takes to earn revenue. It’s not just a matter of slapping on an AdSense unit and watching the dollars roll right in.

It took entrepreneur and freelance web developer, Andrea Whitmer, a grueling nine months to make $2 on her personal blog. Some days she doesn’t receive any ad clicks at all. Some days she’ll get paid $0.10 from her impressions that day.

All this to say, you need to be extra patient and diligent with your blog ad strategy -- on top of sticking it out with growing your blog alone, which is something most people don’t do. A major 59.3% of bloggers start a blog and then abandon it. 

On top of that, only 21.8% of bloggers go at it for more than five years, and a measly 3.1% dedicate more than 40 hours per week to it.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t go for it.

Quite the opposite, actually. You should definitely commit the time and energy to publish consistent content over the long-haul. If you do, you’ll be miles ahead of the average blogger.

But it’s definitely not an easy undertaking, and trying to monetize that undertaking via AdSense is going to add even more challenges to an already heavy timeline. 

Basically, why waste time you probably don’t have? If you have to choose where to hustle, your content -- and not your ads -- should and will always need to come first.

OK, that covers the internal drawbacks of using AdSense. Now, let’s move to the external-facing drawbacks that impact the most important part of your blog: your readers.

#3. Readers don’t like ads

A major reason why you should steer clear of using AdSense on your blog is your audience doesn’t agree with it.

One in four internet users in the US block ads. Put another way, that’s more than 70 million people blocking ads, and that number is on the rise. 

As far as your blog revenue goes, the massive amount of ad-blockers means you have to attract even more visitors to your site to make a dent in your AdSense earnings.

Freelance writer and entrepreneur, Paul Maplesden, even recommends taking into consideration the number of ad-blockers when calculating the number of visitors you need to reach your desired ad revenue.  

For instance, to calculate the number of visitors needed, he uses the formula

Number of visitors needed = desired income / CPC / CTR / % of people without ad-block / average pages per session 

If you follow Paul’s example of reaching a desired income of $10 per day, he includes 70% as the assumption number for visitors that don’t use an ad-block, to calculate his total. 

In formula form, to earn $10 in revenue, it reads:

Number of visitors needed = 1000 / 30 / 0.02 / 0.7 / 1.5 = 1,587 visitors

That’s a lot of grind for not a lot of pay off. Too much, we think, when there are so many other options -- most of which don’t interfere with your blog goals.

Which, yes, AdSense probably will.

#4. AdSense compromises your integrity and blog goal

Another compelling reason not to use AdSense on your blog is the ads distract your readers and compete with your blog’s purpose, which is (or should be, anyway) to provide valuable free content to your readers. 

If you have a goal of getting your audience to subscribe to your blog newsletter -- so you can continue to provide them with value -- AdSense’s distracting ads may lead them away from that goal. 

How? Ads themselves have their own call-to-action (CTA). 

Which means, your blog and your blog ads are competing for your readers’ attention -- and action.

Another way to look at is: you give up a blog subscriber for each paid ad click. 

Getting paid to push readers away from your blog’s original intent may not be the best way to gain your audience’s trust, which is a vital ingredient that’s running scarce in businesses these days. So scarce that trust in business is below 50% in half of all markets.

(Speaking of trust, if you need a trusted all-in-one platform with a reliable team to back you up, take advantage of this 14-day trial. The excellent customer support makes managing your site’s content a cinch.)

Another way AdSense distracts your readers is it allows their ads to take up a lot of real estate. 

How much real estate? A little too much by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards.

For instance, IAB recommends a limit of three non-sticky ads per page. (If you’re unfamiliar, sticky ads are the ones that don’t scroll with the page and stay in position on your browser frame). 

However, with AdSense certified partners (a.k.a larger sites that get extra benefits), apparently, these rules don’t apply, and their ads are allowed to take up greater-than-standard space on your page.

It’s also worth mentioning that visiting a blog with distracting ads mixed into your content makes for an unpleasant user experience (UX).

And it’s best to keep your UX positive. If you don’t, the consequence could mean blog abandonment. Word on the street is 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, and 92% will completely abandon it after two or three negative interactions.

And that’s just one nail in the UX coffin for AdSense. Our final reason not to use AdSense today is even more deadly to your UX.

#5. AdSense slows down your site

A fifth reason why AdSense isn’t ideal for monetizing your blog is it’ll slow down your site.

The scripts that place ads eat up about 60% of the total loading time of a page.

What’s more, is 28% of ads don’t meet the IAB’s online ad guidelines. More specifically, five culprits slow down page loading time:

  1. Ads that are too big - 41% of ads exceed the max limit of 200 KB for banner ads and 300 KB for display ads.
  2. Excessive tracking scripts and ad requests - The average number of network requests and tracking scripts is 56, despite the recommended number being 15.
  3. Processor-intensive ads - 32% of advertisers exceed the 300-millisecond-rendering time.
  4. SSL non-compliance - A whopping 51% of ads don’t comply with the HTTP/2 encryption guidelines.
  5. Intrusive and unsupported ad formats - 4% of ads deliver in Flash, which is unsupported by Google Chrome.

If you think site speed isn’t a big deal, think again. A one-second delay could mean a 7% loss in conversions and 11% fewer page views. 

Plus, 57% of visitors leave your site if your page takes more than three seconds to leave.

If you’re on mobile, your pre-abandonment window is also very brief -- 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Basically, to avoid slowing down your site speed -- something that’s vital to keeping your visitors on your site -- avoid using AdSense.

Don’t rely on AdSense to monetize your blog

While we highly encourage you to earn money from your blog, there are other monetization methods and unconventional business ideas -- aside from Google AdSense -- to do so.

Let’s briefly review:

  • AdSense pays you to display Google ads on your blog. You get paid per ad impression and ad click.
  • AdSense isn’t an ideal way to earn income from your blog because the payout is less than desirable, and it takes a long time to earn income.
  • Another factor is a significant number of users block ads, which means you need to generate even more traffic to reach your blog revenue goals.
  • AdSense also compromises your integrity and the purpose of your blog by paying you to distract your readers with competing CTAs. 
  • Finally, AdSense slows down your site speed, making it difficult to keep readers on your blog.

Basically, will AdSense earn you coffee money? Yeah, probably, eventually. More than that? 

It’s not likely, and it’ll hurt your blog more in the long-run than help if you ever want to expand into higher-ROI monetization strategies. (We may have a suggestion or two, to that end.)

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