I have talked a lot about Google AdSense in the past, and I have also recommended AdSense as one of the best contextual ad networks for your blog. With the quality of ads and a safe recurring income, AdSense is one of the safest blog monetization networks available to bloggers today.
But, what happens to people whose AdSense accounts are banned or to one who is finding it difficult to get an AdSense account approved? Is that the end of making money via blogging for them?
AdSense is considered to be the best money-making program for bloggers for the following reasons:
- It is easier to use
- You don’t have to worry about the quality of ads.
- You don’t have to manually change the ads after a certain time.
- You don’t have to worry about payment, as AdSense payments are reliable.
However, there are numerous issues which you face when using AdSense:
- You must abide by the content guidelines offered by the AdSense team.
- You cannot simply post anything you want to post. Even though you may not be violating any webmaster guidelines, you cannot publish certain types of posts due to the AdSense policies. (Example: websites which allow us to watch movies online.)
- To earn more from AdSense, you need to try out various optimization techniques, including using keywords with high CPC.
- If you get traffic from countries like India, Pakistan and Malaysia, you might earn mere pennies from AdSense.
None of these drawbacks make AdSense evil, but these issues do point to the fact that AdSense is not as great as you may think it is.
Following are some of the benefits of not using Adsense:
Why and how your life is better without an AdSense account:
Let me start by sharing my own journey with AdSense:
When I started blogging, I had no idea how to make money from the blog. I am among the accidental solopreneurs like John Chow, Neil Patel and others, who started something without knowing where we were heading. I started blogging because of my passion for sharing knowledge. I heard about AdSense after a few months of blogging, but my first ad income was $47 from a Dreamhost affiliate sale. It was not from AdSense or any other similar ad network.
You may be wondering why I would say this since I make lots of money blogging ( $8800/month as this article is being written), but have you ever seen AdSense ads here at ShoutMeLoud?
If you happened to stumble upon a previous ShoutMeLoud article on my AdSense earnings for 4 years, you know that I made almost no money with AdSense, compared to other monetization techniques I have used. The only good thing about AdSense is recurring income, which can offer a feeling of security to some degree.
Now that you know my AdSense story, I will share with you my experience successfully monetizing a few blogs without using AdSense at all, and what can happen if you choose to do the same.
Your blogging life becomes more experimental:
The best of blogging education comes when you experiment with things. When you experiment with the latest monetization methods, for example, you may find a solution which works perfectly for your niche. On the other hand, you can also learn things from the experiences of other bloggers. So instead of spending time trying something completely new, you could start by trying methods which have worked for someone like me or for other bloggers in your niche.
For example, some time back I talked about Viglink, which is a great advertising network, but not perfect for a niche like ShoutMeLoud. It does, however, work great for a fashion niche. You can check out the case study of running Viglink on a fashion blog here.
I don’t have a blog on fashion, but fortunately one of my clients does, and she trusted my judgement. She allowed me to experiment, it worked, and – viola! – it became a case study.
However, if you ask me “Hey Harsh – how great is Bidvertiser?”, I will not have an answer because I used it three years ago, and I have no idea how they have changed over the past three years. They might be serving up the same low paying ads, or they might have moved forward with premium advertisements.
Takeaway: When you read about a new ad network, try it out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things. Instead of simply looking for a review, search for income reports and case studies.
Trying things in a different way:
There is another ad network call Po.st which is unique and offers monetization via social sharing on your blog. These ads are triggered when somebody shares your articles on social networking sites, and since they are high-paying CPM ads, you earn a good amount of money with Po.st.
This may not be a good option for a new blog which is not shared with frequency, but a blog with viral-content (such as a blog of funny images or a viral video blog) driving tons of traffic from social media sharing could make a lot of money with Po.st.
Clearly, for high CPM based ads, Po.st would be a much better alternative to AdSense. In fact, on image-based blogs AdSense performs very poorly, but with an ad network like Po.st, you can earn far more money than you may think, giving us yet another reason why bloggers do not need AdSense in every niche.
You will be inclined to earn via your strong skill set:
I have a blog called WpFreeSetup which is currently in its orphan stage, but the good thing is that I have a blog business plan ready, and I believe it will work. To what extent, I’m not sure. But this blog has been running for a while now, I do not use AdSense, and the blog is still making enough money to cover my hosting and maintenance fees for that blog.
You may be thinking “Sure, Harsh – but you have been using WordPress for four years now, and you know how things work around WordPress”, and you would be right. But that is part of my skill set. Have you considered what your skill set is?
If you are running a technology blog, you can find various ways to monetize your skills. You can create an eBook like Amit Agarwal did (150 most useful websites). Being a tech savvy guy, I know that anyone with good knowledge of technology can do it. At the same time, I also know that there are millions of people who have no idea that such useful sites exist. All it takes is experience, a good idea, and a plan.
- If you are running a finance blog, you could offer to make a finance plan for your readers at an affordable price.
- If you are running a relationship blog, you could offer premium one-on-one consultancy around relationship issues.
- If you are running a health blog, you could offer to create a diet plan for your readers at a competitive price.
- If you are running a fashion blog, you could help people to shop for fashions that work for them, and you could get paid for that.
REMEMBER: There is a market out there for everything! All you need to know is how and where to sell what you have to offer.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, affiliate marketing is the main source of income. You will find thousands or maybe even millions of marketers talking about affiliate marketing and recommending thousands of products to you, but they will never tell you which ones work and which ones do not. Many of them will claim to make you a multi-millionaire in a day, but do you really believe money comes so easily?
If you are planning to earn income via affiliate marketing and use it as an alternate to AdSense, you need to work hard, and you need a plan to reach a sustainable income. If someone tells you that affiliate marketing doesn’t offer recurring income, he is wrong.
I know that every month, no matter what, I will earn at least $2000 from affiliate marketing. That is the minimum amount I will earn, because I created a sales funnel to sustain that amount of income regardless of any factors that may vary during that month. The key to this kind of sustainable success with affiliate marketing is to recommend something that you use, and also guide readers on how they can use it. While it is true that Google doesn’t like affiliate links, they don’t mind them if you are adding value.
Take away: There are many types of affiliate marketing, and you can choose what works for you. You can either create a blog and try to recommend every new product in your niche, or you can be selective and recommend products that you are likely to use or are actually using, and teach your readers how to benefit from their use as well.
If you are looking to achieve long-term financial success without selling your soul, do it the right way from the start. It may be slow at first, but it will surely pay you off nicely in the end.
At warrior forum, most of the internet marketers talk about how they’ve made very significant amounts of money without actually offering anything meaningful in return. Not everyone is like that, but how is the reader supposed to find a method that works in the midst of the thousands that do not work at all?
Here are a couple of hand-picked articles to help you to learn more about affiliate marketing:
My intention with this article has been to show you the reality of life without AdSense. Many bloggers give up when AdSense does not work for them, and they don’t even pursue anything else. Half of them spend months of time trying to get their AdSense account approved, and repeating the same mistakes which caused their account to be banned or disapproved in the first place.
If AdSense is not working for you, let it be. Try something else. Try something which no one else has dared to try. If there is an ad network out there, chances are it should work for someone. Why not you? You may want to ask yourself if you are brave enough to take that risk. If you are, then this post is just for you.
I would love to know your monetization success stories which have not involved AdSense. If you have one, drop me an email at harsh[at]shoutmeloud.com. I may want to share your stories with all the Shouters!
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