Google AdSense Kind Of Sucks

I’m sure there are a lot of people who have good success with Adsense, but I could never get it to work on this site. I get a lot of traffic from my WordPress plugins and some other posts. I configured my blog to show Adsense ads to incoming external visitors and ran ads for 2 years. The result? $75.

I think we’ve become blind to text ads if we haven’t already hidden them. I run Adblock Plus so never really see that many ads and even if I do I never click on them. There’s just something about allowing a third party to display content on your site that may or may not be completely relevant or trustworthy. I never click on ads so I’m not sure why I would expect other people to.

I had to close my entire AdSense account to get a pay out. The regular $100 threshold wasn’t too far away, but the way things were trending I doubt I would have ever gotten there. The last 4 or 5 months saw tens of thousands of impressions with zero earnings.

I’ve had much more success with Amazon’s affiliate links during the same time period. I think a fundamental difference is that visitors are getting to my posts because they are already interested in buying something. For example, the links in my posts about replacing the stereo in my Toyota Tacoma have a very high conversion rate. I link to all the items needed at a popular online retailer with low prices and free shipping and I get a cut of their order. I could remove the affiliate links and just put ads up, but I don’t know what’s going to show up, if people will click them and how much I’ll get (probably just a couple cents).

Maybe I just got lucky with my WordPress plugins pushing my other posts up in Google’s search results. All I know is more people bought Tacoma dash kits and wiring harnesses over clicking stupid AdSense ads.

Geeky Weekly Stats

The Blarg announced his number of visits a while back and I thought I’d take a look at some of my stats. I’ve been using Google Analytics for a while and I’ve got data back to Sept 2006. I started my blog in Oct 2005, but traffic would have been negligible that first year, maybe add 5% onto these numbers. So where do I stand?

  • Unique Visitors: 47,295
  • Visits: 61,400
  • Pageviews: 102,244

Not bad. My WordPress plugins make up the majority of my traffic, about 55% of the page views. A lot of those are single visit bounces, probably because I don’t have my sidebar up on individual pages; might be a good thing to change. A couple other interesting factoids:

  • About 98% of visitors have a screen resolution larger than 800×600
  • 58.5% were using Firefox vs 31% for IE

I’ve been wanting to do a redesign and it might be safe to finally push out towards 900-1000 pixel wide layouts. Still have to take into account that people don’t run their browsers maximized all the time.

Effect of releasing my plugin

Probably the most exciting thing that has happened around here in the past month or so is the release of my WordPress plugin. I spent a good amount of time exchanging e-mail with people about it and I’ve started to get more comments. So what has the plugin done for my site’s traffic? Check out the numbers for yourself, I released it the last few days of January 2006.

Month Unique visitors
Oct-05 76
Nov-05 165
Dec-05 331
Jan-06 329
Feb-06 1113

For the plugin itself I’ve had about 650 downloads, but a number of those might be repeats for upgrading. Hopefully I’ll have something a little more interesting to post about soon, school and work are time, motivation, and creativity killers.

And boo, the wordpress editor that comes with 2.0.1 doesn’t like tables for some reason. Have to install a more advanced one.

Google Search Update

In that past several weeks I’ve been moving up on the Google search results for several key searches. I’m now number 1 when searching for “geeky” and “weekly” and in a new surprise, 8th with “andrew” and “charlton”. Hopefully I’ll have content up soon where people will come across my work here without actually knowing my name or the name of the site.

Google search for geeky weekly
Google search for andrew charlton