Why we Don't Monetize with Google Adsense

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Bird Rock, La Jolla

Google AdSense, or other similar web advertising, is one of the most common ways for websites to generate income. When we first started creating our sites, we thought this is where a large portion of our income was going to come from, alongside affiliate referrals. At first we stuck only with affiliate income because, to make a decent income with ads, you have to have pretty large traffic numbers, so we decided to wait. Plus, we don't like the way ads look in general 😁.

Now, 2 years later, we still don't have any ads on our site. The biggest reason for this is mostly because of the sole purpose of ads, which is to drive traffic to other sites. We as a network, try to cover as much of the expanse of Ghost as we can, and it is much more beneficial for us to direct someone through to information on one of our other sites then to send them to some random site completely out of our control.

By keeping someone within our network of sites, we can increase our chances they sign up for hosting through one of our affiliates, buy our eBook, or even perform non-revenue gaining actions like signing up for our email list or following us on Twitter. All of these actions are more helpful for us than the small amount of money that we would receive to send the customer away and possibly never get them back.

One type of advertising we have looked at possibly implementing is advertising directly with a company. This could be a good way for us to make some extra guaranteed revenue, but the number of companies we would be willing to partner with is very small, because it would have to be a company we trusted and already treated our audience well.

Another option of advertising we have thought about is to find our high bounce pages and put advertising just on those pages. We have some posts, like our proxy from port 80 to 2368 post where the bounce rate is abnormally high because it gets a lot of non-Ghost related traffic. This seems like it would be a good place to put AdSense on, and may be a good experiment, because of the number of 'low quality' visitors we get there who never return, because they don't care about Ghost, they care about that Nginx config.

All in all, even though AdSense seems to be the typical way a lot websites make money, I don't think it is for everyone. In our case, I believe AdSense would actually lose us money in the long run. Our sites have always been a long term play with content and our community at the forefront, and AdSense just doesn't fit in with our strategy. This doesn't mean it wont work for others, but for us right now, it doesn't make sense.

We would love to hear what you guys think about Adsense/advertising and your experience with it. Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter.

David Balderston