My no-nonsense Adsense story

Not too many strangers visit this site. Those that do seem to be looking for information about one of two things:

  • Report cards and/or report card envelopes
  • AdSense

Although I’m here to talk about the latter, here’s some info about report cards: I got nothin’. Folks, I just wanted to share my 2nd grade report card from 1972. That’s all. I wrote that blog post almost two years ago. Nothing further to see or learn. Return now to your Google search. I wish you well, young padawans.

However, AdSense is a different story.

I have a dead web site called Torq-O.com.

It’s an old classic car web site that I ran off and on for several years. I haven’t updated it for two years.

Many moons ago, I added Google AdSense to it as a test. I put Google ads in the sidebars of most content pages. I started this back in 2007 or 2008.

Keep in mind that I’m not one of those insanely driven internet marketers. I’m not focused like a laser death ray on click-through rates or split A/B testing or SEO. I just wanted to see if my content could help inspire a few clicks. I believe that AdSense can be an important revenue stream for a content creator . Ever since, it’s been my mission to discover how much work is required to make AdSense start paying off. (Hint: a lot.)

Two years ago, I started a YouTube channel called “promotodd.” (The Torq-O name was already taken! WTF?) I have a large automobile film library. I uploaded about 22 clips from that library to promotodd.

Then I left it alone. No promotion. No marketing. No additional content.

After about a year, I noticed that my daily views were climbing. Again, I was doing nothing to spread the word about this channel. But somehow, car nuts were finding it and, for the most part, liking it. I was getting about 140-160 views per day.

I was making about $1.50-$3.00/month. (I’m continually astounded by people making $100/day whose names don’t begin with Justin, Britney, or Carly Rae.)

It took several years until I earned my first Google Adsense paycheck in June 2010. But it was real. And hard won. I gave that check a big, fat, sloppy, wet smooch, and cashed it. (The teller was nonplussed.)

I anticipated that I’d have to spend several more years of $2 months before I got another one. But here’s where the story starts to get interesting.

It only took another year to earn that next $100. I had started an additional classic car web site, but that wasn’t generating many additional clicks. It was the promotodd YouTube channel that just kept rolling along. I decided to monetize many of the videos, and viewers increasingly decided to click on those ads. I don’t know why. Were they trying to delete the overlay ads while mistakenly clicking on them? Or (gasp) did they actually click them to learn more about the products?

I don’t know, but AdSense on YouTube was working. I got my second $100 paycheck this past July. As of right now (December 2012), I’ve earned an additional $63, and I’m on track to earn my third AdSense paycheck by March. That’s three months sooner than the last one.

First AdSense check = 3 years. Second AdSense check = 1 year. Third AdSense check = 9 months.

So here are some things I’ve learned and some things I believe to be true. (Some of them may be face-slappingly obvious. If so, feel free to lay palm on cheek in the Comments section below. I also encourage you to share your own solutions. Much less damage to my dental work.)

1) Internet television is replacing standard broadcast and cable television.
My primary demographic is 45-54 year-old men. These guys aren’t filled with technolust. They’re not change agents. They don’t live on the bleeding edge or use the newest, shiniest toys. If these guys are coming to my small, sadly neglected YouTube channel without any prompting from me, then something’s up. It’s a little something I like to call a “radical shift in the way we’re getting our entertainment.”

2) Feed the beast.
If you’re a content creator, you need to create new stuff constantly. Since I haven’t added a new video to promotodd in two years, I’ll be stuck with making 10-50 cents/day on average. I’ve learned my lesson and have started to upload one new clip a week to my Gone Autos YouTube channel. You have to give your viewers a reason to come back and that reason is the promise of new content.

3) Give it time.
I’ve listened to countless small business podcasts these past several years. Hosts interview successful guests in all sorts of internet-based businesses. The one thing I hear over and over is that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. It’s absolutely true. My YouTube channel visitors didn’t flock to my channel like Twihards. They found it over time. Once in awhile, a big web site linked to one of my clips. Gradually, steadily, my viewership grew. That’s how it works for everything. Give yourself some time to build your audience. You’ll get there by constantly creating new stuff and promoting it. The truth about the latest “overnight success” is that she’s been doing it or telling you about herself for 3-5 years already.

4) Don’t give up.
That’s the difference between me and overnight successes. I gave up on promotodd far too soon. If I had kept adding content these past two years, I’m sure my AdSense revenue would be much higher. It’s difficult, but I’m trying to learn my lesson with Gone Autos. A steady drip, drip, drip of content is better than quitting for months or more at a time. And over time, it’s amazing how those little drops add up to a huge bucket of content.

5) Develop one or two other money-making strategies.
I don’t rely on YouTube alone. I’d be living in a Maytag box in a downtown alley if I did. I also earn passive income by providing video clips through Getty Images. Other strategies include writing ebooks, conducting webinars, etc. But I like creating and publishing content, so I’m trying to find ways to earn money doing that.

Bottom line: I think AdSense on YouTube is a great way to make some money right now, but, like everything in life that produces tangible results, you have to work at it. You have to build a big enough audience to earn the clicks. And you have to be patient.

If you have the intestinal fortitude (or you’re just plain smarter than me---low threshold there), you can pay start by paying a bill or two with your AdSense money. Then it can grow to a mortgage payment. That’s how it works.

Now I have to get back to publishing content. Daddy needs a new pair of Nikes!
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