Google AdSense Reality Check : How Much Do We Make?

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People think that it is easy to make tons of money through Google AdSense, but is that really true?

Let’s take a look at how much we make here at Tech ARP, to give you an idea of what to expect…


Google AdSense Reality Check : How Much Do We Make?

Many people have asked me for advice on how to start up their own websites.

Some want to make some side income during the pandemic. Some asked us to take them on as full-time staff.

Others want to start a new business they can do at home – a big plus during this pandemic.

The reality is that – AdSense does NOT pay well at all. But when I tell them that, they think I’m trying to bullshit them.

I procrastinated over this article for many weeks, because it is very uncomfortable for me to acknowledge the facts as well. But we must face the facts… so let’s take a look…

Google AdSense Reality Check : How Much Do We Make?

First, take a look at how many page views we get here at Tech ARP.

From December 2020 until April 2021, we published around 402 articles which drew 1.13 million page views.

That averages out to about 282,500 page views a month, or 2,800 views per article. Not a lot of traffic, but it’s not too shabby.

Google AdSense Reality Check : How Much Do We Make?

How much do you think we should get with this kind of traffic? Keep that figure in your head, and then take a look at our estimated Google AdSense earnings.

Do note that these are estimated earnings that may change somewhat – Google deducts a certain amount for “invalidated clicks and impressions”.

Google AdSense Reality Check : How Much Do We Make?

Assuming that there are no further deductions – Tech ARP earned only US$553.26 or about RM2,268 over four months – an average of US$138 or RM 567 per month.

For context – the minimum wage in Malaysia is US$300 or RM1,200 per month. So whatever Tech ARP earns every month is LESS THAN HALF the minimum wage.

And that’s just our revenue. We have not even deducted the costs of maintaining and upgrading our server and other equipment – testbeds, work computers, etc.

Obviously, the money we make from AdSense does NOT even cover our costs, never mind make a decent living for any ONE person.


Google AdSense Reality Check : Why So Little???

It was not always like this. Google AdSense used to pay much better… back when there was serious competition from other advertising networks.

So why do websites get paid so little these days?

Ad Blockers Galore!

Everyone loves free information, and everyone hates advertisements. Not many people understand that advertisements drive the free Internet model.

So many people install ad blockers to get rid of those pesky advertisements. How many? Let’s calculate…

Tech ARP served 1.13 million page views, of which only 308,000 page views displayed any ads!

That means 72.7% of our readers are using ad blockers, which prevent any advertisements from being shown at all.

We receive ZERO revenue from these readers, even if they like what we write and want to support us.

Shift To CPC Advertisements

The greatly reduced ad revenue is partly because there has been a shift from CPM ads to CPC ads.

CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions) ads generate revenue per view, so you get paid every time an advertisement appears to your reader.

CPC (Cost per Click) ads only generate revenue when your readers actually CLICK on the link, and get sent to the advertiser’s website.

With the shift to CPC ads, you basically don’t get paid a cent for the millions of advertisements that get shown to your readers. You only get paid when they click on them.

Let’s calculate how often people actually click on these CPC advertisements.

Out of 493,132 advertisements that Google AdSense showed our readers, there were only 2,191 clicks.

That’s a click-through rate of just 0.444%.

In other words, only 1 out of every 225 readers who did not use an ad blocker clicked on a single advertisement.

Even more sobering – only 1 out of ever 516 pages people read generated a single ad click.

You would think that people would click on an advertisement as a show of support. In reality – it doesn’t work that way.


Don’t Rely On AdSense! Here Is What We Should Do…

You still want to create your own website, despite our reality check? I applaud you!

Passion and drive are CRITICAL to creating, maintaining and developing your own website, and I do truly wish you all the best.

The desire to share my knowledge with the world is what keeps me going since I started Tech ARP in 1998 – 23 years ago!

But we must still acknowledge reality, especially as we grow older and have fiscal responsibilities, and a family to support.

I hope these suggestions will help you in your endeavour.

Use AdSense To Cover Costs

Forget about relying on AdSense to generate enough revenue to make a living.

For every US$1000 of income, you will need at least 2 million page views. It’s not impossible, but it will take A LOT of work to get there.

I recommend that you rely on it only to cover your costs. Please do NOT quit your day job, if you have one.

In some months, you may get a sudden surge in income. But this is fleeting, so don’t count on it.

Protect Your PR + DA

Build up and protect your Page Rank (PR) and Domain Authority (DA). They are key to ensuring you get high traffic from search engines.

Do NOT sacrifice your PR and DA by committing these mistakes :

  1. Selling dofollow links : this kills your PR and DA by siphoning them to your “sponsor” for a pittance!
  2. Publishing guest posts : free content isn’t really free if they include dofollow links which sap your PR and DA like vampires
  3. Posting press releases : your website will get penalised for “scraped content” if you post lots of press releases, because they are all duplicates of the original content
  4. Adding a PR Newswire widget : you are basically helping them make money off your website, while siphoning your PR and DA for nothing in return.

Page Rank and Domain Authority take years to build up. Trading them even for money is foolish, but sacrificing them for a smile and a thank you is idiotic.

Photo Credit : Kevin Carden Photography

Foster Relationships

Once you start establishing yourself, PR and marketing agencies are going to start sending you press releases and invitations to their events.

These can be great opportunities to get in touch with brands, and develop relationships that could lead to collaborations and other business opportunities.

Brands that understand and value the work you do will line up to support you. Work with them for a win-win relationship.

Don’t Be A Useful Idiot

Some brands and PR / marketing agencies are notorious for making use of the media, and tossing them aside once they cease to be of any use.

Avoid them at all costs. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming their useful idiot.

The truth is – they don’t appreciate your work, and you are nothing more than their KPI farm – a useful idiot to help them achieve their PR or marketing KPI for the quarter.

Just tell them, “No, thank you” and move on. Have some respect for yourself. You are not their free marketing department.

Remember – branded swag and thank you will not feed you or your family. Everyone of them is getting paid money for their work, and so should you.

Facebook and Instagram swag. Photo credit : @Programmai on Twitter

Ask Your Readers To Support Your Work

This is something that I have recently decided to tried out for myself – asking my readers to support my work.

Whether it’s through Patreon or directly to you, you need to swallow your pride if you want to actually make a decent living writing online.

Ask them to contribute to your work, by making a cash contribution to you, the writer.

This is also the only way to reach the 73% of our readers who use ad blockers. Who knows – it may remind them that ad blocking hurts writers like us?


Help Support My Work!

If you would like to support my work, you can do so via bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card.

Name : Adrian Wong

Credit Card / Paypal :
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)

Thank you in advanced! ❤️


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