Many bloggers use AdSense as their primary source of revenue on their blog. There are six “stages” that all bloggers go through when using AdSense.
Stage 1: Sign Up
The first stage, is quite naturally, signing up.
This stage involves a lot of waiting for your site to be approved by the AdSense team. It could take a few days and the blogger is likely to be very apprehensive over this. Constantly second guessing as to whether their blog will make the cut or not.
Assuming you’ve been approved, it’s now time to do something with the AdSense code you are given. But… what do you do?
You are allowed up to three blocks of advertising on a page, but what formats do you use?
This stage involves a lot of second guessing and change. You need to decide on formats and placement.
Will graphic advertisements do better than text?
What about changing the colors around to blend into the blog?
What if I blend too well and get booted out of the AdSense system?
Stage 2: Watching and Waiting
Now that the advertising blocks are on your blog it’s time to see if anything happens.
Many people, at this stage, become junkies. They check their AdSense earnings every hour on the hour. They pontificate on why no one is clicking their advertising.
“Why am I not an AdSense millionaire yet,” is a common thought at this stage.
Stage 3: You Consider Click-Fraud
You are starting to get clicks. You are feeling happy. Then you see something in the AdSense rules about a $100 minimum payment.
It’s been five months and you are sitting at $60 in your AdSense account…
You feel the dark side calling to you, “just ask your friends to click on an advertisement link. Who will it hurt?”
This is the point when most people lose their AdSense accounts.
NEVER tell anyone to click on your advertising links. Google has sophisticated Click-Fraud mechanisms in place. Not only that but, those who use AdWords know where the traffic is coming from. When they see a spike in traffic from your site and go to investigate they will report the clicks as fraudulent and you will be banned from AdSense.
Stage 4: You’ve Been Slashdotted/Dugg
You wake up one morning to find one of the Social Book marking sites ran a link to your site. Providing your server did not crash you suddenly find yourself with a huge spike in AdSense impressions.
The number of impressions will not match the number of page views because many of those visitors used AdBlock software.
If you are lucky, some of them will have clicked on an Advertisement on the way out. If you are real lucky they will have subscribed to your RSS feed and have become regular readers.
This is a dangerous time for you. Seeing the huge spike in traffic (and possible revenue spike) you will be tempted into becoming a mixture of Google Whore and Digg Whore.
I’ll describe Google Whore in the next stage but suffice to say, a Digg whore is someone who habitually posts their blog entries on Digg hoping to regain the glory that they received for that one “golden” post.
Don’t go down that road, it only leads to frustration and shattered dreams. Let your new readers Digg your stories if they like them so much…
Stage 5: Google Whore
After spending weeks watching nothing happen with their AdSense earnings some bloggers turn to the dark side. They begin to do web searches about MFA (Made For AdSense) websites. They try to find out what keywords are worth the most money. They change their blog from a source of fun to a “profit center.”
Gone are the “what I had for lunch today” stories, replaced by stories such as:
“Why DUI lawyers are cool”
“Don’t eat the carcinogenic Asbestos as it leads to Asbestosis”
“How to pay back those huge college student loans”
Yes, you’ve just turned your happy little blog into an MFA site!
Your regular readers are in a daze. They don’t understand why you stopped writing about your cute fuzzy bunny slippers. They don’t want to read this keyword driven drivel!
One of two things happens at this point
a) You come to your senses and go back to being a regular blogger.
b) Someone clicks on one of those $30 advertising links and you get sucked in!
Stage 6: Normalcy
Assuming you make it past Stage 5, you will reach a point of normalcy.
At this stage you begin to accept that the readers of your blog are fickle and beyond your power to control. Some will click on advertising links, some will not, and others will just block all advertising.
You go back to writing about whatever you feel like. Your blog becomes more focused. Your readership begins a steady rise.
You find yourself only checking your AdSense earnings once a week, then less often. Suddenly, a check comes in the mail from Google! You’ve almost forgotten you even run Google AdSense!
You’ve come full circle. You are back to where you started and once again, it’s all about the blogging.