The First Month Online - Month 1
Born on January 1, 2009 - this website is now 1 month old. It was a very exciting month. The website was put out there and I watched. Not knowing what to expect.
I had read and heard that websites can make money. But I had never seen it. The past month answered the most important question. Can you make money online? The answer is yes. It was as simple as creating a website, then visiting forums to generate traffic.
At first nobody came. But after a few days the big 0 disappeared and the website began to generate dollars. As of Jan 31, 2009 the total revenue is $58.39.
Of course it was a lot of work. To make that $58.39 dollars I had to spend 184 hours creating and updating the website. On the whole it made money. But when you divide the revenue by the number of hours worked - it turns out that I make $0.32 dollars per hour. I work for pennies.
But that is OK. At least I know that the concept is real. People visit, money is generated. The first step has been taken. What remains to be done will also be difficult. Traffic equals Money. Next task is to increase traffic.
For the first few days of the month there was no traffic. After a week a small amount visited. Then more came. It is encouraging that throughout the month the traffic steadily increased.
- Week 1: 2
- Week 2: 12
- Week 3: 21
- Week 4: 48
Most of this traffic was generated by visiting forums. Only 10 visitors found the site via Google. This is something that needs to be worked on. Somehow I need to drive visitors to the site from Google. How to do that? I do not know yet. But I am sure there is a way. No rush. I will find it.
The most interesting thing discovered this month is how differently the ads performed.
The website had three ads. I chose different ads so that their performance can be tested. A graphical banner ad – one advertisement with a picture. It was placed on the left panel of the website. Second was a unit ad. This is a one line ad with a few key words. If visitors click on one of the words they are taken to another page with advertisements for that word. This was placed under the main horizontal navigation bar. Lastly was the text ad. If user clicks on it they are taken to the ad's website.
Here are the results over the month:
- Graphic banner ad on left panel = $9.01
- Unit ad just under the main navigation bar = $2.50
- Text ad on right panel = $34.88
Update March 2011
This website has been online for over 2 years. When I look back I am surprised by how much money this website made during the first month. How did I receive so much money from AdSense from so little traffic?
Currently this website receives around 200 visitors a day and makes a lot less money from advertising – how come the first month made so much money with less traffic?
The answer is that during the first month I was visiting forums and asking the members to critique this website. Since most of the visitors were fellow webmasters they were being 'kind' by clicking on the ads. This resulted in a lot of clicks.
But of course these are not the kind of clicks I want. People clicking on ads to be 'kind' will result in either smart pricing (lowering the money you get for every click) or possibly the termination of your AdSense account if Google feels that you are somehow incouraging people to click the ads.
Now I get all my clicks from valid search engine traffic which is why this website makes a lot less money with AdSense per visitor then it did during the first month.
The text ad was the clear winner. Followed by the graphic banner. The unit ad performed so poorly that I removed it. It was not making any money; all it did was clutter up the website. I describe the benefits of removing the ad in blog post, Increase Revenue By Removing Ads.
The banner ad was OK. But compared to the text ad its performace was pathetic. So I decided to remove it. It was replaced by a text ad. It will be interesting to see how two text ads perform. I am a little worried that the text ads on both sides of the content will make the site looked cluttered. Let the visitors decide - I will keep both text ads up for the month of February and see weather revenue increases. The text ad will be compared against the results of the banner ad.
The design of the website is basically complete. No more time will be spent on cosmetic changes. From now on I can focus on adding content and increasing traffic.
Next month the main task will be to increase traffic. The goal is 200 visitors/day by the month's end. Honestly I do not how that is going to happen. But all my energies will be spent in its pursuit.
What I do, how it is done, and the results, will be revealed.
Want to know what happened next? Read Month 2 – Not Building Backlinks
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