Buying a Website

I’m advising a client who is buying a developed web site — content, domain name, all of it. It gets around 6k pageviews/month, so it’s not big, but he wants to make a partial living off its ad revenue. Super, let’s do this.

Ad Revenue GOOD (Hulk)

Yea, we all want ad revenue. So should we run Google AdSense ads and press the Easy Button, or make private ad deals by calling real people on the phone… doing it the old fashion way? The latter is going to be more lucrative. BUT you need to maintain relationships, invoice them, and take a paper check to the bank every month. So let’s do private ad deals. More work but more money.

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Bottom Dropping out of Ad Revenue

My various web sites have pretty good traffic, and ad revenue has been a growing slice of my income pie. In the past ~6 weeks the revenue from  Google ad spots has dropped maybe 20%*. And that’s with an increase in impressions on the order of 40%*.

The number of ads shown is going up — I’m adding different spots throughout my sites, with each of those showing more frequently — while the overall revenue is going down.

On the flipside, buying traffic has gotten cheaper. I’ve managed to reduce my average bid while keeping the amount of incoming traffic steady.

* off-the-cuff numbers


Should I Run Google Ads?

I get this question often. Here’s the deal.

If you have fewer than 50 visitors per day, Google AdSense ads showing on your site would help you to make money, but not very much. You ‘rent out’ space on your site, and Google fills that space with ads from third parties. The revenue you’d get from Google ads, given your traffic, would be maybe a few dollars a month, depending on your business. If you run a site dedicated to cameras, your AdSense revenue is going to be higher than a site dedicated to knitting.

Running Google ads does not help SEO at all. Sorry folks, no shortcut here.

Generally ads are placed on content sites, like my Volvo site I’m not selling anything, but rather offering content.

Sometimes there are sales sites with ads, but they’re rare because it’s hard to do both sales and content, and many times the ads Google chooses to run on your site will compete with the products you’re selling. My client StyleMatters is one that does both.

I’m not a big fan of the mix, but I do recommend Google ads on content sites getting 100+ visits per day IF you can’t find a private ad deal first.

I’d be happy to talk to you about how your site can make you money.

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