Google AdSense supplies the text/banner ads you see around the site and on the other sites in my “network.” It’s free to use and they give you pennies – literally, pennies – for showing ads and having them get clicked by visitors. It’s quite literally making money for nothing. I’d be writing and creating web sites anyway.
According to my stats, I signed up for AdWords back in January of 2007. So it’s almost taken two years to reach a mere $100. But to be fair, I really didn’t start making AdWords standard for my projects until May of 2008. Before then there were at most 50 ad impressions per day. Now there are easily 500 per day. Of course, that’s just impressions and not clicks, and I only get my pennies when people click. I made about $40 in the 16 months before May 2008, and made $60 in the past 6 months.
Without much surprise, the AdWords that got the most clicks and thus the most pay off, were those on the focused side projects. The Angry Edison and Zombie Road pages earned the most because those sites/pages have a single topic and thus the ads are related.
The ads that appear at the bottom of the Morning Toast site are pretty funny because they end up being for toasters, or the Toast CD-R program. Since my blog doesn’t have a specific topic, it’s harder for Google to pick consistent ads, but I’m always surprised at how well it does pick out ads based on what the single article is about. If it’s about bowling, the ad will be for bowling shoes. Pretty amazing.
But to me what’s more amazing is I’ve made a $100 without any extra effort. I don’t make my sites or write with the intent to get the most AdWord dollars. In fact, I don’t make most of my sites expecting any dollars, but hey, I’ll take it.