Over the past week, I have increased my Adsense earnings 266% on Bike198.com. Really…no lie. I made some serious changes on the site over the past week and the results have been staggering.
It all started with the idea of a complete overhaul and redesign that changed the way my readers interact with the content. As we took a look at how readers were interacting and how we wanted them to interact…we saw room for improvement. The fun part…we were absolutely right and all of the stats are through the roof. Now, let’s take a look at the subject of this article specifically as it relates to other forms of advertising on your blog as much as it does Adsense.
I Use Adsense As A Litmus Test
First, let me start by clarifying that I use Google Adsense as a Litmus test on my “non-blogging” blogs to see how direct advertising and other forms of banner style advertising will perform given certain designs and locations. Why do I do this? Adsense provides you with real time feedback on certain ad locations and sizes will perform. In certain niches, it can also give you some insight into how much you should be charging for a given location. In markets where Adsense performs well, advertisers could have to beat what Adense is generating for a given location.
For these reasons, Google Adsense is a great way to test out specific locations in terms of performance, but it does not mean that it is the best means for maximum revenue generation in all niches.
How I Increased My Adsense Revenue 266%
As mentioned before, this all started with a redesign project that was based around user interaction with Bike198.com. The #1 goal was to integrate the various subdomains into a more seamless design that allowed for ease of movement among the content. During this process, I saw a real need to extract more performance around the banner advertising sections of the site. Who doesn’t like to make more money?!
Let’s take a look at the before and after with Mountain.Bike198.com as the example…
You can navigate through Mountain.Bike198.com and see the other ad locations, but these screenshots will serve a purpose as you are about to see.
What Changed: Reader Interaction
As you take a look at the before and after, let’s point out the significant changes.
- Cleaner Overall Design
- Sidebar Location Moved To The Left
- Lighter Colors
- 300×250 Ad Spot Moved To Top
- Restructured Navigation
At first, I was a little bit nervous about removing a lot of the image elements of the new design as a lot of people liked that aspect of the site, but…after the fact…everyone is actually liking the lighter look and increased speed of the site (if the flood of “it looks great!” emails aren’t proof enough). Now…let’s get to what you are actually reading this article about…increasing revenue.
How The Site Re-Design Increased Revenue
The re-design of Bike198.com did two things that were specific goals that directly affect revenue.
- Put the emphasis back on the content.
- Put the ads in direct view of the reader without being obtrusive.
Having a lot of graphical elements, widgets and other miscellaneous “looks cool” items on your blog can get a good reaction from your readers, but you need to realize that…most times…those elements go against what you are ultimately trying to accomplish…more interaction with your content and revenue streams. The previous Bike198.com design got that “wow factor” but the image elements distracted from advertising and the content.
When we moved the sidebar to the left and brought the color of the design into the content and the ads instead of the design, we drew the eyes of our readers where it mattered the most without any distractions. The result…more conversions (rss, Facebook, YouTube), higher comment counts, more emails and ultimately more revenue on the site.
When you are trying to extract more dollars out of your blog, you need to be the eyes of your reader.
Where do you want your readers eyes to go? On an image that generates you nothing or on an ad that brings you income? How about an article or picture within an article that will bring you more traffic? It is not about what you think looks cool or getting a compliment about which background you chose, it is about increasing efficiencies and incorporating elements into your design that help you achieve your goals. After that…you start testing, moving and experimenting to see how you can increase these elements even further.
As a general rule, the simpler the design, the better it will convert as long as you have set defined goals. With less distraction from conversion elements, the eye will gravitate towards color and size, so structure your elements in a hierarchy of importance keeping those to aspects in mind. If you spend all of your time chasing what you think looks good without any technical backing on why, you will be spinning your wheels wondering why you are not making any income.
The redesign of Bike198.com drastically increased earnings because reader interaction, conversions and income generation was the ultimate goal.