7 of the Dumbest Google AdSense Mistakes Ever
If you run AdSense ads on your website, you must already know that clicking your own ads or asking friends to do it for you is a big no-no. (And if not, shame on you!) But there are other, less obvious mistakes to avoid if you want to make money with this program. Mishandling your AdSense affairs can prevent you from realizing your full earning potential, get your account revoked or cause financial upsets in your life. Here are just some of the things you ought NOT to do.
1. Telling friends and family about your AdSense websites.
Bragging about your ad-supported website may seem harmless enough, until you stop and think about how you make money with it. As an AdSense publisher, you get paid when visitors click your ads. But Google only wants valid clicks by users who are interested in the ads. If you tell family members and friends about your site and how you make money with it, they might click repeatedly on your ads. They may do this in a misguided attempt to "help" you make money, out of curiosity, or as a joke. Such behavior could artificially inflate your AdSense earnings. If Google folks notice this, they might take it to be deliberate click-fraud on your part, and ban you from AdSense.
2. Wasting time on your statistics.
While monitoring your AdSense account is a good thing, it becomes counter-productive if you obsess with it. Every minute you spend looking at your stats is one minute less that you could have put toward publishing more content or promoting your site. Keep in mind that money comes when you get real work done, not when you sit idly admiring your click-through rate.
Constantly watching your AdSense account can also lead to over-analysis, where you draw conclusions based on insufficient data or sheer "gut feel." Let us say your site runs on WordPress or other CMS tool. One night, you implement a new theme. Next day, you check your stats and discover that your earnings dropped compared with the day before. If you are the obsessive and nervous type, you may hastily conclude that the new theme is to blame!
So keep an eye on your AdSense data, but don't get too engrossed in it. Instead, keep yourself busy with really important tasks such as content management, guest postings and maintenance work.
3. Relying exclusively on search engine traffic.
If the bulk of your traffic comes from search engine referrals, you risk losing your AdSense revenue whenever Google changes its search algorithm. That happens several times a year, and each time, your visibility in search results will most likely fluctuate. Other factors (e.g. SEO efforts by competitors) can have a similar effect as well. You could be making $1,000 one month and $100 the next month. Many webmasters found this out for themselves the hard way when Google released its infamous Panda updates, and later encrypted search queries. The lesson here is to not rely solely on search engines and keyword searches to bring you visitors. Look to other possible traffic sources such as social media, email, subscription, word of mouth and advertising.
4. Not reading (and following) AdSense guidelines.
5. Not using custom channels.
AdSense custom channels are organization tools that let you assign ad units to specific groups. You appoint each ad unit to one or more channels; afterward, you can analyze data separately based on those channels. For example, you can create custom channels for each ad region on your website and name them accordingly, e.g. "Right Sidebar," "Bottom of Post," "Footer," etc. The idea is to be able to isolate AdSense data so you can better evaluate your ad units' performance. Without properly setting up custom channels, you will have a hard time figuring out the best ad placements and ad sizes to use on your site.
To create custom channels, go to My ads > Content > Custom channels in your AdSense account. Click New custom channel. If you tick the box for Targeting which would let advertisers target that channel, write a useful description of the ads you assign to it, such as "300x250 ad at bottom of all posts."
6. Relying on AdSense to pay your bills.
AdSense has the potential to be a huge money-maker, but it is also a risky venture. Google can change its rules anytime, discontinue certain services, ban users, penalize websites, or change its search engine features. After all, the Internet giant has pulled off surprises before, and it will probably continue to do so. Likewise, search engine and social media optimization strategies will keep evolving. Profitable niches will come and go. You may get sick and be unable to update your website. What seems profitable today may prove to be a failure tomorrow.
Bottom line: If you are looking for financial stability, find an alternative source of income or a full-time job besides running AdSense ads. Don't depend on AdSense revenue to pay for your mortgage or rent. Of course, every business has some risk to it, but with an AdSense website, you are essentially leaving its fate to the whims of one company. So it is important to diversify your income streams.
7. Making an MFA website.
Websites that serve no purpose other than to generate passive AdSense income for its owner are called "MFA" or Made for AdSense sites. Years ago, it was fairly simple to make money this way. Publish a site with mediocre (even plagiarized) content, put up ads on it, and leave it on auto-pilot. You would have an MFA site that made money without any further effort on your part. But those days are gone. If you think you can get rich that easily with AdSense now, you're wrong; you are too late in the game. Google has gotten a lot smarter, and the days of low-quality ad sites are over.
The irony is that if you really want to profit with AdSense, you should make your site not about AdSense, and not about simply making money online. Make your website something you can be truly proud of, one with real value for users. Create a site about a topic you are passionate about, give it your best, and everything should fall into place. Here's the acid test: If you love your site enough to keep it running even without AdSense ads in it, chances are you are on the right track.
Google AdSense offers a wonderful money-making opportunity for small and big publishers on the Web. Do watch what you do with it and avoid silly mistakes that can cost you your account and your earnings. Now get back to working on that awesome website.