Affiliate Links or Adsense
Last Update: Oct 24, 2021
I remember when I was building up my first website and trying to decide between Affiliate Links or Adsense as a source of income. I wasn't really into selling WA then, because I was still waiting to see if it would work out for me. And of course, because the free siterubix website doesn't allow adsense, I started with affiliate links - selling other products that seemed to relate to my blog.
When I switched to my final domain, I really was curious how much I'd make on adsense with my current traffic, so I went ahead and added that in to compare the pros and cons. I just did the auto-generated ads and let them choose what fits. The ads pop up in the banner, between page switches, and in the middle of articles.
The biggest con for affiliate links, in my opinion, has been having to upkeep and monitor my links. I didn't think it would be so challenging, but some of the early advertisers I went with - the ones that easily approved me as an affiliate - have been constantly changing, updating, running out of money, etc. The big accounts, like Amazon, required a minimum amount of traffic and sales or I'd get kicked out of the program. So my links have had to be monitored to ensure nothing breaks down and I'm getting paid what I should be getting paid. This made selling Wealthy Affiliate, or something more predictable, much more desirable.
That said, I started making anywhere from $4 to over $2000 for a single click and affiliate sale, selling other online courses and administrative products.
With adsense, I had a little trouble at first trying to get the website to connect. I had to contact tech support and get help adding the proper code text in my header. I was able to figure out how to do it myself, but this didn't work for all themes and everytime I changed a theme it would delete it and I'd have to add it in all over again.
Adsense also seemed to increase my bounce rate, maybe people clicking the banner before even reading the page, and it didn't give me the same return for the bounce. For example, if someone clicked an affiliate link and bought a product, I'd get paid a lot more than just the few cents for a click on adsense.
It was very clear to me that in a short period of time with very little traffic, I could make good money with affiliate links, but with adsense I was making pennies. I figured on the long-term, with lots of traffic, maybe I'd make more passive income on adsense.
Well, over the past year of just using adsense, maintaining a fairly regular daily traffic, I can report that I am at $62 on adsense for this particular website - cashout minimum is $100 so basically that's the same as $0 unless I wait another year or get more traffic generated.
Of course, if you're actually generating thousands of daily reads in traffic, maybe adsense would seem like a good idea. In my experience, I was able to make a larger amount of money in a smaller amount of time by seling affiliate products through my website.
Based on this experience, I would recommend focusing more on the affiliate side of things than worrying about adsense. Once you get your traffic up, maybe then it might make sense, but honestly I HATE ads on blogs and tend to bounce anyway the moment I see them. So it really depends what your website is about...
What has been your experience with adsense? Which would you choose first?
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