resources to learn about online ad revenue for a blog/site
May 20, 2014 8:19 AM   Subscribe

If I want to start a blog or site, what are some good places to learn about how many page views, etc. lead to how much revenue?

I know it's not that simple, but what are some good resources/books to figure out how this works?
posted by amsterdam63 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry this is a shitty MLM blog, but nobody has figured this out with the exactitude of shitty MLMs so here's the straight dope. And here's why you don't want to get into this.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2014

This is a good Adsense revenue article.

I found it in this roundup of articles about ad revenue.

There really isn't much to it for new sites beyond broad estimates because the specific layout, ad networks, and audiences on your site will give you results different than what's reported in aggregates/studies.
posted by michaelh at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2014

The stuff above *is* true in general... but there are exceptions. Google AdSense is pretty garbagey income because the *audience* isn't worth anything. But if you have an attractive and well-defined audience, you can actually have a very good income. Although it'll cost you to build that.

The real point being now: revenue isn't about pageviews. It's about audience characteristics.

But yeah, as we know here from Metafilter's experience, running an SEO-friendly search result kind of site will not result in riches. Less and less, at least.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:38 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree with RJ Reynolds that Metafilter's experience is instructive (see the 1000+-comment thread on Metatalk for more info).

The problem with basing a business on page view- or ad-based revenue is that you're operating essentially at the mercy of the dominant provider of traffic to your site. In Metafilter's case, that was Google, and Google of course was free to change its page-ranking algorithm at any time, and it did, causing a precipitous drop in Metafilter's revenue.

So the question you have to ask yourself is this: how can you be sure that your business would not be exposed to the same risk? I don't know how anyone can ensure that; all manner of companies deemed to be content farms have been affected by Google's algorithm changes. That's a very risky business model to pursue, absent some significant outside investment with which to cushion the perturbations in the traffic generation market.
posted by dfriedman at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2014

This really varies enormously. There is no rule of thumb concerning x page views = y dollars. I know this from hanging out on Hacker News. Here is the first discussion I came up with on search: Ask HN: I own a 2M pageview/month website, am I capitalizing on this?. I highly recommend you spend some time on Hacker News yourself.

It depends not only on page views but on what kind of advertising you are doing. AdSense is not your only option. There are other ad platforms plus you can do direct sales of ads. I took a free business class eons ago through a chamber of commerce. The guy who gave the talk spoke of a website that had a live cam for some place awesome. I don't recall what, some fantastic outdoor rec area maybe (Yosemite or something?). Anyway, they had like half a million page views a day and they brokered a deal with Disney and some other giant for ads on the site and were making like a quarter million dollars a year from those ads. He commented "She had a really good lawyer" or something like that.
posted by Michele in California at 2:20 PM on May 20, 2014

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