What's the reality of ad supported webpages?

Let’s say I have a website about cats or whatever. Just a more or less vanilla webpage with text, pictures, and some video. I’m generating my own content and am not really spending any money on developing it. I don’t know really anything about my customers nor hold obvious appeal to any specific demographic. What sort of page views/unique visitors do I need to have to make $10,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000 a year?

I have no idea, but I would imagine a generic website about cats won’t get a lot of traffic. Now, if you have lots of REALLY useful information that is not readily available from more popular sources, you could get a good bit of traffic and a fair amount of revenue. I’m sure people with actual revenue information will be along shortly. However, I have to say that my website (which is my photography) gets a fair amount of traffic (but is by no means a big time site) I have a feeling would get very little money.

Looking at my latest stats, I had a bit over 12,000 page views from 802 visits (679 unique visitors). For 2010, I had a bit over 134,000 page views in about 7800 visits. Good news is that people tend to stick around on my site…bad news is that 7800 visits I don’t think is going to get me squat from ad revenue…but I could be wrong.

A quick search found a page that approximated revenue from dual banner ads as such:

25,000 page views/month = $25 and then scaled from there…so roughly $0.01 per 10 page views. So, it looks like if I decided to annoy the heck out of my patrons, I could get about $10 a month…until they all left because of the ads, so I’d get about $3 a month. That would stink. If the above is accurate, though, and your site became popular, you could get a decent revenue stream.

There are various sites around that estimate the ad revenue you can expect from a web site. Every one I have seen grossly overstates it.

It’s not really my game, but off the top of my head I think 500k pageviews a month is roughly the point where you might think about making money from a web site. Much below that you’ll make pizza money at best.

There’s an entire industry based around convincing people that what I’ve said here is wrong, and you’ll make $x/mo in no time. I am putting things very mildly when I suggest that you take such advice with a grain of salt.

(Data point: one of my web sites easily tops 20k page views a month. It made $1.19 ad revenue in March.)

In my experience, this is pretty accurate if you use Google AdSense as your ad provider. If you’re able to sell your own ads or have a supplementary ad provider, it can only go up from there. How high it can go depends entirely on the ad terms you set.

If you use adsense remember it’s the second bidder that drives the rate.

Your site is about cats, so the keyword (a keyword can also be a phrase) you have to look at your site and think “What words would people be looking for that would drive them to my site.”

Does your site contain those words or phrases? Then the advertisers decide on how much to bid. Google’s rates are dependent on the second bid.

To oversimplify a bit:

If the word is kitty and one advertisers bids 25¢ and the next advertiser bids 10¢ a person doing a Google search (or through ad sense ads appearing on your site) will see it and click on the ad.

OK that means the person who took out the ad will get slightly more than 10¢ not the 25¢ the top bidder has.

And that is WHAT GOOGLE GETS. It pays you only a small percentage of that. What does Google pay? No one really knows as it can vary and Google keeps that as classified, though you can usually figure out what is being paid by who after awhile.

Also Google monitors clicks and if it feels they are fake clicks they won’t pay out on those. And by the term “fake” it can mean anything from people deliberately setting out to cheat to people who just don’t do things correctly.

The more competition for you keywords the higher the competition will be but the more the rates will be driven up.

The sites that really cash in are those where the keywords pay a lot. Those ads are taken out on things like computers. Websites really don’t hit pay dirt unless they are mentioned somehow nationally.

Most of us fail to realize, eBay was a smallish website that really took off when Rosie O’Donnell became a huge fan and started talking about it on her afternoon talk show in the 90s. A mention in USA Today will do far more for your site than any search engine optimization scheme would do

Since AdSense is free there’s no reason not to try it out and see what happens.

For more info try Search Engine Watch (dot) Com

And look around there for ideas on how AdSense and other programs work and what other people have to say about them

Google announced, almost a year ago, that website publishers get 68% of the payment for a click.

Sounds about right for my fansite. I get 60-75,000 page views per month using AdSense. Google pays me US$120-150 every two months. Web hosting costs me about $50/year and I spend 1-2 hours a week updating my site. So I’m satisfied with the decent free income the program brings (I’d still be running the site even without any ads). In addition to what Markxx said about the program being free, it’s also pretty easy to set up.

I’m curious to see how your fan site is arranged, even if it is in Japanese. Could you provide a link? If you don’t want to do it on the board, you can send it to me via PM.