Yesterday (Oct. 26, 2007) USA Today had a front page article on how "Gray Googlers strike gold" and ABC's Good Morning America also had a story on "Work at Home: Google for Dollars." And, the people making all the money who were interviewed were all in their 50's, 60's, and 70's.
YEA!! Wonderful! People in their "gray-hair" years working from home! Just set up a Website, and you're rich? NOT exactly!
Is it true? Do people make money with Google ads?
Yes, it is true. People do make money - sometimes LOTS of it - from their Websites by participating in Google's AdSense program
Sorry to rain on this parade, but it's not as easy as it looks. The rest of the story is that it isn't easy or quick to create a Website that generates revenue consistently.
- These sites are not newly-created Websites.
The people interviewed by GMA both had well-established Websites, one was 6 years old (CruiseDiva.com) and the other was over 10 years old (bees-online.com). It takes a while to build an Internet "footprint" - in-bound links from other Websites, bookmarks, etc. - unless you want to pay Google for traffic (the flip side of AdSense for publishers is AdWords for advertisers).
- These people were knowledgeable (maybe passionate) about their subjects.
The CruiseDiva lady was already a professional free-lance travel writer when she started her Website, and she noticed that there was no information on the topic of picking cruises. So, she was already comfortable with writing, very familiar with her subject, and filling a gap in the available online information. And the bees-info man started the site at 64 when he retired to educate people about honeybees.
- It takes a lot of "traffic" to generate good revenue.
Money is generated only when someone clicks on an ad. This is called Pay Per Click. Although it does vary by site, subject, and ad, most of the time the "click-through rate" (percent of people viewing an ad who then click on it) is between 1% and 2%. So, to generate $10/day in revenue, a site typically needs at least 1,000 unique visitors a day and $0.50/click payout. It's not easy to get that much traffic quickly, and the payout can vary widely, but less than $1.00/click is average and you're splitting that with Google.
- Anyone Google accepts can advertise on your Website.
Publishers have some control over the advertisers whose ads appear on their Websites, but it's not much control. You can add the domain names of competitors or those with products or services you don't like to a list of banned domain names, but you can end up hosting ads you don't want on your Website. If you don't care, then it's not a problem. If you do care, watch out.
So, don't expect a quick boost to your revenue as a consequence of launching a Website, and don't expect it to be easy. It takes a lot of work to create and maintain a Website. It can be done – if you are really interested in your topic (passionate or, even, obsessed, might be best) and if you are willing to sink the time and energy into creating the content that will interest people.
Do NOT “borrow” content from someone else’s blog or Website without permission. It’s not “fair use” – it’s copyright “infringement” when you do that, and you could lose your whole Website for doing that if you get caught. And, don’t expect to automatically receive permission to use content even when you ask for it – search engines don’t like “duplicate” content, so it doesn’t rank well.