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Is AdSense Legit? Can you money with AdSense on your Blog or Website

When I started my blog, I learned that Google provides ways for bloggers to make a few bucks when readers click on Ads. I we very skeptical, but then learned that titans like NY Times, Huff Post, and many smaller websites and blogs are killing it with AdSense.

google-adsenseSo a while back, I did some research. I found this guy Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker who made $132K in one month on AdSense. So that’s great (I mean really awesome) but he had 100s of thousands of site visitors every month. Most bloggers never come near that volume (including myself).

If you read Shoemoney blog, Jeremy says he stopped using AdSense long time ago in favor of direct advertisers. But if you go to Shoemoney site now, there are Google ads all over. Ironic, huh? I guess AdSense is not bad after all.

How does Google AdSense work?

Basically the way AdSense works is this: Bloggers sign up for the program, and once approved, they get access to tons of advertisers in Googles network, who want to display their ads on your website. You create ad units, copy and paste the code on your site. When your readers like the ad and click it, you get paid. Sounds simple, right?

Well the deal here is how and where you put those ad units on your site, so that you don’t violate Googles TOS (policy), while have more people click the ads.

Bottom line – the more readers you have on your blog – the more money you will make. However, you place the ads in right spots, you can make more, from same number of readers!

Is AdSense for you?

Is using AdSense a viable strategy for small time to medium level bloggers? Well apparently it is. Whether you already have a popular blog, or working on a new blog – you can already start making some income with AdSense. Of course it’s best if you have as many readers on your blog as possible.

Brandon Gaille from “the Blog Millionaire” makes an estimated $9K – $33K per month on his blog, from AdSense alone! This estimate is based on 1.5 million monthly page views on his blog. Not too shabby!

AdSense Income Estimate for
Monthly AdSense Income Estimate for

Maybe he actually makes more – at some point he claimed to make $100K / month but I would want to see some proof of income and site traffic. You can see his organic site traffic here on SemRush.

If you don’t have many site visitors (like me) – options to either write mad amounts of content or to buy an established blog in your niche. I found this guy Leo who invests in AdSense sites and blogs. He puts up his ads there and is earning pretty good money – about $2000-2500 a months, which covers the mortgage for him.

AdSense income on 3 website
AdSense income on 3 website

The way he does it by improving ads on the sites he purchases, so that they are more visible and more site readers click on them. His strategy is to find underperforming blogs (in terms of “monetization”) and improve where and how ads show.

If you run your blog, and have readers, then definitely give it a try. Basically the bigger is your audience, the more money you can make.

How much can average blogger earn with AdSense?

From what I read on various blogs related to online income, you can earn anywhere from $2 to $25+ for every 1000 visitors to you blog or site. This is referred to as RPM or Revenue per 1000 Impressions or Page Views.

Therefore, if your blog gets 30,000 readers each months, you would make between $60 to $1500+ per months. Now if your blog is about some “monetizeable” topics and your readers are mainly from US (this is discussed below), you will likely earn over $15+ RPM or $900+ each month! To increase that, (read the optimization section of this guide) you can:

  • Grow your audience
  • Optimize blog and ads layout
  • Improve your mobile site
  • Attract more readers from hight Cost-per-Click countries, such as US, Canada, Western Europe.

Examples of how much bloggers earn:

To give you an example, I went to Flippa (an “eBay” for websites) and just searched for some sites that make money with Google ads.

I use Flippa ONLY for research for this guide – I don’t recommend you run out, buying websites if you’ve never ran a blog before, and have no experience with Domains, DNS, Hosting, FTP, cPanel, WordPress, Google Analytics, SEO, Social, etc.

Also, jus You can loose your shirt if you don’t know what you are doing!

Just like in Stock Market, the site can be a Pump and Dump scheme, meaning the traffic could be artificially inflated, and clicks on adsense can be hijacked with Bots. Once google figures this out, they will ban AdSense account involved in such schemes – big or small!

I found a few that look Legit and here is how much they make, and what their blog is about:

Tech blog making $1200 per months on AdSense, with 86000 page views

Android and Windows Phone site making $1200 per months on AdSense
Android and Windows Phone site making $1200 per months on AdSense

This site is about tech – phones, computers, windows, mac, iPhone, Android, etc. They get about 86000 page views per months, and last month made about $1200. If we divide $1200 by 86K, we get RPM of about $13.95, which is pretty good if you ask me (compared to most sites you can find on flippa.

Here is a “gold prices site in Indonesia” that made $450 with 545K page views last month.

So this site’s RPM is $0.826. This shows you that where you readers come from is also an important factor in how much your blog will make. Big difference with $13.95 RPM for the first example.


Here is what NOT to do if you want to make money on AdSense.

Example of AdSense that may (and likely will) get you banned

I also found this new site for sale on Flippa, that is killing it with adsense:

New website traffic and Adsense income
New website traffic and Adsense income

So their RPM is way on the upper end of scale. With 12874 page views in November, they’ve made $963. By doing simple math, we get RPM of around $75!!! This seems awfully high if you ask me.

However after looking at their home page, I think their “success” is short-lived and google will likely ban them from adsense. Why? Because they (in my opinion) violate AdSense policies.

Take a look at screenshot of their site – the ads look very misleading if you ask me:

Website with misleading AdSense
Website with misleading AdSense

Bad Seller on Flippa On top of things, the seller of this site has pretty poor rating – about 50% out of 24 transaction, which tells me that something is really fishy with the site and the seller. So if it were me, I’d not deal with him or her.

But this is just an example of what you probably should not do, if blogging and making money with AdSense is your long term goal, and you want to stay on good terms with Google.

How to make more money on your blog, by improving Google Ads

So there are many things that are outside of your control. For example, how much you get paid for each click (CPC or cost-per-click), or what ads show up on your website/blog.

However many thinks you can control, by improving where your visitors come from, and what your blog is about. Both of these will have huge impact on CPC.

What your blog is about is important: If your blog is about knitting or how to collect birch juice or smartphone games, chances are your CPC will be low. By contrast, Insurance, Credit Cards, Personal Finance are all HOT topics. However, you will have a lot of competition in these “niches” so unless you already have many readers on your finance blog, maybe it’s not a good idea to start one.

There are many other “good” topics, such as Health, Home Improvement, Cars, etc. Be creative, but definitely blog about your passion!

Where your readers are from is also very important As you can see in example of Indonesian site above, it gets very low RPM of about $0.82 cents, because most if its readers are in Indonesia, when advertisers pay much less per click. Therefore having American / Western European readers on your blog will greatly improve your CPC, so target these geographic locations with your blog.

Most important things in improving AdSense income:

Changing the topic and location of readers on your blog is hard and takes time, if your blog has been around for some time. It already has an audience and ranks for certain keywords in specific countries.

However you can still make massive impact on your revenue with site design, ad placement, ad units / colors / alignment / spacing, etc. Basically the is what’s called ASO or AdSense Optimization.

Brandon Gaille from “the Blog Millionaire” had a podcast called “How to make $100K from AdSense”. The podcast is strangely deleted from the inter-web, but “transcript” can be found here. I put transcript in quotation marks, because that post was likely modified for the same reason that Podcast had disappeared.

The best ad placement

Brandon in his podcast mentioned that his layout and theme were tested with over 1,000,000 monthly page views to determine best ad placement. I was skeptical, but after looking up his blog on SemRush, he does get 1 million readers each month! OMG 🙂

Basically our versions are similar, only i’m still skeptical about his choice of theme, although I will test it on my blog that gets many readers each month. Brandon’s favorite WordPress theme is Newspaper 6, which you can lookup or see my screenshot here:

The Blog Millionaire Website AdSense layout
The Blog Millionaire Website AdSense layout

In the podcast, Brandon said that he uses 970×90 large leaderboard ad between header/navigation and content, and then 300×250 rectangle below title. I did not find 970×90 on his site, when I checked in Oct, 2016.

From Brandon’s podcast and my experience (although they don’t line up 100%) the best ads placement on your site is the following.

My preferred Desktop ads layout:

  • 728×90 or 728×130 banner, centered under post title
  • 336×280 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 2 or 3, depending on paragraph length.
  • 336×280 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 5-7, or after content.
  • No sidebar ads

My preferred Mobile layout:

  • 250×250 square, centered under post title
  • 300×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 2 or 3, depending on paragraph length.
  • 300×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 5-7, or after content.
  • Page header as short as possible (no big logos, unnecessary bread-crumbs, meta, search box, etc).

Brandon’s Desktop layout – podcast version:

This is what was in podcast, but when I went to his own site, it was slightly different – see above.

  • 300×250 rectangle, centered under post title
  • 300×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 3-6, depending on paragraph length.
  • 300×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 7-9, or after content.
  • No sidebar ads (only Brandon’s own products

Brandon’s Mobile layout:

  • 250×250 square, centered under post title
  • 250×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 2 or 3, depending on paragraph length.
  • 250×250 rectangle, centered, under paragraph 5-7, or after content.
  • Page header as short as possible (no big logos, unnecessary bread-crumbs, meta, search box, etc).

How Brandon’s mobile site looks like (see below). Btw, it violates Google AdSense policy 🙂 On mobile ad should not push content below fold! When you ad Safari’s address bar when the page just loads, you don’t see any content on screen of an iPhone 5.

So overall our tastes are similar, but I don’t use Rectangle ads at the top … although I would like to experiment with them.

Also I prefer 336×280 over 300×250 ads. They are same proportions, but 336 ad is just bigger, and is more likely to get clicks.
Although I don’t have 1 million readers every month and I’m sure Brandon tested 336 ads as well.

Mobile ads optimization

The Blog Millionaire MOBILE Website AdSense layout
The Blog Millionaire MOBILE Website AdSense layout

So Brandon has his site automatically switch from 300×250 ad on Desktop to 250×250 ad on Mobile. It’s actually pretty easy to do, buy using this free Mobile Ads script.

I recommend using a theme that has a tiny header on mobile – Brandon’s header is super tiny (about 50px tall), but then he has the date and other meta and a huge title, that push down content and can get you in trouble.

Here is how my site looks on mobile (ad placeholder): on Mobile

So basically, on mobile, most of your clicks will come from top ad, and second from the top. Other ads will be rarely clicked. So it is very important to have your top ad as clickable as possible, without breaking the rules. I think I did pretty good job with it.


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