May 09 2006
Adsense is still effective and websites don’t need to be pretty
It’s a bit of a long post title but it’s very true and can also be summarised to the old cliché that “content is king”. Web 2.0 seems to be all about stunningly beautiful sites but without necessarily having a focus on real decent quality content and to be honest that is what users are most interested in. Other web developers might appreciate the wonders of an AJAX personal organiser but the average user is most interested in finding the information they want and finding it fast.
So it means that the main thing you should worry about is writing some interesting and engaging information to put on your site. I’m the last person around to advise on writing well but Copyblogger is definitely worth a read, you could start with SEO Copywriting is Dead which looks at the issue from an SEO slant.
To reassure you that pretty design isn’t all important I enjoyed reading this post from Brendon Sinclair about how you grade a cheesecake It’s a nice amusing way to make the point that the most impressive stylish websites aren’t always the most effective. What does effective mean? To me it means the site that generates the sale or the lead that earns you your reward.
Do I have any real world evidence on this? Take a look at Dog Breed Info. What do you think of it? It’s a nice enough looking site but nothing special, the paw print background looks a bit dated and it’s more a 1998 style website than 2006 but here’s the main point.
It earns $650 every day from adsense.
So a pretty standard looking site with great information brings in around £350 every day through targeted contextual advertising purely by providing great info. It’s worth thinking about what’s important and probably spending more time and money on content than on any other part of your site.