Business in Spain Online Business

Online Business in Spain – Getting Rich from Google Ads

This post continues our series about running an online business in Spain.

How do you make money from blogging? That is something that most fledgling bloggers ask themselves sooner rather than later. For plenty of ideas, just head over to Darren Rose, the guy who runs that site, bought his house on the back of Adsense payments, so he knows what he’s talking about.

The Google Ads story here at is a little different. Up until yesterday I had a vertical strip of Google ads down the left-hand column of all the blog and forum pages. Want to know how much they earned me this March, a fairly typical month?

More than 50 but less than 100 US dollars (Google’s Terms of Service forbid me from being precise). That’s for a grand total of 183,000 page views, and 25,801 Absolute Unique Visitors for the same month. Seems a pretty poor return for quite a lot of traffic.

Of course I could have been far more aggressive about the placement of the ads, putting them right under, around, and in the middle of blog posts etc, but I find that kind of practice insulting to readers, and in any case, I doubt it would have done more than double that figure.

So, I’ve decided to take the Google Ads off all of my sites. I’ll be throwing away just over 1,000 dollars a year, but the real issue here is not the small amount that Google can offer me as direct income from this blog, but the indirect benefits that this blog can bring me.

For example, the Notes from Spain blog and podcasts (the latter will be back soon by the way) led to work with Lonely Planet and Fodors. Notes from Spain originally led to, and still leads a lot of people to, Notes in Spanish, where we make 99% of our living. A few clicks from here to our new (and extremely good, if I say so myself) Real Spanish Phrase Book and Audio Guide, will be worth a lot more than a few clicks on other people’s ads.

So this particular blog and the accompanying podcasts can bring huge benefits, but they are side benefits (side benefits that have completely changed my life). They are, I think, a result of the fact that I love producing this content, that I love writing and podcasting about Spain. I don’t want to make money directly from these pages, I just want to write and broadcast, and afterwards to see what happens to come along as a result, to see if it makes people curious about our Spanish content, or want to read my book. Google Ads have no place in that equation.

Marketing Guru Seth Godin sums up the whole blogging-for-money thing very well in a recent post on his blog:

The best bloggers make money, but mostly as a side effect, not as a direct result of setting out to use a blog to make a profit. It’s just too long a ramp up time, too frustrating and too uncertain to be the best path to make a living.

Conclusion? Don’t rely on Adsense to make your fortunes online, but do keep blogging. You never know where it might lead!

Top Seth Godin Tip: Want to know more about the future of online marketing and communities, and how they might help you make money online? Read Seth’s Meatball Sundae. He’s a clever bloke!