I would bet that if you changed the format to allow the google ads to be placed ” in ” the content/articles, that your AdSense revenues would increase. The fact that they are located below the content allows the reader to look away as son as he/she finishes the article…
…For my taste, which I’m sure matters little to you, your format is much, much too busy. Too many choices for the reader.
You have to catch them, the reader, in a reading frenzy and present them with a blue link, which they are conditioned to click. If you wait til the end of the article or if there is anything else on the page, link wise, you’ll lose them and their ” I need to click something ” stupor.
These statements were made by Mike a couple of weeks ago in the comments of this entry and they stuck with me, but I never acted upon them. Then I had my design ephiphany so to speak with Simpl(e)y Done, which also included a new way to approach ads and ecommerce.
I was getting into the habit of placing as much information on the page as possible because I thought it would be useful for anyone coming to the site. The problem there was that there was so much information on the page that the content got lost and I wasn’t able to control where I directed my readers.
While figuring out the new approaches I was going to take for the design of my sites I contemplated what I was going to do with ad placements. Not surprisingly I found that the simpler my sites were and the less each page contained, the easier it was to pick a location for my ads. Another benefit of this is that it gives the readers less options of where they should go and in this case less is a good thing.
Now on sites such as this one and Whitespace it’s almost impossible to tell how much of an effect this will have on CTR because most of the traffic comes from my daily readers who are not prone to click on ads. However, for sites such as Big Money Tips and Web Drug Database (still tweaking that design) I am thinking that once the search engine traffic picks up the CTR should pick up as well. Big Money Tips traffic comes from the 9rules homepage right now so I have low expectations on Adsense revenue.
None of this is any secret to many of the professionals out there. It also explains why so many of the ugly sites are able to produce such high CTR. They are able to direct their readers to the ads (or chase them there).
Different Sites, Different Strategies
This site thrives on the discussions that occur in the comments and in the forums so making comments available on each entry is essential. However, this decreases the likelihood of someone clicking on an ad because of the added external links on the page. On Big Money Tips, I removed all comments and the comment form so the reader is left with the navigation, the article and the ads. However, this strategy might not be the best if I were to use CPM ads because then I would want the visitor to stay on the site as long as possible and view as many pages as possible before leaving.
None of these thoughts have been proven to work out yet since I have just implemented the designs, but over time I should have a better idea if this strategy works or not. It might be best to stick with the basic two column strategy so readers can view the categories and everything else on the site.