I know it’s always risky to make such assumptions in a haste, but basically two weeks ago I upgraded my server to a better machine, and I saw a dramatic increase in my adsense revenue.
It has to be known that my previous server was in quite a bad shape. I know a web admin is supposed to optimize their website, but let’s face it, beyond install w3 total cache (as I mentioned here), I don’t have much time to spend on that.
As traffic increased to my site over the years, I was facing a situation where the server was working ok “most of the time”, but at critical times it would fail under the load (for example, when I would publish an exclusive article that brings lots of unexpected traffic).
The solution, since I didn’t have hours to spend on optimizing my website, was to get a better server. I went from a Celeron with 2GB of Ram to an i5 with 8GB of ram, let’s just say that that difference in performance was measurable :)… but so is the difference in the yearly fee for the server.
How to increase revenue when you increase your costs?
In order to compensate for this increased cost, I had to find new sources of revenue (I monetize mostly from ads). I gave up on some ideas such as putting more ads on the site, since it is pretty crowded with ads already.
My second idea was to increase traffic (since I have a new server, I wasn’t afraid of that anymore – note, as a website owner, being afraid of more traffic is really a situation you do NOT want to put yourself into). Which I did to some extent by creating a twitter account (to drive some external content), and by writing a bit more frequently on the site’s main blog. This had positive results which I will describe below.
Another way to bring more traffic was to create additional websites which I plan to get to a reasonable size / traffic with time, as a “long term” investment.
Surprising results after 2 weeks
All of these plans were quite “long term”, so I didn’t expect to see any change in my adsense revenue immediately. But what I saw in the past two weeks was actually surprising: me blogging more and getting more people through twitter brought me an increase of traffic by about 14%. In the same time, I saw an increase in adsense revenue by 34%:
It is difficult to draw any conclusion just after 2 weeks. Maybe my audience shifted from low revenue pages to high revenue pages (I can probably check that). But clearly, my pageview increase by 14% does not explain a 34% jump in ads revenue.
Is it possible that customers click more on ads because the site is more enjoyable to navigate now? Or is it that with my previous server, pages wouldn’t show up at all in some cases, which ruined the possibility for people to click on ads? Or could it be (this is one of my suspicions right now) that having a fast server is boosting my “quality” ranking on adwords, which makes me more attractive for the bidding system? (and therefore I am getting higher quality ads). I strongly think this is happening, as my CPC has increased and this is where the change seems to be coming from (and not from an increase in the number of clicks).
But again, I’ve seen huge increases or drops in the CPC once in a while, so it is difficult to judge for now. I have also seen discussions saying that google does indeed take page loading speed into account in many of their services, but to a limited extent. However I can say that so far, getting a better server has been a good investment for me, by opposition to a cost.