Money

Paying the bills with Adsense – African Edition

This article is part 1 of the series, you can read

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Google Adsense is not a get rich quick scheme. If you are looking for fast money, go and try flipping goats or forex trading. To be able to start earning money that can pay the bills and allow you to spend 10 days doing nothing but play BattleCall Field of Duty 16, you will need to put in the 10,000 hours.

With the right audience, traffic and good content, you can earn just more than $2,000 a month from Google Ads on your blog or app with average effort. But you have to make an effort.

Confused beginnings

I created and published my first Android app in 2014. Back then, I had not thought about making money with apps. I was just a confused nerd experimenting with technology. The app was a simple game, nothing fancy. As time went by, together with friends, we made more apps. This was when it hit us that software development had costs to be met.

The year is 2015 and we decided, lets make more solid apps with great content and publish them. We understood from the get go that this was a business in a sense. In business, you find a pain point for a group of people, you solve that problem and then ask them to give you all their money. Next thing you know, you are making $68 million dollars a year from a dumb repetitive game about matching 3 sweets. This should be the approach you take when you create your blog.

Find yourself, find your niche

The first step is to find a topic you are passionate about. Some of the top paying categories with Adsense are tourism and finance. I have a friend who once tried to start a tourism blog. The problem is said friend has only been to Muzarabani and Beitbridge. He knows next to nothing about tourist attractions in Zimbabwe.

This becomes a barrier if you do not have money to hire people to create content for you. You are stuck doing research into topics that you know very little about. The same friend then started a line of technology blogs and he is killing it. He decided to write about computers. A topic he need not research much about. He eats Gigabytes and his number two is streams of endless binary.

Original quality

Our very first big idea was to create a better Highway Code App. So we picked up the highway code and starting typing, copying it verbatim. This was before we had any legal counsel to consult for guidance. We discovered that you cannot just copy the Highway Code. It is not explicitly stated, but the content in that small book is copyright material that belongs to The Traffic safety council.

So here we are, confused nerds with no content. In the end we came up with a neat solution, stop buying Candice expensive lunches and use that money to pay driving school folks to help us create content. We would later use this same strategy to collaborate with educators to create content for our high school educational apps. Candice however, is now with Brian. Gold digger!

I cannot stress this enough, copying other people’s content will land you in very real trouble and you could lose your entire Google Account (more on this later). So your goal is to create original content that is also of good quality. Your content should leave your audience yearning for more, and the more time they spend on your blog, Google Ads zeros to your bank account (pun intended).

Woo me, make me stay

We may have failed to keep Sharice (I mean Candice, or was it Chantel), but we managed to woo our audience, make them stay and keep coming back for more. This is how you make money with Adsense. Your fight is to get eyeballs to your blog or mobile app or Youtube channel. Then keep those eyeballs.

In the online content game, you need to stay on your toes. Once you create content and publish it, you must update it regularly too. Our world is constantly changing and as times change, your content becomes irrelevant. When the new curriculum was introduced, Age-X was the first to have online educational content that covered it. We actually had the content prepared and ready during the previous year. When MoPSE phased out the older learning material, we simply updated all our apps. This impressed a lot of people and our usage statistics realised spikes.

Watch out for that bot

One of the worst things about doing business with Google is the bots. Their platforms are now so big its impractical to have them moderated by human beings. They have automated bots, lines of learning computer code that monitor their platforms. These bots have no balance in logic. When a bot flags or blocks your blog, app or account, getting a human being to come in and check is next to impossible. Appeals are automatically rejected. The bots may also terminate your entire Google account depending on the severity of your offence.

Before you add Adsense to your content, research, read and research on best practices, guidelines and do’s and don’ts. Those Google bots have no mercy, Do not cross them.

Don’t be greedy, don’t spam

There was once an app called ShareIt. It used to be a great way to share your pirated music with friends. Then the suits at ShareIt got greedy. Now, you get a heavy dose of Ads with an app that may or may not steal your data while you try to share your bootleg music.

Age-X apps have just over 300K MAU, but we still only show just one tiny banner Ad at any one time, plus a full screen one now and then. The temptation to be greedy and make more money is there, but the cost would be too high.

Now go make that money!

You can check out Part Two of Paying the Bills with Adsense here.

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