How To Make £20,000 From Some Average Photos & The Google Display Network (AdSense)…
In 2004 while still labouring under the illusion that I was any good at web design – my main web site was www.jmcwd.com . That year, I bought a Nikon Coolpix 2100 2 mega pixel digital camera with a massive 64 MB memory card! I started taking a few sunset and landscape photos, and used them on my own desktop as desktop backgrounds / wallpaper.
I decided to share these early (pretty average) attempts at digital photography with the world – and created the sub-domain ni-photos.jmcwd.com. Looking at server logs in 2005 – I saw that there were a hell of lot more visitors to the ni-photos sub-domain of the website than there were to the main web site, so I pasted a bit of Google AdSense code on the photo pages to see if I could make any money from it. Initially, earnings were nothing to write home about. Here are the AdSense earnings for the first 2 years :-
But I kept adding new photos to the site on an almost daily basis, and some of my images started to feature on the first page of the Google Image Search Results. Traffic really started to take off, resulting in the following earnings for the second year (June 2006 to June 2007) :-
Since traffic and earnings were increasing at a healthy rate – I decided to aim for an amount that seemed achievable at the time – $3,000 a month – and document my progress here – The $3,000 A Month From AdSense Project and here – Make Money From Photos Blog.
Here were my earnings for the next year (June 2007 to June 2008) :-
At this point, I reasoned, the traffic and the AdSense earnings were high enough to warrant a move to a dedicated domain – irishviews.com . I had read enough about changing domain names to know that it had to be done correctly (301 redirects set up etc.) I followed all the advice given and the results, as far as Google ‘Web Search’ went were 100% with no loss of rankings at all. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the Google ‘Image Search’ results which was where the majority of my traffic came from. These took over 12 months to recover fully which (at a guess) cost me well over £1000 in lost earnings! Further details on the 301 redirect debacle are here.
Traffic did eventually pick up again, so, to cut a long story short – here is the summary of AdSense earnings from June 2005 to June 2011 :-
In 2011, as I was working full time on my own business – ppcni.com – I was no longer able to devote the time needed to increasing traffic to irishviews.com. I mentioned this on the thread at web pro world. Craig Walenta from Irish Sweaters saw my post, and purchased the site off me In June 2011 for £5,750!
- If was doing things over, and AdSense earnings were my priority, I would not have chosen a photo web site. (Hint – have a look at the Google AdWords traffic estimator tool to see how much people will pay for each click on different keywords). I also wouldn’t have created / spent so much time on money-from-photos.blogspot.com .
- If you make photos available on the internet – they WILL be used without permission on other web sites. These web sites will sometimes rank above your own web site in the SERPS, and unless you have an inordinate amount of spare time on your hands, there is very little you can do about it. (This is something I feel that Google should be much more proactive about.)
- Most of my photos are average to say the least. But the fact is, if someone needs an image of ‘Mountain Road, Portaferry’, and you are the only site on the internet that has that image – it only has to be a half decent photo to make someone click through to your web site.
Similarly, if someone is looking for a ‘blue sky with clouds’ photo – your photo may only be one of a thousand other similar photos, but yours may the one that suits a particular web site / brochure better than all the others.
- If you are an absolutely outstanding photographer who wants to make money from existing photos, it may be better to submit photos to the major stock photo web sites. This was definitely not the case for me (partly because of intense competition – but mostly because I am a very average photographer).
- I didn’t keep proper track of the time spent on irishviews.com – but I have a feeling that if I did add up all the hours spent on it – them I would probably have been working for the minimum wage :-)
*Speaking from my experience – which is far from being all-encompassing.
If anyone has any questions, comments or similar experiences, I would love to hear your comments…
Some Sample Photos From irishviews.com
If anyone has any questions, comments or similar experiences, I would love to hear your comments (did I say that already?)…