How I made $103K passive income in 2 years with Adsense – A case study

In the last 2 years, I made $103K+ on Google Adsense with my adsense account. One of the main factors for this earnings is the large number of pageviews and the account RPM (Revenue per 1000 pageviews) of $9+. With a total pageviews of 11.4 million, completely driven by Google organic search traffic.

The purpose of this post is to encourage more people to take up digital marketing / blogging as a viable source of income and to assure struggling bloggers that they too can achieve success by working consistently and by continuous learning and optimization.

Screenshot from Google Adsense account (Some metrics are hidden due to Google TOS)
Screenshot from Google Adsense account (Some metrics are hidden to adhere with Google Adsense TOS)

Some Background

I have been in the digital marketing field since 2003, when I received my first payment cheque from Google Adsense during the first year of my college. I did not keep track of my earnings during my college years, but it ranged from $100 to $1500 per month from my websites. At that time, I was simply running some wallpaper websites that I created using royalty free images found online. I have been running several websites by myself until 2011. In 2011, I started to hire people to work on my websites for a fixed salary or on task basis. The people that I hired helped to scale the website business to what it is today.

How I made $103K in last 2 years?

The strategy is rather simple. I started to create directory websites and websites for cities. By launching one new website every 2 months, I created a small network of websites catering to several cities. The websites provide all kind of information about the city – transport, entertainment, guides, how-tos, directory (yellow pages), news etc. With a total of 20+ websites and each of them bringing in $100-$300 every month, the total income in any month is always above $5000. One of my website is for Dubai City – YourDubaiGuide.com and it averages 30-50K pageviews in a month and brings in around $250-$400 monthly. Similarly, I have created and maintain websites for several other cities using the same strategy.

These kind of websites start slow, the traffic starts picking up in 3-6 months and starts providing decent income from a year, provided the website is regularly updated (daily) with relevant content. It is not difficult to come up with original content if one takes time to do some research. For example, my recent article about “10 things to do at home during lockdown” took about 2hours to research, come up with my own ideas and to write the article.

Focus on Content Strategy

I have never done any sort of link building activity. All my backlinks were acquired organically over a period of time. As Google says, content indeed is king and if we focus on providing curated content to users, Google is happy to send organic search traffic to our websites. By keeping an eye on the news websites and other competitor websites, it is rather easy to arrive at what kind of content needs to be covered in the website.

Measure and Optimize

Keep an eye on Google Analytics reports every day and observe the patterns, which content works well on which days. Patterns can be observed over days, weeks, months or even years. For example, my Dubai website always gets more traffic during the peak travel season in Dubai (Nov-Apr). By observing trends and creating content anticipating the upward trends, one can always ensure that there is always fresh content being published and monetized.

For starters, I would strongly recommend that they start with a single website and focus only on it and it will have the potential to bring in a few thousand dollars a month. And the key here is to create websites targeting cities in developed economies, which provides a higher CPC/RPM.

Mistakes to Avoid

Being from India and living in Chennai, I started websites focusing on Indian cities and academic institutions initially in 2011. Though those websites brought in good volume of traffic, the RPM of Indian market was around $1-$3, which did not amount to much, all things considered. When I stopped focusing on Indian market and started to target United Kingdom, the returns were 3X ($9-$12) RPM for the same effort. Since then I gradually shutdown all my Indian websites and started to focus exclusively on websites targeting developed economies.

One would normally assume that it would be difficult to have a website for a city that we have never seen. But that is not really the case. Do try out, and you will find it actually easy.

Questions?

If you are new to online business, do look at my list of online business ideas for starters.

I am always happy to help others to achieve success. Drop me a comment here if there is any follow up questions.

If you are on Facebook, do join the BloggersVenue Facebook group focusing on discussions and ideas for online business.

9 thoughts on “How I made $103K passive income in 2 years with Adsense – A case study

  1. Good to see that you are in the digital marketing field since 2003, this means that you have an experience of 17 years.

    It gives me a great relief to know that you achieved this success without building backlinks. Many bloggers shout on YouTube that one need to work on building backlinks.

    Can you please tell me whether your blogs are monetised only by AdSense or do you use any other additional monetisation methods?

    I live in Tirupati and there are no good websites about this city.
    As you said that targetting Indian cities is not profitable?
    So, would it be a good idea to start a website on Tirupati and Tirumala?

    It is good to know that you are from Chennai, my brother also worked in that city.

    1. Hi Naveen,
      Thank you for reading the article and for your comment. Sorry about the delayed response.

      Backlink building is not essential, but if you build quality backlinks, it will give you faster growth. I never got around to doing backlink building because I have too many websites and cannot allocate time for link building. But backlink building is something I want to focus in the future, if time permits.

      All my blogs are only monetized by Google Adsense. No other program comes closer to Adsense in terms of ad inventory and CPC.

      If you are passionate about Tirupati, you can do one website for the city. The key is to update it and keep adding content regularly, minimum once a week. You can look at more monetizing models locally if you are targeting a city where you live and where you have contacts, such as providing a directory listing service for local businesses and so on for a small fee. But if you do for developed countries, the only monetization method is Adsense.

      1. Thank you very much Bharat for replying.
        Can you please tell me how can I receive notifications for the replies (I have also submitted my email), that is I did not receive any notification when you replied to my comment.
        For checking replies, I had to manually open this blog post.

        Thanks.

  2. Hi Bharath,

    Can I know, with how many websites you generated the above mentioned income. And, also do you use only one adsense account for all the domains?

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