I've completely removed Google Adsense from this blog and from the sister newsletter site, FineArtViews.com.
I had tried Adsense beginning two years ago because I wanted to learn more about it, and see if I could, in good conscience, recommend it as a way for artists to supplement their income. Much like my current experiment with Twitter.
I've concluded that I can't recommend Adsense for the vast majority of artists and I've decided to drop it for several reasons.
The biggest fundamental problem I have with Adsense is that by design it sends people away from your website or blog .. . . but my goal (and yours) should be to draw people in and engage them. Text ads work great next to search results. . . after all, the whole purpose of search is to click through to the destination. But I want my blog to be a destination.
So, after giving the issue some thought, here are my main reasons for dropping Google Adsense:
1. The ads send traffic away from my site.
2. The ads look "tacky" and out-of-place on a site that is primarily for fine art.
3. The amount of money they generated was negligible and in total control of Google. (note - some people do make huge incomes from Google Adsense, it's just unlikely that an individual artist blog, or a blog like mine will ever reach the millions of page-views required to make serious Adsense money)
4. The ads were often not relevant . . . often not even art-related.
5. The ads were sometimes for competitors, or worse for products I would never recommend.
"But wait," you say!
You may have noticed I still have a few ads on my blog and on on FineArtViews.com.
Yes, I do, but they are very different from Google Adsense. The majority of the ads I'm still showing are via the CanvasFlyer network. Those ads are generated by an ad network we developed for our artist clients. We don't make any direct money on those ads (although they are only shown for artists who have hosting services with us). The click-throughs do sent traffic away from my blog, but I'm OK with that if I'm supporting an artist. . . . especially one who supports us.
The other ads are for art-related products that I personally know and recommend (such as Alyson Stanfield's book). Those are products that I can vouch for and that I know will be of great value to artists, so , again, I don't mind sending the traffic away to another site or product that will be helpful to my readers . . . . artists.
So far I'm extremely happy with the change and am looking forward to streamlining our information sites even more.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - I bring this up not to bash Google Adsense, but mainly to encourage you, as artists, not to clutter your sites up with stuff like Google Adsense. Make sure you put your art front and center and think long and hard before adding anything to your website or blog that detracts from your artwork.
Editor's Note: Having a site that is clean and focused on your artwork can be a powerful marketing tool. It's easy to get caught up in trying all the latest "cool" online stuff, but, in the end, what art collectors want to see is a nice, clean, easy to navigate website that shows off your artwork. If you like to write, an integrated blog is nice too. If you want an easy way to offer such a site to your customers, why not give ours a try?