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March Update

This is the first uC Hobby update post. The plan is to do a monthly update posting with information about the site and projects in general. This site is a project in itself and other hobbyist might be interested in the background details. I am having a great time with the site and want to share what I’m learning.

Ad revenue, visitor statistics, and an update on the link building are included after the jump. I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

Ad Revenue

uC Hobby has advertisements along the left side of the site. Most prominent are Google AdWords. Google pays uC Hobby a very small commission anytime someone clicks on one of these ads.

The Google terms and conditions do not allow disclosure of actual income but I will go out on a limb as say that the payment per click is usually very low, around $0.10. How they determine the price they pay is a mystery to me. Some days the same number of clicks will pay half as much as other days.

All the advertisements are kept in the left side panel instead of mixing them in with the content and navigation menus. Even though that strategy might get more clicks, I believe the uC Hobby visitors will apericate the clear distinction between site content and advertisements.

While the Google ads are producing some income for the site it is not very much. Electronic and micro controller hobbyist do not click on ads very often. Setting up ad words is very easy so even though the income for sites like this is not impressive it is still worth the effort.

The key to making money with advertisements is to get a large number of visitors each day and to have ads that match the potential interest of the audience. You can improve the quality of the automatically selected ads by adjusting your site text but I do not want to focus the writing towards better ad selection. I just do not think that would be good for the visitors.

I have tried some ad services and even some affiliate programs but those have not made a significant impact. They could be better if I put in more effort, for now I plan to focus on Google Ad words and building a larger visitor base.

Visitor statistics

I use eWebLogAnalyzer to process the site logs but the visitor counts are also provided by Google on your AdWord reports. Google also offers site statistics tracking services for free but I have not tried that yet. The eWebLogAnalyzer reports give different numbers the the AdWords reports but they are close.

uC Hobby gets about 600 unique visitors a day. I see other sites quoting the hits they get each day but that number does not seem very valuable to me. A hit is how many items are pulled from the server. If I have a post with lots of pictures then the hit count will increase as each picture retrieved counts as a hit. I prefer to look at how many different IP addresses retrieve content as that number seems a better representation of the number of visitors.

When a new article is posted the visitor count increases to 1500-3000 per day for a few days then tapers off to normal levels. Most of the extra visitors come via other sites that aggregate electronics hobby post, providing links back to the original articles. It’s interesting to note that the number of Google ad clicks does not increase significantly during these peaks.

Increasing Traffic

The key to getting ad income is to have more clicks on the Google ads. The click count can be increased by having more visitors and/or better ads. I do not want to focus the posting text on getting better ads from Google so that leaves getting more site traffic.

The most important way to increase the traffic is to have good content that people want to see. I need to keep posting interesting articles and develop the site as part of the electronics hobbiest community. This is the fun part and I have lots of projects to post about.

Getting links to the site is very important for building traffic. Links have a strong effect on the number of visitors for the obvious reason that users visit via these links from other sites but they also increase the site ranking in searches. Getting a high ranking in Google for example can drive a great deal of traffic to the site.

The LCD Giveaway program has increased the number of links back to uC Hobby and I have enjoyed giving the displays to hobbiest that can benefit from them. I like the results so much that I plan to continue this kind of link building with more giveaways and perhaps some contest for items of larger value. Even if this strategy does not return a gain in revenue it is great fun to do and should help build the uC Hobby site position in the hobbiest community.

LCD Giveaway

I have sent out a lot of free graphic LCD displays since the program started. The shipping cost for each unit has varied from about $3 up to about $10 depending on the destination. Most were shipped inside the US but several when to other countries such as Ireland and Denmark. Only one request was not met as the shipping cost was nearly $60.

There are very few LCD units remaining now so you should act soon if you want one.

Posted in uC Hobby Site.

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