Coping without Google

CG RSS subscribe

If you have an advertising based content site as your Internet business model changes are you are going to want to keep on the good side of the big G. Google can be a fantastic source of free traffic and also provide a very good income stream for sites but for many publishers if you lost either it could cripple your business. I am one such publisher but I’m working my way out of that dependancy which is what this post is all about.

My gadgets site receives around 60% of it’s traffic from Google which equates to over 10,000 visitors a day. If I lost those 10,000 visitors it would obviously hurt so over the last 6 months I’ve been trying to promote other traffic generation streams. So far these are the things I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve promoted the RSS feed, adding the link and feed count at the top of every post, one tactic I’ve found particularly useful is displaying the count at the top of every single post (see above) and giving that as a reason for people to subscribe. Patrick of Blog Storm did a nice guest post in attracting more blog subscribers over on Dally Blog Tips.
  • Gather email addresses, like with RSS subscribers having a large email list is another way to get your message out to a near guaranteed number of people. An email list is more important for less techie sites where your readers may not be using RSS.
  • Get links from other quality sites. Many webmasters are just after links for the SEO benefits, however getting quoted on popular sites can generate a fair amount of traffic on there own.
  • Remind your readers about bookmarks. Give simple instructions about how to bookmark your site.
  • Subscribing to comments. If you have a blog make sure you use a subscribe to comments plugin, that way if somebody leaves a new comment there is a good change of the original commentator returning.

I’m also pretty Google biased when it comes to revenue generation. Google Adsense generates around $500 a day at the moment. I’m continuing to experiment with new revenue streams and though I’ve not found one as profilic as Adsense I’m building a nice income stream from a variety of other networks. Chitika is my second highest earner and I’ve also tried various banners from Tribal Fusion. Thanks to a tip from Nandini of Born Rich fame I’ve just applied to Federated Media. FM deal with some massive sites like Digg and Boing Boing and looking at the rate cards to similar sites as mine CPM rates are as high as $20 per unit so if I sold all my inventory even after paying a 50% commission (I don’t know what the commission is) it would be more than double what I’m making from Adsense.

So there could be some exciting times ahead, I’d love hear your ideas about other ways to generate traffic or revenue streams that work well for you. If I’m slow to reply to comments it’s because I managed to pull my back this morning twisting on my chair, so this article was somewhat painful to write and I’m now about to collapse on the sofa and try to get comfy.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. You might also want to promote your forum a bit more, loyal forum users would not only help generate more content, but they would also enable you to expand your loyal user base.

    • That’s a very good point Yogesh, forums are great for creating a community of regular visitors. That’s one for the new year I think.

  2. As much as I like Google it is important to grow your other traffic streams. Writing for other sites has has helped me attract new readers that have become repeat readers.

  3. Nice list of ways to build subscribers. For a while I was getting a ton of comments, but due to the nature of my site I am very careful on what I allow to show. Many of them seemed to be spam. Nice to see your adsense dollars working for you from your visitors – so far the only click through I have made for this site in 3 months was one I did when I meant to click on a different item, no way to undo it but it did show me it was setup and working (if someone will tell me how to give back the eight cents I will.) So I am starting to look around for what I might do to improve the it since my original hope was the ad dollars would support the cost of the art supplies.

  4. Thanks for the plug Al.

    Your Adsense income is crazy.

    Keep us updated on the FM deal also, I am pretty sure you have the numbers to get accepted.

    • I like crazy.
      The FM deal could be really good and looking at the sites they have some are huge whilst there are a fair few that I’d expect to have less traffic than me. Comparing prices they would charge $20 CPM, so with 3 units that’s $60CPM, if they then filled my inventory that would come to something like $80K per months so even paying 50% commission and only getting a 50% fill rate that is still a chunk of change.

  5. Well, I agree that you shouldn’t have all of your eggs in one basket. BUT, there really is no reason for Google to suddenly cut you off, unless of course you’re doing something wrong…

    • Thanks for the feedback Justin. I’d say Adsense is safe however with search algorithms can and do change without you doing anything wrong. I’ve lost all G traffic in the past when my server went down but that did return fortunately,

  6. The thing I’ve noticed with having a brand new blog is that if you don’t get any Google traffic you don’t get used to it. Once I start getting loads it will just be a bonus.:)

    • The pleasures of a new site 🙂
      I should of included social traffic in that post, which I think you are one of the masters of.

      • What is the best way of monetizing social type traffic from places such as Stumbleupon? I find they dont click google. Maybe the best option is to try make them in to repeat visitors.

  7. I beleive that google is far over-rated, people relay on it far too much and thats why I boycott ad-words and adsense and try and get my revenue/traffic from evenly spread sources.

    Saying that my traffic is no way near as high as yours. And when I get that high I am sure I’ll have to relay on google more.

    • A reason I try to get more traffic from Google is that it monetizes well (CPM seems higher from goodle search referrals). Also they send WAY more traffic then Yahoo or MSN. When I look at Yahoo and MSN referred traffic it really is nothing compared to what google search sends me.

      However, this month I have seen traffic from other sources appear which makes up around 70% this month which is a good jump for me taking page views to about 200000 hopefully this month if things carry on the way they are.

      It’s nice to not have Google as a main source this month… but a nice % is still good to have so all my eggs are not in 1 basket (Googles basket).

Leave a Reply