Christmas Came Early

October 2nd, 2006 by Chris

Back in July I published one of the most in depth articles I’ve ever written. The article, A Publisher’s Guide to Contextual PPC Ad Optimization, takes a close look at how you can optimize your publishing earnings by tweaking the appearance and placement of ads from Google Adsense, YPN, or the like.

At the end of the article I recommend constant tinkering and monitoring as the best way to increase your earnings, and today I experienced something that really drives that point home.

This year I’ve been working on redesigning most of my content sites (and yes Website Publisher is on my list). The site of the moment is my literature site. The new design went live on most pages (but not all, it is a huge site and the integration is a lot of work) late last night.

When I first launched this site back in 2000 I redesigned it practically every 6 months, but then in 2002 I launched the most recent design and it stayed. Over the years I tweaked the content layout slightly, moving ad placements or adjusting them, but it stayed mostly the same. Most recently I did a few months worth of ad monitoring and tweaking as a foundation for the aforementioned article.

So, because of all my recent tweaking with the ads I thought they were pretty well set and I did not even think that I’d get much of a bump in eCPM with the new design. I was hoping the new design would entice more incoming links, maybe more page views per visit, and would certainly load faster being tableless, but an eCPM increase never crossed my mind.

So I was certainly surprised when checking Adsense this morning to see that the top Adsense leaderboard placement had a CTR double what it normally is, and throughout the day today it has held. Consdering that this is my highest earning ad placement for all my sites it’s like Christmas in October.

You can see the old design here and then compare it to the new design found here.

Not a whole lot has changed, but the little change there is certainly has made a difference. The top leaderboard was always near my horizontal menu, but with it now being directly touching my horizontal menu CTR has shot up. It is only a shift of 50 pixels, but wow, what a difference.

So, take this as inspiration to tweak your own site design.

Forum discussion here.

2 Responses to “Christmas Came Early”

  1. peach  Says:

    Since it’s only a day since you changed I guess the fact that your site is different cures the banner blindness that your return visitors suffered from, so once they learn where your ads are the clicks will stagnate.

    Nice usable design by the way, I see you immediately but the “brag about your content” into practice ;)

  2. Troutnut  Says:

    I agree that this might be due to the new layout negating ad blindness for a little while. I’ve always seen a boost when I changed layouts, even when the new layout didn’t perform as well in the long run. Nevertheless, congratulations on your improvement.

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