Can you live on your website’s ad revenue?

May 28, 2007

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking, based on a website I have that ranks on Alexa around the 40,000 mark – yes I know that Alexa is not the most reliable benchmark but in the absence of anything better it will have to do for now.

Total revenue per month comes in at around one fifth of the “average” IT salary I currently earn in my full time job. So to replace my full time income with website income it would need to get 5 times more visitors.

There are many other factors at play including where the extra visitors come from – would the be the same type as the existing visitors and click ads at the same rate?, could I optimise my ads to give a better return?, could Adsense penalise my site in the future and cause the revenue to drop? etc.

For the purpose of this post I’m assuming the simplest scenario – all things being equal etc.

I don’t know how 5 times the visitors would alter my Alexa ranking but at a wild guess I’d expect it to boost my Alexa rank to around the 20k mark. That being the case I come to the (very basic) conclusion that only around 20,000 websites in the world could generate enough revenue from ads to pay a single full time wage in a country like the UK. Of course that’s based on my salary – many people live OK on much less.

Now if I lived in a cheaper country like India / China …

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