One thing that John Chow has given advice on is selling ads directly. I’ve been thinking about this a bit the last few days and I think it may be time for me to try it out. I certainly have the traffic for it! The website gets over 1 million “page impressions” per month as reported by Google Analytics. The index page does around 400,000, and the download page sits at just under 500,000. Right now I’m using Google AdSense and it is doing very well for itself, at least in absolute terms (never say “no” to free money, right?).

John Chow’s advice says to take the amount you’re earning with AdSense and double it for when you try selling ads directly. The hypothesis is that Google is sharing revenue at a rate of about 50%. His other general advice to diversify your income is one that I’ve implemented as well – albeit by implementing Search that is still provided by Google, and by moving the Help content online and adding AdSense to it (together they added enough to my Paint.NET earnings to buy a Bluray player!).

This could help to significantly diversify my income sources and reduce my reliance on AdSense, which in August accounted for 80% of Paint.NET revenue. It’s not that I dislike AdSense, and I bet the feeling is mutual. I also don’t think I will be banned, but it’s still a significant risk factor — just ask Henry and Wilson about the time they lost out on $200,000 (although they seem to have broken some of the AdSense TOS, such as not having more than 1 account).

I also have advertising space available in the Paint.NET installer. You know when you install the program and it says “Please wait, optimizing…” and there’s a little banner that says “Please donate!” along with one for the download mirror (“This update brought to you by BetaNews”) or for I bet I could sell that as advertising space as well. It reaches hundreds of thousands of users per month and is on screen for a good chunk of time.

The only thing I’m wary of is that John Chow also suggests that you create an Advertisers page that list your rates directly instead of saying, “please e-mail us for a quote.” But hey, if I have to disclose revenue to get a huge increase in it, it might just be worth it. John Chow does it every month and when he posts earnings just shy of $18,000 for August, people are stunned and inspired (or, shocked and awed?).

I would probably sweeten the deal by allowing the advertiser (or advertisers, I don’t know how I’ll do things) access to the site’s Google Analytics reports. That way they could see what types of visitors they are reaching, and retarget their ad appropriately if they wanted.

So … comments?

Anyway I’m off to Bumbershoot in the morning*. I’ve never been but it’s supposed to be awesome, and it’s a friend’s birthday too.

* Yeah yeah I posted at 4:30am …