Recently a good friend of mine and fellow blogger Spencer Haws wrote that he had been banned by Adsense and lost a multiple thousands of dollars a month income stream. I had just finished publishing the podcast we did together where he discussed his 200+ website portfolio he manages and a few days later he updated his blog with news on the ban.

Spencer is not the only one as I’ve seen banned as numerous other bloggers were banned by Adsense as well including Zac Johnson, Eric Gati, Ghauer Chaudhry and a few of my friends who don’t write blogs but were earning thousands a month with Adsense were banned as well. Pamela does a good job of highlighting the frustrating aspects of working with Adsense to restore an account so I’d like to focus the discussion on something else:

Can you have too many websites?

For the past several years I’ve been making money with websites I’ve gone with a mix between smaller niche websites and larger authority websites as a way to spread out my risk. In 2011 and more so in 2012 I’ve also been buying websites as well. Right now I have a few dozen websites and rather than focusing on quantity at this stage in my business I’m trying to focus heavily on building high quality websites (for example, I just finished software development on a website that cost me roughly $20,000 to complete – not sure yet if I’ll be revealing it or not). The reason why I’ve been shifting towards higher quality websites is simply because of the huge potential upside a large website can bring both in terms of it’s monthly cash flow as well as the cash it can bring from selling it. The way I look at it is that although I could continue building my niche website income up I’ve always been too risk averse to focus on just one thing. This aversion to focusing on one strategy has downsides as well, because if I were to focus on just one business model I’d be much better at putting systems in place to automate that business model.

The real question to consider with building too many websites is to decide if Google has specifically targeted Adsense account holders that have a lot of niche websites in their account to manually ban because of their belief (unfounded or not) that niche websites provide less value for advertisers (or whatever reason they’re justifying for the ban). Whether or not that is true it just means that one solid strategy for niche websites would be to just focus on niche websites that generate income from Adsense for only a small portion of your portfolio. That way you could have an account with Adsense for 35 websites, but then have another 65 websites monetized via ShareASale, Commission Junction, Linkshare, Amazon and other affiliate networks. Niche doesn’t have to just = Adsense.

How much risk do you want?

Ultimately you just need to decide what type of strategy you want to pursue. You can start with niche websites to begin with and build your income up to thousands of dollars a month and then move onto some larger website projects or you can try and do both niche and authority websites at the same time (which is what I’ve done) or you can even just focus on a small handful of websites. I’ve also met over a dozen successful website entrepreneurs who’ve built a stable six figure income off of only one website.

My 2012 Plan Hasn’t Changed

At the beginning of this year I outlined my goals for 2012 and the pillars of my business I would be focusing on which includes building new websites, buying websites and creating software/information products (with a bigger emphasis on software). For the foreseeable future Google will continue to be around and remain an integral traffic source for niche and authority style websites alike. Whatever game you decide to play whether it’s the niche site game or the authority site game (or both) it’s important to remember that you really need to dive into a specific strategy if you want to make it work and be willing to invest your time to get there. That’s ultimately what allowed me to make Amazon niche / authority style websites to work for me along with anything else I’ve been successful with.

Unfortunately Google keeps the reasons for bans like this a secret, so you ultimately need to decide for yourself what these bans mean and keep it in mind as you work towards building a job replacing online income.

Have your plans changed for the year? If so – how?