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How I used AdSense to debug my blog

I recently installed a widget on my blog and it turns out that it was causing intermittent problems in Internet Explorer.

I was able to detect this situation because I had several AdSense ads in various positions on the page. I have a link unit at the top of the page, a regular banner/text ad a little further down the page, a skyscraper in a sidebar and another link unit at the bottom of the page.

I also use Google Analytics to track traffic to the blog. The Analytics code is installed at the bottom if the page. Analytics showed what seemed to be a falling off of traffic but there were no clues as to why.

Looking at the AdSense reports, however, some hints began to emerge. When reviewing the performance of the various ad channels (each ad is set up as its own channel), anomalies began to appear. Lots of impressions for the ad at the top of the page, 20% less impressions for those ads further down the page. This tipped me off that the page was not rendering completely.

Knowing that the page was not rendering completely suggests that some active component on the page was hanging up the browser. Some testing in both FireFox and Internet Explorer soon narrowed the problem down to IE. Then I began to eliminate the most recent widgets added to the page (there weren't many) which soon led me to the problem.

In summary --

It doesn't hurt to put a few AdSense ads in various positions on your blog or web pages, especially unobtrusive link units. It is important, though, that each ad be set up with a separate channel. The AdSense reports can then be used to ensure that the pages are rendering completely. And, of course, you can also more precisely monitor how the various ad positions are performing for their primary purpose as ad inventory.

With all the Javascript that many blogs and web pages are carrying, it is not unusual for certain sections of pages to encounter problems. The fine grained reporting provided by AdSense provides a good way to monitor and troubleshoot your pages.

Posted by TradeRadarOperator at 9/28/2008 08:45:00 PM  


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