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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Circling the Wagons After the Latest Google Update

There has been quite a bit of consternation to say the least about the recent update to Google's algorithm which has been targeted at spam sites and "content farms".  Personally, I am all for an improvement in the search results that get delivered since some results are very poor and lead to many worthless sites.

That being said, I can't help but wonder what implications the Google definition of "content farm" might hold for HubPages.  I have been enjoying my little hobby of making money online and am a little disappointed by the decrease in traffic that I have seen over the last 48 hours.  I would say that my Google traffic is down about 50-60% overall.

As a result, I will probably be writing very little over the next week while I see what transpires.  I may end up having to develop my own website but don't really like the idea of paying for a domain and hosting just to find out that I can't get any visitors.  I have enough difficulty getting traffic as it is; I don't need to pay for the privilege of having difficulty.

It may turn out that this truly remains only a hobby with less effort on my part and that I would just allow the chips to fall where they may.  I was enjoying the challenge of seeing what I could accomplish, but now that there is some questions as to the rules of the game, I think it is best to just wait and see.  I do plan on being able to get some reading done this week so that is a plus.

The general consensus over at the HubPages forum is to wait a week before panicking and seeing what happens.  That certainly seems like good advice so that is what I will be doing.  Apparently, there is the belief that good content will still matter and many reports are that personal websites have not been hit with traffic declines.  Some are optimistic that an entire site won't get harmed as much as individual pages.  I am not quite so sure personally.  Again that might mean that now is the time to develop a personal website.  I will be looking into that option over the next week as well.

In the meantime, I am glad that I am not reliant upon Google for my livelihood.  I am able to just walk away at any time.  That is not the case for everyone.  I feel really sorry for those who had lost jobs and were writing to help supplement income.  In that respect, the unemployment picture may have just gotten worse.  I also feel sorry for those who may have quit employment to work more on the internet only to have this happen to them.  Double whammy!

As for me, I can certainly find plenty to keep me busy so that I don't end up watching too much television.  Besides, summer is coming along with golf and softball so my writing time would have been more difficult to come by as it is.  The bottom line for me is to just watch and see what happens in the next week or two, do a little reading, a little thinking, and come back with a plan for the future.

I wish everyone luck with these monumental changes especially those supporting themselves or family members.  I would appreciate any comments on how these changes are affecting your traffic and business, what your plans might be, etc.  Thanks for reading and sharing.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Slight Struggle to Keep the Pace on Publishing

Based upon my desire to publish one Hub during the week and two on weekends, I am struggling just a bit to keep the pace.  By this point in February, I should have had 7 Hubs published.  Instead, I have only five.  I guess I shouldn't say only since that is still a decent number. 

Plus I have to consider the fact that the past week I felt like I was fighting a virus and required a lot of extra sleep.  I was incredibly tired and slept about 3-4 extra hours each day compared to my usual.  Now I feel like I am 100% so I would anticipate being able to get some more work done this weekend despite all of the home responsibilities as well.  I am feeling energized and motivated!

I haven't been as diligent at publishing backlinks either.  I am seriously wondering about their effectiveness with Google going after content mills if some of the linking sites will be on the radar.  I would hate to think that any effort at SheToldMe or Redgage would be all for naught.  That is why I am thinking I should continue to focus more heavily on content creation than anything else.

I may even consider writing some product Hubs at HubPages in the near future as well.  I am starting to see some results from Amazon and am seriously thinking that might be a valuable method to diversify a little of my writing.  I still feel awkward recommending any products that I have personally not tried.  Nor do I feel that I could write a Hub on "the best" such-and-such since how do I know it is the best?!  To me that seems like opinion only unless there is some data supporting such an assertion.

Anyway, I am still debating the product angle.  I will continue to work hard and write at HubPages until I can consistently earn $100 per month.  Then I will diversify some more since it is impossible to know when a particular site might fall by the wayside.  Can't have all my eggs in one basket.  In the meantime, I better get working so that I can get 3 or 4 Hubs done this weekend and get back on track.

Photo credit: Bo Nash

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Sold an Amazon Kindle!

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl TechnologyI have been somewhat disappointed by the month of February so far.  I have been working diligently to increase my AdSense income by publishing more than I did last year and creating more backlinks as well in order to drive traffic to my Hubs and blog.  The traffic has been good but the earnings haven't.

However, I have noticed a pleasant surprise as a result of the added traffic.  My Amazon clicks have increased, and I am actually getting a few sales now and again.  I even sold an Amazon Kindle this past week along with a leather case and a two year warranty.  I was excited!  This is the biggest order that I have had.  I don't even write sales Hubs but simply put the Amazon capsule on each article.

With just that one order, I now have enough to get paid by Amazon in the next month or two.  What a great side effect of the additional traffic that I am getting.  I guess that it is important to diversify potential income sources when dealing with online efforts.  This doesn't only apply to sites but also to methods of getting revenue whether selling products, relying on ad clicks, or getting other affiliate income.

For now, I will keep doing what I am doing but will be considering Amazon as a source of income more seriously in the future.  And by the way, if you want to buy a Kindle....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Record Month for Traffic

It is always a good feeling when you get to experience positive results from your efforts.  Whether it is lifting weights, shedding pounds or making money online, seeing results from your efforts offers plenty of positive reinforcement.

As many know, I have undertaken the task of tripling my AdSense income in 2011 and am seeking to do this by increasing traffic with a combination of additional publishing of Hubs at HubPages and increased backlinking efforts at sites that provide AdSense revenue sharing.  I figure that I need to triple traffic at a minimum if I hope to triple my income.

As it turns out, January 2011 was a record traffic month for me.  I bested my previous record by about 4 percent and my worst month in 2010 by about 150%!  It was also the best month for me in total revenue opportunities (ad clicks) but alas the CPC average was lower than I have seen.  That is OK because my AdSense revenue was still greater than double my worst month in 2010 but less than triple. 

So while I am behind the pace to triple AdSense earnings, I am still very pleased with my progress.  I also have a target for February 2011 that is not too much greater than January's target so maintaining the same level of effort should lead to additional traffic and additional revenue opportunities.

I would also like to mention that a side benefit has been 4 shipped Amazon orders for the month of January.  I am putting Amazon boxes on all of my Hubs which occasionally lead to a sale.  I also got more clicks for Amazon in January 2011 than in the entire first quarter of 2010.  This is only going to get better with more traffic.

I must confess that it has been somewhat difficult to keep up with the publishing although I did manage to do that.  I did fail on the backlinking effort and did not get 3 links out per day.  But each day is a new day, and I refuse to feel defeated.  If I miss a day, I miss.  I will simply strive to set 3 links daily as an ongoing goal and even if I get it done on half the days, I will be a lot farther than when I started.  I am seeing Hub traffic from SheToldMe so I know that it is working.

So if you want to sign up and make money writing Hubs, you can join HubPages.  It is a great way to start making money on the internet without spending any of your own cash.
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