I suppose I better get this over with. One third of 2012 is over and just as things were starting to pick up after the last three bad months Google go and release the Panda and Penguin updates towards the end of the month. You can read about my thoughts on going forward from the massacre my sites suffered in this post that I did the other day: Starting from Scratch.
To cut a long story short nearly all my sites got down-ranked in the serps and traffic is way down across the board.
Life After Penguin
I think a couple of my sites are worth trying to save as they are in good niches that do make money. I’ve hired a couple of writers on Odesk to write content for me for two of my sites. I’ve instructed them to go out and find news items and interesting or useful articles and then write their own articles on them. I’ve signed up to Copyscape premium to keep an eye on them too. I will then add these to my sites in a bit to try and balance out the product reviews pages with affiliate links on that make up almost 100% of my content. These new pages should also bring in a trickle of visitors as they might rank for some long tail stuff and make my sites a bit more useful to the average reader interested in the niche. The two writers claim to be able to deliver 10 articles each per week for which I will be hiring them at a rate of about $3.50 per hour for 10 hours.
Does $35 for 10 articles a week sound ok?
It certainly is a lot cheaper than Text Broker but I guess it depends on the quality of the content. This means my two sites will be getting 10 new articles a week which should bulk them out a bit. I will let it run for a month and see if anything happens in terms of rankings. As well as my sites being almost 100% product review pages I also have a problem with anchor text diversity which probably also contributed to my downfall.
Dealing with Over Optimised Anchor Text
I’m not really sure to go about rectifying this but when I look at my backlink profiles in Majestic SEO it doesn’t look good! My initial thoughts are to do lots of Unique Article Wizard submissions and some Link Authority ones for the site using not optimised anchor text like click here and other random stuff. But I’m not sure if now is a good time to start building more links. But if I guess a site is out of the SERPs then I’ve not got much to lose?
- What do you think I should do about my dodgy anchor text backlink profile?
Still Ranking but Not for What I Want
At least one of my sites that got hit hard is on page one for some low traffic keywords so the whole site doesn’t appear to be penalised, just the big keywords that I also happen to be over optimised for. What does this mean? For some searches my sitemap is ranked higher than actual pages targeting that same search term!
So as you can see I’m not completely starting from scratch but my main focus in terms of my own time will be in working on my big ‘authority’ site.
The Authority Site
I guess like everyman and his dog I will be starting on my authority site soon. To be honest I have already started it this week and am following the 60 Minutes to $100 Days approach which seems like the most solid approach I’ve come across. So far, each day this week I have spent 60 minutes, or more like two hours, writing a good, long article for my site. I’ve got the articles ready to go now but I need to find a domain. I am torn between trying to find an aged domain that has dropped or just go with a new one. I think I will just register a new one as I am raring to go. This big site will be in the fitness/exercise/gym niche which is a hobby of mine. I read websites and magazine on the topic already so have quite a bit of knowledge to draw from. Hopefully the people I hire to write for my other sites will lead me to a good writer who I can hire to write for me on this project. I might be putting all my eggs in one basket with this site but let’s hope they are eggs that hatch into something good!
In the spirit of throwing myself into this niche I bought myself an exercise bike for the apartment. I know we have a gym downstairs but being able to exercise indoors with the air con on full blast while watching a decent TV show can’t be compared with the gym!
If anyone can recommend me a good TV series to watch that would be good. Or some good podcasts. Or a video course on how to make money online.
Starting a Mailing List
As everyone is always going on about how mailing lists can be great sources of income I finally decided to add one to one of my sites. It was one of my busiest sites and I used iContact.com as they have a free trial. Unfortunately just after adding the form to page the Google updates happened and the site lost its rankings and traffic so no one signed up! Are mailing lists really that great?
Getting Started with YouTube
I’ve also started messing around with making videos for YouTube in a bid to a) get traffic from somewhere else apart from Google, b) get some different backlinks and c) add some interesting content to my sites. I did a post on what I’ve been doing so far: Getting Started with YouTube.
For the Easter/Songkran break we went on holiday to Langkawi in Malaysia. It was really nice to get away and although I planned to do some work each day I didn’t really stick to that schedule. I blame the lack of free wifi! I do envy the people who can travel the world working from their laptops making money online but I guess living in Thailand isn’t that bad.
Earnings for April 2012
Well April was looking pretty good until the Google updates around the 24th of April. Not as good as 2011 but better than 2012 so far. Then when disaster stuck I was left wondering if I’d hit four figures or not.
My earnings for April 2012 were £1012 / $1636
They pretty much tailed right off towards the end of the month and it is only £55 up on last month but it’s nice to hit a grand again.
After the recent updates I was pretty fed up and half tempted to throw the towel in. I have to make this work though as my options out here are pretty limited in terms of getting a job and I’m not ready to go home just yet. My long term goal is £2000 per month by June 2012 which sounds like a long way off but as this month has shown I’m only one update away from losing it all.
The earnings break down like this but most of it, as usual, came from affiliate niche product sites like left-handed-golf-clubs-for-dwarfs.com:
- This blog: £45.68
- Product Niche Sites: £957.78
- Adsense Niche Sites: £9.25
Who knows what will happen in May. Perhaps my sites will rise from the ashes and hit number one but I’m not so sure. It is nice to see this blog making a few quid. Perhaps one day I can be one of those guys that makes more money teaching people how to make money online than they do actually making money online.
Adding £100 a Month Every Month
So I made £1000 and my goal is to reach £2000 in about 12 months. To do that I would need to add £100 to my earnings each month.
Now, if you put a few hours a day every day into this game for a month, let’s say 75 hours in a month. Lets say you also invested £200 per month on content and link building. What sort of return would you expect on that investment per month?
Is an extra £100 per month, then another £100 the following month and so on too much to ask? I can’t decide if it is or isn’t. How much do your earnings increase each month?
Other Stuff I Did in April 2012:
Read some books: Any Human Heart (brilliant), The Great Gatsby (good but not as good as I’d expected), Forgotten Voices: The Falklands (didn’t know much about this war and this gave a good account of it) and When China Rules the World (still reading this as very long but quite interesting and a little bit scary).
Watched some TV: Finished Breaking Bad season 4. Possibly the best TV show ever. Not sure how they can do another season though? Started on Dexter 6. Looks a bit rubbish now after Breaking Bad.
Bought a new laptop. Finally replaced the old worn out Samsung NC20 netbook and got a new Lenovo Z470. Its a mid to entry level laptop but has an i5 cpu and 4gb of ram so is like a breath of fresh air. Not sure I approve of Windows 7 though. Should increase my productivity no end…
Goals for May 2012
- Get at least one content writer confirmed and writing for at least one of my sites.
- Do at least 60 minutes each day of solid proper work on my big site.
- Use the exercise bike every day.
- Increase my earnings by £100 to £1100.
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