Time, value, ROI, Google and this site…. Googlebummed

This is a fairly significant “state of this site” type post and well… if you’re a usual visitor you might want to read/skim this one. It’s been about 15 months or so since the last big redesign of this site and as some long time lurkers may know, the updates were FEW and far between before moving to WordPress and this new layout. I mean, a year or so between updates was not uncommon. In the last year+ I’ve had a few spans where a month or so has gone by without posting, but in many cases I’ve been posting multiple (in other cases MANY MANY) posts in a single day.

When I started including adsense in the site, frankly I was thinking that it might be able to cover my hosting fees and initially it looked on target to do that and I put more time into typing here and saw revenues from advertising go up and frankly December and January of last year were phenomenal. At those levels, a single months income from advertising revenue would pay for all of my sites for a year. But the disappointments had started to happen the beginning of December with the delisting of the northcarolinagenealogy site and going from ~100 visits a day to about 10-20 a day. I’m not certain still on the cause, but I had done an “auto-refresh” redirect to get people from the old averyjparker.com/ncgen directory to the new northcarolinagenealogy.net domain… that apparently is a no-no and I changed it, I set up 301 redirects that sort of worked. I think at one point in my haste I had a typo that sent a redirect to a spammy domain and that was fixed as soon as I found it, but the northcarolinagenealogy.net site has not been indexed by google for 11 months now.

The site has grown some and is now getting 20-30 visits a day, but still nowhere near what it was last November. “But wait, you were talking about THIS site weren’t you?” yes… let me get back to this site. I was seeing great traffic in January, every post was indexed by google in full within a week and frankly being able to search from a clients site for an issue I knew I dealt with a month ago but didn’t remember the details and pull up my page from a quick “google” was VERY nice. But, things changed dramatically in February. I guess it was the “Big daddy” update. That’s what I’ve blamed it on, but I don’t think there is a SINGLE article that I’ve written SINCE February that has been fully indexed and what’s more there are some pre-February 2006 articles that disappeared. Back in January, I could go to goole and do a site:averyjparker.com inurl:2005/12 search and see all articles posted in December of 05… well you might say, you still can.

Yes, but today that search turns up 20 articles, there were probably a total of 250-300 ORIGINAL articles published on this site in December. So, Google is only indexing now, ~10% of my site. Which is about where the traffic is compared to pre-Big Daddy too. And probably about where the adsense revenue is. The long and short of it is that right now, I’m lucky to make 20-30 a month in adsense revenue at the current traffic level and I do enjoy posting here, but frankly I have poured in WAY TOO much time for what I’m getting back. Yes, to be brutally honest the money matters. NO, it’s not that I’m greedy, but let me put it this way. Would you be willing to spend hours a week on a website for $30 a month? or would you be willing to spend hours a week on a website for $400 a month? Duh!!!

Time is the one thing that ALL of us have in scarcity…. it’s the currency of our lives. The return on investment (ROI) that I’ve been getting for the time in this site just can’t justify me continuing the pace of posting that I’ve had.

I’ve spent several times trying to figure out why the indexing has changed for this site (and disappeard for the northcarolinagenealogy.net site) and I’ve done what I can to fix what issues people have suggested or things that I’ve noticed that I suspected may be the problem. I started the www.computerrepairasheville.com site so that I could have a place JUST to advertise my computer service’s in the local area and hopefully pick up some local business that way. At this point, I will likely need to be using Adsense to get some paid visits to that site (since google hasn’t done a full index of THAT site yet either.)

It frustrates me in many ways because it seems quite arbitrary. I know of several other sites (that I’ve either worked on, or run) that are fully indexed to within the week JUST LIKE THIS ONE USED TO BE in googles index. (southcarolinagenealogy.org, onlineradiotv.com for instance.) They have much less content though and maybe that’s the thing, maybe the pace of change here is too quick for google to keep up with. It never seemed to be a problem with MSN or Yahoo’s search results and indexing though. So, in a sense I’m throwing in the towel…. that’s not the way I want to see it though…. “temporarily pausing high maintenance of the site”.

So, what does this mean?

This site will stay up indefinitely at this point and I will post to it from time to time. I will likely not do it with any regularity, or predictability. I will likely cover many things in a single post if I find them interesting enough to bother. I will try to continue to use this as my own knowledge base to have a single reference for many of the issues I’ve run across as I do computer service.

I will not be doing much coverage on any and every tech story that crosses the news. I MIGHT spend some time on some more interesting items if I have time and am motivated to do some deeper analysis. I REALLY enjoyed the WMF exploit investigation last December.

Will this change? It might. If things change, such that I’m getting enough traffic to justify investing some time here, I might get back to a heavier posting schedule. That means if 1) either Googles indexing straightens out and the site’s fully indexed or 2) a majority of web searchers start using another search engine. I’m not holding my breath on either. It’s been 11 months of banishment for one site and almost 9 months of quasi-banishment for another site…at this point I’m content to let it lay dormant a while and see if THAT helps.

Today, I forked off a few other domains to individual pages to try to make sure I don’t have any “duplicate content” penalties. But… I must say depending on the threshhold for what Google sees as duplicate content, the very concept of “blog categories” could be penalizing me. I have come to a point though where I’ve done all I can, don’t really care to much to try to make it work as a supplement ot my income and must spend times on things that give a better ROI.

Thanks Google for making a few really nice things possible over the last year. I hope we can do it again sometime. I have a lot of site ideas of things that I want to do and I may get the time to work on them, yes they would likely include content that was hopefully advertising supported, but my optimism on advertising supported is much less now given the great reliance there is on stable indexing.

Is this sour grapes?

Maybe, but I’m thoroughly frustrated when I know there are 300 articles from December and Google only indexes 20. I want content on my site to AT LEAST BE FINDABLE BY ME…. that’s why I’ve put it here in the first place. I’ve had to use MSN to accomplish that lately and I don’t know why my site seems to have a penalty, but it does and maybe someday that penalty will be lifted by Google, or maybe sometime Google will be less relevant. Until then, I don’t see it making sense to spend so much time on this site.

I may add to this post more if there is more to add/update. Another thing you may notice that I’ve started doing more of is updating individual posts instead of writing a new post and then backlinking to an old item that it updates. So on some issues you might find it useful to visit an old article, as I MAY have just updated it instead of posting new.

All in all, I hope that this site has been of use to you, I have given it far more time than it likely ought to have received but I hope you’ll continue to find useful things here. I guess you might say I’m “googlebummed”.

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