Social interaction is critical even if it’s through a podcast.

After a couple of months of not posting much here. I have decided to get back on my previous schedule of posting an update weekly on Fridays another at the end of the month relating to earnings and finally the mid month report, which details how I fared with last months tasks and the things I have in mind for the next 30 days.

Around 6 weeks ago “out of near desperation” I started to search out other people who where having success in businesses loosely related to mine. I ended up finding a solid group of three Dan over at Tropical MBA Spencer at Niche Pursuits and Justin and Joe at Adsense Flippers the three are closely related intertwined and obviously doing a little more than good online.

Probably the best things to happen to me in along time has been subscribing to different podcasts in particular the two tropical MBA put out, this has lead to me finding other different  podcasts and numerous other websites I would never have found. More importantly these podcasts have replaced in some way the lack of contact with other like-minded people that I had back in the states, think meetups barcamps wordcamps etc only now 18 months after leaving am I able to see just how important these groups and interaction were for myself.

Why the break from posting? One thing I heard during one of the podcasts was “the majority of people who are successful in the online business are not writing about it” they are working on their business! In my own case 6 weeks back I got hit really hard think 60% pay cut. It was pretty easy to see what I needed to be doing hence the break.

Why start up again? Kind of weird because it’s the same source which lead me back to the keyboard, last week I got a mention from Dan in his post (blogs I read) Surprised me because I don’t consider my website as a great read. I started to think about what are the benefits of maintaining this site and making posts:

1. Accountability and Structure
2. I would like to think just one person may be motivated to quit the 9-5
”It was other sites with earnings reports and travel stories which were the main motivators in me quitting the 9-5”
3. Family can see where I’m at

And then a new one popped in to my mind “not one I’m not proud of” ego sure I can write about all the cool stuff increases in earnings, freedom to travel, etc the not so nice word is, “bragging” If your earnings take a nose dive and your hunkered down in a room just working with no measurable success there is not a lot to brag about.

So why start up again: the 1st three reasons haven’t changed and I have found 2 others:

1. That shout from Dan made me realize that been part of a group of like-minded people is critical. Having a site like this that I update regularly is one way to get more involved and meet others.
2. Writing about my failings are probably as important if not more, than my successes. These are the things that people can learn from. It also enables me to practice a little humility.

As this is mid month here is a quick summary of what I have been doing the last couple of months. After the drop in earnings on Oct 13th I was in shock. I read a lot and found that many sites across the web had experienced exactly the same. During the first few days I truly believed Google would roll back the update “at least partially” and things would return to normal. Two weeks in I had accepted, the chances of things returning to pre October 13 levels where practically zero. I then started to look for ways to quickly get my sites back to #1 and again realized there was no quick fix.

At this point my attitude and thoughts shifted to a new place and I started to see there was just a little logic behind what Google had done the little grew to a lot and I started to see a path by where I could return to pre October levels, probably much higher along with considerably more defense from the whims of Google. The problem was it involved a whole new approach and one that required considerable hours work “grunt work” with a lot less emphasis on the style I have used to date.

The solution was very simple give them what they want and toss in another 50% for good luck. We all know what they “Google” want. In short “websites that the user likes” this is obviously the simplified version. Figuring out what “likes” means leads to a whole list of things in fact Google has that list it has 23 things on it. After a lot of thought I realized that “liked” could easily be measured with one variable Bounce Rate.

The more I thought about this. It became apparent that to reducing bounce rates to acceptable levels one would need to employ a lot of the things on the Goggle to do list.
I think of this like killing two birds with one stone. Or should it be 23 with one variable.

Luckily for me I have very high bounce rates across my sites. So the next line of thought went something like:

Per 100 Visitors

1. Reduce Bounce rate from 70% to 40% + 30 visitors “easy”
2. Adding more content making the site more interesting “all that happy crap” “just grunt work” could lead to the site ranking a little better and for more terms + 30 Visitors
3. Increase revenue per person by 33% “not easy”

So this same site that used to have 30 people per 100 visitors not bounce earns lets say $10 per 100 visitors this now doubles to $20 because of the reduced bounce rate, add in the new visitors another $10 now we are at $30 per old 100 visitors finally increasing revenue per person by 33% brings us to $40 quite an increase for doing what Google suggests.

Sure the numbers are speculation but any of us can see that it’s possible starting out with a thin 5 page website MFS yes that’s MFS “made for search”

The next thought I had is the one that sealed the deal. If I do this and I only get half the results above. I will be back to square one, forget four fold, don’t even include returning to pre October levels. Panda no Panda, Slapped Panderized call it what you want even with all the penalties I appear to have incurred. It appears there is a way to get back on solid footing, with out any tricks, plain old grunt work. “that’s scaleable” this is the worst case scenario. Maybe my two main sites will return. Maybe it will be 3 fold who knows, the chances are I will far exceed pre October levels of income simply focusing on decreasing bounce rates across all sites.

So I revamped this site Traveling to Cuba from the ground up initial results are spectacular think 65% – 38% on bounce rates it’s early days with the smallest data set imaginable “yes I did filter too just organic so as not skew anything”

Initial results

Initial results

here is archive.org’s snapshot of the old version

This post has got hyper long so I will detail the results at a later date including some of the things I did, and a more comprehensive look at all the numbers. The next 30 days is going to be basically more of the same with the majority of my attention going to doing the same on one of the sites that got a 60% haircut.

Comments thoughts? It would be great to see a little more action in the comments section it keeps me on my toes, and may just motivate me to redesign this site.

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7 Responses to Social interaction is critical even if it’s through a podcast.

  1. Pingback: Friday Wrap: No results found! | Minimum Wifi

  2. Lissie says:

    You’ve no idea how many times I’ve nearly given up on my self-titled site – I too was told not to focus on MMO, and that successful people in this game didn’t do that. Whatever – I kept the site for the same reasons you talk about: accountability and the hope of keeping it real might inspire someone else to do the same

    You have the other twist of living the dream in Asia- surprisingly few sites seem to cover that side of it – Kirtsy is the only I can think of at nerdynomad.com and she’s in Africa. Most of the others seem to involve couples with kids – not much interest to a lot of us.

    • Neale says:

      Whats also hard for me is I’m just not a writer 🙂 It’s getting easier though and I think if i get a little traction like it seems is happening it will motivate me all the more.

  3. Dan says:

    I love your site because it’s the concrete that my whole mindset rests on. All you need is a laptop and plane ticket. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading! Congrats on the site updates. Another benefit here is that if you make your businesses more legible you’ll likely find some people coming out of the woodwork who can help you a lot. Anyway, looking forward to seeing more great posts like this! 😀 Ok. ok…. i’m being selfish I know.

  4. amasidi says:

    I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome blog!

  5. Neale says:

    Thanks amasidi we would be happy to accept guest posts if you have a topics similar to our own!

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