This month has been rather quiet in nearly every Internet Marketing circle I'm a part of. Given last month's barrage of updates from Google, I suspect that most niche empires from noob to guru alike have been decimated (myself included). For the record, my own losses were about 75% my "normal" income when the totals came in at the end of the month. In addition, I do think that everyone is hard at work this time around rebuilding their portfolio and trying out new things, which is good. I'm a big believer in testing things out, and lately I have been playing a lot with expired domains both as money sites themselves and also for my private network. Last month I did a writeup on Domain Spoon, a tool used to help find expired domains, and also how to check expired domains for spam.
As for myself, I'm coming up to nearly the 1-year anniversary of this blog and my returned presence online. As an aside, I used to run an extremely popular anime-related website back in 1995, just to show you how long I've been doing stuff online. If only I knew about SEO then, lol. Then again, I suppose people didn't make a living off of Webcrawler or Altavista back in the day.
October brought me back to first principles (again) and I have been doing a slash and burn of my portfolio, weeding out the losers and rebuilding the winners all on new domains. When I take a look at my portfolio now I really only have a handful of domains that have survived from all the way back from December of last year. This just goes to show you that nothing is forever in IM, but while you're there, you might as well milk the cow for all its worth.Post-Google Update Devastation
On the hosting side of things I have decided to move away from Bluehost due to speed issues. I only had two major instances of downtime, which I think wasn't too bad. However, for the price and service I found that I could get the same thing from HostTheName (aff link). They also have SEO hosting, if you're so inclined. What's nice is that I managed to score 50% off using a promo code: BHW2012. In addition, unlike Bluehost which uses a stupid customized version of CPanel, HostTheName uses a stock version that is compatible with xMarkPro. This is what I use to manage my network portfolio along with ManageWP. It's really nice to have a 1-click "install-an-addon-domain + deploy-wordpress" available in my bag of tricks.
You can check out HostTheName here.
I've also split some of my AdSense sites onto Hostgator (aff link), for redundancy and disaster recovery. Not much to say about that other than it's one of the more popular beginner webhosting platforms out there. Here's a coupon code for 25% off: TWINNYFIVE.
This Week's Updates from Google
There was a recent Panda and Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) update in the past week or so. Generally, I have been on the favourable end of both, and this time was no exception. Panda either did a great job of smashing some of my competitors, or some of the onpage changes I have been toying with are working. Either way, I gained rankings and am making more money. Slowly but surely, I am making each step towards coming back to the income levels that I was used to with my sites, but I'm still a ways off. I'll be satisfied once I get over $100/day again on a regular basis.
In terms of the PR update I lost all my PR4+ domains, but gained a ton of PR2 and PR3 domains where they were previously PR0. So the average PR across my network saw some small gains. Every little bit helps.
I'm going to skip the usual pep talks that I do whenever some big G update kills SEO again for the nth time. Every trip on the merry-go-round causes me to revisit strategy and rethink things such as:
- Using expired domains as money sites.
- Using brand new domains in my private network.
- Trying out Amazon affiliate marketing (in time for the North American holiday season).
- Changing themes on my sites (I rarely, rarely do this).
- Converting pages to posts and vice-versa.
- Cleaning up my onpage SEO and minimizing/eliminating/mitigating duplicate content issues.
- Refreshing and changing meta tags and titles.
...amongst other things. I experience a decent amount of success by just banging my head against the wall until it breaks. You just need some willpower and good amount of elbow grease to get things done efficiently.
I don't advise you to try everything that I'm doing, unless you have the time and it interests you if you have the tinkerer-type of personality. What I would advise you, assuming you're doing small-time SEO, is to copy the guys who rank. It's as simple as that. A tool will be required, and you can use SEO Spyglass for free. Otherwise, I recommend Ahrefs.
I'm set to make decent gains this month. Although October was dreadful, I'm feeling more optimistic now that I've been quietly working hard at rebuilding money sites. I'm down to about 30, which sounds kind of pathetic as my blog network is over twice the size if I count free Web 2.0 platforms, but I've only concentrated on winners that have consistently made money in the past. A good chunk of those have already made back their domain costs and then some. So in December I expect things to go much smoother and have more things to bolster my portfolio, which will be handy as I've got a lot of domain renewals looming. As it stands now, I am still exceeding my monthly expenses, and that's even after the big Panda/Penguin/EMD/Google Images hit from October. So in other words, the efforts that I am expending are still very much worth it.
That's it for this month's update. Keep working hard guys.