I don’t know about you but this has been a tough year to be a blogger. With Google rolling out updates to Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird I felt like they were personally attacking me! Why? Well because my traffic and SERP results tanked. Where I once was feeling the highs of higher traffic I am now feeling the lows of having virtually nobody visiting the site. So what went wrong? How do I plan on fixing it? Can I fix it? Well, lets go through how the site is performing this year vs. last year and you can see what happened and possibly how you can help!
Thank You Again!
First off I need to say thank you to a lot of bloggers who have helped or worked with me over the past year(s). I did a Thanksgiving post and then realized I missed a lot of people. So here I go again to try and rectify that. I cannot say thank you enough folks. And if your not on the list? Its not because I don’t care…. its just my memory is kind of shot some days. Anyways make sure to take the time to visit them and make sure you tell them that I sent you!
- Justin Germino from over at Dragon Blogger
- Wade Harman – BloggersMakeMoney
- Enstine Muki – Enstine Muki.com
- Ana Hoffman – Traffic Generation Cafe
- Kim Garst – kimgarst.com
- Bryan Kerr from The Hobby Blogger
- Abhi from OddBlogger
- Andy Bailey from CommentLuv
- Brian Belfitt from Blog Engage
- Holly from It’s All A Matter of Perspective
- Rae Hoffman from Sugar Rae
- Kristy Hines from Kikolani
- Ms. Ileane Smith from Basic Blog Tips
- Jane Sheeba from Pro Blogging Success
- Lahaul Seth from Lion Blogger
- Reginald Chan – ReginaldChan.net
- Bashir Ahmed – Ajnabi
- Susan Neil – Write Clever
- Avi Jit – SkyHitBlog
This year I did a pretty thorough audit of the site. From backlinks, to site performance, to removing content that was just ‘filler’. I’ve tried to do it all. And it is now starting to pay off and pick back up. The biggest contributing factor though? Writing GOOD content that people want to read that helps them. So instead of just tossing up any kind of news (which didn’t work) I’m focusing on what I’m good at. Providing help to people with what I know. I suggest reading how I did part of it by attempting to squeeze out all the performance I can to get the site to load faster. How did I do the rest of it? I’ll have to do a write up on what tools I used and how I performed the audit so stay tuned!
Blog Stats for 2013
Like I mentioned before with all of the changes to Google this year it would first appear that avgjoegeek.net was hit by them. After doing a ton of research and even picking the blog apart. The only real answer I can come up with?
They ‘right-sized’ the site.
Huh? You might ask. Well, bear with me for a second. You see with their recent updates they have been trying to get sites to place higher up in the SERP’s that add more value.
Although I do have a few articles that are helpful? A lot of them were what I consider ‘fluff’ or straight up marketing junk. They didn’t offer visitors any true value. On top of that? I was just going willy nilly writing about what I wanted to versus writing for what the visitor needs. Which is bad and has now bitten me in the ass. If you are a new blogger reading this? Make sure you have a very well defined game plan for your content. And it better be GOOD – all of it.
So this year feels like I have been starting from scratch. Below are the stats for this year:
For me it all started on May 20th 2013. Thats when the sites traffic suddenly tanked back down to almost nothing. And it freaked me out. When you started getting used to 500-1000 visitors daily and it drops down to 30? You would too. So here are the Google stats that show the damage below:
- Visits (Total): 52,638
- Unique Visitors: 45,564
- Pageviews: 74,775
- Pages / Visit: 1.42
- Avg. Visit Duration: 00:05:14
- Bounce Rate: 60.39%
This is Compared to 2012:
- Visits (Total): 148,725
- Unique Visitors: 131,927
- Pageviews: 195,129
- Pages / Visit: 1.31
- Avg. Visit Duration: 00:00:57
- Bounce Rate: 84.75%
A few things to note though here:
Pages / Visit and Avg. Visit Duration went up considerably! Where as before I had a lot of people just doing ‘virtual drive bys’ now I get visitors who were (hopefully) finding the answer they were looking for and actually reading it. Also if you notice the Bounce Rate went down significantly as well. This could be due to the lower volume of traffic though lol.
Top 10 Sources of Traffic:
Google is still my #1 source for traffic. The ‘direct/none’ is due to Google not reporting keyword/organic search results. I did get more traction with Social Media this year as well especially with Facebook and Twitter.
Note: Traffic Dial was an experiment I was checking out that turned out to be an inadvertent Black Hat SEO to try and drive traffic to these garbage websites.
- google (Organic)
- (direct) / (none)
- t.co (Twitter)
- google.com (referral)
Although the numbers aren’t huge – you can see that Social Media is taking a big part in directing traffic to the site. If there are any nay-sayers out there stating that Social Media doesn’t work? They must be blind.
I should also mention that Blog Engage – a blogging community/RSS curation site also helped me not only bring in traffic but even helped me rank for articles that would have been tossed into page 10 of the SERPS!
One last thing to note here. StumbleUpon. I’ve just now after working on it for about a year have started seeing more results from there. Although they are more of a channel surfing site notorious for short attention spans. I actually received a pretty low bounce rate of %54 with an average visit time of 1:14 minutes spent on the site!
- Facebook – 1,130
- Twitter – 702
- StumbleUpon – 643
- Google – 454
Traffic Dial– 385
- Blog Engage – 373
- m.facebook.com – 260
- Google Plus – 204
- ManageWP.org – 166
- Guest Blogging Tactics – 152
I dropped pretty hard in Alexa’s ranking due to the loss of traffic. Its starting to slowly pick back up as I create articles that are hopefully more evergreen and give me consistent long term traffic rather than articles that offer that short burst then sit in the archives forever! My Global Rank was at 132, 975 but that went up quite a bit. On the plus side it has actually been improving since re-purposing and auditing the site.
I removed the WP Popular Posts plugin from the website as it was causing a lot of performance issues. This year the data is pulled from Google and will show the amount of visits each post received. The #1 slot is my review of CloudFlare even though it has now dropped to page 2 or 3 on the SERP where it used to be #1. It is weird that although Modern Warfare 3 has been and gone for almost 2 years now that the article is still popular. And if you want a way to definitely get people to visit your site? Giveaway some cold hard cash – they will come out in droves as that number reflects the month I held the giveaway!
This years top 10 posts:
- CloudFlare Review | Does it Really Work? - 8,434
- avgjoegeek Home - 8,008
- How to Install New Maps for PS3 Call of Duty MW3 DLC - 5,686
- Free Cash Giveaway | Win over $100.00 in Cash Prizes at avgjeogeek.net - 4,181
- 5 Tips on How to Play Call of Duty MW3 Like a Boss - 3,561
- Should you Root Your Android or iPhone Smartphone? - 2,773
- Sony PS3 Wireless Headset Review| How Does It Compare to Others? - 1,552
- iPhone 5 Announced | Playing Catch Up instead of Leading the Pack? - 1,188
- 8 Great Apps for Android and Apple for New Parents - 830
- 3 Reasons Why Google’s Android is Better than Apple’s iOS - 791
An honorable mention that didn’t make the top 10 but I’m glad it is gaining some traction:
OK, this is actually embarrassing. Even though I am trying to push to receive more Email and RSS Subscribers – I’m very late to the game and it has been slow going. I do know the importance of having a great list. I just haven’t focused very hard or pushed visitors to try and sign up. On a positive note Google Plus has really taken off in the past few months. If you haven’t started using G+ you are really missing out on some lost opportunities there! And Twitter keeps growing slowly but steadily I cannot get enough traction with Facebook.
The numbers are still horrendously low. As you can see I really need to come up with a real strategy and push to grow not only my email but social media presence as well. Interested in being a Mentor? Please feel free to contact me :)
- RSS – 46
- Email – 111
- Twitter – 2,709
- Facebook – 1,086
- Google Plus – 3,887
Advertising / Affiliates
I’m at the point now due to the low traffic numbers where I make nadda from the site from advertising or affiliates. Which although I know that is part of the goal of working online? It has been a harsh lesson to learn. Blog first, worry about money later. So I’m working on that. I still have banners up on the site of course – but I’m thinking of ditching a lot of them and maybe slowly re-introducing them later. I have removed all of the crazy in-textual ads. Now it is strictly banner advertising along with Amazon affiliate links to products/games etc. You can check out the Resources page to see what I use for the site if your interested.
A Rough Year
It has been a rough year for me overall. Not only here on the site but outside here in the real world. I’ve had to deal with my Dad’s passing, losing my job, making the tough decision to move from Colorado to Kansas, and just a lot of other personal and family hurdles. So the site ended up suffering because of it. Then Google’s SEO updates and Content Scrapers almost pushed me over the edge to just give up. I’m just forever grateful that my wife wouldn’t let me give up. Now I look at this as a challenge to see if I can do the work and make the site successful.
Of course I can’t do it without you who are reading this. If you have any type of advice, tips, or just want to discuss your own issues with your own sites? Please leave a comment below.
So again – Thanks! Here’s to hoping that the next year will be successful!