[Hi] How I failed in my first web venture

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Hi everybody!




I found BuSo some days ago and I got shocked: I had discovered the place I always dreamed about, a digital paradise of wisdom.

I have devoured the Digital Strategy Crash Course, the Traffic Leaks Boot Camp and a lot of threads (Laboratory, Garden, DevOps…).

I wish I would have found you earlier.

Days go by and I want to share my story with you. It's the way of show my gratitude.


'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe'

When I was a child, I thought that, when we are going to be born, we choose how will be our family and our environment. With those cards, you have to play to overcome the life difficulties and finally win. Win is achieving self-fulfilment, doing what you like the most.

Well, I chose the most dysfunctional family I found on the album.

'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe', as it was said in Blade Runner, and I have lived things that didn't deserve to be lived by anyone.



Those are my cards.

I had to leave my home very young to survive.

Despite the terrible C-PTSD I still suffer, I have never forgotten my mission.


How I failed in my first web venture (short version)

I always liked web pages. I started to build them in Geocities just for fun. Later in Blogger and Wordpress.com. I didn't know anything about monetization.

In 2012 I build my first sites to make money, Wordpress in shared hosting.

From 2013 to 2016 I was working on two sites. More than 8 hours/day to only get cents (literally) with AdSense.

I made many mistakes. Some of them:

  • I thought that low competition in Adwords keyword planner meant it was very easy to rank instead of lack of advertisers.
  • I was focused in creating content but I didn't promote it.
  • I didn't care about linkbuilding.

It's a nonsense, but when I considered leaving, I saw this picture in my mind and I kept on harder:


In my world of 'I'm the dalai lama in Disneyland', I thought I was digging for the treasure.

But, in fact, I was digging my own grave.


My turning point (no joking) came when I read this in a forum I used to visit:


I realized that facts were telling me I was driving on the wrong lane. Most of what I was reading about web business until then was misleading.

After 3 years I decided to finish this venture and kept my webs sleeping in the shared hosting without caring about them.


Numbers and facts

I want to share with you Analytics metrics from my sites.

----- Site #1 – Sports related


  • 1200 visits/day on average.
  • 0,03 € CPC on average.
  • Most of the posts ranked number one on Google.
  • Traffic peaks are due to an important event for what I ranked in first Google positions. I used to update the post a lot of times in the day of the event to tell what was happening in it and the final ranking. I was the only one to do this.
  • An important newspaper linked to my web.

---- Site #2 – Fashion related


  • 350 visits/day on average.
  • Most of the posts ranked on the second page of Google.
  • I won three times as much as with the other page.

And now?

 

Ryuzaki

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@Rowling, Hi, welcome. I'm right there with you. CPTSD, started on Geocities, etc.

That sucks about doubling down for too long on the lowest competition for Adsense instead of the SERPs. I hope you can laugh about it. It's funny and sad. But all is not lost.

Those two sites you have going have decent traffic. Have you tried publishing on them for higher valued Adsense CPC? They may have some ranking power with any links you got and the age.

What's your plans? What's next?
 
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Hi @Ryuzaki

Nice to talk to you.

My CPTDS symptoms are getting much worse because of a recent unexpected event. Besides this, my financial situation is bankrupt.

The good new is that I have nothing to lose nor any ship to burn because there are no ships either.

I confess that I'm a bit scared, but I'm brave and I know I will rise from my ashes.

My idea is was create some webs and monetize them with AdSense and Amazon.

I'm now in 'researching mode' and my first impression is that may be this is not a good idea, but I'm still researching.

At the moment, while researching I'm designing a strategy on paper and catching up with websites updates (seo, UIX, monetization, etc.).

I'm solving some warnings on Search Console about my two pages, migrating domains to a cheaper domainer, doing some keyword research.

Things have changed a lot in this years and I'm conecting to web world again.

Sometimes I think that I will waste my time with webs. When I read this forum, I realize that my business ideas are dumb and childish, far away from your business concept.

I'm writing a list of pros and cons and doubts of coming back and, when it will be ready, if you don't care, I would like a lot you to read it. I will really appreciate your opinion and advice.

I'm learning a lot here and I want to become a good builder.
 

Ryuzaki

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I'm writing a list of pros and cons and doubts of coming back and, when it will be ready, if you don't care, I would like a lot you to read it. I will really appreciate your opinion and advice.
Absolutely. Share it when ready and we'll give you some feedback.

When I read this forum, I realize that my business ideas are dumb and childish, far away from your business concept.
This is why we say to fail often and fast. Every single time, you learn more, and your next plan is more sophisticated and stronger. You'll get there. Emulate winners on this forum and learn what you can from their postings so you don't have to learn the lessons through failure. That's a key part of BuSo, no matter what you're doing online. We share so much information that anyone can get a giant head start and take shortcuts simply by applying lessons we learned through failing.
 
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Two weeks later… thinking out loud.

This picture summarizes what I have been doing these days. At least a part of what I have done.

I have written some posts for BuSo, but I haven't published anyone.
The more I read you, the more I realize that I was playing at a kindergarten level in my first venture.

Today I have promised myself I will publish a post on the forum and here I am.



~ Foreword ~

> I'm not you

That's an important discovering I made this year.

I repeat it to myself when I see someone is much better than me in any aspect.

I'm not you and I can't be now where you are.

We don't have the same background nor the same knowledge.

Why can't I be you?


Because you are you and I am me.

I will learn from you. But I'm not you and won't.


~ Talking to my inner voice ~

I. Two reminders (in no particular order):

  • Rome was not built in a day
  • Relying on my talents and exploit them is key

II. Opening my eyes…

I love giant steps, but baby steps move me forward too.



III. Not only learning from my mistakes…

but yours too.



IV. Learning and applying new knowledge


Reverse engineering shows me what it's happening backstage.


All that glitters is not gold.

Take care of yourself.


V. Avoid stumbling over the same stone again.


Forget huge goals. At least at the moment.



Start with small, achievable and measurable goals.



When you achieve it, set another goal and repeat.


~ Foreword ~

> Mushin


I have no faith. Not in the hopeless sense but the mushin sense. No mind before the combat.


Carry on...
 

Ryuzaki

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Did you get any work done in the past two weeks? Made any decisions about new projects versus working on the old ones?
 
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welcome to the forum @Rowling , that was a pretty good intro(i got a chuckle out of it). I wish you well on your endeavors.

Good luck and cheers!
 
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Hi @Ryuzaki!

Facts, facts, facts.

Question #1: Did you get any work done in the past two weeks?

Yes, I did.

  • I had some issues with my shared hosting. I couldn't update PHP (I had 5.3). I spent one evening talking to my hosting support center and finally they solved it.

  • I installed SSL certificate in my domains. I had some issues because the images didn't show. I spent two days solving it. The problem was I had hotlinking protection active in my cPanel and hotlinking protection in htaccess. Solved.

  • I updated Search Console information (https). Then I realized that I don't how to use Search Console properly.

  • I checked my two pages with free tools and I saw that the one about Sports had a lot of spam links. I took note of spam links and disavowed them in Search Console. But I had to do it twice because I realized the first time I didn't do it following Google instructions.

  • Moz Spam Score says that my pages are 13% Spam Score (Sports) and 19% Spam Score (Fashion). I'm worried about that because I don't understand how to interpret that data. I don't know if it's important or not. I'm looking for information.

  • I opened a blog at my university. No, I'm not studying at university now, but I did. I heard that I could have one and I asked for it and now I have it. It has no content. I want to publish some quality articles and link them to my projects (whatever they are). It's only a fuzzy idea.

  • I bought a cheap web sports-related for 25 bucks in a forum, domain included. The boy who sold it to me made the web only for selling. It was only 20 days online. The domain is an expired one. Before I bought it, I saw it in archive.org and in all its history it was a web from a personal trainer. Moz says that its Spam Score is 0. But I don't know if this domain is really a good one. There is a famous international magazine that has the same name. But the famous one has the word 'magazine' on its domain name and the web I have bought hasn't the word 'magazine' and has a misspelling (the letter 's' is missing). The positive part is that the web I have bought has some decent articles that I can use. This web is not online at the moment.

  • I was ordering my assets. This is what I have:
  • Two shared hostings paid until 2023 and 2024. When I actively worked on my pages, I took advantage of a hosting offer and I paid a ridiculous amount of money for them. I invested for the future.
  • 7 domains paid until 2020/2021: 4 in shared hosting #1, 1 in shared hosting, 1 in Blogger, 1 no hosted.
  • Sports-related (online). – Shared #1 hosting
  • Fashion related (online). – Shared #1 hosting
  • Principal domain for installing #1 hosting. It's a brand name I invented. It has no content. It's a name I liked for my blog network, but I could use it for something book or writing-related. – Shared #1 hosting
  • A domain with my name. No content. – Shared #1 hosting
  • A domain of an association (.org). I did this web a lot of years ago for an Association. The association has no activity. The web is mine and the domain too. It's hosted on Blogger.
  • Principal domain for installing #2 hosting. No content. A brand name I invented business-related.
  • The new web I have bought, sports-related, but no hosted.


Tomorrow I will answer your second question.

It's very late here and writing in English is the hardest thing ever!


Thanks for your questions.
 
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bwahahahahahaha! is this thread a troll? or for real? i just re-read this thread, my face hurts from laughing my ass off at it. :D:D:D
if not, ok, good shit @Rowling , keep it coming brotha haha.
 

Ryuzaki

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Moz Spam Score says that my pages are 13% Spam Score (Sports) and 19% Spam Score (Fashion). I'm worried about that because I don't understand how to interpret that data. I don't know if it's important or not.
I wouldn't worry about this unless it specifically says it's link spam. They think one of my sites is spammy because it's too fast and the HTML is too lean and optimized. That's absurd. Another one they said is spammy because I'm not linking to enough other sites. It's nonsense for the most part.

I opened a blog at my university. No, I'm not studying at university now, but I did. I heard that I could have one and I asked for it and now I have it. It has no content. I want to publish some quality articles and link them to my projects (whatever they are). It's only a fuzzy idea.
I would, and I'd create links, but I'd expect the college to take it down after a certain number of years of you no longer being enrolled (I did this same thing).

bwahahahahahaha! is this thread a troll? or for real? i just re-read this thread, my face hurts from laughing my ass off at it. :D:D:D
if not, ok, good shit @Rowling , keep it coming brotha haha.
Is it because Rowling keeps using the word "web" instead of "website" or "site?"
 
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^ Ry, its that and a combination of the dudes humor, excitement, and good vibes i guess that i got from reading his posts. they seem to be well thought out, thorough, and entertaining. either way good stuff, i got a good laugh out of it.

keep on keepin on:happy:
 
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Hi again!

I would, and I'd create links, but I'd expect the college to take it down after a certain number of years of you no longer being enrolled (I did this same thing).
The university has two kinds of blogs: the ones for the enrolled student and the ones for graduates, people who work in the univesity, and teachers. This last is which I have as graduated. It's not properly a blog. It's like a site from the 90s, old fashioned, for writing book reviews in your own space, as many as you want. You can include links and some people do it and write about another stuff, like it was a blog. I think they won't take it down to me unless I do something very weird.

The second question is waiting for my answer.

Question #2. Made any decisions about new projects versus working on the old ones?

Yes, but I only have the big picture.

Do you remember I said to you I was writing a list of pros and cons, etc.?

Let me explain it in little chunks. (Easy for you to read, easy for me to write and it helps me to put in order my ideas.)


* My main conclusions

  • My two sites will never give me much money. But I can use them to learn and experiment while I make some money from them (I will explain how later). So I will use them at the beginning.
  • It's necessary to start a new project.

* The BIG question

There is a question that I can't answer at the moment. It disturbs me because it put my feet on the ground:

How I will earn money with my new project(s)?

Because of my first venture, I think that say merely 'AdSense' and/or 'Amazon' it's like living the guru dream that says: Hey! Do you know that I got rich with Adsense? I was an absolute newbie. I made a site, put some ads and boom! Try it! If I can, you can.



No. This is not Disneyland. This is a business and I must think like a business person.

How I will earn money with my new project(s)?

[I know if I repeat myself this question once and another I will find the answer. But I have not it yet].


* Cons, cons, cons

I can't compete with you. You are younger, smarter and better than me. You know how this business works. You say 'sites'. I say 'webs' as the old-fashioned person I am. As I read your Laboratory threads, I see that you have technical and practical knowledge to solve everyday problems (server, HTML, CSS, keyword research…). I'm lacking of them. I feel like a dumb when I'm reading you.

Of course, I can learn these skills, but it will take me years. I must be smarter than that

I know that if I try to compete with you, doing what you do, I will fail because I am not you.

The only way I can win this war is being myself.



* Pros

  • Learning doesn't scare me and I can learn quickly. My life is a non-stop learning.
  • I know how to touch hearts. I'm a survivor. I was born and was raised in the hell, I grew up alone and I understand feelings very well. I'm graduated in Education and I know how to help people.
  • I have valuable writing skills in my language (but not in English: writing posts in BuSo takes me blood, sweat, and tears).

Yeah, your blah, blah, blah is very nice, buddy. And then?




Sorry, I was just landing




* How to make money from my old sites

Small, achievable and measurable goals. Baby steps.

  • Pruning content: I will only keep evergreen content. I will improve posts that are getting visits.
  • Outdated content will be deleted and deindexed and I will put it on a Blogger or Wordpress.com. I will use these contents to create 'blogs hermanos'. Little blogs that will help my main site.
  • I will siloing contents.
  • I will change my homepage. Now it contents the latest published posts. I will write an introduction to my sites.
  • I will interlink posts.
  • I will only write 2 or 3 new posts.

What I expect with these improvements is
  1. Earning monthly what I was earning in the past with them
  2. Having a little blog network to experiment with

I will not do anything more with them. I mean I will not actualize them.

Do you know Chinese acrobatic plate spinning?



That's what I want.

When I get my sites spinning like Chinese plates (earning monthly what I was earning in the past with them), they will behave as a Newton's cradle at less for a while (4 months?).



At that time I will be in a new project and I will have more experience and technical knowledge.



* My new project(s)

I'm looking for my own path. My path is waiting for me. It is on my writing skills. That is what I do best.



A lot of fuzzy ideas, but are they profitable?

The only way to know it is keyword researching and calculating profits.

I need a tool for figuring it out but I haven't decided which one.

Now I'm doing it searching in Chrome incognito mode. I measure profitability if there are ads in searching results.

I don't want to bore you with my doubts.

-----------

My workplace is full of papers. My desk is a mess. Most of them are notes with my discovering and questions.


Most people say that disordered desks are productivity killers. I used to think so too.



But now I think this is something good. Very good.

It's only reflecting the mess inside me.

And it means that I'm starting to move my toes.



My desk will be perfectly ordered when I will be walking, I swore.

Thanks for your help.

Carry on…
 
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Im a fan, you post some pretty good stuff buddy, keep it coming, looking forward to more of your updates down the road. If you have questions on anything just ask, one of us will most likely be able to help with answers, and if we cant we can help point you in the right direction to get them.

Good luck again, Cheers!
 
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8 days later

I. Data collection

I spent many hours collecting them. This is a summary.

  • I started my two sites in 2012
  • Last time I published in them: 2016

Posts
  • Site #1: 464 posts
  • Site #2: 251 posts
Almost 90% of the posts (on both sites) are outdated and have a date in URL and title.

Visits
  • Site #1: at its best moment 1500 visits/day on average - today 300 visits/day
  • Site #2: at its best moment 300 visits/day on average - today 90 visits/day

Earnings

--- Ads:
  • Site #1: at its best moment 147 €/month (it was only 1 month because of Traffic Leaks); on average was 53€/month --- today is 8,30 € (on August)
  • Site #2: at its best moment 60 €/month (only 1 month, I don't know the reason); average was 21€/month --- today is 7,20 € (on August)
--- Amazon (both sites):
  • At their best: 300 €/year
  • On average: 144€/year
  • Today (from January to August): 35 €

II. Data analysis
It is difficult to do a good data analysis when you don't know if the data you are analyzing are the important ones. I'm doing it at my best.

Earnings

Earnings started to drop in 2016 on both sites almost by 50%. In 2018 earnings dropped again by 50%.
Earnings are related to visits.
Visits dropped in 2016, 2018 and 2019 because of freshness updates.

Other facts

In 2017 and 2018 a site cloned my #1 site. It used the same domain than me, only the termination of the domain was different. It cloned my design, my URLs, my titles, my photos, but the body of the posts was some weird spun text.
This site ranked better than mine and I lost all my ranked keywords.
I think they used this site to link to another site (drugs related).
This site was active two years and now (2019) domain is still active, but the site doesn't.

III. What I have done these days

Solving hosting problems.

I have just what I paid for: a cheap service and cheap attention. (Shared hosting)

I couldn't access to WordPress panel. Long hours until technical support solved it.

Working in WordPress is a nightmare because it's veeeeery slow. A turtle is really fast compared to it.

I have 2 shared hostings in the same company, and I have empirically tested that my #1 account (in which I have hosted the sites that I'm talking about) is slower than my #2 account.

Technical support denies it, but facts are speaking.

It's happening because in 2017 they migrated all the people who are in #1 shared hosting account to an SSD server and again on March 2018 to a better server, they said.

These two migrations resulted in an infamous site speed and panel speed.


Related to above: improving site speed.

Site speed: Absolutely frustrating. Measured with Pingdom.

  • Site #1: 1,33 s.
  • Site #2: 1,45 s.

I did some modifications and I have improved it to

  • Site #1: 753 ms.
  • Site #2: 1,14 s.

I think I know what is the problem (or the big one):

  • Site #1: It is on a MyThemeShop theme that isn't actualized any more by the company. It was called FrontPage. I'm having some issues (error messages theme related in WordPress panel) while I'm actualizing some posts. The solution is to change to another theme. I will change to Schema theme from MyThemeShop because I have a lifetime license and their technical service can help me if I have any difficulty. But if I do it now, I will spend a lot of time and now I'm only checking my sites and 'refreshing' them.
  • Site #2: It's on Genesis framework. I customized a child theme. Main page is done with a constructor (Beaver Builder) that I think is slowing down the site. The solution is deleting Beaver Builder and building another main page. On the home page, I have links to the articles I make money with on Amazon and text.

Other likely causes: plugins

  • I use WP Rocket for cache and I think it's slowing down the site. I'm reading about it because I don't know which is better.
  • The plugin that I use for Amazon (EasyAzon) is slowing down the site. I have to try the official one and test if it is faster.

Actualizing content
Both sites. Adding content in some posts only for freshness signals. I can't tell you how many I have actualized because I haven't counted them.

Publishing content
I have added text (+1000 words) on main pages, both sites.

Pruning content
Both sites, only a few posts (deleting from WP, deindexing from Search Console, 301 redirecting to main page).

Other stuff
  • 301 redirection from a site I bought to #1 site.
  • Solving problems with a page I have on Blogger (the one I made for an Association). When I migrated to another registrar, I didn't change this site DNS correctly. It was a mess because these are Google DNS and I didn't understand how to do it on the domainer panel. Long and stressing hours, but I made it.
  • Adsense: ads.txt implementation, testing locations on the sites.
  • Taking notes about a more logical site content structure.
  • Writing posts for my personal site (2 posts).
  • Researching for new projects.



IV. My conclusion

My first post in BuSo was almost a month ago and, despite I have spent many hours and days working on my sites, the fact is that I have no money results to show. Very busy and no results. That's is a fail.

I think that resurrecting these sites is a kind of self-sabotaging.

At their best time, they didn't work well (that was the reason because I abandoned them). Resurrecting them will take me months and I'm not sure they can work 'as well' as they did at their best. What an irony.

I'm looking for new projects, but I feel so bad that I'm blocked and I haven't made any decisions yet. Feelings and business are not good friends.

PSTD symptoms are getting worse (flashbacks and depersonalization), but the good news is that I can work at the same time they are happening. I know they are stress-related and they will be less strong when I will be better.

Well, this point is called 'My conclusion' and no 'blah, blah, blah'.

It hurts me a lot to say it, but my conclusion is that I'm wasting my time.



V. What I will do

1) For the next 48 hours I will be disconnected from the Internet. I will be writing on my laptop, but without the Internet. I need to cut all the noise and hear myself.
2) A plan.



Carry on…
 
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Shake any shade you may have on you OFF, stay motivated and focused bro, keep moving forward using logic as your compass.

bumps in the road my friend, just bumps in the road.
 
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Regarding speed, if your sites have less than 3 seconds you are perfectly fine. Don't overthink anymore to try making them faster.