Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twists and Turns Ahead

Photo credit: Huffington Post
I've been working extremely hard for three years this June on my websites. I made the decision to go in that direction to earn income at home so I could have maximum flexibility for being there for my son. Take him to school, volunteer at the school, be with him for homework every day. I also wanted to be my own boss with unlimited earning potential.

Turns out I'm not the boss when it comes to online business. Google is. My business plan is not sound: it is utterly dependent on what the big G decides is worth ranking in their top pages. For years I've worked extremely hard to put out quality content. For my stroller site I actually buy strollers, take my own photos, carefully and thoroughly test them out, and do a video demonstration and review. Google doesn't think that's good enough, apparently.

Since last year Google has made some significant algorithm changes called Panda. Late last month they released another called Penguin. I won't get into all the details about what each of these means but I will say that most of these changes slashed my traffic in almost half each time. I'd get slammed, then build back up half a year later then get taken down again.

This is not a good business model. I also see other stroller review sites that SUCK with half-assed content thrown up and only stock photos used - sometimes extremely out of date ones, too. They get ranked higher than mine. What the heck???

So when I have one of hundreds of stroller review sites that can get wiped out overnight, even when mine is miles above the others in terms of quality and value to the reader, I realize my business is way too vulnerable. I cannot have a business that gets wiped out so easily.

Yesterday I listened to a dhamma talk by Ajarn Brahm called This Too Shall Pass, and after one of his famous stories he said, "When you are surrounded on all sides and you can't do anything, then do nothing."

That really spoke to me. I can't do anything about my website, so I'm doing nothing. It's going on the back burner. I will still write guest posts on a few blogs I've agreed to do monthly, but until Google changes again, I'm not going to bother. Why put in all that hard work and effort only to be punished?

During this time, another door has opened. Golf and his friend Will have discovered a business opportunity. One that could get our families back to Thailand for a time!

So I'm helping Golf. I'm spending my time on a project that could pay off big time, that has far more potential. I totally enjoy what I'm doing and once this project ends, I'll find something else to do to help.

During the summer when Aidan goes to Thai school I shall find some opportunities to do other things than worry about when I can work on my website. Perhaps I might volunteer a few hours a week in an old folks home nearby and make some good merit. I find I'm becoming intrigued by the elderly, knowing I shall be one of them one day. I might take some more day hikes in the regional parks nearby and, of course, help out in the Thai school during lunch. Maybe even work on my own language skills!

Rather than being bitter and angry about my situation, I am actually looking forward to what the future brings me. Google may change its algorithm again and I may get huge surges in traffic and sales, but I will know that that success could be as short lived as the next algo change. My purpose is beyond that.


bill starkey said...

sounds very good...come out and relax this weekend

Catherine said...

Amy, sorry to hear that you've had a hard time with google. It hits us all I'm afraid. Every year the numbers plummet and then they climb back up again.

Good luck with your new venture - I'm sure you'll do well!