Website tanking 40% since Dec/Jan to now. Which direction to head?

by DrX
11 replies
We were doing quite well at end of 2014, making $500 a month from AdSense and about $200 from sponsors monthly. Beginning of 2015 we lost about 40% of traffic, AdSense tanked to $250 or so. Sponsors continue to come on. We were steady from Jul 2015-Dec 2015 and in Jan began to tank AGAIN, have lost another 40% of traffic just in 3 months. Now making about $150 a month in AdSense.

Sponsors continue to come on. Likely due to a "me too" phenomenom. Currently making about $500 month from sponsors. But obviously if traffic continues to tank as it looks like it is, sponsors will also diminish.

Challenges:

Causes of traffic loss are due to the niche blowing up. People are flocking to their own countries blogs and micro-niche brand sites. As well, brands are setting up forums of their own.

Much of our traffic is from India, Indonesia, Malaysia (though much is also from UK and USA).

Niche is tech related, so many people using AdSense blockers. But the main concern here is loss of traffic, not necessarily loss of income.

We peaked at about 450k pageviews monthly... Now down to 200k or so and dropping fast.

Our assets include:

10,000 person Facebook group
3500 page likes

90,000 person mailing list with net growth of about 500 per week. Mailings go to inbox or Gmail tab, not to spam. Approximately 7000-9000 opens per mailing with 1500-3000 clicks per sending. Newsletter is comprised of reviews, interesting forum topics, and blog articles. Sending costs about $17 per send.

So now we're looking at how to either a) get the traffic back up or b) start heading in another direction

We've considered doing viral Facebook posts and videos. Comprised of posts and videos from a blog owned by us, as well as directly uploaded videos and content (Memes etc..) to our Facebook page. Spending money up front to build a following, then charging blogs for posts to our Facebook page.

As well as directing traffic to our content blog through our current niche.


I hear a lot of about affiliate marketing as well, but not sure where to start here.

Obviously with our pageviews and big mailing list and willingness to invest money, we can move in any direction.. The question is which way and we're pulled in many different directions..Every time we head in one direction, we have second thoughts, or new thoughts that pull us away....

We are open to suggestions, opinions....And possibly even a team up if you have something to bring to the table.
#40% #dec or jan #direction #head #tanking #website
  • Profile picture of the author Elvis Michael
    Have you ever considered taking a serious look at YouTube and related sites? I don't know if your niche is appropriate for it, but I would think most niches are (with a little creativity).

    I watch certain channels regularly, and the effort those channels have placed are really paying off.

    Example: Watchmojo on YouTube.

    Can you come up with fun topics in video format regarding your niche? "Top 5 reasons to... The 5 worst things to do with.... 7 Ways to quickly....." and other lists on a weekly basis. These videos can then go on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, other video sites, and your website, allowing you to cover a ton of places at once.
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  • Profile picture of the author ANDREIS
    First let me tell you that you have some very good numbers regardless of a significant traffic loss.

    200k pageviews monthly, 10,000 person Facebook group, 3500 page likes, 90,000 person mailing list...

    These are very good numbers. However, I've seen websites with that kind of traffic and assets make much more money, so your website definitely has lots of space for improvements.

    Talking about your website you described all the assets and money that is making but you missed the most important part: source of your traffic and more precise structure of your traffic. If you want people to be able to help you with your website you need to describe:

    1. where is your traffic coming from? Is it SEO? Is it paid traffic? Is it social sites' traffic?
    2. what percentage approximately comes from a particular source?
    3. what percentage of your visitors approximately comes from US, what percentage from India, what percentage from Indonesia, Malaysia?

    Number 1 and 2 are especially important for improving the traffic numbers, and improving it in the fastest way possible. Number 3 is especially important for deciding how to make more money because I'm telling you - you can make much more money with that kind of traffic and mailing list! In order to do this you must know the percentage of your visitors origin more precisely. Regards
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    • Profile picture of the author jipolis7
      If you don't have a product of yours to sell, then affiliate marketing is a good idea. Especially when you have a big list and a tight community to support you. You can also try to increase your traffic by asking for help from local bloggers and forums. If they are authority figures in their area, you will have a better chance at reaching locals.
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  • Profile picture of the author getbread
    You are not in a terrible position having a decent sized email list. If you can find a way to monetize it you could up your income. To get your traffic in the right direction try a referral contest. It could help you grow your list a bit more and it could also increase your traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author DrX
    I want to thank all that replied, and feel quite bad I didn't come back to reply sooner to those who made an effort to help out.

    Situation has worsened even further, with Apr-May losing literally 15-20%.

    In spite of my all of my efforts to improve things, it just continues to tank.

    To answer a few questions, we've made some stabs at YouTube... I have a bit of OCD and spend hours on a 5 min video editing in Vegas... I'm a bit older now as well and have difficulty keeping a train of thought when speaking. Causing me to do retakes 20x before getting it right. Not really anything to stop me, but it seemed a huge amount of effort and very little gain.

    Our traffic is vastly from organic Google... Traffic is worldwide, with quite a bit of US, Asia, Euro.

    The mailing list goes to inbox and gets 8k-9k opens per send.

    The huge issue (I'm guessing) is that this niche has blown up... major sites covering it and people flocking to their own culture and language sites... also micro niche with people making blogs and sites about specific brands and even specific models... The brands themselves now.makong their own forums too. We have all that working against us...

    I don't think we've been dinged by Google... the traffic is dropping steadily, but not as steep as if we'd been dinged...

    At this point my concern isn't mainly money, it's building (or at least maintaining) traffic and building value to the business/site.

    I like the idea about a traffic contest... but I'm nervous that would bring some black hat tactics that would hurt us in the long run...

    It's stressing me out man. On my mind constantly no matter wtf I'm doing and can't enjoy life... dinner, out to a movie, whatever... I'm stressing about the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    I have seen ad blockers hammer my sad sense revenue. Also, they remove a lot of my promos using amazon.

    All of us hate nag ware. However, I am going to recommend some. OK so when you web site detects an ad blocker software, have a window pop up. It should say - Dear user: Please turn off your ad blocker program. Sadly, we need sad sense. It supplies most of our revenue. This is what we use to keep our user focused web pages up. Hey, we need that money.

    If you find our ads so annoying. Well, become a member of our group. Yeah, signing up is easy. Take a minute of your time which is so precious. Please customer, do sign up. Then, you will not see sad sense any more. Frankly, that is a great deal for all of us.

    Great to see you again. Hope you will join us. Remember, ad blockers hurt all of us.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobuzz
    Sometimes overthinking can complicate the situation further and that's what you are doing right now. You have to stop that.

    As far as I see your main issue is losing traffic. That is happening because new sites are coming up, which indicates your niche is getting competitive. And if there is competition, there is money. Also it is quite evident that your website was kind of authority in the niche in which you are in currently. Hence you have an added advantage over new sites that are coming. Because Google prefers older sites in its SERP.

    As your traffic is continuing to drop in spite of all efforts that you are making, you need to diversify your traffic source. From your post, it seems you are very much dependent on Google. That is very dangerous for any business. You need to look out for other traffic sources, don't worry there are many. You mentioned you have a decent facebook page. What about Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, ? You have to do some research regarding new sources of traffic to your site and work towards it. Yes it will be hard work at first, but once you get familiar with new traffic sources it will be easy and most importantly your traffic will be future proof.
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    No one can give you any real advice because no one has seen your site or evaluated your situation.

    Since we're spit balling ...

    You have Adsense and sponsors. Are you top heavy with ads?

    The fact you have competition isn't the issue. The fact you are losing Google traffic is.

    I'd look at how ad heavy the site is as that is a ranking factor which Google has emphasized again since about the time you started losing traffic.

    I'd also evaluate whether you want to be giving Google your site data via Adsense (or via anything else). The Adsense earnings are already incredible low given the traffic volume. If Adsense was making you a lot of money it would be a different situation. But it's not.

    If you think other sites are stealing your traffic, your questions seem misplaced. Why are they taking your traffic and how can you make your site better to get those eyeballs back to your site?

    Example: instead of having brands open their own forums, do you have brand specific subforums on yours?

    Example: if others are doing microblogs on brands and products, what you doing to leverage your existing site? You could have your own blog, or blogs.


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  • Profile picture of the author DrX
    Thanks again for the replies. My impression is that we've not been dinged by Google because of the slow slope. Not slow to us, in that if it continues this way we'll have zero traffic in 6 months, but slow in terms of a Google ding.

    We do have brand sub-forums. The issue is that people just pulled to the official forums, or forums in their own language. So it's a bit of a double whammy.

    Our site is a bit top heavy with sponsor ads, but nowhere near what it used to be. And again, I don't feel it's a Google dingle, but I could be wrong.

    We could make microniche and partner up with other people who speak other languages to make blogs in other languages...Twitter non-existent, Reddit nonexistent, Instagram same.. I suppose I'm getting slow in my middle age.... I can barely keep up with our product reviews and several blog posts and dealing with sponsors.... So maybe I need to partner up, just difficult to know which way is best to turn...
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    You might want to consider selling the site, split what's left to your partners, and go and sell information products so that you can get flexibility whenever something goes wrong in the niche. You could just hop into another niche and create products and sales there. And etc. You could always have backup plan - plus you'll have the knowledge of marketing that can allow you to sell any kind of product online.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Well, those people who're still searching for whatever your site is about on Google, they go to other places, you said. Can you compete there (add new pages, with new keywords)?

    If not, where else can you get traffic? Are the people who liked your site on instagrram? facebook (it seems so, so can you get them there)?

    Are you losing traffic but not keyword positions?
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