I'm a newbie (as in, I barely know what "CSS" is). A big-time newbie!
I've done really well (100% Adsense) but I take nothing for granted! I'm worried the hammer could fall at any moment. I do my best, but you never know what could happen. I try to follow the TOS and Google Best Practices to a "t".
I have a few thoughts/observations right now:
1) A couple of my sites have done spectacular on Google, ranking very high and continuing to improve. A few have done very poorly. I barely know what I'm doing, but no matter how much I tweak the keywords of these other sites, they are DOA. (All the sites use similar format/template.) It's like hit and miss, some work, some don't get ranked. (I plan to hire an SEO expert to go over them all soon).
2) My sites are small -- 3 to 5 pages. 100% original and only use a couple of fair use images per site. I try to add new content here and there, however. Could this be a long-term problem, having such small sites?
3) I get a LOT of traffic, but all I use is Adsense. I'm worried I'm not doing enough to monetize these sites. I've looked into Chitika, Infolinks and others.
I use Chitika exclusively on one site, and it seems to be doing quite poorly.
I've looked into affiliates -- which seem to just be a great way to reduce your Adsense CTR. Affiliates seem good for an all-affiliates type site, that might use one of the "lesser" ad platforms to complement it, instead of Adsense. I think Adsense + affiliates is generally a bad scene.
4) I've added some social media and Google+ to all my sites. I'm worried I'm not doing enough, though, to build a return audience. Most of my visitors don't come back. I have no idea how to set up a mailing list and I've found few resources that make it easy to do so. You'd think there would be a nice mailing list app somewhere, but I haven't found one.
5) I use the rel=author Google+ thingy, but my understanding is that only the rel=publisher thingy PROTECTS you from SCRAPERS. Is that correct? I prefer the author thing, because then a nice portrait I use shows up in the search results! With publisher, the portrait is limited and doesn't show up often.
6) I'm worried if Google decides to "manually" review my sites, they'll find something wrong and demote me (even though my sites are awesome and fill an authoritative need). So far, so good, but you never know! Seems like a manual review would almost always be curtains. "Hmm, we don't like you, BANE him!"
7) It amazes me how crappy blogs and news articles from non-reputable "news" sites can end up as top search results for numerous topics. Amazes me. Dot coms and authoritative sites with a SOLE focus on THAT search term should be at the top (just an observation).
8) I'm really glad I found this forum, because I read a thread and discovered quickly how scrapers troll Flippa. I was going to put one of my sites up there, but now I'll do it as a private auction only.
9) My goal is to diversify. I'd rather have ten mediocre revenue-stream sites than one big site that brings in all the dough. Because who knows what could happen! Google might say, "Hmm, we don't like you," and your life is over!
10) Something I don't quite get are blogs. First, Blogger sucks. Second, Blogger has better free templates than Wordpress, in my opinion, but Wordpress is better all around.
a) I've created a few blogs that "review" my sites as well as provide some other content. Is this a cheap/sneaky/lame way to build backlinks, or can it be effective?
b) So far, these blogs appear to have had no effect, barely seem to even rank in Google. They're just non-existent.
c) I actually added them to Webmaster Tools and verified them. Could that be a problem? Google might say, "Hey, wait a minute, this is the same guy with these blogs AND web sites! BANE HIM!"
11) I see all this stuff like, "Get 500 backlinks NOW!" Ok, my sites have very few actual backlinks. I checked in MajesticSEO. Yet, they're still ranked high. So I'm proof backlinks are not essential to be ranked high (but I wonder if rolling updates like penguin or whatever might kick in and crush me, maybe they just missed me recently? Who knows).
As far as I can tell, the only way to get legit backlinks is the following:
a) Submit comments on blogs that hopefully don't use "no follow".
b) Hope a blog picks up your site and says something about it.
c) Pay a blogger to write about you (not sure how to do this, other than to contact bloggers personally).
d) Create your own, different content and link it all together (BUT GOOGLE TRACKS THE IP ADDRESS OF YOUR SITES, RIGHT? You can't just create 10 dot coms that add "authority" to each other (even though some of my sites are linked together, but that's because they are a part of a network of sites). Point is: How much can Google really track your internet footprint and how much does it matter?
12) Selling advertising on my sites: I signed up for one of the big "Buy Ads" sites, but I was denied (I don't know why, I suppose I'll try again). So now my main option for selling advertising is to manually go around and ask other sites if they want to buy space? This seems incredibly arcane and inefficient to me.
13) I'm also not too keen on putting up an "advertising" link or page on my sites, because I think it looks bad. I also don't think I'd get any business from it anyway. An email address is available, so if they want to contact me, they can.
14) Seems like a lot of the sites on Flippa are crap. Most were just made a few months ago, most are from 2013, most don't even have verified Adsense uploaded, and most have a VERY short history of anything going on. Yet, they're selling for thousands. I'd like to buy more, but I'm going to be DAMN careful about what I fork over.
15) What is the consensus on all these new domain extensions being released? There are a LOT! Will this reduce the "gold standard" of dot coms? I hope not. I love dot coms! As a newbie web designer AND as an internet user, I like to see a dot com, it screams "legit" to me (which isn't always the case, of course).
16) I'm still trying to figure out what this mobile CPA and PPC stuff is about. Can't quite wrap my head around it it, but it seems interesting.
17) My sites are pretty poorly optimized for mobile. Still gotta work on that. I didn't realize how small the iPhone screen is. What a joke!
18) I think image ads are just terrible. I don't use them, ever. I also think the flash/animated ads can be a nuisance rather than compelling. And ironically, some of the best ads I see -- like on this forum -- are for SEO/marketing/affilate sites. They're just typically very well done and I DO click on them. Guys in the industry just know how to make a good ad.
19) At some point, I want to set up a cool site -- what are they called, affiliate-type sites? -- but a site like an eBook site, that starts off with one of those white board flash presentations (I LOVE those), then leads you to a big, simple page with bold and flashy text describing "the next BIG secret" to success, making money, etc. I have some ideas I'd like to put out there. I think this is my next gig. I've always LOVED those sites, just for their ballsy panache and marketing technique.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading. Any feedback is appreciated. Sorry this is so long! :rolleyes: