Here’s something for you to do this morning or afternoon or night, or whatever time it is where you’re at right now. Read this article called “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” by David Wong, December 17, 2012, because it’s both hilarious and undeniably truthful. If you do click through, here’s your vulgar language warning. Warning: vulgar language resides at the end of that click.
So, I’ve spent a little time undoing a few mistakes I made. Not that the mistakes were huge or anything. (They really were. I really just don’t want to admit that, even though I now find myself admitting it anyway.)
What have I learned from this?
Static sites are great.
But I still love WordPress.
Getting over mental hurdles is a lot (LOT) harder than it ought to be and therefore I shouldn’t have wasted so much time trying to do so when the alternative was less work.
SO many things I think I’m going to do, I never do.
Writing blog posts is currently more fun than writing fiction. Even though I have a deadline of Friday and today is Wednesday night and I have another 10,000 words to write. Guess I’ll have to cut that ending short. :-o
If you haven’t noticed (and I wonder why you would to be honest) I’ve changed from Thesis to WordPress’ own Twenty Twelve theme for this blog. I like Thesis, but it’s become such a hassle to deal with, with the updates and upgrade and the all new back end to learn, and I just couldn’t invest the time. Didn’t want, I should say. So when I realized how much more attractive I found the newest theme from WordPress straight out of the box, I gave it a try, and I must admit, I love it. I don’t need anything too fancy and I’m not a fan of excess images when words are more important to me than pictures most of the time.
I traded out a couple of sites using Thesis for the simpler Twenty Twelve theme and I think it’ll stick. :)
So, my collection of websites continues to shrink as I refuse to renew any that (1) aren’t earning enough to be profitable or (2) bore me. That said, I have purchased 5 new domain names this year in pursuit of my other business. So.
Soon, it will be time for a reorganization of epic proportions. I keep hanging on to the sites that are earning, even though the earnings are stagnant in the best cases, disappearing in the worst, now that I’m not putting any work into any of them.
I’ve moved on. It’s time I let a few things go. :)
Hah! I start this off with a blatant misdirection because as a writer, I feel I have only one obligation. That obligation is to tell a story that means something, either to myself, or to those I want to read it.
Since no one is obligated to read my writings, I feel the same lack of obligation to make any adjustments to my story for any particular person.
A lot of people claim that if you want to publish your writings, you should pay for proofreading, cover creation, line-editing, and sometimes even more editing, but first I ask why?
And then I say, No.
Are artists obligated to have someone edit their art, adding splashes of color where maybe it needs a little something extra, or throwing on another daub of paint here or there? I don’t think so.
I’ll be honest here. I’m not that good with metaphor. That’s why I make it a point to avoid any kind of deliberate attempt at metaphors when I write.
But I can’t think of that many instances where people are sitting around telling an artist that if they don’t have the help of others, then they’re not doing their best work.
I can’t imagine writing as an interactive process, either with readers or editors. That’s not why or how I write. It really is all about me, until I’ve crafted something I want to share and then I personally feel a small obligation to make the story I wrote come across as cleanly and crisply as I imagined it in my head. So I reread, and I edit myself, but no one knows what I intended better than me, so having someone else do this stuff for me is not part of my process. I don’t want people telling me I’m not clear here or I need more description there. The story is what it is. The reader isn’t obligated to like it. The reader isn’t even obligated to read it.
Seriously, I never finish reading a story I don’t like, because I don’t have enough time in the day as it is.
When I get done with a story, I know it’s right for me when I find myself wanting to reread it, and when I do reread, I don’t find anything I don’t like. Boring parts? Don’t need to be there. Clanky sentences? Rewrote. Bad plotting? Trash it. The thing is, I’m telling a story. If it sucks, I know it. If it doesn’t, then maybe there’s someone out there who will enjoy it as much as I do.
I reread the stuff I really like. I can reread a good story within a day of my first read. And if I’m not finding myself tempted to reread my own stuff? I haven’t written a good story. Plain as that.
That’s my obligation as a writer. Admit when I haven’t written some
thing worth rereading. For the rest, edit myself, proof myself, and take full ownership for everything in my story as my art.
Okay, I’m not usually one for strong language but it’s come to my attention that I totally effed up a few of my websites. Back when I thought websites were my ticket out of a JOB, I decided I should go all static on them, which was and still is a great thing. But no, it’s not a great thing because now I’m not pursuing a web empire with quite so much fervor and I only want to do updates when I have something I want to say, quickly. And static does not lend itself to quick little pithy updates.
Only problem is that with my newfound lack of attention to my websites, static is about the safest way to keep the sites. Any other software just makes them vulnerable to un-updated packages that will end up getting my sites hacked.
So, when you have router, modem, and ‘gateway’ issues, and you lose your internet for days on end, the downtime gives you plenty of thinking time. :) I’m not so sure I’m into all this cloud computing any longer, when the only things I could work on were my local copies. Don’t get me wrong, I do have local copies of almost everything. However, it just made me wonder at the value added by the cloud. For me? Personally?
Not as much as I’d thought.
I have my email set up as IMAP, and of course, when I create a draft it is supposed to save a copy to the server. Didn’t happen on more than one occasion as my ‘gateway’ issue cropped up in the middle of composing. So, lost emails. When I realized what was happening, I was able to save a local copy through cut-and-paste, but by then I’d already had to back out of the compose window on another, and when it happened again, invariably, I gave up on the email because it didn’t seem worth the effort.
I ‘ve already figured out alternatives for what I could have done, but honestly, I think I’m just going to go back to keeping more stuff on my computer and my backup hard-drives and less elsewhere.
I’m a bit of a privacy enthusiast, if you want to call it that, in that I prefer to keep as much of my life and the information about my life in my control, rather than in the control of others. Email, documents, etc., seem like the least I can control, because unfortunately unless you just never EVER visit a doctor or dentist or professional something you’ll end up with a heck of a lot of data on yourself completely out of your control.
So, at and be. Just wondering which is appropriate to capitalize in a heading and which isn’t….
Didn’t really come up with an answer so time to move on.
Well, I decided to focus in on one thing, as I was reminded was a good way to finish things you want finished. The problem is the thing I want to finish is a bigger project and one from which I’m not going to make money.
So there’s an inherent problem in that this one project at a time thing is going to make me poor. So I’m rethinking how I want to apply this concept.
Maybe one project per area of life? This would seem to be the normal solution but normal doesn’t exactly fit the way my brain works.
The thing is this is really hard for me because when I focus in on something it becomes almost impossible for me to focus on anything else. I also lose enthusiasm for what I was working on when I switch my focus and often have a very hard time getting that enthusiasm back.
So, do I make a plan to see how long this should take and try to stay on track? Or if it looks like it’s going to take longer than it needs to, try to decide if I really need to be doing this in the first place?
Honestly, I need to find a way to focus on things in chunks and not have the whole switching back and forth issue to begin with, but that’s not worked yet. And I need to find a way to make my non-paying, desperately want to do anyway projects make me some money. :-o That would be the best solution.
This little video below is full of great advice. Although I am on a self-improvement book reading and video watching hiatus, I watched this anyway. Because, you know, I self-sabotage. A lot. :)
The only thing I disagreed with was the advice to proclaim your goal publicly. I read something a while back about how sometimes we get a dose of real satisfaction from broadcasting our goals that substitutes for the actual accomplishment of those goals. I saw myself in that and since then, I’ve been trying quite valiantly to keep my goals to myself.
The thing I most agreed with was the comment about change and suffering. I’ve always believed that epiphanies aren’t enough. Without real suffering of some kind, change is almost impossible. So the trick has been to try to find whatever it is that it’s going to take to change myself so I can stop repeating my mistakes.
Listening to (against my will): Good Luck Charlie
So, today is the first day of an exciting time in my life. I’m about to tackle a topic on a website that’s near and dear to my heart and that has interested me since I was about 13 years old, and it’s going to make me a ton of money.
I’m about to get to work putting together some stuff that probably won’t earn me a dime and then what’ll I do when all my domains and hosting accounts come up for renewal?
The thing is, I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years when it comes to building websites. One thing I tried was running a site about something I loved doing in my personal time. I had a big, big site about this topic and it did okay. If I had only been spending 2 hours a week on it, it could have been seen as profitable. Since I was spending so much more time than that on it, it was instead seen, by me, as a big fat flop.
I wanted to parlay it into a career. Didn’t work.
Now I’m thinking about doing the same thing all over again, but with a different topic that I love.
I think this makes me crazy*.
*Legal disclaimer: This is not an actual statement on my mental health. Think of it as a metaphor. Noun: metaphor: 1. A figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote…
I’ve read three posts by this dude (or dudette, because I haven’t read the about page yet, will do shortly) and I want to get something said before I forget what it is I want to say. His/her—okay, never mind, I feel compelled to read the about page now so time out…
OMG. That’s an awesome ‘about’ page. I know this already: it’s a guy, he’s four years younger than me, we both ran Windows 3.1. What I don’t know is if he’s single and honestly anyone who writes that well and engages readers so smoothly, probably isn’t. Dammit.
Okay—time to move on. :-o
Pixelrage posted "Business Without The Internet?" and although I totally see his point, for me, that’s not the point at all.
You see, I’m an employee, but I’m treated very much like a consultant and I have done some consulting work on the side a few times. I’m tired of it… so, so tired of it. I admit, though, that my current work on websites is more like that of a hobbyist than a professional (don’t tell the IRS though, they get picky about that stuff when you claim losses!). That’s not to say I don’t think of my websites as a business, because I do…I just don’t treat them that way because frankly that takes all the fun out of it. I have the kind of career where I can easily transition to my own business (professional services I won’t name because I’m not ready for my bosses to discover me here and realize I’m unhappy in my choice of career), but I don’t want to.
The silence I get from working at home, alone? That’s the sound of peace and contentment, and I admit it. You want a poster child for who this woman, author of Quiet, is talking about? That would be me. Running my own consulting or product business? Diametrically opposed to the things that drew me to the internet to begin with and not a road I want to go down.
My point is that I see why affiliate marketing is running into problems. The other 2 articles I read address the problems quite well when Pixelrage talks about the 2012 affiliate marketing apocalypse and how Google is against you if you have an affiliate site, particularly a storefront. The good news is that I’ve never done storefronts. They suck and I know they suck and Google’s dude has it right when he says they’re "…just an unnecessary step in the sales funnel." They ARE. Face it. That’s what stings, when you already know or suspect something and someone comes along and confirms it for you when you really just want to hear that you’re being silly and that of course your work is great…when it’s really not. I’ve had that happen a lot and it, too, sucks. But we all have to face it sometime. We’re often less stellar than we’d like to believe, and more ordinary than we ever want to imagine. The good news is it doesn’t matter. There’s still no one else who can live your life, and we each get to decide what we’re going to do a moment from now and even if the choice is terrible, or the consequences are disastrous, we can own that decision.
If brands are where it’s at, there’s still a chance to make a career out of something that doesn’t leave you holding an inventory of products and dealing with clients every day in your consulting business, or your lawn care business, or your sports memorabilia business.
I’m not going to ramble about all that authority website crap that’s all over the internet these days, because the fact is, I feel like it’s stupid. You’re not an authority because you say you’re an authority. You’re an authority because other people say it. You need to be a destination, not a train depot. But you also need to have roads leading out to other interesting places, or you’re just a dead end. Get it?
This is going to be the difference between dead affiliate storefronts and actual internet businesses that don’t rely on Google to survive.
Pixelrage says it quite clearly when he says, "Become a Brand" and "This truly is the only way to stay alive these days: brands, as defined by search engines, are most likely websites that have real shopping carts and checkout systems. They supply products themselves, instead of shilling affiliate links to real storefronts" and I can’t disagree with the message, but I do disagree with the point. There are a lot of brands online, places I visit day in and day out, without any help from Google or any other search engine, that don’t sell their own product or service in the way I think he’s talking about, not the way a consultant sells a service. Their service is being a destination website. I don’t care about authority. I want to go somewhere to browse and hang out and waste what little free time I have. I tell my friends about these sites. I revisit when I want more information or another perspective or a few minutes to think about something besides the drudgery of my job.
Easy money days might be gone forever when it comes to internet businesses based on the affiliate model, but if I can build something that’s important because of what it is, not where it sits in Google’s search results, then I don’t know that I care. Work is only drudgery when you’re doing something you don’t want to be doing. Working hard for your money (thank you Donna Summer) doesn’t have to suck.
Although I personally hate(d) Disqus, as a user, I’m testing it on a website that I turned static.
The reason I hate hated it? Login/sign up requirements.
Why I want it anyway? Because some of my sites are just begging me to have some interaction on them, and the static HTML that I moved to doesn’t really let me do that easily. The sites would be so much more fun to run with other people commenting occasionally! I thought about setting up a comment form on each page I want comments enabled on and have visitors email me their comments. Since I moderate everything anyway, no one will notice. But what if things take off and I don’t want to moderate? Or I decide discussion is being stifled by not having more real-time comments?
I’ve since discovered that site owners set the requirement to login to Disqus or not, so maybe I don’t hate it as much as I just hate the site owners who make it so that only people who want to actually sign up with Disqus can comment. Oh yeah.
I don’t like having everything I do online being all linked up. It creates the creepy feeling of being followed around and spied upon and I already have enough of that paranoia, thank you very much!
The requirement for an email address is still there, and I had that with WordPress anyway, so that’s no biggie. I hadn’t realized though, that I could set this up as not requiring actual Disqus membership and that’s really nice! This might be just what I want.
The only thing left to decide is whether or not to have multiple accounts myself. I set this one up with an admin user(name) that matches the site and realized quite quickly that that’s going to be awkward to reuse on another site. ;-)
Update: I eventually abandoned this idea, because comments are few and far between and the overhead definitely outweighs the benefits of the few comments I was getting. :-)
I am in static site hell.
So, I got rid of WordPress on so many sites I can’t even count them… I also got rid of a lot of sites, period. Although I do have wide interests and an amazing capacity for picking up domains that I find appealing, I’ve decided I’ll have to forego that in the future. Life is WAY too short to spend it buying domains I’ll never develop. A (not so) short while ago, I bought my last domain for a (long) while.
Getting rid of WordPress isn’t a bad thing IMO. The bad thing is that I actually like discussion and not having WordPress means I have no commenting system on those sites now. Some of them don’t need commenting and that’s great. But some of them are definitely sites I run because I love the topics and those sites? They need commenting because without commenting I feel like I’m missing a huge opportunity to have fun with the sites!
And then there’s the updating. This is a mental block that I’m just going to have to overcome. The fact is, I’ve done the time studies to prove that I can update a static site just as fast as I can update a WordPress run site. Sure, the front-end effort is more time efficient in WordPress when I have a super-short post I want online. But it evens out when the posts get longer and the number of new images increases. I can whip out a formatted block of HTML just as fast as I can type in Word (or OpenOffice Writer when I’m stuck with it instead, no offense to Ooo fans everywhere, because it is a great free program, but dammit, I LIKE Microsoft Word). And when it gets complicated? Handcoded HMTL is unbeatable for customizing on a page by page basis and I can create a complex mini-site within a site with 10% of the effort and time I spend in WordPress trying to get it to do what I want. And I do have sites like that, where I want each section to be unique and have very little use for cookie-cutter pages.
But the problem is that even though I know this, it still feels like more of a chore to add a new article or page and I’ve really let that interfere with my site updating!
Then there’s another issue. When I converted, I kept all the old content, including tag and category pages. I can’t decide if I want to continue to update these (and even expand where appropriate) or just leave them as is and not add the new content to them (seems like a sure way to make the site look out-of-date even when it’s not), or delete them as I decide I don’t need them and convert relevant, useful tags and categories into actual subsections of the site(s). Guh. Over-categorizing just seems like a sure way to end up with a mess.
Maybe I’ll get this all straightened out soon. If not, I’ll just go back to worrying about my spy and not doing anything… ;-)
[Disclaimer: Okay, for the spy, you know, spying on me. I’m not really an idiot. This is what you call making a statement for effect, to make a point, and if this ends up quoted in any way in a legal document, then don’t try to tell me you aren’t spying on me.]
For everyone else: The title of this post is possibly true, while the above statement is possibly false. ;-)
There are certain times in your life when you realize you might not be doing the thing you’re meant to be doing, for whatever reason.
There are also times in your life when you do something, for a seemingly good and valid reason and then wish you hadn’t.
This is one of those times. (Both.)
And there is the crux of my problem. I do the same thing over and over and over and for some reason I expect it to be different every time, even though it doesn’t turn out that way.
Listening to: Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know; Flo Rida – Wild Ones
Well that’s a bummer. I use the eHarlequin affiliate program to generate income for a few sites I have. They were about 5% of my income last year, and I just got the news today that the program was closing effective May 10, 2012. That doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should, but the main site I use them on is a site I don’t actively work on any longer. Haven’t in a couple of years.
Still, if I want to get them off the site and replace the links with other links that might still earn me a few dollars, it’s going to mean changing thousands of links. Yes, that’s right. The site has about 3,000 pages and a large number of them have links to eHarlequin.
I really wish they’d given me more notice because this isn’t really what I had wanted to do with my weekend.
I just turned a bunch of WordPress sites into static html, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the following.
- Peace of Mind
- Ease of Maintenance
- Peace of Mind
- More Peace of Mind
I love WP, really. However, I also love peace of mind, and I had too many sites using WP to have any peace of mind.
Why? Because although WordPress is great and gives added functionality to a site and makes updating content easy as typing in Word or OpenOffice, it has a bad habit of making my life harder than it has to be.
I want to make a page look a certain way? I need to create a new page template. I want to make a site look a certain way, I need to edit a theme. I want to backup my files, I have to backup files by ftp and export a database. I want to restore a site? I have to upload files, fix or create a database, and pray it all works together the way it was supposed to. Oh, accidentally delete my WP config file and wow, what a mess that new one made of the character encoding! I have freaky symbols everywhere. Ugh!
Then there’s the scary stuff.
I found a few sites where a plugin had opened a backdoor and someone—whoever you are, you are a [bleep]—uploaded some crappy IM type posts for backlinks into a few of my directories.
It was then I decided static html (or even php with basic includes) was my friend and WordPress wasn’t. Sometimes you like something (like swiss rolls) but sometimes you have to give them up because they just aren’t good for you.
I still have my blog and it will stay WordPress because that’s where WordPress works best. But because it’s a simple blog, I have no need of crap plugins or special templates or anything else.
Ah, so I was looking at some stuff this last week and realized I had let a few things slip by me when it comes to site footprints. (Notably, not footprint, which would imply how large my site is and how much space it takes up on my hosting plan, which is not what I’m getting at here at ALL.)
Of course, there are the things you can’t control, such as tracking ids and publisher code. However, whenever possible, I try to use a different id or code for every site I own, just because I’m like that. Sure, I link a lot of my stuff together because it’s all relevant, but not all of it, because it just doesn’t share a topic or market and it makes no sense to do so (or I want to hide it from prying eyes—whose eyes those might be, I will not say—but I have a passion for several online fandoms and I don’t particularly want everyone to know that I squee! and woot! every other sentence, and that when it comes to these things, I am not quite as mature as my age would imply. ;-)
Anyway, my point is that there are just some things you can’t eliminate, such as if you use certain contextual ad code on your sites. It’s against the rules to have more than one account unless you create independent businesses and I am too cheap to do that. Don’t want to file the tax returns and don’t want to apply for the requisite federal id numbers. One tax return is quite enough, thank you very much.
So, my next work day is going to be spent consolidating and eliminating such codes from any and all sites that don’t earn enough to make it worthwhile to have such code on them.
And I might tidy up a few other things while I’m at it. Footprints are messy and I don’t particularly enjoy mopping up the mess but it must be done.
If you use WordPress on a lot of sites, check your <head> space. You might be using the same theme and thinking that it’s okay because you made your sites look different… BUT unless you’ve edited the html code, or created a child theme with a unique name, you probably haven’t made as much of a dent in those footprints as you think you have. Bots don’t see the end result, they see the code. :-)
This is also part of my push for saying bye-bye to WordPress and hello to static HTML (again). The control you have over output and the individuality you can give every site is a huge plus. Biggest mistake I ever made was converting almost every site I had to WordPress, not the least of why is because it takes twice as long to go back to HTML as it did to go to WP. Ah, well. Live and learn.
Keyword research is not overrated. I used to build sites and pages without ever bothering to check the keywords for anything. I made sites that never got traffic, that never made sales, that—oops. Wait.
I had never heard of keyword research when I first started building sites. I made several that got plenty of traffic, and made several sales. In fact, one of those sites still makes sales and still gets traffic.
The thing is, you can build sites that work just fine without keyword data.
But, and it’s a big one, you can make sites earn a lot faster if you have keyword data that tells you what people are searching for in your niche and then you create pages that match those searches. You waste a lot of time building pages that possibly don’t help anyone because no one really wants to know anything about what you’ve just built a page around.
I can’t stand to do massive amounts of keyword research where I pull words, get traffic, figure out possible earnings, and then try to incorporate all that into my pages. I pay for that lack of interest though in slower traffic growth, less earnings, and fewer breakout sites.
I still don’t bother with traffic and earnings data, but I have been using a cool tool to help me pick out all the interesting things people search for related to some of the site topics I build around. The tool tells me what people type into the search engine when they’re looking for that topic and it has helped me with something I didn’t expect it to help with.
Article ideas. :)
I have the worst time dealing with large topics. I become overwhelmed and unable to focus. When I see the list of keyword phrases this little tool spits out for me, I immediately have something solid to grab onto—something that’s not possible when I have 4,822 ideas popping into my head at once when I think of my topic! This has saved me a lot of time just by keeping me focused and working and not flitting all over the place writing drafts I will never finish because I didn’t know where I was going with it when I started it.
And the good news is that if people are searching for these phrases, then writing that article is certainly going to help someone, somewhere.
Because I have too few creative bones in my body and they mostly involve fictional tales of romance and foreign planets. This was a tough one. I had a really hard time picking out this name. I wanted something not related to the poor guy who gave me the idea, but in the end, this was as good as it got.
- geologyworld.com – taken
- earthgeology.com – taken
- geology.com – taken (seriously, I didn’t even have to check)
- geologydaze.com – not taken, but we know why
- geologyoftheworld.com – not taken, but doesn’t this limit me to only earth’s geology? Why would I want to do that? Mars has interesting geology and I love thinking about how the geology on other earth-like worlds might have developed.
- geologynews.com – taken
- geologyviews.com – Dang. I just thought of this one
and I think I would have liked it.
I think I might be a little too tired after an overly stressful day. I now have 2 domains for the same site that I’m probably never going to build. :-o
Listening to: Cyndi Lauper – I Drove All Night; Blake Shelton – Some Beach
LOL. I wrote this… And of course, I immediately started thinking about what topic I would pursue if I could honestly make money from anything I enjoyed learning about. Geology popped into my head immediately. That’s one of my few regrets in life, changing my major in college from geology to accounting. I mean, what the heck was I thinking at the time?
I’m not obsessed with geology, but I am fascinated by natural disasters of a geological nature like earthquakes and volcanoes. In fact, I once started writing a novel of fiction about the possibility of a super-eruption at Yellowstone. I even did some research. LOL. Famous author Harry Turtledove has officially beat me to the punch though, so I guess that’s okay. The world doesn’t need two. ;-)
I could devote some time to writing about and collecting news around the topic of geology and natural disasters without much effort spent to motivate myself.
And that IS a problem I have with a lot of the stuff I write currently. It’s just plain drudgery, not much better than the job I have that I’m no longer happy working.
I swear, I almost bought a domain for this before I came up on the brick wall of having to pick a domain name for this unnamed, insane project that would suck up too much of my time when I need not another 10 year website project, but something that would pay dividends much more quickly. Oops.
Sometimes I hate inspiration.
Listening to: Gary Allan – Life Ain’t Always Beautiful; “Weird Al” Yankovic – Party in the CIA (Parody of Party in the USA); George Strait – Fool Hearted Memory