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Everything Site Numbers, Reality & The Future

Discussion in 'Ted's Ramblings' started by Ted, May 13, 2017.

  1. Ted

    Ted My Friends Call Me Ted
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    Why hello there! It feels like forever since I did one of these and figured I would cover the bigger stuff that I have been focused on this year. I mean it's been a crazy 2017 for all of us I am sure. I moved countries, retired from a job, and life feels like it's rushing by. Your's too I am sure. It's a nice Sunday morning here and I just finished the cup of coffee while telling my wonderful wife happy mother's day. Let do this!

    Site Numbers

    Building a website is not the easiest thing in the world and it's not cheap either. The good news is that this is completely optional and I built this out of love and passion. That makes the journey a whole lot more fun than being some start-up in Silicon Valley with pressure to make a buck. We have grown a lot and some days are better than others.

    The numbers can be very telling about where our efforts are helping to bring people in and where people spend their time. Our most popular feature is the chat. Hands down, it is used more than anything else. Surprisingly, for me anyway, the forum is not used nearly as much. This probably talks to the time to read. The Articles, Directory, and Media sections are of little value as well. I have enough anonymous information through Google Analytics to make better decisions on where to spend my efforts.

    This has caused me to think about the proper direction of the site since I pay to kept each part updated on a yearly basis. There is little reason to continue paying for the features we don't use...right? I want to bring only the very best to each reader. My focus will be more on the daily interactivity and growing info. I can see that there is little value to maintain the Articles, Wiki, Forum, Directory and maybe the groups feature. Maybe it's good to pair everything down to get to the features people come here for.

    The last thing the numbers tell me is if we are growing or shrinking. We are shrinking. 2016 was a great year and people were coming and participating. 2017 has not been so kind to us. This could be for a variety of reasons, but the numbers don't lie. We have consistently leveled out to about 50% of what we did last year. We tried different social media tactics and other things to see what worked and what didn't. I think lowering our Twitter presence cut our traffic substantially. I will own that decision. I wanted to see if we had a reason to build a Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ or another social platform presence. The answer is no...even to Instagram.

    Reality

    I did a few things in the last month to brace for the reality. I changed servers to a much faster and robust setup. It actually saved money while speeding everything up. I scaled back new features and trimmed back help from Nikki. In other words, I am investing a lot less financially into the project this year because the setup last year was the largest cost. The numbers tell me that this might not be as popular of a project as I had hoped. Even as I switched to no newsletters, emails, or verified accounts it still slowed us down. I thought becoming anonymous would resonate with some that weren't sure about putting themselves out there. I even cut all logs so no information was tracked. It's okay, not everything is fast or awesome immediately. I have a lot of patience :)

    It's not doom and gloom. If anything, this is good to use numbers to tell us where to invest and how to invest. I now know that people want real-time information. This leads me to seek out new ways to bring those features to the audience. I plan on working on a new project that will replace this one over the next couple years. It will focus on the areas people use the most and that won't cost a substantial amount of time or money.

    I had a choice to either close shop and chalk it up to lessons learned and go back to just blogging and writing books, or take what I have learned and adjust. I don't want to close this project because it means a lot to me. It was a personal project and I am not ready to say goodbye to it just yet. For now, it will be a smaller footprint, less social media interaction, and other things that I will have to adjust.

    The Future

    Finally, let's briefly go over what I plan on doing. With everything outlined above, I plan on no longer updating Facebook, G+, Pinterest, and Tumblr unless I have some spare time. More than likely Nikki will not be as noticeable as in the past and that means a very scaled down Twitter presence since that was her big thing. So social is about to shrink by probably 90%.

    I will remove all of the areas of the site that are virtually unused starting with the Wiki and the Articles. I don't plan on doing this all in a day. It will be as I have time so I can't tell you when I will start. I will remove portions of the forum that are not popular and shrink the sections to get to what gets attention. In other words, I am shrinking the site to get to what people want & use. This also means that I am going to remove all the templates I created for holidays so there are just 1 or 2 options. It will speed the site up a bit and give it a consistent look and feel.

    I want to focus on what we do well and what people want to use. Cutting away the unused parts will be easier to move around the website and get to where you want to be. Of course, any thoughts you have about what I have written here is welcome. I have thought about this for a while and wanted to really formulate my actions. before writing this. I didn't set out to make money and my time should go to what makes sense and things that I want to do. I am retired and disabled so I don't need to do much. Some people are trying to make a living and have to push forward, but I do not.

    The moment this feels like too much, I have to pause and reflect. I did that and I am so very thankful for everyone that has gotten us this far. This site will stay up for years to come but in a more scaled down way unless our numbers tell me otherwise.

    TL;dr The site is big and largely unused. I am going to remove 60% of it and I will stop posting on social media except for Twitter, but I'll only tweet a couple times per day. Our traffic has been shrinking but I am not closing the site.

    Edit: I have been working on replacing the good stuff with better stuff. There is something better coming. This wasn't meant as a "this is the end".
     
    #1 Ted, May 13, 2017
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  2. Vapepen

    Vapepen Seedling
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    Ted I've been in the vaporizer industry for years and have been an SEO marketer for over 13 years. The best way to build a readers base and user-generated content is to create unique activities. Offer free giveaways where the gift promotes this website. Brand awareness is key, offer informative videos on Youtube to gain a subscriber base on that platform and announce free giveaways. Keeping the articles and allowing others to post articles is very important for google to rank you for different keywords. Why don't you offer rewards to people that post on here? It can be something small. example - twitter mention someone, feature a user on the main page, offer points to purchase branded products like t-shirts, hats, pipes, bongs. Give out points to posters and always have contests such as best blogging post, best article, best photograph, best story. To really know this will work, you should hire over 200 people to keep posting, they get paid 10 cents per post, 50 cents per 50 words or higher post, etc. While you do that promote your forums using social media groups. You can even put up youtube ads for contents and promotions and go for the impressions for brand awareness. But always reward people for posting unique content and give incentive for someone that spends their time here. Think about starting a block chain,. It can be a forum that uses Steemit.com content reward system. Where everyone gets paid for posting and sharing stories.
     
    #2 Vapepen, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2017
  3. Ted

    Ted My Friends Call Me Ted
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    I have been in the SEO game since 2005 and there are all kinds of things you can do for sure. I write about them all of the time. TMF is a passion project that I work on as I can. I don't bring in any income from it and I can if I want to. You will probably see that happen in 2018. There are a lot of changes that I talked about in more recent posts. As we upgrade into newer software there will be some really great rewards on the site.

    Don't expect 200 people being hired to write on the site anytime soon though. I am but one man that puts food on my family plates. Again, in 2018 once I am done getting surgery and I have recovered I will return to creating original content and writing more here. There are lots of plans, but there are several things that need to happen first. You can read a lot of those things in more recent updates.
     
  4. Vapepen

    Vapepen Seedling
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    you would only want to hire 200+ people to post to show that this forum is active to entice the new visitors that this is a busy forums and their posts will be seen and responded to. I've seen this successfully executed when a friend of mine invested a lot of money in paid ads and large targeted traffic driving that was paid for. People like that want to see a very busy forum in order for them to give a new forum a chance. For the 200 people the guy paid about $2,000 to them. It brought in over 60,000 new members in 4 weeks and 32,000 are active members, The paid targeted ads made profit and the guy makes residual income from numerous affiliate subscription services.
     
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  5. Ted

    Ted My Friends Call Me Ted
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    Oh it would be huge if I decided to execute this plan. I have done this with other sites in the past and we were very successful. I am not ready to do it here though. I 100% know it works, I just can't do it for at least the next 4-5 months.

    I appreciate the time you are taking to point me in the right direction.
     
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