No matter how on top of things you are, every website goes through its ups and downs at the hands of the search beast that’s Google. For some this can be a horrible business ending experience, bought on by too much reliance on all those lovely free visitors that doing well in search engines can send your way.
If your a Google Search user that just pops questions and queries into the magical little box, hits send and waits for the answer, I believe your on the best side of what is a great tool and proof that ‘ignorance is indeed bliss’.
If (on the other hand) your dealing with the daily changes that Google makes to the way its search algorithm works (and the amount of visitors it sends you) this can be a nerve wreaking and very wild ride.
The Wild Terrain Life Cycle
When this website was born, I’d been away from web publishing for more years than I care to remember, and although computers were always a part of my daily routine, by the time I got the idea to throw up websites, not only were my Internet coding skills about 20 years behind every bodies else’s 🙂 , but I was seriously unprepared for how doing any form of business on-line had changed.
Mistakes were made right at the beginning with Wild Terrain (and carried on for a while). This has made for an interesting time that I probably could have made a lot easier, if only spending time finding and fixing the issues.
I did consider sharing my analytics data, although its pretty boring stuff if you don’t know what your looking at. But trust me when I say though, for a 5 year old website with nearly 300 pages of (mostly OK) content, its very poor 🙂
Turning Hobbies into Businesses – that Double-Edged Sword
Having a real passion for something and turning it into a business that makes money can seem like a very logical progression. You’ve already got the experience and usually are hands on with the very items your likely to be selling, along with being able to write a lot of content quickly (website building 101).
But what happens when you realize you’ve turned the one passion that dreaming about helped you get through a boring work day, into a form of boring work itself?
It can happen very quickly, and here’s why.
A hobby (by definition) is an activity that you can do whenever you’ve time and the mood takes you. This is its overriding appeal!, but make the same activity something your forced to do when your not in the mood and it soon becomes too much like work to be any where near as enjoyable as it should be.
No Pressure Then!
Yeah, Google has many reasons for not liking what goes on at Wild Terrain. Some of then I’m aware of (and caused), but there’s bound to be a mountain of crap somewhere that I don’t know about (or wish to). Other ‘stuff’ I now do on-line to earn a crust means I can finally promote the camping/hiking part of my life from mere work back to the pristine status of hobby 🙂
Hey Google, its always a Game
One of the sure fire ways to get Google search to turn its nose up at your website and forget it exists, is to try and ‘game’ how your site is perceived by the search giant.
That’s all good in practice, but if your livelihood is reliant on doing well in Google, then ultimately you’ve no option but to try and game the system (as the rules constantly change). When it comes down to it, any link you build or tweaks made to the website to increase rankings is gaming the algorithm in the hopes that you get more traffic/make more money.
This process is a full time job (then some!) and you could work yourself into a right state (and right out of Google search) by micromanaging how your website works, all based on the advice of so called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts, who have no direct access to the inner workings of ‘Google’s Master Plan’ and hence only a vague idea of what the hell is going on themselves 🙂
An interesting side effect of this whole process is the unwillingness of many content providers to invest time/effort in long term projects, choosing instead to opt for the short term, where its always easier to start again if your website gets burnt for whatever thing Google decides you’ve done wrong that week.
There were 28 new posts put up on this blog in March, which is a more then last 8 months combined. The reason?, because it dawned on me that having the lifelong hobbies of wild camping/hiking/mountain climbing/sleeping in random ditches etc, as a business was sucking all the fun out of it (big time) and I’m now enjoying writing again.
If any SEO’s want to send emails promising to get my cranky old website ‘to the top’ of Google (best of luck with that), go right ahead.
I’ll add them to the pile I already get everyday, put them all in a special folder and read when I’m in need of a dam good laugh (probably next time I look at my analytics data!).