I've been re-evaluating the website again. I do this every year, about renewal time. This year, however, Google has played some mean games with their algorhythm, and it's hurt me pretty badly.
My traffic, which is the backbone of any website, has dropped to a small fraction of what it should be. It's down to about 30% of what it was just a few weeks ago. That means it isn't getting found, sales aren't made, and no one is asking for counseling.
I haven't done much to it, or added anything new, for a while now, so part of it is my fault. The poor thing needs some new content, and I could make folks dig a little deeper for information, instead of laying it all out on one looooong page.
If I re-do the site, those issues will be addressed. I've learned a lot in seven years, including what mistakes I made seven years ago.
There are other issues, and I've been working on them, too. Broken product links, for one. I've also learned who I want to work with and who I don't.
Back in 1998, when I first began playing around on the internet, looking into what are called "monetization models" or ways to make money on the internet, I joined up with a few folks who were making it possible.
I've since found better partners - ones who make it easier for me, not who pay me more, although that's always a nice idea. I've partnered with them, and made some strong ties.
How I get paid is through commissions - like any other sales person.
I buy stuff on the internet, and figure it's kind of nice to get a small discount, in the amount of 2%-5% as a commission, when I buy from my internet partners. Some of my partners are a bit more generous, hoping to stimulate sales, I guess.
It sure helps, but I look at the product and how it is used before I recommend anything. And then I try it myself.
If I like a product, I'll tell you and give you a link to get it yourself, if you have a need. That's my way. I don't "gush" over stuff very often. I just tell you how it is and how to use it.
If I don't like it, sometimes you hear about it, but most of the time you don't. If I don't like it, I won't give you a link to it. That's just my way. And if I've had a link to it available, I'll pull the link or re-direct it to a better product, instead. It's just easier to not make you think I love something when I don't.
So, that's been my philosophy for a while now, about the website. Sure, I want to give quality information, timely information, and accurate information. I want to give you referrals to places that enhance your experience with your cat.
It's all about the cats, anyway.
It's just nice if the website pays for itself, because hosting a website isn't free, and my time is worth something.
So, I've been re-evaluating again, and wondering if it's worth continuing. Right now, it's a toss-up.
On the one hand, yes, the site is paying for itself, but on the other, I'm not making anything for my time.
And if I'm going to spend time on the website, e-mail, counseling, finding products, posting information and sharing updates and notices, I need to get a little something out of it, too. After all, I have 5 cats to support, and I'm barely making ends meet.
Without the website, I can't make ends meet, and I'll probably lose the house - which means the cats will have to find homes someplace else.
So, I'm giving it a month while I work on it, and then I'll give it 6 months to grow my traffic back. If I don't see a marked improvement, I'm taking it down.
I have other things I can be working on, and I don't need the aggravation and worry.