In my recent birthday bash postTwo Cakes and One Schzophrenic I remarked that I wanted my readers subscribers count to rise and my search traffic hits to come down. My wish for both has been rewarded, happily subcribers are slightly up although I’m now rather frustrated about stating the latter.
The above snapshot shows this sites Google Analytics for the first 13 days (unlucky for some) of this month and Beyond The Mango Juice was heading towards the 2700 – 3000 hit mark for August. Then the good ship Mango hit the rocks and started to take on water. Regular readers will know that a Denial of Service attack (DDoS) struck my domain server on August 14th and the site was temporarily moved to a safe IP address. Since the clearance of the attack the good ship has been taking on more water and has now started to list. If things continue Captain Hoo Don will be forced to announce ‘Launch the lifeboats and abandon ship.’ Take a look at my analytics for the previous 10 days of this month (August 19-28th).
The contrast is remarkable even if the two graphics do look similar at first glance. The top analytics screen shows an average of 93 hits per day from 1,213 visits with 58.78% of those arriving from search engines. Thai Ladyboys – Pattaya was my most read post with 301 views over the 13 day period. These last 10 days show the same post top scoring with 74 views out of 524 visits at an average of 52 per day. Search engine traffic accounted for a measly 25.71% over the period and that’s the hole that is taking in water. No matter how hard I bale I just can’t stop it.
After the cessation of the DDoS attack my domain control panel and WordPress dashboard were to put it bluntly shot to pieces. My ship’s hull had a gaping hole and the hands on board were too inexperienced to deal with it. My control panel is now back to how it was before but the WordPress dashboard is now very dependant on whatever mood it takes. Plugins sometimes load and incoming links come and go like the changing of the British summertime weather. I can live with that but it’s the search engine stats that are really starting to frustrate me, mark mark.
Search engines such as Yahoo and Bing are still sending visitors at a similar rate as before but Google has recalled its rescue team and stopped its search. Previous to the DDoS strike many of my posts were easily found in Google keyword searches but now you won’t find any. I know Google does update its search pages from time to time but the only direct link for Beyond The Mango Juice shows for the homepage only. The only listing of my posts on Google are from Thailand Voice, Blogcatalog and the like. My well viewed posts about ladyboys, bar girls, Pattaya, the Thai lottery and ghosts (pun attack) have all disappeared into thin air. Trying to solve the problem has proved futile to say the least.
I have spent hours reading forums, specialised posts and trying to gather any semblance of sense from Google Help finds oneself facing a minefield that is guarded by a high barbed wire fence. Catching a falling cobra from a tree would seem a dubious but easier task. For the first time ever the thought of writing a post really doesn’t interest me.
Finally I would like to finish on a rather ironic note. The snap on the right shows my latest Alexa ranking and is conclusive proof that the extensive ranking toolbar site is not all it’s made out to be.
Beyond The Mango Juice is currently suffering from its worst hit count in the last six months and yet Alexa shows my last seven days ranking to be 449,555. That’s by far the highest this site has ever climbed to. Who needs Google, well I’ve got to admit it, I do.
Martyn, You’ll get your Google mojo back …it comes and goes and dances around for all of us. The best thing to do is keep posting quality posts as usual.
All the stats over time are nice to look at and can be helpful regarding whats being read and where your audience is coming from but all in all most stats are pretty useless …especially Alexa.
Time and passion are all that really counts. You love Thailand and that comes through in your writing. That in itself is what will get you readers and better stats all on it’s own. Time is the other factor. Over time many bloggers just stop blogging and if you keep going your hard work will win the day.
It will be two years for me next month and for all the stat watching and worrying about Google the only thing that really mattered was my love for the subject and the great community of friends I have made in the process and I’d say by the community metric you are doing quite well.
.-= Talen´s last blog ..The Naga of Thailand =-.
Talen thanks for your inspiring words and before writing the post I could have done with them. I was a bit low this morning thinking about what had happened but a few beers and my mood picked up, as you put it so well….’ for all the stat watching and worrying about Google the only thing that really mattered was my love for the subject and the great community of friends’…..Well put and along the lines of my lunchtime thinking.
Martyn I would echo what Talen says.
Google search results really do fluctuate, I have read various reasons for this including the fact that when they are updating (indexing) their various servers around the world hits may well be down on certain servers, only to recover after re-indexing. My Thai Girl posted about this a while back.
Choosing the right title for a post does seem to help, keywords I suppose, a lot however depends on what you want from your blog.
Over the last few months I have concentrated on improving traffic from Google, it now forms about 65% of my 5000ish hits a month, but I did this to see if I could make Adsense pay. Well I ain’t going to be a millionaire in the near future but I now earn about $1.50 a day, which might buy me a flight home this year!!
I guess its also about balance and exposing your work outside the little group of commenters/fans we have. I personally really appreciate people actually reading my stuff and if they then click on Adsense so much the better.
Top bloggers always say content is key but I would add that you actually need to find a way to expose that content to a wider audience i.e. via search engines and when time permits commenting on new blogs. I often surf peoples sidebar links and have found some readers this way having first visited their blogs and commenting.
A good example of this is Zoe’s excellent blog “My boyfriend is a twat.”
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Living in Thailand -20 Lifestyle Changes. =-.
Mike well put over and I do agree that you have to get the balance right. Our group of commenters are what it is all about because without them our sites would have no depth and feel. I was just down about it all until writing the poost, this has been going on for over ten days now with things getting steadily worse. A quick check of my stats this morning reveal no change but mai phen rai. I have visited Zoe’s blog before and it is a real good fun read. Thanks.
‘Beyond The Mango Juice is currently suffering from its worst hit count in the last six months and yet Alexa shows my last seven days ranking to be 449,555. That’s by far the highest this site has ever climbed to.’
You need to look at Alexa backwards. The site with the lowest numbers are the most popular.
Take Facebook.com as an example…
FB’s traffic rank is a 3.
Google.com is a 1.
So… your figures for Alexa are really following what is happening with your site.
But please be patient. Last year and into this year I was ill for 6 long months.
During that time, something went wrong and Google was no longer paying attention to my site. Six months is a long time on the internet, long enough to set me back on many things.
But I stuck it out and twiddled code like crazy (in the end I found out that it was a redirect problem). I’m still behind where I should be, but WLT is now doing well.
And you will do well too. Your content is wonderful and you have community support. Yeah, we loves ya 🙂
Btw – there could be something wrong with your database… I hate database problems as I’m not a programmer. And sometimes the only way around it is to have someone look into it for you. And that can cost.
If you are convinced that it’s a database problem (and you don’t want to pay someone US$70 per hour to fix it), then maybe recreate your posts into an all new WP with the same urls (if you can), then delete this one once done, and point to the new one.
That way, you’ll have a nice new database.
Note: since you’ve lost your links coming into the present urls, having new but similar won’t be that much of a disaster. But there should be a way to get the same post urls…
Recreating posts is just a matter of copying the code into new posts, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’ve done it when all else fails, as it really does fix the mystery snafus. And if that fails, I scream for Jay.
But I’m in no way an expert – I have a Jay who keeps me from going into databases – so getting a programmer to give you advice is advised.
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai 101 Learners Series: Everything to all Men =-.
Catherine I probably didn’t write the ranking bit very clearly as I meant high as in getting better. It certainly shows what nonsense Alexa rankings are, to a degree anyway.
It is encouraging to know that others like yourself have overcome these niggling problems but the general message is to carry on regardless because the community we are in and the readers are what it is all about. Sod Google and all that. As far as the database goes I don’t think I can really warrant paying someone to fix any problems as my holiday is coming up shortly and I’ve just spent out on a new camera and printer. Recreating some of the posts is an option I will look into if things don’t improve medium term but at the mo I will suck it and see. You really are lucky to have Jay on hand to tweak your site as and when needed. Thanks for your support.
I agree, I am lucky to have a Jay. But maybe I should point out that Jays do not come cheap either. She is paid in chocolate (and none of those naff brands 🙂
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai 101 Learners Series: Everything to all Men =-.
HD, I think you’re blog is great and, it ticks enough SEO buttons, for us to see that this is just a temporary glitch. August is holiday time in much of the West, perhaps this and a good summer are reasons for a slight drop.
I know you’ve just started on Twitter, but I’d absolutely recommend dabbling in the dark arts of social media to help get your content out there. There’s no doubt it is popular and good enough, just needs the web visibility.
Building a good set of followers on Twitter is one way, then you have technorati, stumbleupon, digg and many others which are essentially content sharing devices.
Eg, you put a piece up there, people tag it if they like it, the idea being that getting lots of tags makes your content popular and visible.
Twitter is a pretty effective way of doing this – many users will ReTweet (resend) a message’s content to their followers, thus spreading word to many using the service.
I will warn you that getting set up on Twitter takes a fair bit of effort, but once you have a decent number of followers you’ll see definite web traffic sites which correspondent to publicising links on the service.
My blog is deliberately non-SEO and key word orientated but I can clearly see spikes on the days I’ve pimped my content on Twitter.
Did I manage to outword Catherine with this effort?
PS HD, when you back in LOS?
.-= Jon´s last blog ..Thai film industry =-.
Catherine I didn’t realise Jay was paid in chocolate and now my mind thinks of a 100 kilo, sweating computer buff ringing your doorbell instead of the lithe sweet person I imagined before. Only joking, I’m sure she is the latter. Chocolate….if this breaks out there’ll be a mass of kids outside your front door.
Jon nice to hear from you and some sound advice. Your comment would give most a run for their money that’s for sure. I’m not too worried about the drop in views because as people have pointed out it’s the regulars that it’s all about. Things do seem to be picking up a little now. I must admit that Twitter is still very new to me and I am a little lost at the moment but slowly slowly I’ll get there and reading your comment on the benefits it will be worthwhile. I am flying out to Thailand on the 21st of this month for a short two week break and then I’m back in the LOS on December 21st. Can’t wait.
I have to concur with others. I think it will improve again and I think once the summer lull is over, you’ll see a huge improvement.
.-= Emm´s last blog ..New York day 4: Both Sides of Brooklyn Bridge =-.
Emm things are not back to normal yet but they seem to be improving as I have now had a couple of google search hits. Thanks for commenting and I have added your blog to my new Xtra blogroll.
This has actually been a very helpful dialogue. So, if I get this right, just write good and interesting stuff and you’re home free? Cool. I’ll start today.
Some of you guys are wrestling with actual, honest-to-Buddha web pages whereas I am using the Typepad template. Maybe someday I’ll graduate to Planet HTML. I’m actually thinking about taking a course in basic HTML. <<>>
Good to know that August is typically a doldrums. I’d been wondering why my August pageviews were so poor.
Anyway, HD, you’ve got a great start so you don’t have to do so much except continue to write your good stuff!
Rick a big hello from a very windy England. Your site has a very good look to it and the content is excellent so hits shouldn’t be a problem. As far as good and interesting stuff goes then centre it around Pattaya, ladyboys and bar girls and you are a keyword search winner. The Thai lottery is also another good search hit. My stats are now picking back up a little and I’m hopeful that shortly things will be back to normal.
You can add me to your stats I will be a back on a regular basis – your an inspiration – cheers