Well, what a strange month! There I was plodding along with 20,000 unique users as the March target for my sites and suddenly the figures went soaring up! At first it was a complete mystery, but eventually I found the answer.
Unless you run a website, you will probably be unaware that Google sprung a big surprise. Everything might look the same when you do a search, but they have made a major change to the algorithm (the code that works out what is what). The name that is being used for this change is Panda.
The main objective this change was to penalize what are called "content farms". These are sites that either have high volumes of bad quality information written by poorly paid contributors, or even worse that "scrape" other sites grabbing information and pictures.
Once you are in the site there will be a large amount of advertisements and very little in the way of useful data.
The changes Google have implemented are a major improvement, but I would say this as my sites have been victims to content farms. Once the switch was thrown, I suddenly saw a big increase in visitors. I calculate that this one change gifted me an extra 8,000 unique visitors a month! So my unique visitors for March, topped 28,000 smashing all my previous records. However, it is strange to think that just a tweak or two by the Google team can suddenly add thousands of visitors to your site!
During the longer than expected break from writing this blog there have been a few additions to the household. Two of which are Freddy and Sid (Frederic Ferret and Captain Sidney to give then their full titles). Joseph who lives next door bred them and they have somehow taken up residence here.
Freddy and Sid are a couple of real characters and not at all what I was imagining. For anyone who has not kept ferrets, I guess the best description is they are like naughty kittens. They are also very willful, tough as old boots and scared of nothing. But after charging around the room, they do tend to be a bit lazy and end up having a sleep on one of the dogs' beds.
Until very recently they were a great source of joy and amusement, but at the moment it is breeding season and their personalities have changed quite markedly, more so than last year. They are nipping and sexually aggressive. Not to put too fine a point on it are trying to hump anything in sight including arms and hands and they are rough lovers. I will be VERY grateful when the season is done and we are back to watching their mad antics again. The sooner the better!
I thought it would be a rather good idea to use this blog to publicize some of my sites. So I will start with the youngest member who has recently joined my little posse, TheFaceBehind.com.
I am rather fond of this one pager. It took me a whole week to write (which in my terms is 18*7 = 126 hours) and by the end I was heartily sick of it.
All sites start as a blank canvas, but normally you have some sort of idea about what it will look like. I wanted this to be a standard one page promotional, to see if I could drum up any business. But whilst my first effort looked OK, it basically consisted of stock photographs of grinning guys and girls, gelled hair and mobiles. Somehow, the little man appeared, the suits disappeared and it ended up what I guess should be called a "Me" site.
Very surprisingly, although it only has a few visitors a day it has already clocked up 15 Facebook likes. Take my one off and 14 strangers have already enjoyed the fruits of my week of pain enough to click the button, which is cool!
Apart from Freddy and Sid the two naughty ferrets that have taken up residence in my home, last year there was the surprise arrival of thirteen boa constrictors. As I have three adults the surprise factor is not quite so high, but they appeared without any warning. Although snakes are egg layers some, including the boas retain the eggs in their body and release them when the babies are about to hatch. It was a complete surprise, apart from the thirteen there were also 5 dead after the "birth". For such a greedy snake the babies took an awful lot of coaxing until they finally ate and sadly number 13 refused to eat. But eventually he did, but after he had two meals he died, which was very sad. Of the remaining 12, 10 went to The Eastbourne Aquarium And Reptile Centre in exchange for food for a very hungry mummy and daddy:).
The remaining two are in small plastic tanks on a shelf above my bed, and they easily wrap around my fingers. They are the same size as their parents when they first arrived, six years ago. They are now thicker than my arm and can easily eat 4 large rats at one sitting.
If I am not in a pub (which sadly is an increasingly rare event) I can be found in my bedroom garret living on bread and water and typing away on my PC. Normally my effort is directed at my latest web project, but occasionally I fire off an email. My favourite source of email amusement is telling politicians what I think of their antics or replying to the different African gentlemen who regularly write to me offering a share of the $15m they have been entrusted with.
One day I fired one off to Darren Fell, a local and very successful entrepreneur. I was sniffing around to see what was going on, and had a reply. The occasional emails have bounced around for quite a few months now and for some reason, I am not quite sure why, I agreed to put a banner on all my sites advertising a free game linked to his latest venture, Crunch. It is an online accountancy website, very different from all the rest!
Actually, I do know why I put the banners up and it is for two good reasons. Firstly, although I really am not a fan of advertising and banners on websites I know that I should be looking to eventually monetize my work. Secondly, it was as a thank you for someone who actually has the courtesy to reply to my emails, no matter how mad they may be. Thanks Darren!
Time to bid farewell for another month. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and if you do I hope Google realizes it :)
I hope you have a good month!