Photo by David Wagner
But Hope is a Good Thing
I began a blog a few years back. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I called it the Up Blog. I was dabbling in stocks, having taken out my IRA and tried my hand at trading with a Scottrade account. I was doing this in hopes of earning money to support my ministry work (church planting). I combined my love of church planting and stocks and called my new blog UP because I hoped to help people by providing stock and spiritual advice. Corny, huh?
The Results Were Mixed
I ended up earning enough money to keep our church planting work going for a couple years. A huge fortune wasn’t amassed, but there were 6 month periods when I earned 50-70% on my investments. Then desperation set in at times and I couldn’t hold stocks as long as I needed to. I had to cut my losses and I ended up losing more than I should have. I didn’t really give money advice for too long. It just got to be a bit overwhelming since I wasn’t doing that full-time. I still had my church planting work. As of today, most of our investment money is gone, since over the years we had to use it for living and operating expenses. I’m now back to trying to raise money for church planting work the old fashioned way, calling churches and asking if I could speak to them about our awesome work . You can see more about the good we do for others by clicking here.
What About the Up Blog?
As for my first attempt at blogging, it started out slow like most blogs do. I stopped with the money advice and even the spiritual posts for the most part, even though I did include occasional devotional material. I now post all of my devos and any religious or spiritual writings over at the Devos and More Blog. What I did begin posting at the Up Blog were some political views, videos and press releases from PRnewswire.com and PRweb.com. If only I had known about the penalties for duplicate content back then. My warning to you…. “Don’t post copies of press releases. If you must use them, put them into your own words.”
Can you imagine how the level of my hope increased when certain posts I added to my blog instantly received 1000 hits a day? I have learned since then about terms like “evergreen blog posts” (posts on topics that are fresh forever, never going out of date) and “organic traffic” (ways people naturally find your blog or site – I’ll write a post on this soon.) Some of my most popular posts were an original post about the death of the president of Poland, a video I posted of Mariah Carey accepting an award while drunk, a video of the Darth Vader Tom Tom ad, and some blog posts about the Obama health care plan. Thinking back now, most every highly viewed blog post was original content and not from a press release. Should I insert the word, “duh” here?
I was ranking high for many blog posts, but I didn’t have one or two specific keywords I wanted to focus upon. That was another mistake. I thought I was on the right track because when I checked my ranking on websitegrader from Hubspot, I had skyrocketed up to a 95 ranking. My blog was rated as being in the top 100,000 blogs for readership. That’s how they ranked it, I wasn’t sure if that meant anything or not. Things were going well. My hope of being a money earning blogger was just around the corner.
Earning with Amazon
If I was ranking extremely high in search results and getting as much as 1700 visitors a day (not many days like that, but some), I figured, why not rank high for Amazon products. I could make some money. I started adding products left and right. Mostly sports products for the upcoming summer fun season. Days after I added products, they would pop up on page one in Google, sometimes higher than the actual brand page for that product. I thought that was absolutely brilliant. I really was floating high on the hope cloud.
Now these are pretty small totals, but remember I was just beginning my blogging journey of hope. My first month of doing this earned $6.00. The next month was $12.00, the next $25.00 and then in July, I earned $50.00. “If my blog keeps this up, I’ll be rich!” I said with much hope in my voice.
G-Day = July 26, 2010
This is a day I will always remember. This is the day my hope of being a successful blogger, at least with the Up Blog (inactive http://up.zachshouse.org came to a crashing end. This was a triple whammy day. My son was going through some very difficult problems, my car broke down on the way back from picking him up from Grandma’s in Wyoming, and praise God for a nun and a homeless man who helped me get it fixed. It is also the day my wife had to go to the emergency room in Longmont, CO for an intestinal problem. We were on I-25 and she couldn’t breathe and had terrible back and stomach pains. We’re still trying to negotiate with bill collectors for this one. After the hospital stay, we got a room at a Super 8. First thing I did after my wife was asleep in bed was check the stats for my blog. My little scream of disbelief woke her up. This is when I saw my blog had barely any visitors for two days. We had been traveling up from Texas and I hadn’t seen stats until this night. I was amazed, from hundreds of daily visitors to practically nothing over night.
Where is My Hope Now?
All hopes of having a successful money making blog died right there. Was that the day Google finally found out most of my content was duplicate material? Was it the day they found out I was using the Reviewazon plugin and they penalized me for that? I don’t know what the magic key was to my blog’s demise. It doesn’t really matter any longer. I have moved on to other blogs or websites. I focus most of my attention to this site and to PizzaSpotz.com. I also work a lot on my Free Devos & More site.
Most importantly, I place my hope in Jesus. This is what I do, I am not advising people who are having their blogs de-indexed by Google, or who aren’t earning what they wish from their blogs or for those who wish they could get more unique visitors or to have their blog bounce rates lessen, to put their hope in Jesus. This is just where I have to put my hope, my hope in a savior who will never change.
Like Jesus, love Jesus or HATE Jesus, one thing is for certain. He will never change. That is the main thing that makes Jesus different than the Google search algorithms. I’d rather put my hope in Jesus than Google or in my blogging ability. That’s for sure.
Hope as a life or blogging strategy is not good. Hope, however, is a good thing. But we must combine hope with hard work, perseverance, lots of time and a great attitude. After doing that, hope can take you (and me) to the moon and back. Having hope, combined with laziness and an oftentimes negative attitude is a sure fire way for failure.
Share Your Blogging Journey
Below, please tell me about your hope stories when it concerns blogging. Have you ever had hope about your blog but then see things go terribly wrong? Have you ever been utterly hopeless when it comes to blogging or obtaining visitors? I’d love to hear your story and help if I can.
Thank you for reading.