Dear Scottish Terrier and Dog News readers,
First of all, Happy New Year to all of you and I look forward to hearing from you in 2009.
My New Year’s resolution was to write this letter and give you some background on the Scottie News in order to generate money, ideas and advice. Not very selfless, that’s true, but necessary as I feel I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut with this site and I want to get out and make Scottie News the best it can be.
I originally started the Scottish Terrier and Dog News for three reasons:
- Because I couldn’t find the type of dog information I wanted online.
- Because I wanted to see what the potential market was for breed-specific dog news, or, in other words, what the so-called long tail of canine media looked like.
- Because as a journalist and communications consultant, I wanted to test potential revenue-generating models for online news and information. In other words, what do you have to do to make a decent living from online media? Or to be more pessimistic, is it possible to make a living from online media?
Just over a year and a half later, I can tell you that it’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun — and a lot of disappointments as well. I’ve learned much about online media and all things Google from AdSense to AdWords to Analytics to Webmaster tools and more, but there is still a whole lot I don’t understand.
My original target for unique visits per month was 10,000 to 20,000 which I achieved in October and November of October 2008 only to fall back below it in December.
Even though part of the decline was likely due to the holiday season, it’s still discouraging to see a drop. And what’s even more of a downer is that for months, the Scottie News has no longer appeared on page one of the Google search results for the term Scottish Terrier as it did back in February.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out the reason for the page-rank drop. I get more unique visits and page views than the page one-ranked Scottish Terrier Club of America. And visitors spend almost double the time on my site, which must surely be a testament to its quality, something Google definitely pays attention to, yet Scottie News is still way down on the charts for the search term, Scottish Terrier. (Click on the stats directly below if you’re interested in this type of stuff)
Of course, I also know that Google works in mysterious ways, the main driver for page ranking being how many high-quality websites link to you, but that doesn’t explain why I’m doing well for a term like Scottish News, which I don’t cover, and not even registering for Scottish Terrier, which is what my site is all about.
From my stats, I can now see what I didn’t know when I started out – that there are a whole lot more potential readers out there. The problem is that I can’t figure out how to reach them without buying more Google AdWords or just waiting. And I’m tired of waiting and pouring hours into the site when I can’t figure out why the results are the way they are. It feels a bit like throwing good money after bad.
If any of you know about this field and have any ideas or insights, I’d be most grateful for your help. Please, either post a comment or contact me via email at email@example.com. If you can enlighten me, I’ll be forever in your debt.
In the mean time, I feel I need to try some alternate methods to climb the Google ranks and generate more readers. I need to add more original reporting work including original video and photos. But to do that I need money, which is why, as of today, the Scottish Terrier and Dog News is accepting donations as you can see from the top left hand corner. If you enjoy this site, I hope you will consider making a donation so that I can keep on providing you with the highest-possible-quality content.
Whether or not you choose to make a donation, I’d also be interested in hearing from you about dog and Scottie topics you want to see covered. What is the Scottish Terrier and Dog News missing?
Although I want to give readers more original articles, that doesn’t mean simply recreating strong content that already exists on the web. Rather, I would like to also create aggregator pages that point readers to the best sites for Scottie topics. So if you have any favourite sources of Scottie information, please let me know and I will link to them.
Finally, I would like to apologize for anyone who has written to the Scottie News and who hasn’t gotten a response. I try very hard to answer all my email and follow through on all commitments, but as a single parent with a full time job and a Scottish Terrier, it’s not always easy. The spam filter is only responsible for a small minority of the unanswered mail. For, the rest it’s me and those DVD series I get hooked on every few months like the Wire and Damages and Entourage, which if you’re interested in such things I can highly recommend.
Please if you haven’t heard back from me, never ever take it personally and don’t hesitate to get in touch again or pester. As a reporter, I can tell you that pestering works.
For now, Happy New Year to all of you and I hope you’ll keep reading, commenting, linking and everything else in 2009. And, yeah, I hope you make a donation too even in these tough economic times.
Aspiring Dog Media Magnate