Well, here we are. Two Thousand and Muther F*ckin' Thirteen. The Mayans got it wrong and now we have a whole new year to put things in perspective. Things have continued to go well here, at the Urban Dater and 2012 has seen a number of important changes through the year. I would say this post might be more interesting to other bloggers, not so much our readers. So I'm going to talk about some of my observations and insights.
- One intriguing change that I've seen is an uptick in guest article submissions from fellow bloggers and also content marketers. As we know from recent Google updates Penguin and Panda that fresh, interesting and frequently updated content will be rewarded. We've definitely seen a surge in organic figures from search, in particular from Google after these updates were pushed through.Also, I've observed that if your content is featured on a content-rich site, like the Urban Dater, the links back to one's own site carry a high value, too. This combined with the updates by Google will continue to drive content creators (bloggers and the like) to strive to create more awesome content and to feature guest content as well.
- Miss Taylor Cast Moves on… As she affectionately put it “the husband and wife blogging duo…” Truer words. There is no doubt that Taylor's contributions to the Urban Dater will be forever felt. Her brand of brassy will always be appreciated and respected. She began a journey a few years ago with the Urban Dater and that led her to New York City where she lived and found her prince charming and also the joys of being a “mommy-to-be.” The news that she was engaged AND preggers floored me. But that's Taylor. You never know what to expect from her. I wish her and her family well. You are awesome and thank you! =)
I'd expected that we would have exceeded our readership over last year, but we didn't. We had 268k unique visits in 2011, as opposed to 278k this year. A drop-off of about 5.45%. Bummer. There's a few things that I can attribute this to:
- For about a month, from early September 2012 until mid-October, we were experiencing some server issues with an internal script we were running, which led to a rash of 500 errors aka website not available. at the low point, we'd seen 26 visits in a given day. Ouch!
- We slacked. Pure and simple. We weren't generating a lot of content and the site was suffering for it. Less organic traffic, less per-page views; everything sucked!
- A-Hole Factoid Contributing to less readers: No Golden Girls “left” us this year. Whenever there's a story about them traffic on this site surges… Weird. Right?
- The good news is that over the past two months, we've exceeded our traffic figures over 2011. Why? That's due in part to my 30 day blog challenge… Which I failed. Miserably. Not only that, but a surge in guest posts helped with those figures as well.
For a number of bloggers, they would like to create content and get paid for it. The truth is that this is easier said than done. And, at the very least, we'd like to cover our expenses. Hosting the Urban Dater isn't cheap… But this year the Urban Dater has actually made a few bucks and most of it has come within the last 4 months. The figures below are a tally for the entire year.
- Affiliate Ads – Affiliate sales aren't something we really push around here… But I may do more with it, with products I use around here… Because I use A lot!
- Sponsored Content – With more content marketers wanting to push topic-specific high quality content, we've received a TON of inquiries. Some marketers don't want to pay for sponsored posts. But we always charge for sponsored content and recommend that our fellow bloggers do the same. If you work as hard on your site as I do, then you deserve to get paid for it.
- Display/Text Link Ads – For some reason Google thinks I'm an A-hole and the Urban Dater is blocked from Adsense, so we can't display adsense ads on the site. Booooo! And there's no way I can find to get my set un-blocked. It's been truly frustrating. However, my search for display advertisers has brought me to Infolinks and VigLink. Two decent providers that have managed to pay out better than I thought in two months' time.
- Ad Networks – We partner with a couple Blogger Networks and enjoy the projects that come our way, but would like to see more in 2013. Many of the networks are geared at women… But I'd like to see more geared toward the guys and right now, I don't see any.
- Less than 1k
In all, I'd love to see the Urban Dater up its readership, traffic and revenue and I think we're in a good position to do that. I think we'll look toward this New Year and kick it right in the beans!