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Help me, please!

A Long, BUMMER Of A Post

on 07/04/2013

Hi Wizzley Family -


After not having internet for a long time AND being back home in Glacier Park, we finally got connected out here in the boonies. I needed that time away to clear my head and think...and when I sat down and started looking at my online “real estate” and other platforms I write on, I started to unravel.


This is a brutally honest post that I wouldn't trust to put out there to anyone except Wizzley, because I trust your input and feedback so much.


Before I start, I will say that one new path Jim and I are considering is trying house concerts/coffee shop tours around the country (make little but enough to support our lifestyle) when we leave Montana in October. It takes a lot of work and that is something we are considering spending our time on.


But here is the thing...I try to be an optimist, but what I see happening everywhere online and the never ending changes I can't keep up with as well, I'm seeing red flags flying everywhere that perhaps my time is best spent unplugged in the future and focused on music or something else vs online.


Jim and I have been talking/brainstorming for days and I finally said I've got to put this out there to you guys and get feedback....I can't decide what to do.


Let me tell you about my experiences at all of my sites, which explains why I'm just exhausted. Again, unplugged was the best thing that could have happened...reconnecting was a rude awakening.


Squidoo – still in turmoil. They have a new progress bar and tell you to clean up things. I won't even touch the edit button with their screwed up lens locking filter right now! So I feel the clock is ticking over there. Still make good money on my handful of lenses, but feels like the boat is sinking fast.


HubPages – I never wrote much over there (like 16?)...half do well, the other half are now deindexed for not enough traffic (they aren't spammy articles, I promise...just not getting visits). Why would I spend time cleaning those up to get indexed again? Isn't life too short for this?


Zazzle – I've actually put not much effort into it but have made $500 so far in six months...might continue on this avenue...I'm happy with that income and feel I can do better. But a whole new interface now? Now I need to make new headers and clean up my zazzle stores.


My 5 Blogs – All doing well for my standards, thankfully, but I've had bad Google searches on my rv blog for months and am finally sitting down and learning webmaster tools, etc. (I'm not de-indexed, just buried). I still get about 300 visits/day from everywhere else but geez...learning all of the trial/error (I'm stuck on setting preferred domain right now and 301 redirect)...I just feel like saying “who cares? I still get sales, Adsense, etc. But this is taking time, too - for little return - trying to figure out what the problem might be.


Amazon Associate and Adsense income still doing well – at least that's something


Infobarrel – OMG! - Jim wrote there and they announced while we were traveling NO MORE LINKING. They don't want Google to ding them, so they are taking an intense, proactive track.


So here is the thing that keeps nagging at us. Google keeps changing and never ends. Keyword importance is down. Linking in many cases is a no-no now unless completely relevant (I used to passive link to my rving lifestyle when speaking personally in articles). Everyone wants you to socialize (tweet, facebook, google+) but I don't want to be stuck at the computer chatting 24/7...I'm busy enough as it is. So is that the only way to rank now? Socializing? If so, I'm out...I don't even like talking on the phone.


This leads to my last thought, which has ZERO authority (just a gut feeling). Isn't the next chopping block victim in line going to be affiliate anything? Let's face it, I try to write entertaining articles, but I still need to pay bills – so Adsense and Amazon Associates are a big part of that. But the internet is plastered with 20 people competing on various writing sites to rank to sell their costume, makeup, shoes, camping gear. Isn't it only a matter of time when Google cleans up that realm? It is so repetitive.


I'm not against sales articles in good taste! I make my living from don't get me wrong! But you know what I mean, right? Not picking on anyone...swear...but remember the Angry Birds craze? Costumes, party favors, cupcakes, clothing, bedding....Now multiply those times all of the sites and blogs out there trying to rank for is saturation. It clogs up search results. I just feel Google is going to clean that up at some point in the future, too.


What am I saying? Not only is all of this taking tons of time away from “living” - it certainly isn't earning what it should for the time I spend at the computer. For only being at it 2.5 years and learning from nothing all on my own, I'm proud of how far I've come...but it is changing so much and I spend so much time working backwards as I adjust to constant's an energy vampire. I won't do the social route because that puts me at the computer more and does not guarantee targeted traffic who plan to make purchases or pursue ads.


I started rving to simplify my life. It ain't feeling too simple. I enjoyed having no computer access – and I fear my present work will be in vain in the future.


Yes...this is the “bummer” post – can anyone help me shake it? I'm quite paralyzed, not writing more, until I do more soul searching as to if it is all worth it anymore (or in the near future).

In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Posts: 847
on 07/04/2013

My personal opinion? I think you're right. I've been saying for a long time that the market is saturated therefore the money is spread thin. I treat this as a hobby now.

Brenda Reeves
on 07/04/2013

Thanks Brenda....

I believe in the idea that the world is full of givers and takers - and as much as I've always tried to live my life as a "giver" (even my BA is in social service type fields, having been department head at nursing homes, food banks) - no matter how much personal "giving" I try to put in my articles, I still feel like a taker.

The hypocrisy of feeling icky over mainstream society, yet depending on "selling" myself to others to make a living...boy, I'm really in a place right now, eh?

I want to enjoy my time on this planet and feel like I'm offering something to it. My music? Well that feels good, and I care little about fame or money. Trying to sell something....not so much.

Guess this isn't just about how to spend my time, it's about how it makes me FEEL inside, morally/ethically.

Bummer, bummer, bummer............

In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Posts: 699
on 07/04/2013

As someone who continues to make their income 100% online, I can only tell you that it takes hours every day. I maintain websites, do freelance writing, and write at Wizzley and elsewhere. Even when I was sick during the past year, I worked online at least 5 hours every day.

I have never believed in passive income. So I expect to tinker everyday. I find that I have to focus. So I do have a work plan. I enjoy this immensely, so it isn't a chore. But I can see where it would be overwhelming some days.

on 07/04/2013

Thanks Digby -

Oh geez, Jim could tell you how much time I put in each day....constantly learning, creating, researching, developing a plan - we've had so many work "schedules" as to who does what each day as a team. We also were doing freelance for extra income for a long time.

We both love the creativity part - the writing is the best and it is great looking back at what we've done as a team over the years.

But I see how much has changed in only 2.5 years! If I'd followed everyone's advice on Squidoo...watched some of the "giants" work as a model (some of which were great keywords, an intro like "if you're looking for _____, you've come to the right place!" and a bunch of Amazon links...which is now completely not acceptable), I'd have lost everything! I moved away from Squidoo quite quickly, not feeling satisfied.

The point is, what does it look like in 2 more years? At this pace? A lot different, in my opinion.

I do own some of my own domains, but even that is the constant Google silly, when you think about what matters in the universe, the bigger picture. those who love it and don't mind sitting at the computer 5+ hours a day, that's great...I just can't stand being in the mountains, in this beauty, and even turning the thing on anymore. So much living to do outside my door.....

In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
on 07/04/2013

I meant to add, if it matters, that I do make 100% of my income online. I also sell on Amazon and is always running in the rv....

In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Posts: 3100
on 07/04/2013

I would keep it simple.  Smile

If you can travel around the country and make music (and make enough money to support your lifestyle) - go for it. We ain't getting any younger.

Feed your soul first. There'll be plenty time later to feed the keyboard.

Achim "Chef Keem" Thiemermann is the co-founder of a pretty cool new platform, yeah -
Posts: 699
on 07/04/2013

Don't do anything silly like delete content though.

on 07/04/2013

Thanks Chef and Digby...

Oh my goodness, I'd never delete content! I'm not even sure what it is I want that would feel good. I've met great rvers in the community through my blog and plan to do a series on primitive campgrounds around here...a win-win where I share pics and get to drive in the mountains, then write about it - I'm truly not throwing 2.5 years down the toilet in any way.


It's just thinking about jumping off the track I was on (affiliate articles, lots of endless writing, learning more, keeping up with all of the changes). I've got a notebook with each site, all needing changes, research, new material, more learning, updates...and I'm thinking my time isn't best spent on those things, given the time involved, etc.

Let's put it this way to clarify...aside from "rent" in an rv site (and this summer I'm staying at a beautiful private spot in the mountains for free), my bills aside from food/entertainment are $400. I don't need much to sustain life...We're playing one gig in September that pays an entire month's bills, for example.

Even if we choose not to do the music route, I need so little...that's where we're stuck right now. But to work part time, I'd have to be in one place...and I'm on the move (hence why online was a great plan).

Ugh...probably more info than you wanted to know!! Thanks again, guys!

In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Posts: 699
on 07/05/2013

Not to worry.

Posts: 144
on 07/05/2013

Dear frugalrvers,

I agree with you. Making money online takes something like an year or so to just get started. I wasted enough money in schemes that did not help me much - I think it was a learning curve. Now I am stuck in an ever growing learning curve that keeps getting longer.

Also, getting stuck to the computer invites health problems. Because of my health issues I cannot sit longer, I need to get up often. More breaks and fitness regimes because the sedentary life is not good for me. Not much money comes for me at present but it helps me going. I love writing and this helps me to engage myself in some creative thinking.

Posts: 274
on 07/05/2013

Hi Robin,

You've expressed a lot of what I've been feeling about this online thing, too. Is it really worth the time spent?  My main reason for continuing is that I keep hoping my meagre income will increase, yet as you've mentioned, everything keeps changing, and right now things are changing on many fronts at once.

The Zazzle changes are not too hard to fix -- it's a matter of managing your store and making sure your "enable heading" and "categories" are checked. Your old headers and categories return. It does seem overwhelming, but $500 in 6 months is not bad. 

I agree with Chef to do what feels right. I'm probably going to hang around for a bit longer, though I'm trying to cut down on my time online. 

I think we all need to be sure we're not getting too addicted to sitting in front of a screen. Each day is a gift and we need to be out in nature and face to face with other people. I wish we could all meet at a coffee shop or something now and then. Wouldn't that be fun?

Best of luck, Robin. Enjoy your summer in the mountains.

Read one of my books Sheila's Books
Posts: 626
on 07/05/2013

Robin, I think you bring up many relevant questions with your Bummer post:

And I believe each of us will have a different slant to our answers. There lies the rub - none of us is the same - only do what is best for you.

What is best for you?

Keep rving. Enjoy life. Do your music. Keep your online content. And when the time is right, and the inspiration hits you (and you have an internet connection), write about something that you truly want to write about (so it is not a chore). 

I write and research etc., because I enjoy it. I don't write for todays income (although that is useful), I write for tomorrows income (i.e. to supplement my pension, when it arrives in 5 years time). I start and stop at various sites, and my own properties, at a whim. Then let them mature. I have not written at HP for instance for at least a year (and the income from Adsense and Amazon now is pretty steady, having fallen for a while).

What I am trying to say is that once an income stream is established it does not go away completely, even if you stop. Having done all your research and arrived at the place you are now, all that work has not gone to waste, as you will benefit from it, even though you stop writing (for a while or for good). It WILL generate a passive income whether you like it or not.

The other thing that I have found is:

if you stop writing, and do all those other things related to your content (promotion etc. etc.), it makes very little difference money-wise. I've found that you need to do those things at the outset (and if you have not done them then you should), but once done, that stuff can be forgotten about, once you stop writing.

So those little tidbits should put your mind at rest regarding writing when you feel like it, rather than as a chore each day. If you can live on the income from the writing you have done so far (with a small drop), plus any income from your music, and that fulfills your needs lifestyle-wise AND mentally, then you can choose that path without regret.

Just come back to us and chat, but only when you have the time and inclination. And let us know how you are getting on.

Posts: 478
on 07/05/2013

Hi Robin,

I agree with Chaz: " . . . And when the time is right, and the inspiration hits you (and you have an internet connection), write about something that you truly want to write about (so it is not a chore)."

And I agree with you: writing a good article on Wizzley is an energy vampire. However, I love to write about certain things. So I'll stick to that.

I think writing and promoting and socializing online full-time is definitely not for everyone. I certainly know now I need to do it in moderation because it has kept me too long at the computer, and far too long away from other things. So I probably won't be making a living writing these articles online. (Not that I planned for it to happen too soon; I do other work as well, so I don't have time to write a lot here.) But it will be fun to share things I'm passionate about and be in touch with people. Also, let's not forget, I think we all learn wonderful things from each other here on Wizzley reading each other's articles and interracting.

My blog on Wordpress is also giving me satisfaction, and redirecting more and more people on Amazon. I'm also reading great posts there as well.

Will affiliate linking go away? I don't think so. Companies count on people to spread the message about their brands, and affiliate linking is an incentive to put more time and energy into it. I think it will be here to stay. But we may see people on Google+ getting more of a share, etc.

If you already have your music as an option, then go for it. " And when the time is right, and the inspiration hits you (and you have an internet connection), write about something that you truly want to write about (so it is not a chore)." :) Hugs!!


Posts: 825
on 07/05/2013

Sounds like time for a change.

I've changed directions so many times in my life. I've survived being a musician, dog groomer, obedience instructor,  bicycle mechanic, software tester, weaver....well, you get the idea.

Do what you need to do.

Lana or LIl aka Ragtimelil RagtimeLil's Store on Weebly
Posts: 100
on 07/05/2013

I also feel a lot of your same frustrations.  Squidoo, which was a site that was doing well for me and bringing in the second largest amount of income for me after my main project, RateTea, totally fell apart for me.  My pages are actually still doing well but what went out the window was my trust in the management of the site...I feel like there's no incentive for me to continue publishing things there, I just maintain the pages I had and I no longer take time to report spam and file bug reports, which I used to be diligent about because I liked the site and felt good about it.

I feel good about Wizzley and how it is managed.  I wish Wizzley would outrank / outperform Squidoo, but my articles here aren't drawing much traffic.  I still find it more fun and satisfying to publish here though.

I also get frustrated when working on my main site, RateTea.  But it is doing well, even though it's the slowest time for a tea website--summer--and it's been growing a lot year to year.

I do feel the frustration though with spending too much time on the computer.  I don't think that's healthy for people...I think it's unhealthy for me and probably for most people too.  So if you have a good way to get off the computer and go do other things that you enjoy more, and are more fulfilling, then go for it.

I love writing but I write primarily because I like to get ideas out there.  I have other income from other sources and I have never supported myself from online work.  It would be nice if I some day could, but I don't go after the big money, I write mainly about what I'm passionate about.

Good luck with you with all your endeavours.  And remember, you can always put as much or as little time into stuff like this as you want.  You probably get the most out of the first hour or so you put in...and then you get diminishing returns, at least, that's often the case for me.

Alex Zorach, editor of RateTea and co-founder of Why This Way
Posts: 1087
on 07/05/2013

Hi Robin,

I will say pretty much the same as everyone here - do what you want.

I limit myself online and am off the computer from about 3pm on, unless I need to contact a customer after that.  That works for me and I don't feel like I am connected non-stop to it.  I do what I can in that time frame and the rest waits.

Like you, I am not a social media person.  I only do Facebook for promoting Zazzle and supporting other Zazzlers as I can.

Changes can be really hard to adjust to for some people - me included.  If you've been with Zazzle very long you will realize that hardly a month goes by when they are not updating and changing something.  The online world is progressing too fast for me to keep up at times, but I have no other choice than to try to keep up.

I wish you the best with whatever you decide - I have downsized recently by stopping blogging and trying to focus on fewer sites.  Maybe you could go that route.



on 07/05/2013

Good Morning, Everyone!

Oh my...I can't thank all of you enough for your replies...THAT is why I posted here!

I read every single word in every single post...could never respond to everyone but know that not one reply went unappreciated! You all gave such great input and advice...thank you!

Nothing we "decide" would happen tomorrow...we have time to just absorb all of the ideas here, plus the ones in our own heads, and try to make the best decision going forward. I really do like writing, the creative outlet - but the sedentary life and draining of energy is depleting my spirit. Again, the catalyst for the bummer post was that I got to be 100% disconnected for an extended period of time...and once hooked up again, I knew by my physical/mental/emotional response that this wasn't feeling right anymore.

I can't imagine ever completely walking away from everything...Jim enjoys his music blog, I maintain the rving one and meet great people...and we are happy with their increasing popularity, etc. Zazzle seems worth my efforts, too, if I have to choose just a few things to "tend to."

Perhaps in the end we will still tend to a few pieces of online real estate but choose a path that allows us to be away from the computer most of the time.

One thing is for sure...I love Wizzley and the writers here. Would never "disappear" from the forums. If I were to continue with 100% writing online, Wizzley would be at the top. If I step back, I will still gladly be a part of this community!

I'm sure you know this already, but my decisions are no reflection on my respect and adoration for Wizzley. With the crazy and wild changes that are happening (or have happened) on Hub, Squidoo, Infobarrel...I wouldn't trust my work in the hands of any other site's admin BUT Wizzley. I know they would fight for my content, to keep my work as safe as possible, even if forced to make radical changes in the future. Other sites are giving no warning, directly hurting people's income. I'd take less traffic for more security any day!

Time for more coffee, but thanks again for such amazing feedback/advice/encouragement from every single one of you!


In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Posts: 205
on 07/09/2013

Hi Robin,


My response.


Write when you want to and publish online.

Enjoy the heck outta your RV trips and clock up some more miles.

Drink coffee daily.


Thats it from me :)

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