For the Critic

Criticism and judgement. Where does it stem from? Many critics and trolls can be found on the web. If you go to Amazon you can write a review about a product someone has perhaps written or created. You can head on over to Youtube and also leave a comment about what someone has created. But before you do, ask yourself, “What have I created?”.

“In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little. Yet enjoy a position over those who offer up there work and their sales to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write or read. But the better of truth that we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so…”

Anton Ego, from the movie Ratatouille

Are Article Sites Good for Website Traffic/SEO?

Article sites are a good way for writers to get their content out there if they don’t have their own website. If you’re looking for ways to generate traffic to your website, you might have heard about writing articles on sites like: Ezine Articles, HubPages, and Squidoo to get a backlink to your site. This is how I was first introduced to the idea. I was searching the web for ways on how to get traffic and one of them mentioned by numerous sources was to post articles on these kinds of sites.

In my experience this doesn’t work and if you’re considering doing this I wouldn’t recommend it. Here’s why:

  1. In themselves article sites don’t really generate traffic
  2. You don’t have control
  3. If you’re wanting to make a bit of money with Adsense you’ll only get a share
  4. I don’t think people go to article sites looking for information

1. I have some articles that have been sitting on article sites for over a year and they don’t generate traffic. You’ll need to get links to these articles to get traffic from them. So if you are going to get links to your articles from other sites then why not put them on your site?

After you post an article there you are unlikely to get much if any traffic from the article site. I think HubPages has a system that may show excerpts of newly published articles in a kind of blog roll like way. I think the only people who look at these are mostly other writers on HubPages looking to promote their articles. So you may get a little bit of traffic and a few “Great article!” comments on your first day. But I don’t think I ever got more than 20 visits from this. After that you’ll most likely get no traffic unless you get links to them.

2. I had my articles on HubPages for like ten months and was starting to get some first page results with one article generating 40-80 hits a day. That’s not a ton, but it was in the 5 or 6 spot and climbing for that keyword. Then I got some message that I was linking to “prohibited sites”. I inquired and found out that my site was the prohibited site and it was because I had an email sign up page on it for a free ebook. So they said I had to remove my links from the article.

That was why I was using them in the first place, to get traffic. For me I already had my doubts about using article sites, so when they said that I removed all of my articles from their site. What I lost was time. That one article took maybe 7 or 8 months to get on the first page and then maybe a couple more to get where it was.

So there you don’t have ultimate control and you have to play by their rules.

3. If you would like to make some money with Adsense then you should know that you will only get a share. I never understood Squidoo’s earnings and never saw any as most of my articles were on HubPages, but HubPages takes earnings 40% of the time. So if you want to make money you’ll make more if you have your own site or blog.

4. People go to Google and Yahoo to look for information. I don’t think people go to any article sites to look for information. The article sites get traffic by showing up in search results. But typically articles won’t show up unless they get linked to, which brings us back to…if you’re going to have to build links to your articles for traffic then why not put the article on your site?

So my advice is to just put your articles on your site. Other than that sites like HubPages and Squidoo are pretty easy to use if you don’t want to set up your own site or you’re just dabbling. I haven’t done this, but I suppose you could always fill out a profile over there that includes a link to your site. And then you could do some commenting on other articles. And maybe someone will find your comment interesting enough and click through to your profile. And then maybe they will click on the link to your site and you’ll get some traffic.


SEO/Website Traffic – How long does it take?

SEO takes time. I have been working on a site for a long time. And it really feels like a lonnnng time. So I am wondering how long did it take you to get the amount of traffic to your website that you have now?

My story is the following and I’ll be referring to my other site ESLinsider and not to this blog that I have just started. I owned the url on a one page site since 2009. It’s incarnation of content took a long time and then I had developers build this video based site for ESL teachers. Originally it was a private membership site. It was completed at the end of 2010. After it was completed I was hopeful to get some traffic.

The thing is traffic didn’t come. I tried Adwords, but that was a huge unsuccessful expense. I realized that the developers didn’t do any SEO, like metatags and titles. So I had to learn how to do that and then I learned I needed to get links. So I got a few links and then a little traffic from forums. I found more forums, a few article sites and Yahoo Answers, but I still wasn’t getting much traffic. After nearly a year of little success selling access to my site I gave up on the selling and I made it free.

So then I put my videos (over 100) on Youtube and rebuilt the site myself, embedding the videos in my site, so that it was fully public and no longer behind a login. That was around the end of 2011. That added like 130 pages to my site and links, so I thought for sure I would be getting some traffic fairly soon.

I used the following methods for generating traffic and links:

  • Forum posting
  • Q&A sites
  • Youtube
  • Tried Facebook
  • Article sites

But I still saw little to no search engine traffic. Around April 2012 one of my articles on Hubpages got on the first page and that article started to get traffic. A few months later that one article was getting as much traffic as the rest of my site. I think the reason why it was getting traffic was that:

  1. I had linked to it from a page 7 ranked site with my choice keyword in the anchor text.
  2. It had been there for nearly 8 months.

So that article and another on Hubpages started to generate search engine traffic, but I don’t recommend article sites for traffic and you can read more about that here.

A sample of my current traffic is this (Jun 20-Jul 21, 2012):

  • Unique visitors: 2,633 (This was over 4,400 until I ripped my articles off of Hubpages)
  • Page views: 11,330

The most I ever got was over 4,400 unique visitors. So my site has been online for more than a year and a half. However, it’s been in it’s current form since the start of 2012. So then let’s say it’s been nearly 7 months. So tough to say, but I could say it’s taken at least seven months to get that much traffic.

And you know what? I have worked hard on it and put a lot of time into it. Granted I am no expert, but I have to say that I have read a number of books on SEO, website traffic and marketing. But these numbers are pretty low especially when one would like to earn money from Adsense. So all I can say is that it is not easy and that it takes time.

There have been moments where I’ll get discouraged or ticked off and assume I have created something not as a great as I originally thought. But then I’ll look at the numbers and see a growing amount of return visitors and direct visits. So then I know that I have created something of value for some people.

So how about you? I would love to hear your story and…

How long has it taken you to get the amount of traffic that you have now?

ESLinsider – The Long Preview

Back in late 2008-2009 I got the idea to create a groundbreaking^^ video how-to guide for ESL teachers. It was going to be a guide for those interested in teaching English in Asia (China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan) and also serve as a resource for teachers. A resource that would help them in the classroom, by giving them instruction and fresh ideas. There were a lot of sites and resources out there for ESL teachers, but few of them were video based.

I also wanted to interview teachers throughout Asia and find out about their experiences. So I set out and started with a skydive in Hawaii. After that I returned to Korea where I was at the time and then left for China, then Taiwan and Japan. Not necessarily in that order. I interviewed a total of 30 or so teachers.

So this preview shows portions of exactly what ESLinsider is. I juiced it up with a little music and some scratching. Just so you know the text in the video is a little dated as the site has grown since that video was made in 2010.

I went to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Xiamen, China. In Taiwan I went to Taichung where I used to live and visited old friends and then to Koahsiung (that’s where the monkey was filmed). I spent a few days in Tokyo, Japan as well. After all that I went back to Korea and ended up interviewing the majority of teachers on Haeundae beach in Busan.

All of the how-to videos were shot in Korea in a combination of Hagwons and public schools.

The site started out as a paid membership site, but few people would pay. So whether my marketing story sucked or whatever, people just didn’t see the value in it. I think that without an incredible story few people will pay for online content. On top of that there is so much competition out there and it’s all a click away if people don’t find what they immediately want.

So in December 2011 I made the site free and added advertising. Initially costs of the video were too high, higher than any money I got back from advertising. So the next step was to put the video on Youtube and embed the Youtube videos on my site.

ESLinsider’s most popular videos.

Why I Love Hip Hop – Part 4

4. The DJ

Where would Hip Hop be without a DJ? Nowhere, as Hip Hop music was founded on a pair of turntables. The music evolved from turntables. In the beginning it was with two records which weren’t even Hip Hop. This was before it existed. DJ Kool Herc used two of the same funk records and juggled the break over and over again. Later Hip Hop evolved into a mixture of samples, drum machines and sometimes live instruments. But it all started with a DJ.

Here is a DJ who took it to a whole new level. DJ Q-Bert. In this video you will see him scratching with one turntable and no mixer. Usually the DJ uses the mixer to cut the sound on and off, but here Q-bert uses one hand and no mixer to make music.

Ha, I lied here’s Part 5 – Beatboxing

Why I Love Hip Hop – Part 3

3. The MC

There have been MC’s who had a nice flow, style or sound and there have been emcee’s who wrote interesting lyrics. Few MC’s can do both. Here’s one that’s been around since ’86. He is still performing and rocking as raw as ever. His name is KRS-ONE.

He’s a mentor of mine. Someone who left home in his early teens and lived on the streets for years while honing his craft. He never graduated high school, but now aside from MC’ing he is an associate professor and lectures at Berkley, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, you name it. If anybody can be defined as Hip Hop it is him. And according to him we are not doing Hip Hop we are Hip Hop.

He has written many books including The Gospel of Hip Hop.

Part 4 – The DJ

Why I Love Hip Hop – Part 2

2. Breakers

Also known as B-Boys and B-Girls. Breakers form of expression is through the body. There are different styles of breaking like for example, popping and locking. Here is a video by a couple of lads from Denmark who have added their own twist to breaking. While it may not seem immediately obvious to some that this is Hip Hop. It’s just Hip Hop in a different costume.

Meet Nick and Jeppe.

Part 3 – The MC

Why I Love Hip Hop

My first memory of Hip Hop was from around 1987 or so. And that was a vague memory of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”. By 1989 I was hooked, and some of my earliest tapes were:

  • De La Soul, “3 Feet High and Rising”
  • Special Ed, “Youngest in Charge”
  • 3rd Bass, “The Cactus Album”

Even before Hip Hop I was a big fan of the group INXS and my favorite song was called, “Guns in the Sky”. And that beat and that sound was what I loved and in retrospect it sounded a lot like Hip Hop.

Anyways here are four reasons why I love Hip Hop. They are also the four main elements of Hip Hop.

1. Graffiti

Graffiti can be skribbles on the wall or notes on the bathroom wall. It’s been around since the cave man. And often it isn’t very attractive or wanted, however sometimes it’s amazing and who doesn’t read the notes in the bathroom stall?

Check out what these guys can do with spray paint.

Part 2 – Breakers