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SEO business decision

     
5:49 pm on Aug 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You have 2 small sites that you worked on now and then in your free time outside of normal work. They are still alive after 12 years and still generating a small but decent enough income.

You are now mostly retired with more free time. But you are reluctant to throw yourself into your 2 sites because Google is much harder to predict with SEO and AdSense. And frankly, you're willing to spend a little more time on them, but not a lot more. The future for small publishers looks bleak. Do you:

1. Forget putting any more time and money into them.
2. Pay a monthly fee to some SEO companies like Moz for an outside perspective.
3. Come up with bigger bucks and pay an SEO firm to take on some of the load?
10:57 pm on Aug 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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you're willing to spend a little more time on them, but not a lot more.

That seems like the best option to me, but although you stated it in your explanation of your situation, you didn't include it in your final list of options.
12:09 am on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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^^^ I agree with aristotle.

Bear in mind that Google has absolutely no interest to benefit you whatsoever and as time progresses most likely your AdSense income will reduce more and more unless your sites keep expanding at a good rate of knots.

Do not rely on a continuing AdSense income, continue with your sites because you enjoy them and others benefit from them ... I assume you do it because you enjoy it?
12:28 am on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Status Quo will probably give best results. As retired, take whatever free time you personally desire to expend and keep the sites "fresh" ... other than that, keep it simply simple! (KISS)

If you do nothing it keeps plugging along.

If you add a bit, there might be benefits.

If you expend MONEY chasing MORE via seo you are in debt before you get started.

Pick and choose.

Seems to me past practice has already suggested the logical way forward. :)

Bits and pieces eventually accumulate to a larger whole. If at some point the sties "take off" for any reason, that would be the time to revisit making INVESTMENTS of LUCRE to CHASE more LUCRE.

Aside: Beware the temptation to spend monies in declining years (retirement) for pie in the sky income which may or may not come about. Your income earning years are behind you and making up for losses is incredibly more difficult.

From the "Ben Theregang school of Hard Knocks".
12:39 am on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@scottb ... Whether you, or a client, is in this position, there is no immediate need to jump on the "professional" seo wagon. Play the game, of course. Webmasterworld has oodles of forums that deal with the subject, and take baby steps from those suggestions.

There's nothing worse than an oldster on fixed income for their remaining years losing it all trying to chase riches on the web.

If the existing sites already cover all host and expenses and provide some income, that's +1. Playing around the edges with commonsense (and affordable!) SEO is not out of the question. But doing a major campaign can burn through cash like chit through a goose and delete life savings over night. That's not an optimal outcome.

Sometimes, just say "no".
10:55 am on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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1. Forget putting any more time and money into them.

If you need the money and enjoy it, why not spend your time on it. As others have said most sites need at least some content added/refreshed every once in a while or the only way your sites will go is a gradual down slope in traffic

2. Pay a monthly fee to some SEO companies like Moz for an outside perspective.

You have spent enough times in these forums. You most likely know what you need to work on.

3. Come up with bigger bucks and pay an SEO firm to take on some of the load?

Who do you trust? If you are retired and enjoy the work I would just do it myself.

You said the websites make a decent income. If you don't enjoy the work, your other option is to sell the websites.
2:18 pm on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all for your insights. I'm really grateful. Multiple replies:

1. Aristotle, sorry for the inconsistency. I do mean I'm willing to put a little more time into them. Just not a lot more.

2. Redbar, I agree and I don't rely on AdSense income. It's just enough to make it worth my time to maintain the sites and post a little more each day. I still do them because of the personal connection. Kind of like writing a book. It's an achievement that I did on my own.

3. Tangor, well said. I had my doubts about spending money because I haven't found many obvious outside services that I think would be a good "return on investment" (critical factor in what I do). I just wondered if some of you grizzled veterans have run into something that I didn't know about. :)

4. JesterMagic, unfortunately, trust is hard to build. I have been working mostly on the business side of online publishing for a long time. It's tough finding any firm that seems worth the money. Based on all of the feedback here, I'm definitely leaning toward just doing the work myself. I have thought about selling them, but again, they're kind of my babies. Just hate to let them go.
3:23 pm on Aug 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Selling should not be an emotional decision, but merely a rational cash flow analysis. It might cause some pain to you when you sell, but over time, the heat of green bucks cures most of the pain. Plus you'll have even more free time to do something totally different without relying on Adsense/SEO duo.
3:08 am on Aug 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Before hiring an SEO company I'd see what you can improve yourself. Some simple gain avenues include...

- Site performance, do you have any slowdowns? Use one of several free site performance tools online, including google's own pagespeed, and fix what you can.

- Site CTR from search, are people understanding what to expect from your content by it's title? You can often increase CTR from search by improving the titles. Google's Search Console is free and great at providing you with CTR data. Tweak slowly and check back a month later before tweaking again.

- Add content that might be better suited for search special features. Images for image search. Lists or summaries for knowledge boxes, etc.

- Manage outdated content. Remove it, noindex it or update it as you see fit. Search console can tell you what's not getting traffic anymore, it's a good place to start evaluating on a page by page basis.

My point is - do what you can yourself to improve what you have, a good SEO will suggest you do anyway and you'll save yourself some time and $$ with them if you eventually hire one.
4:56 am on Aug 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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SEO is just a tweak. Most of the time we (as webmasters) can figure that out ourselves. What is really required is doing that in an "ordinary" manner ... not some great fell swoop of obviously "engineered" attempt to play the system.

SEO is closer to gambling than advertising outreach ... and most of us know that house always wins when gambling is involved. Which means the PLAYER loses. Card counters might make a few quick bucks, but the HOUSE will know it and kill the game (in SEO terms that is "penalized").

Pick and chose ... or do it natural. With content. AND third party such as tv, radio, msm media ... and that's where the real bucks are involved. That said...

In retirement, with sites that have traffic and enough income to pay the bills AND show a profit, that's a perfect place to keep one's hand in the game, grow it by bits and pieces, AND retain the retirement dollars as well.

JS_Harris outlines several possibilities. There are others which have been discussed at WW ... so spend some time there.
3:25 pm on Aug 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Wondering, I would normally agree with you, especially when I worked in the corporate world and had to deliver the numbers. On my own, I have a personal attachment to these sites. Any money I make from a sale won't have a big impact my financial security.

JS Harris, all excellent points and many I have done on my own including heavy use of online performance tools. You reinforce my thought that most SEOs will suggest doing what I'm already doing.

Tangor, I think you get my attitude. With all the feedback, I'm pretty sure that I need to skip any larger money investment and keep looking for as many small victories as possible.

On a related note, I wonder if any of you people are willing to mention what you do. Are you independent webmasters, corporate tech employees or something else?
5:55 pm on Aug 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Are you independent webmasters

The webmaster label doesn't truly apply to me. I'm a content creator that had to learn parts of being a webmaster to maintain my site, and that might be the problem with me and others that are small publishers… we are a jack of all trades and master of none.
11:12 pm on Aug 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@skaterpunk ... I think more of us fall into that category than the other way around. :)

I know I started out doing it as a hobby and in making that fly got hooked into learning all kinds of stuff I didn't know I needed. Now some 30 years later the wet tech is beginning to be saturated. (sigh)
10:22 am on Sept 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Keep updating the content - at least every now and then.
1. Forget putting any more time and money into them.