Considering this thread (predictions for 2019: [webmasterworld.com
]), decided to open this one. Every case and niche is different, this is what I learned recently, specially 2018. Had to let go some websites and domains
. After growing from 1 to many sites (that I own) I had to let go a few, some years back, but 2018 was the year to let go some others. Why? too much time needed to keep it growing, relevant and with good content. Good content is king yes but you always need to post some more, and sites generate expenses. It was wiser to let them go. Selling them? I experienced this but not always I'm willing to spend time and effort in the process, specially domain transfers and installs (my sites run my own CMS). In general letting go this 2018 has been a money saver. The audience is getting dumber
. This was discussed somehow in two separate threads. Over the years the way and style people communicate via websites has changed, many will contact me to ask questions that are already answered in the articles. 2018 was the record. most people don't read, and many have issues reading to the point of "I-can't-believe-it". It's not just me, friends and colleagues running advertising campaigns and online strategies are struggling on simplifying their messages, things like: 5 words is already too much on any square ad or promo box, alert or whatever. I'm really impressed. So, instead of making it easier for readers to contact me I did the opposite: now the users have to search the "contact us" button, why? it's too much stupidity day by day (yes my sites tend to receive daily and weekly emails). This has worked pretty well, no more reading stupid messages. This is alarming, my experience showed established contact with potential clients was also a headache, I had to write like when you try to communicate with children. Buttons make audience stupid
. Facebook introduced new functions regarding some publications. Readers will see a set of buttons so you can have an item for sale and suddenly you receive "is this still available?" something like that. Then you notice you have 50 of those, why? people don't even write, they just click the button. Such a time waster. Facebook is mostly a waste of time
. I added the share/like whatever buttons to my sites. The result is a lot of people were giving likes, good! but let's face it, after the full year I learned I was just helping FB to track people around the web. In fact despite my efforts invested posting on FB and people pushing the like button, the FB page didn't really generate traffic to my website. In fact after several tests I noticed people push the like button even if they don't read anything. So the large amount of likes came from my own website generating traffic to FB, not the other way around. I ended up removing the share buttons and likes. Oh yes my websites came back to their full speed.
I have friends and "colleagues" doing online campaigns. In depth discussions about this bring nothing, FB is something their clients ask them to do because they want it, but there are very little conversions. FB changed over 2018 way too much
. I made some tests at the beginning of the year and I had fair success selling stuff (just as friends and colleagues), then over the year things changed a lot til your efforts prove unsuccessful time after time. FB just doesn't work the same as beginning of the year regardless of organic likes or paid advertising. The result is my friends and colleagues are struggling with their campaigns, me? I don't do that anymore. Today more than ever 10K - 100K likes prove to work as if you had only 2 readers (and I'm not talking about paid traffic). Mobile is definitely here to stay
. My reports show a huge jump into mobile, desktop in my case is the smallest group checking my websites. We already know many of them are not even humans. Bots loose around the web are doing the job. Sure it's a more complex world in terms of advertising due to many adblockers, some mobile browsers blocking naively the ads, diff screen sizes, etc. My content is your content
. More than ever I notice people treating content as if it was a free resource and we were all entitled to it. New companies with lots of hired employees are basing their work on stealing content
. They make people read and alter the content, now it's new content!. Lucky you if there is some link to your site, most people are using scripts to do the jump to your site. This is not new but the trend this 2018 is huge. Video, people want videos
. It's quite evident how more people enjoy video content rather than posted articles, why? to entertain their eyes and senses? perhaps, but mostly because today people seem to access content by hearing it while doing something else, and no, podcast are not as attractive as video, people watch bits of the videos, they want images and depending your niche they want tutorials and detailed reports. The death of more newspapers and online media
. The largest newspaper in the region covering 5 countries where I used to work for 13+ years is now asking people to disable ad blockers, they cut their staff amazingly. Near bankruptcy and now using their press (paper printing) to print promotional material like and small local newspaper that don't last (newspapers for communities) they are in really deep problems financially and cutting staff 50 employees at the time on each wave. Local online media on the rise
. Small groups of people covering specific regions of 5km are covering news and posting online, they are fast and they don't go far. They use smartphones and write with their feet (terrible writing) but they are FAST! and you can read the news there first. They are getting paid by VERY SMALL businesses but together that's a lot, from local stores to shoe repairs and restaurants, no more big advertisers. Dead forum
. Lots of forums were already dying but this 2018... damn, there are big communities now having one new topic every 2 days, almost nobody gets online, most moved to FB and Instagram or Twitter. Lot's of small business opening and closing
. This 2018 more and more clients try to research the companies selling services, why? there is already a history of new companies that didn't make it over the year so they want to know "how many developers you have?" so in case something goes wrong they have their backs covered. Less cash
. Never... in my life witnessed this big, huge effort from clients to get the companies to finance their projects so they would pay at the very end. Very few pay in advance 10, 20, 40%, most try as hard as they can to avoid paying upfront. Most want to push "pay at the end of the project". Websites kinda gone...
I see less people interested on websites, but I also see more interested on website-infrastructure to manage internal data. Letting clients go
. One of my most money and time saving efforts this 2018 was letting go some clients. The amount of detail and requests from them was just too much around unrealistic expectations (online) so it was more efficient to have less clients. Moving to something else
. Interesting enough (I posted about this), I've been doing woodworking and other stuff. The effectiveness of time-money is way better and specially because I deal with real stuff, things we can touch, measure, use and mostly because I can start and finish in specific amounts of time. Plus: there is no future maintenance as server updates breaking functionality. 2018 more than ever meant in my case a big push... out of the online world. And honestly it feels good, healthier. Adsense
. More cryptic than ever. Few things translate into more earnings, and if it works, it does so for a few weeks and then goes back to the same earnings because advertisers seem to sail around more strict weekly limits.