As I sat there watching the rankings of my first website and blog plummet, daily, my heart sank. For a couple of years my site was ranked near the top of most google searches for many of the keywords in its niche. I was proud of the fact that I'd got it there, too.
We had recently, I mean within the week, moved and had arrived at our new location which was 2,600 miles from where we'd just moved from. Our website and blog had been doing so well that we had taken the chance and drove across country without even finding a place to move into first. Luckily for us it only took a week or so, while living out of a motel, to find a nice little cabin up near the smoky mountains to rent and live in.
On a side-note: As I write this there was just a horrible fire in that area, and many people in the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee lost their homes and business's. Ever since I first visited the area surrounding the smoky mountains, I've fallen in love with it, and I wish all of the people who call that area their home the best and hope that they will be able to recover as quickly as possible. I no longer live there but have friends who do.
During the time I was living there, the fire had not happened, and I was excited that I could finally take a chance and move somewhere, depending only on my online income. That was until my website went from making four figures every month to suddenly making only three.
I'm not talking the higher end of three figures; I'm talking only about $300 a month. Yea… We were 2,600 miles from home in a completely new situation and our income was done. To say we were a bit nervous would be an understatement. We were scrambling around trying to figure out what had happened.
I Eventually Discovered What Happened
So, as much as I loved this website and blog, I'd chosen a niche that while fun and all for awhile, wasn't really what I felt was to be my life's work. I knew this from the beginning and, it's funny, (well…now it is) because my original goal was to create that first website and blog and work at it until it was making at least $300 a month.
I know… Ironic right?
I'm serious. I actually set that goal, specifically. My goal was to learn from the experience, get the site to where it was making $300 a month, and then take what I learned with me into my next project.
The thing is, it unexpectedly had taken off and done really well only after a few months. I'd done my due diligence and chosen the right keywords to compete for. In fact, I'd done lots of research far ahead of launching the site, and my efforts had paid off for a couple of years. It made well over the original goal of $300 a month for quite some time.
What happened was I started to take that site for granted and, honestly, I lost some of my initial drive and passion for the topic. The truth is, while the topic was a strong interest of mine, and still is, it just wasn't something that I wanted to spend tons of time on every day for the rest of my life. The problem was I was so invested in it, especially as it was paying all of our bills eventually, that I convinced myself I could work on it every day.
There's over 100 articles on that site and at least 40-50 other pages as well. I've co-written an eBook for the niche (released that eBook 1 month before said site crash) and learned a load about the niche itself. I'm actually an expert in that niche now; I just don't have the drive to write about the topic on a daily basis.
My Slack Caught Up With Me
Basically, I'd stopped working that much on the site at all for many months. I got on it and occasionally answered a question or two, but I wasn't even taking the time anymore to respond to all of the comments that were coming in; something I had done diligently during the first couple of years. Yea, my once almost obsessive drive for the site had waned, and I was feeling burned out and pretty much collecting checks.
Don't get me wrong, I was still working on it, but what I was doing was no where near enough to keep up with it. The reason for this, as I discovered later after a lot of soul searching, was that I just wasn't that committed and passionate about the topic. Sure, I was into it and all, but that's not enough to keep a person putting the work in and sending the right energy out there on a daily basis.
A Google Update Had Struck It Down
One of googles updates, the one with the name of a fuzzy cute little bear, ok I'll say it, the Panda update had squashed my website and blog, and I was dazed and confused. I was shook, because people loved the content. In fact that's all they talked about was how much my site was the best in its niche and all. The information was detailed, complete, and extremely helpful. All of the stuff you hear bloggers and website gurus raving about all day long!
So, long story short, I've since found out that the most likely reason for the site's demise was that there simply wasn't enough outside buzz about it. What I mean is, there weren't enough backlinks and interest, outside of the people that happened to stumble upon it, for google to rate it as a high quality site.
And the Panda algorithm is notorious for knocking down "low quality sites."
I know what you might be thinking… If the content on the site was solid, why would google see it as a low quality site? I thought the same thing until I dug deep enough and found out it's not just the content that gets rated by the Panda algorithm. It's the buzz that the content generates. It matters if people are talking about it is what I'm saying, and to get people talking about you have to go out there and do the work to get them talking about it.
Yes, you might have guessed it already; I'm talking about marketing.
Sorry, but all of the old school stuff you hear about create mind boggling content and they will come. That crap is wrong! That used to work when there was a whole lot less competition online than there is today. No… today it's not enough to just write great content. You must get out there and spread your content. But you can't just spread it all over like butter (the world isn't a piece of toast), you've got to get it in front of the right people.
Ok, So What's The Point Plato?
Hahaha… Yea, I can run on all day about the details and philosophize about what, precisely, went wrong, but the truth is I know what went wrong now.
To put it plainly… I wasn't feeling it anymore, so no one else was either. You could say it's an energy thing, but it goes beyond that.
I had chosen to spend massive amounts of time working in a niche that I wasn't extremely passionate about. Mistake!
I was passionate about it for a bit of time, but it just wasn't enough. In the end it was really a large interest of mine.
I had gotten burned out enough that I didn't spend the proper amount of time and energy on getting the word out about my site. I also happen to be a believer that energy underlies a lot of what happens in life and, basically, I was not sending the right kind of energy out there anymore.
While I did it for the interest and passion in the beginning, I was really only continuing so that I could pay my bills. Don't get me wrong, I helped a lot of people with that site, and that site still helps lots of people to this day. I believe in the message of that site, and I believe in everything I wrote on it. I'll leave it up, because I still see people leaving messages weekly explaining how happy they are to have found the site. I'll probably even start responding to the comments again.
But the magic is gone.
I'm just not coocoo for its coco puffs anymore…
It's true. And if you want to know, I spent close to two years after that tragic day, when it fell, trying to build it back; trying to force myself into a square peg, when all along I've known I'm a circle.
I finally realized what I just said, above. Through a whole lot of disappointment, frustration, and struggling, I learned that I just can't put the time and the right energy into getting that site back.
And why would I want to when I know it's not my life's work? When I know that the only reason I would be doing so, anymore, would be to get it back to earning enough money so I could find the time to work on what I really want to do. I mean come on, really?
If you've never worked on a website or blog for years, doing everything behind the scenes, then you don't know the amount of work and time that you must invest in it. If you're not having fun and you're not feeling it, it's just the same as working a dead-end job. Sure you might eventually make some money, but you can eventually make some money doing lots of things.
Life's Too Short To Waste Your Gifts
I'm a believer that we all have gifts and that when you find your life's work you'll not only find financial independence, by heading in that direction, but you'll find something just as valuable. Happiness, contentment, and real freedom. That happiness and peace of mind will drive you to do all of the right things you need to do to get your website or blog buzzing.
Seriously, feel this out with me. If you're having fun doing something, won't you be able to do it better, for a longer amount of time, and with a more contagious level of energy than if you're doing something you're not so into?
The answer is…
Of Freakin' Course You Will!
And that's what I am discovering more and more every day.
The good thing is I learned so much valuable stuff while working on my other website and blog that I now know oodles more than I originally did about this whole earning enough money online to find financial independence thing. I know that at the base of it, the most essential ingredient is your passion and love for what you do.
This is not some movie line or a nice fluffy quote you see pasted over a picture of some clouds or something. Well I guess it could be…
The truth is, this is a fact of life. Follow what you love and have fun doing, focus on how it will free you; I mean seriously let yourself feel the feeling of living a free and successful life by doing what you love, and the money will begin to find you.
Use my story as an example. Don't chase money by doing something you aren't into. It won't pay off in the long run. The harder you chase that dollar, the more it will run away from you. Discover your passion and do more of that!
Let the money come to you as you find that you have more and more energy to generate buzz around your website or blog. It's easier to do when you love it.
This Is My Passion
That's what I'm doing here right now. This blog is my passion.
My passion is freeing myself and you, in turn, so we can live a life independent of the regular 9 to 5 grind. Why do anything else? It's just a waste of our precious time and gifts.
Don't spend another day wasting your time doing things that don't free you. Find your love, your passion, your peace and contentment. Put your foot right down on the path that you were meant to walk your entire life. You'll love how it feels. You'll find it feels more natural than anything else you've tried doing.
Everything you've experienced and have done, up until now, has been leading you right to the very words you're at this moment reading.
One day you'll be gone from this planet. If you could look back on your life, would you be content with what you've done? With the work you chose to do? Did you follow your gifts? Did you follow your freedom?
If you haven't yet, don't wallow, now, in regret. It's ok, because as someone, much wiser than me, once said that if you're breathing, good, that means you're still alive. 🙂
You are still here, and the reason you found this article is because you drew it to yourself. Like a magnet, you attracted it. These words are speaking directly to you, now.
This is your life. This is your time. Follow your passion. Follow your peace. Follow your fun and your freedom.
Your life is a living journey.