SBI!ers, like life itself, are very much a case of "slow-steady-sure wins the race." Too many solopreneurs think that the prize goes to the "Get Rich Quick" ("GRQ") hare. Do YOU know a single person who actually GOT Rich Quick? No, while the hare flits from one "biz-opp" to another, the steady, persistent tortoise RULES. Have a success to share, a failure you need help with? Share it, and solve it here!

Moderator: Antoinette from Bedford

#1379439 by Elly from
Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:52 am
Hi Scott,

You have such a great looking site, Scott, with a ton of information. Congratulations on all you've achieved. Don't you dare throw in the towel! :!:

Now it's time to organise all that great information in a new way.

Here's what I would do first, just to get you back in the saddle... :lol:

Start with combining and deleting pages. Put a 301 redirect on deleted pages and keep a note of them so that you can delete them in google search console too.

Be sure to keep an excel sheet. See my tip here:

Whilst you're doing that, be very critical and ask yourself if you were a visitor, would you be happy to give that page/article 5 stars for completeness in answering the query.

You'll end up with a very fresh website (with perhaps only 25% of pages left) which will be much easier to oversee, manage, upgrade and change if and when required. Most importantly, you'll be able to monetise your newly upgraded site much more effectively.

Upgrade all your T2s (don't have too many) to 5 Star full-content articles with a maximum of 2 Youtube video on a page. If you want it, I have a code which helps to load your vids faster. Include the new breadcrumb codes (easy to manage with reusable blocks).

Ask for a site review.

See this as an opportunity. Just go for it and come back to this thread often to share what you've achieved. We don't want to lose you and we'll continue to support you. :)

#1379451 by Stephen from Monroeville
Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:46 pm
Hey Scott

Your site is indexed in google

[Domain Private]

And Adsense has changed policies to allow more than three ads per page ... ... ntroduced/

Whether you put more on is a question of user experience... and you can be penalized for bad user experience .. just pointing out that having more than three Adsense ads is allowed
#1379457 by Scott from Nice
Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:02 pm
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.
I've already implemented a few of the suggestions Wendy gave me.

I've reduced AdSense to three per page.
Moved my sponsors to the top of the page to free up the right side bar.
In the right side bar I've added and linked to Most Recent Stories, Top 10 Stories and Top 10 Pages for the month of July. I'll update this each month.

Yes, I do need to update T2 pages with more content. That's my next goal. Consolidating pages is a good idea also. I know the path to my content is too long. I need to fix that.

A blog is also a good idea although I've tried this in the past. I burn out on it pretty quick. Getting others to submit blog articles is like pulling teeth. Most people don't want to participate. They just want to be entertained. I need to find a carrot better than the current one.

I do appreciate the encouragement. I have until December to see some positive improvement. If it's there I'll keep pushing forward. I don't want to give this up, but I need to get this site to at least pay for itself.
#1379461 by Jacki from Macleod
Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:04 pm
At the very least, you can use the RSS/ Blog it! - but utilize it. Every time you rebuild a page, make sure it's got a good sized image on it, run it through the RSS feed and also have the What's New box on your home page. It automatically provides links to your newest / most recently rebuilt pages. Plus it looks nice, and also looks like you're home. Good luck!
#1379487 by Help Elf from SiteSell
Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:22 pm
Scott from Nice wrote:Cathy
What exactly do you mean by "pass analyze it"?

Scott, if you run Analyze It! on each of your pages with no content (except the h1 headline), you'll see a warning that the page has fewer than 300 words. We recommend at least 400.

You'll also see plenty of other recommendations, including adding an h2 headline, adding at least one image, and probably others as well.

And Scott, please review Wendy's post again. I've red inked parts of it that were incorrect or inaccurate, like having only 3 ad units per page. Google dropped that a while ago. I also added some suggestions and explanations, which all start with Help Elf:.
#1379563 by Manish Rahul Varma from Port of Spain
Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:26 pm

I found a gold mine here! Thanks a lot for all the information you shared here Wendy and Elf.

Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente wrote:
Scott from Nice wrote:I'm sitting at my desk seriously thinking about pulling the plug on my 12 year old, 700+ page website.
I built this site thinking/hoping it would someday supplement my income. I've put over $3000 into it and gotten a grand total of maybe $1000 back...and I don't know why.

Well, maybe I do know why. I built myself a hobby site. I offer people entertainment, not something they need. Over 300 people a day come to my site, get their fill of entertainment...and leave.
Adsense is basically worthless and ad space goes unfilled. I've tried other things that haven't worked out. I'm out of ideas and can't figure out how to change things.
Is it even possible? Is there a way to change this? I'm lost. I'm stumbling in the dark. I need someone willing to lend me a hand and show me a way out.

Like I said, I'm seriously thinking about giving it up. My SBI payment is due in Dec. and I'm tired of beating a dead horse. How do I pump some life into this beast?
I'm open to anyone who can give me some serious ideas and direction on how to monetize this site.

Unfortunately, some of Wendy's information is not correct. I've made the incorrect parts red. And I've corrected some inaccurate terminology. I've also add my own comments in places, all in green. Help Elf

I can see an issue with your AdSense placement. Google recommends, one responsive right at the top of the side bar as your very first BB2 box in the side bar. However, your side bar ad is at the very bottom.

Google recommends the responsive ad be placed in the body of the page, directly under the first paragraph....

for example on this page...

[Domain Private]

it should be directly below the line which says...

Member of the Authors Guild and Western Writers of America Spur Award for best western poem 2008 Western Writers of America

Help Elf: Google says that you cannot have any ads showing above the fold (the first screen) in mobile. While I agree with Wendy that the first logical position for an ad would be where she suggests, there is nothing limiting you from placing it higher up the page.

And yet, you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to reach, not 1, but 2 ads, side by side at the very bottom of the page.

Only about 30 % of site visitors ever scroll the page... they look at the above the scroll section then leave without scrolling, so all 3 of your AdSense ads are not being seen by at least a 1/3 of your traffic. And, ironically, the people who click away fast without scrolling, they are usually the same people who click those ads.

I used to have my ads at the bottom same ways yours are now, and was lucky if I made 35c a month from AdSense. Then I read that blog post on Google's adSense help blog, which said about placing ads high on the page and using responsive ads instead of static sizes, and so changed my ads the way Google said to, started getting ad clicks the very next day. I couldn't believe what a difference it made, just changing where ads were placed on the page.


You got a mega big no-no on your pages that might be causes some serious page rank issues.... your site is displaying FOUR (4) AdSense ads per page. This is against Google's ToS and they DO deduct from your AdSense income and down rank and unindex every page with more than 3 ads on it. You really want to get that fixed. It's the thing the FRED bot looks for.

Help Elf: Google removed the limit of 3 ad units per page several months ago. So you are allowed to have 4 on a page. However, I don't recommend it unless the page is very long. Also, if you use two ad units of the same size, the ads in the second unit will return a lot less income than the ads in the first unit. So if you want to use 3 or 4 units, make sure that each one is a different size.

Are you sure ANY of your pages are indexed by Google? Because I don't think they are.

Go to your Google Search Console account... Click...

Dashboard >
Google Index >
Index Status

It'll tell you how many if any of your pages are in the Google index.

With 4 AdSense ads on every page of your site, and the traffic stats you are listing.... I think Google may have blacklisted your site and removed it from the index.

Google considers more than 3 AdSense ads a serious offense. You need to remove that 4th ad block and then resubmit your site to Google.

You will likely have to submit your sitemap (the RSS feed link from your Updates blox) and wait 30 days for Google to reindex your pages.

Help Elf: Again, 4 ads are fine, but not recommended. If Google had deindexed your site (which it hasn't -- do this search at Google: site:[Domain Private], which returns 784 pages), you would see a manual action recorded in Search Console. If there was a manual action, it would say why your site had been deindexed, and what you'd need to fix. Once you'd fixed everything, you would then be able to submit your site for reconsideration. There's a link to do that in the manual action report.

You'll find the Manual Actions section by clicking on Search Traffic in the left column. There probably isn't one, because your site has not been deindexed.

You can do a page by page manual submission, by submitting each page to Google via the "Fetch as Google" link in your Search Console. Submit each page one at a time. After Google has fetched it, if you see a white checkmark on a green background, click on "Request indexing."

Help Elf: I didn't make the above paragraph red, because technically, Wendy's instructions are correct (although I edited for clarity and accuracy). But you won't need to do that because a manual action would take care of the entire issue (once the problems were fixed), if there was a problem. There's no indexing problem.

Note that if your site is blacklisted, then when you update a page on your site and check the box to ping it to the RSS feed/blog, normally that pings the Google index to spider the updated page, but if your site is blacklisted, then that ping feature has been blocked by Google and no spiders are seeing your page updates.

Based on what you've said in your OP and the fact that you have 4 ads instead of 3, I really think your site is most likely blacklisted which would explain both the very low traffic and the non-existent AdSense income.

Getting your site indexed again (if it has been blacklisted and it looks like it has) should dramatically improve both your traffic and your income, but do not, that Google WILL blacklist EVERY PAGE of your site that has fewer then 400 words. So before submitting any pages, make sure you add enough text to any page that has fewer than 400 words (Most of your Tier 2 pages have fewer then 100 words from what I can see. Your Tier 3 pages are doing good content wise, but the tier 2s will definitely be hit hard by Google's Panda if they haven't been already (and based on the states you provided, it looks like Panda has in fact hit your site hard.)

Google does not blacklist pages shorter than 400 words. All things being equal, it will rank shorter pages lower than pages with more content, because more content generally means more value to Google's users.

Scott from Nice wrote:Have you really looked at this site???

I actually thought the same thing. I just looked and I can see your pages and I can see most of them are as long as a Ken Evoy post which is around 5,000 words. Which makes me wonder if perhaps you have a loading issue on certain browsers and perhaps Adriana is only having half loaded pages showing up? It's worth looking into. Would definitely explain your problem if a lot of people were only seeing a small portion of each page because of a browser conflict with your site.

Not sure how many clicks deep Adriana clicked though. Traditionally, you click a Tier 2 page to get to a tier 3 content page, and I had to click 5 clicks deep through tier 2 pages to get to the first tier 3 page I found. All your tier 3s have plenty of content, but it takes so many clicks through one tier 2 after another to get to a tier 3, it's possible Adriana, just clicked a tier 2 and got to another tier 2 thinking it was a tier 3, not realizing you've put your tier 3s 5 clicks deep, so didn't click through enough pages to find them?

Help Elf: Obviously, you can't have 4 levels of Tier 2 pages, since, by definition, a Tier 2 is the level below the home page. What she's saying is that she has to go down a long way to find content. For example, this page is a Tier 3 and it has not a word of content on it (nothing but links to YouTube videos)... [Domain Private]

(BTW, the plural of "video" is "videos," not "video's.")

Its Tier 2 has no content on it either... [Domain Private]

On the other hand, it could be like I said and your site has a css error that is conflicting with some browsers so she couldn't see all of the content because it stopped loading at a certain point? I'm not sure.

I'm not sure how you'd fix an issue like that, but I've heard of it happening before, where people on Chrome could see the pages and people on FireFox were only seeing like the top few inches of the page. Or loading on a desk top but then not fully loading on a phone. I wonder if that could be an issue for your site?

I know I've seen people ask about how to fix issues like that, so if you search the forum you should find info on how to fix it if that does turn out to be an issue for your site.

Do you have access to checking your pages on multiple browsers and on desktop vs phones vs tablets to see how it loads on each one and see if it's loading full pages on each?

On the other hand, I do see that some of your pages are really short... the index pages (the tier 2s)... the ones Adriana mentioned.... perhaps, Google has dinged those pages? Google DOES have a 400 word per page minimum and WILL NOT index any page with fewer than 400 words.

Is it possible perhaps that you've got enough -400 word pages on your site to be causing ranking issues with Google? I did not do an in depth search of your site so, not sure if it's just a couple of slim pages or if there are a bunch.

Help Elf: As I noted above, Google does not penalize pages with fewer than 400 words. But given that many of your pages have no content at all except an h1 headline, I expect that your pages don't rank well simply because Google has nothing to base them on. Also, your title tags and description meta tags can be improved quite a bit. Here they are from the Western Lifestyle Documentaries People page, copied right from the source code...

<title>Western Lifestyle Documentaries People</title><meta name="keywords" content="Western Lifestyle Documentaries People"><meta name="description" content="Western Lifestyle Documentaries People is a section of the Rope and Wire dot com website">

Now imagine you're someone at Google looking for western lifestyle documentaries. Would that description persuade you to click on the link and visit your site? (And you don't need the "dot com" part in the description.) Does a quick read of the title -- Western Lifestyle Documentaries People -- mean anything to anyone, ignoring the punctuation issue (it should be Western Lifestyle Documentaries: People)?

Adriana (SBI for WP user wrote:Western short story page has 97 words
Romance short stories has 54 words
Pulp Western has 134 words
Western televisions has 84 words.

You need real content to earn the tryst of your visitors to want to buy anything you recommend. The bare minimum should be 300 words, but a normal page length should be around 1000 words.

For example, on your western short stories page, your introduction is talking about partnering with you: trade short stories for promotion. Nothing about what a western short story is. No example. Why woudl someone like me who just want to read one of these short stories stick around on that page? Why woudl I buy something from there?

Here's my suggestion: write a nice paragraph about western short stories. Maybe give a few titles of stories (you can link these to amazon with an affiliate link). Then write a short paragraph about each of your authors before you link to their specific page.

On the author pages, add an image link to the book you're talking about: amazon makes this easy.

On actual story pages, add some images to create some visual interest. Your pages are just blocks of text and reading on the web needs a bit harder when it's just text. you need subtitles, images, and some color.

Google won't do much for your page. You'd do a lot better linking out to books on amazon. You can also create a few pages with Western accessories and other items your audience is interested in (that blends well with your subject)

Hope this helps.

However, I got to admit, her advice is spot on.

The pages she listed, they ARE under 400 words and Google WILL and probably DID blacklist them.

The way your site is set up, you need traffic to the tier 2s before anyone can find the tier 3s. And if your tier 2s are blacklisted, then that really is gonna make is difficult to impossible to get traffic to the tier 3s.

And she makes a good point. If she's not a Western fan, what could you do, to spark her interest and help her to BECOME a Western fan?

You see, I do this on my own site. I know my niche is tiny and not many people are interested in it. I also know that most of the people who are interested in it follow me on FaceBook and Twitter and Tumblr, etc and already know about my site and do in fact visit it often.

So, my goal now becomes, how do I attract people who are NOT YET fans, how to I spark their interest, to thus gain new fans, who might like the genre, but never having read it, don't yet know they would like it?

So, what Adriana says is actually very good info, because, it'll help bring new fans into the genre, by introducing them to a genre they might not have thought to try before.

Sure a lot of people won't be interested. Every niche has that. But who knows, the next person to visit your site, might just become your genre's biggest screaming fan girl, and could very well be someone who never tried the genre before and wouldn't have if she had not found your site.

Bring more sheep into the fold. Always be on the look out for ways to attract new people to the genre.

Also, I agree with Adriana on the Amazon Links... but you say there are Amazon links?!?!?



I completely did not see them.

I saw the Amazon banner in the side bar...

Wait a sec... I'll go look again...


okay, I'm back. I just went through 4 different author profiles, clicked the first 2 stories on each one's page... that's 8 short stories.... not one single Amazon book link anywhere.

You said they are there?

Have you LOOKED at your finished pages to see if what you included in the html boxes is actually displaying on the page?

There is a bug in the html boxes on some templates, where it shows in the Preview it,, but on the published page it's not there at all.

Looks like your site may be suffering from this, if you say the Amazon links are there, but no one is seeing them.

To fix that glitch, put a divider box directly under the html box, and one directly above it. Then change the divider colours to match the site background, the rebuild the page.

That'll force the html box to load on the public page.

Help Elf: These "responsive template" issues are almost always user error. Something was added or customized incorrectly.

Always check your finished page after publishing to make sure every thing loads, because sections not loading happens often with some templates. Your template might be one of them.

But no, you have absolutely no Amazon links showing up at all on your site.

(I'm using Chrome browser.... could be a browser incompatibility issue, if it is, I don't know how to fix that but I know the question has been asked here before so someone knows the answer.)

If you are having trouble with sections of your pages not showing, and it looks like you are having Amazon links not showing.... that could really put a damper in your income. You certainly need to have someone with css knowledge look into that, because having your affiliate links or other sections of your page not loading definitely is not good for you, your site, your authors, or your readers.

You might need to have Support look into it for you. They are really good about fixing issues like that. I've had to contact Support a few times about various things and they are really friendly and right on the ball about getting back to you in just a couple of hours.

Help Elf: I made this red, for this reason: I'm able to log into your site and check, and Wendy isn't. You don't have Amazon links on any short story page that I checked except for the Free from Amazon image link in the right column.

You do have Amazon links on the author pages, but you've made them indistinguishable from the regular text on the page. You have this for Tom Sheehan...

Here's a link to Tom's LinkedIn profile.

Here's a link to Tom's books on Amazon

At a minimum, make those links underlined, or change their color, or do both.

Scott from Nice wrote:I have 700 pages of REAL content. All of the short stories on this site are over 2000 words. This is a niche site. If you don't know what a western short story is, you probably wouldn't be on my site in the first place. Every author on my site has their own page that links to their stories and Amazon books. These are short stories, not blog posts. They don't come with images.

The first thing I thought when looking at your site and you saying you might shut it down, is, have you contacted the authors? Make sure they have backups to their stories before closing, if you do decide to close. You should definitely contact each author, explain the situation, give them time to make back ups off your site, just in case they didn't think to keep a back up on their own computer.

You'd think authors would have back ups, right? But in 2012, fanfiction .net decided to delete an entire category off their site. They did not give the authors a heads up to give them time to make back ups, just assume an author would have back ups. You know how many author did NOT have back ups and banded together to sue the site owner? 11,000+ (Google "the adult purge of fanfiction .net" if you want to see the 10s of 1,000s of scathing hate blog posts the authors wrote about the company deleting their work without notifying the authors ahead of time.)

Also, I did read the submission guidelines, but what about the rights? If you retained any rights from any of the shorts, law requires you to revert the rights back to the authors before shutting down a magazine (law classifies your site as an online magazine btw.)

Also, perhaps one of them would like to buy the site and take over it seeing how their work is posted there? You might want to email all of them, explain the situation, tell them you are running a loss instead of a profit on the site, are considering shutting down, are giving them a chance to make copies if they did not have backups already, and if they are interested in taking over as new site owner, to let you know and you can go over more of the details with them.

Perhaps, if the authors knew the site was in trouble, they'd each do some heavy duty promoting, sharing their pages from the site to their fans on their facebooks, twitters, etc?

We authors love to promote, and we do know our fans better then most publishers and generally are able to get street teams of our fans together fast. It looks like you've got a few dozen authors at least, with work submitted. I would think you could get enough of them gathering up their facebook and twitter followers to get the site up on it's feet again.

I do know the frustration of dealing with a mega small niche. I'm an author of a small niche myself and it really does require a heck of alot of constant daily self promo, both online and offline, to keep traffic coming to my own site (which like yours also features several short stories and not a lot of traffic) I got some pages on my site that get 40+ visits a day, and then most of the pages on my site I'm like "Oh boy, that page got a visit this month!" *sigh* Such is the life of a short story author. (I'll tell you in a minute why some pages on my site bring in traffic and why others don't, it might give you some useful insight because I feel like possibly your site is suffering from the same issue mine has, so I'll tell you how I work around it.)

Not sure how viable an option this is for you and your site,but I'll tell you how I keep traffic coming to my site and maybe it'll give you some ideas you can use with your site?


#1, the first thing I thought, is you said your site id 12 years old and ONLY has 700 pages on content. Believe me, Google noticed. Google give a rank boost to sites that are "actively updated" (meaning updated daily.)

At 12 years old and ONLY 700 pages Google classifies your site as "inactive".



700 pages is a far cry from 4,380.

700 pages means you have 1 new page a week on average, which is "good" but not "great" in Google's mind. I know, it shouldn't be that way, but, sadly it is. Google just puts priority on sites with the most updates per day, thus why sites like FaceBook do so well, where you have thousands of updates every minute. Makes it hard for us little guys with content sites to keep up sometimes.

You don't say if the 700 pages were added all years ago and no new pages added in a while or not, or if you are doing 1 page a week, etc.

If you have a heavily trafficked popular niche, one page a week might cut it, but, in a super tiny, mega small niche, you really need to strive for 1 page a day.

But, that's not always possible for people, as often a tiny niche is a hobby not a career, so it becomes a two edged sword of you need to do the daily thing to survive, but at the same time you need to work a 9to5 job to survive so don't have time to do the daily thing. It's a big problem that we as authors have to struggle with, especially when dealing with small genres.

Help Elf: Google does not expect anyone to produce a page of content a day (although it does look for freshness). And I think the lack of written content on many of your pages is much more damaging than the age of the pages. If you're willing to do the work, revising all those "no content" pages by adding a few hundred words of content will show Google that you're maintaining the site and giving people a good user experience.

My suggestion, if you're willing: improve 5 new pages, then create a new page. Improve 5, then add a new one. Repeat over and over until all the "no content" pages have content. And as a suggestion for new pages, how about an interview of each author? Record the interview, and have it transcribed. Make the audio link available on the interview page, plus the text of the interview.


#2 Remember I said back there I have some pages that do really well? And others that go weeks between a single visit?

The pages that don't go well, they are ALWAYS the short stories and novel chapter excerpts.

My page with 10 million life time views since 2007 (including the views it had on my olds sites on Squidoo, then WordPress, before moving to my SBI site in February 2017) is this one: [Domain Private] While on Squidoo, that one page alone brought in $200 a month just from AdSense, not including the Amazon and Affiliate income.

Now on SBI, it's doing the same thing it did on my previous sites. It gets page views out the wazoo while the rest stagnate. It's only been on my SBI site a few weeks and already it's out ranking all my other pages combined.

Why that page? It has absolutely nothing to do with my site concept niche topic at all.

For starters, the length of it... that one page crashed an SBI server in April. I know this because SBI tech told me so. They also said they'd never seen any body who could out write Ken Evoy before! LOL! :lol: It's almost 50,000 words long, has several hundred photos, more then 100 videos embedded into, and if you were to read just the text in one sitting, it'll take you in excess of 8 hours. Most of the videos are 40 minutes to 2 hours long meaning it'll take you more then 5 days straight through of no sleep to watch all of them.

That page when it was on WordPress, crashed WordPress servers an average of once a month, due to the combination of the size of it and the amount of traffic it gets, pushing bandwidths to stress load limits.

It ranks #1, page 1 of Google and Bing for more then 30 keywords, and ranks in the top ten of page 1 for more then 300 keywords.

If you remember me from Squidoo (I worked there, was one of their forum mods, and used to do the SEO tracking and advising for member, was not just a member with a site), you will also remember that I was the creator of "the big lens" which means articles of 10,000 words+. It was why ALL of my 600 Squidoo pages ranked #1 page 1 of Google for every single keyword.

I created the concept of the Big Lens to prove a point. And Amphibious Aliens was the article I did it with. It was Squidoo's first Big Lens. The point was, that in 2007 Squidoo got hit hard by thousands of new members each creating hundreds of pages that had fewer then 500 words and then complaining that they could not rank in search results. I responded to say I would make all of my lenses(pages) rank #1 within a week of publication. People laughed and said it could not be done. 600 pages all ranking at #1 on Google later they stopped laughing. Every one of those 600 pages had at minimum 10,000 words....and not 2 topics were alike. I covered every topic I could think of, going blatantly AGAINST the concept of narrow focus of one topic. I had pages about cars, cats, comics, aliens, recipes, hiking, goldfish, working at home... you name it, I wrote it, no matter what it was... and I proved exactly what I set out to prove... Google doesn't care about your topic, Google cares about your wordcount. Google wants original, unique, and LONG content.

That page, Amphibious Aliens... because it is so dang long... it can't be read in one sitting. Because the topic of it (which actually has nothing to do with aliens, but is rather about the FBI's 3rd most wanted crime family in America The Scottish Travellers) draws in readers and they just HAVE to read all of it.... the stats from Google Analytics, tell me that the average read time on that page is 20 minutes, with each reader returning a MINIMUM of 5 times a day over a period of a week, and a bounce rate of only 30% (meaning 70% did not leave my site after reading, but instead clicked to another pages on my site... nearly ALL of then clicking specifically to this page: [Domain Private] (which tells the story of how Stephen King came to feature that exact same Gypsy clan in his movie the Thinner, which he filmed on location on their farm)

All 3 of these pages average 20 minute read times, and 30% bounce rate, AND the are also bulk of my AdSense and Affiliate income. All 3 results in people clicking through to at east 3 other pages and often as many as 7 other pages. (see your Google Analytics flow chart to see which pages are sending traffic to which other pages of your site)

My SBI site has as of today 1,439 pages, and most all of the traffic and income is coming from just 3 of those pages. Those 3 I just posted. Why?

Okay.... so what happened here and how can you use this to help your site?

What happened here was each of these pages is mega huge, all of them WAY over 10,000 words. Each is image heavy. Each has videos embedded. Each has several dozen links to other pages on my site, peppered throughout the body text.

NONE of these 3 pages has a Tier 2 above them. Each is a Tier 3 that is just standing on it's own in the site's nav bar. Meaning there is no, click here to click there to get to this and click that and finally come to here.

THAT... that right there, is the thing I think your site is suffering from.

As Adriana pointed out, all she found was slim content, she left before clicking through to find the content itself.

Your site seems to suffer from clickitis... it requires people to click this page to find a list of authors they know nothing about, then have to pick an author at random, to reach the author profile page, then, have to click at random again, to have to find the author's stories, then click again to reach the stories.... by the time they reach the story they are saying "I've had it! I'm sick of clicking pages and getting nowhere."

My suggestion to you, which I think will help your site have the biggest improvement, is to put a list of story titles with direct links to the stories, right on your front homepage.

I did this on my site, and it improved my traffic mega fold.

Go here: [Domain Private]

What do you see?

#1: Links to this month's featured pages. The links in this blue box change every month, and feature pages that don't get much search engine traffic and so need help to be found. There are 12 pages linked there.

#2: The latest update for my die-hard fans. This changes each month as well. For example right now it shows that one of my ebooks just went to a paperback release and links to it on Amazon. Below that it links to the sample chapters of it and other books from the same series, which can be found on my site, allowing readers to read parts of the novel for free before buying the full novel off Amazon.

#3: the banner for Amphibious Aliens.

#4: This is the one you need to page close attention to, because THIS is the one I think you need to add to your front page of your site. The title of this block says it all "The Top 101 Most Visited Pages of 2017 So Far From January to July"

This block is a text block, with a numbered list.

I got the list, by going to my Google Analytics and viewing the overview report from January 1 to August 1 2017. Then set the filter to display by most viewed. Displaying page title. Then copied that list, pasted it into my text box on SBI, then one at a time highlighted each page title and added it's page link.

Over in the side bar, you will see this BB2 text box was cloned and so also displays on every page in the side bar. Beside it is my Update box, showing pages I've updated this week. Below that, is the master list.... I'm moving the pages off my WordPress site to my SBI site. But the WordPress site is still online. The site was originally started on FreeWebs in 1997, moved to WordPress in 2003, and had 1 to 10 new pages added daily.... do you know how many pages it has today? 9,772, and the mega lng list of bright yellow links in my side bar, is all 9,772 links to all 9,772 pages of my old WordPress site.

But now go back to the page and forget the sidebar...

there are a couple more boxes with updates, below them, you see, the banner for the World's Most Haunted Car page, and then the links to all the merch featuring said car (these are direct sale products, not affiliate links, I'm the Gypsy who owns both the car and the farm mentioned previously. It's my uncles who are wanted by the FBI.)

#5 Below this section, you have now reached the unusual site footer of my SBI site.

Yes. THAT is the footer. Looks nothing like a footer right? I know. But, you will quickly see that from that point on, everything below that line, appears on EVERY page of my site. What you are looking at is an index of more then 700 page links, all sorted by category and topic. Making it easy for readers to find, just exactly what page they are looking for without doing the whole - click this page to get to that page to tell you how to get to this other page to redirect you to the page you actually want.

By bypassing the Tier 2 indexes (which my site does, have, but they are not linked to from the footer) and linking directly to the end result page people are actually looking for, it avoids annoying readers who are in a hurry and don't want to click thrie 2 or 3 or 4 Tier 2s to get to the end goal Tier 3. (Some of the pages on your site are 5 Tiers deeps, meaning I had to click 5 separate different pages before reaching the page featuring the content/short stories. Fans may be patient enough to click through that many pages, but most internet browsing people will leave after 2 clicks, which is why SBI promotes the Tier 2 to Tier 3, and not 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 like what several pages on your site seem to be doing.)


Now, I'm looking at your nav bar and I can't see a site map anywhere. Maybe it's there and I missed it?

Go to this page on my site:

[Domain Private]

That is what a site index looks like.

Help Elf: No, that's not what one should look like. It works for Wendy, but her site is for an incredibly narrow audience.

You should have one and it should be in your nav bar, as people looking to find something, are going to click to the site map. My site map is my 3rd most visited page on my site. People who want to find something, head there first.

To build that page... create a new page, title it "Site Index" or "Site Map" or "Site Map Index" and then, put just one block in it... the Nav bar set to vertical list.

On mine you can see I started adding more likes via the list text block under it, I'm still building that part of the page so it's unfinished at the moment, but you get the idea of what I'm doing.

Because not every page is in the nav bar, not every page shows on the index, thus why I'm manually linking each page underneath that.

Help Elf: Yes, add a sitemap page for a site this large. But take your time and do it properly. Add the title or h1 headline to a line in a Text Block, then add the link for that page to the text. Repeat for all the pages of the site.

Divide it into the Tier 2 sections (each Tier 2 section becomes an h2 headline) to make finding things easier for your users.


Again, maybe it's there and I missed it, but I'm also not seeing a search box on your site. If it's there it needs to be moved to the top so it can be found easily. If you don't have one, You can add one in about 5 minutes for free. It's super easy to do.

Here is what one looks like:

[Domain Private]

You will see that in my nav bar is a link that says "Search" and that link goes to this page. At the top of my sidebar, you will also see a little Google search box. Searching anything in that, also takes you to this page.

Because not all of my pages are in the site index, the search feature allows users to find exactly what they are looking for in a few seconds.

Go to Google AdSense and get the code for the search box, create a page titled "Google Search Results" drop the code into an html box, paste that same code into an html box in your side bar, drop the 2nd code snippet into your site headers where google instructs you to place it. Build the page, Boom. Instant search box on your site.

This too will greatly improve traffic flow through your site, keeping people on your pages longer and going to even more pages instead of leaving.

Help Elf: I just added a DuckDuckGo search engine tool from Juri, a fellow SBIer, to Resources HQ. You can find it here...


Scott from Nice wrote:Adriana
I have 700 pages of REAL content. All of the short stories on this site are over 2000 words. This is a niche site. If you don't know what a western short story is, you probably wouldn't be on my site in the first place. Every author on my site has their own page that links to their stories and Amazon books. These are short stories, not blog posts. They don't come with images.

Okay.... a few comments here, that could dramatically help your site. Let me break it up...

Scott from Nice wrote:Adriana
I have 700 pages of REAL content. All of the short stories on this site are over 2000 words.

Yes. This part is good. The biggest issue seems to be, readers are having difficulty finding them. Which is why I've made the suggestions of adding link lists to the home page and side bar and adding a site index page linked in the nav bar.

You have the content, now what you need is to show people how to find it.

Let's face it... the average web browser is looking for things to be right out front in the open in their face. They do not want to take the time to look around and search for pages, they want to take a quick look and see "Oh there it is" with out having to click this and that first.

It doesn't matter how well we think we have marked stuff, people just want instant results, so the more direct links you get for them, the better.

Scott from Nice wrote:Adriana
If you don't know what a western short story is, you probably wouldn't be on my site in the first place. Every author on my site has their own page that links to their stories and Amazon books. These are short stories, not blog posts.

This I wanted to comment on most of all.

You remember way back an hour or so ago when I said I have some pages get huge traffic visits and others go weeks between visits?

And then I explained about super long pages being the most visited and the short stories themselves being the least visited?

Continuing on from that...

When my site first started way back on FreeWebs (the web host no longer exists, one of many that went out of business when Yahoo came on the scene and had free site hosting) in 1997, it was simply an author home page. It consisted of an about me page, and page about each of my books, a few pages about characters, and a few sample short stories. It was lucky if it got 100 page views a month. Heck, I think it struggled to get 50 visits a month.

I mean, look my niche... I write Bizarro.

Don't know what Bizarro is? Most people don't.

Do you know what the top selling Bizarro novel is? "The Haunted Vag :shock: *censored*" About a guy who discovers his girlfriend's Va :shock: is a portal to a demonic dimension and they have trouble having sex because, you too many demons jumping out her v and trying to bit is p.


Help Elf: Removed, since it's not necessary.

You want to know what I write?

I write about an Elf who has sex with Unicorns. Horny unicorns have horns and guess where they put them?


That's Bizarro.

Other names for it are Monster Porn and Hentia and Yaoi.

You think Westerns have a small hard to find audience? Try finding readers for Bizarro. Heck, trying find someone who ever even heard of Bizarro.

So when you say...

Scott from Nice wrote:Adriana
If you don't know what a western short story is, you probably wouldn't be on my site in the first place. Every author on my site has their own page that links to their stories and Amazon books. These are short stories, not blog posts.

Nope. I'm gonna disagree with you. And I'll tell you why.

Not everyone knows every genre, and every one who does know the genre did find out about it somewhere.

So, why not let your site be the one to introduce newbies to the genre?

Let's go back to that old FreeWebs author home page for a second... in 1997, I struggled to get 50 views a month. In 2007 I was getting 3,000 views a day.

What changed?

The content.

Google started sending me traffic for the keyword search terms "dark fantasy", because Bizarro is considered a sub-genre of Dark Fantasy.

People would read my short stories and then, email me... not to say they were fans of my work, no, to ask if I could help them write their short stories.

They would say: "I've searched high and low for info on how to write Weird Lovecraftian Horror and all I can find are sites featuring the stories. No one is telling how they write it. I noticed you had a blog post about how you got Mushroom Forest published in MoonSnails Magazine. Could you write more posts like that? It was really helpful. I'd really like to know how to create a Lovecraftian character. I can see it in my head, but I don't know how to describe it on the page. How did you create the Squids From Neptune's Moon?"

A few days later I wrote one of my very early non-fiction how to write articles titled "Creating Character Profiles". That page soon was getting more traffic each day then all the other pages of my site got each month combined.

Then another person emailed and asked how to self publish a short story. My top ranked page of all time prior to writing Amphibious Aliens went up next, titled "Publishing Methods"

You you want to know what page of my SBI site has gotten the most traffic since my site moved to SBI?

This one: [Domain Private]

Do you want to know what that page is? The email that was sent to me is copied and pasted right into the beginning of the article. You can read it yourself, and then read my answer... as it starts out trying to answer the question, then quickly devolving into an all out b- :shock: feast rant. that progressively ranks into a bigger meltdown of rantiness as it goes on and on and on and on.... about what?

About how very **profanity auto removed** off I was after reading a Historical novel, supposedly set in the 1600s and featured a main character who bathed every single day.... when bathing daily was in invention of the 1990s... in the 1970s, bathing once a month was the norm, and when in 1978 scientists discovered it was SAFE to bath AS OFTEN AS ONCE A WEEK, Johnny Cash, Henry Winkler and several other celebrities, were on public service announcements on TV during Saturday morning cartoons with the announcement of: "Now remember kids, tell you parents you want to start bathing once a week, it's good for you. Once a month just ain't enough. Bathing once a week will keep you healthy."

The question was

"My main female character is a personal servant to a princess in a somewhat medieval alternate universe.

I have absolutely not the slightest idea what her job would exactly entail.

I can think some of the obvious ones like helping her change or do her hair. I also thought perhaps laundry, cleaning, washing the floor....

But this is a full time sort of thing. And I didn't want her to have the exact same jobs every single day (I highly doubt a floor would need to be washed every day, even for a princess). I'm just looking for a little bit of variety.

Do you have any chores I could add to the list?"

Do you see the problem? Let's see? In medieval times, they have floors to sweep. Women shaved their heads because lice was a problem, and a princess, was nothing more the the king's breeding cow kept chained in the stable, not living in a castle, and any servant tending her would have been castrated eunuchs.

The person who sent me this question was supposedly going to write medieval fiction and they didn't even know basic well know facts about actual medieval life.

Thus the massive rant this page went on to become on how sick and tired and fed up I was with authors who couldn't take the time to open a history book and research the era they were writing about before writing it.

Why do I point this out? What has it to do with you?

Well, I'll tell you, that article is the one that opened my eyes to how to get traffic to your site.

People don't want short stories, they want author opinions. They want to know how an author came to write what they wrote. And most importantly...They want to see an author have a total meltdown on the page. :o:shock::P:roll::mrgreen::twisted::idea:

Fans of the genre, read the short stories. But in small niches, your case Westerns, my case Bizarro, finding readers for those short stories is difficult to do.

On the other hand, EVERY ONE on the planet wants to watch an author have a total b-feast meltdown.

You remember that top 101 pages on my site list? You start looking at that list you'll see a trend... LOTS of b-feast rants. Lots of author having a meltdown hissy fit. A few short stories. A lot of author answering questions about how to right.

So, based on that... my advice to you, the thing I think will really turn your site arounds and get traffic just flowing in steadily.... blog posts about how to write Westerns. Rants feasts on what annoys you about crappy Westerns. ScreamingFangirl gush feast on what you like about your fave Westerns.

Why not, invite each of the authors on your site, to submit weekly or monthly blog posts, interviews, rant feasts, how they write articles, etc.

I think adding a section like that would certainly bring a heck of a lot more traffic and thus more income for you.

I mean, was like you in the beginning, just the about the author pages, just the short stories, but then I found out what my readers really wanted was info on how to write their own stories, so why not give them what they want? It can't hurt your site, and it's not hard to do, so, I did it and, it worked. Traffic has steadily risen ever since.

Scott from Nice wrote:Adriana
They don't come with images.

They don't have to.

But Google does give rank boosts to sites with images, and many studies have shown that readers stay on a page longer and interact with it more if it has images.

Adding images to your site is super easy to do, and can only help improve your site, so there's no reason to not do it.

I use 3 different methods to put images on my pages.

#1: My own photos. I take tons of photos, got cameras all over the place, so you see me putting lots of images all over my pages.

For example the page talking about the car, has lots of pictures of the car on it.

But, not all of my pages I have on topic images for. So what do I do?

Well, I have lots of flower gardens and take lots of pictures of said flowers and so, you see random, completely off topic, there for no reason at all, images of flowers on my pages, simply because - I like flowers and for no other reason. LOL! :lol::mrgreen::D

#2: Pinterest.

If you need an image Pinterest has it. No matter what it is.

Search cowboys, horses, westerns, whatever... there are lots and lots of images.

Find an image that suits the short story, click to open it, at the top you'll fins a little "..." click that, then click "embed" a new window opens to give you an html code. Copy the code, paste it into an html box, place the html box in a reminder block, put it in about the middle of your page. Boom. Done. Instant images on your pages.

#3: Morgue Files. If you have an SBI site, morgue files is a MUST.

A massive database of about 3 million royalty free, creative commons images submitted by the photographers.

Find an image you want, save to your computer, upload to an image box. Done. (some photographers ask that you link to their profile, be sure to make a note of that.)


In the end, the TL"DR of it is:

  • Get the links to the pages on the front page
  • Help Elf (sorry, red doesn't work in lists, apparently): improve your page content so that pages that currently have no content can start ranking in Google. Google has over 780 pages in the index, but no one is seeing most of them because they rank so low.
  • Images are quick and easy to add and help keep readers on page longer; Pinterest makes it easy to embed images if you have none of your own
  • Consider adding a blog (C2 invite to them makes it easy) and inviting the authors to post on it - if each author posts once a month, that's a lot of new content to attract new readers
  • Consider adding a non-fiction "how to write western" sections and ask the authors to submit to it.
  • Give readers what they want.
  • Attract newbies into the genre
  • For word count - bigger is better
  • tier 2 > tier 3; is better than tier 2 > tier 3> tier 4> tier 5 > tier 6 (people don't like clicking that much to find what they want)
  • Invite authors to post links to their story pages on the social networks
  • See if one of the authors wants to buy the site as opposed to closing it
  • Make sure you notify the authors if you do decide to shut down, give them plenty time to make copies of their work

I hate to see an author promo site like this fail. I can see you've put a lot of work into it, and being an author myself, I know how grateful all those authors are to have you promoting their work like this. It is hard for short story authors to find sites like yours and it'd be a shame for it to have to shut down.

I really think if you reached out to the authors themselves and explained the situation, together they could help your brainstorm way to make it work. After all, no one knows the genre better than the authors who write it, and you get enough of them working together, I'm sure they can help you work something out.

Not sure how helpful any of this has been. It's kind of me thinking out loud what I would do if it was my own site.

Good luck. I hope you can discover the root of the problem and get things turned around so that it brings a good income in for you.

#1379584 by Scott from Nice
Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:10 pm
Wendy and Elf and all
Thank you so much for all the help you've given me.
I'm working on implementing your many suggestions. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to see things from a different perspective.

I've had my head in this for too long and lost sight of the big picture.
You've helped me to take a step back and look at what I've done. Some of it's sloppy and some of it's just not pretty.

Looks like it's time to fix and repair the weak spots you've pointed out. Time to get things back in order.
I now see lots of room for improvement.
I'm on it.
#1383649 by Tiffany from Dulce
Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:15 pm
Scott from Nice wrote:Wendy and Elf and all

Looks like it's time to fix and repair the weak spots you've pointed out. Time to get things back in order.
I now see lots of room for improvement.
I'm on it.

Hi Scott,

Thank you so much for posting this. It's been almost 60 days and you have approximately 60 days until it's time for you to renew in December, I'm wondering how things are progressing for you? What are you working on? Have you decided to keep or sale your site? I hope you keep it. You've done so much and now with all the great feedback you will probaby start seeing more money rolling in soon.

I learned so much from Wendy's comment. I did a search on article length and found your thread. I will probably never post a 10,000 word article but at the very least I'll start shooting for 1000 words or more.

I always include at least one image per article like we are taught to do in the action guide but I never knew about the 3 litte dots on pinterest.

For me this tip from Wendy was gold:

Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente wrote:
I use 3 different methods to put images on my pages.

#1: My own photos. I take tons of photos, got cameras all over the place, so you see me putting lots of images all over my pages.

For example the page talking about the car, has lots of pictures of the car on it.

But, not all of my pages I have on topic images for. So what do I do?

Well, I have lots of flower gardens and take lots of pictures of said flowers and so, you see random, completely off topic, there for no reason at all, images of flowers on my pages, simply because - I like flowers and for no other reason. LOL! :lol::mrgreen::D

#2: Pinterest.

If you need an image Pinterest has it. No matter what it is.

Search cowboys, horses, westerns, whatever... there are lots and lots of images.

Find an image that suits the short story, click to open it, at the top you'll fins a little "..." click that, then click "embed" a new window opens to give you an html code. Copy the code, paste it into an html box, place the html box in a reminder block, put it in about the middle of your page. Boom. Done. Instant images on your pages.

#3: Morgue Files. If you have an SBI site, morgue files is a MUST.

A massive database of about 3 million royalty free, creative commons images submitted by the photographers.

Find an image you want, save to your computer, upload to an image box. Done. (some photographers ask that you link to their profile, be sure to make a note of that.)

Thank you Wendy for taking the time to write this detailed response. You helped many SBI-ers with your generousity.
#1383653 by Scott from Nice
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:06 pm
Hey Tiffany
I've been working on improving the site using many of the suggestions I received from those who replied to my post. I've started adding an image to the stories I post, Added content to many of the T2 pages, improved the General Store especially the Discount Magazine section.

My traffic count is steadily climbing, in fact I had my best day ever last week with 700 visitors. Last month was my best month ever by a couple thousand visitors and I'm on target this month to beat that.

But even with my traffic count up my income has not improved at all. I don't really understand it and I'm not sure how to change this other than look for sponsors willing to pay for ad space. AdSense is worthless. I average around 5 cents a day. Like I said, Worthless. How to monetize this site is my single biggest issue right now.

I will keep the site. I'll go in the hole again this year, but something has to break. Somehow, on my own or with help from those who read this post, I'll get it figured out.
Winston Churchill said it best. "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

I know this site helps western authors and the western genre. I believe that what I'm doing is a worthy endeavor, so for now, it's full steam ahead until I either find deeper water or run aground.
#1383656 by Mary from Mico
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:40 pm
Hi Scott,

A huge congratulations on your traffic increase!!! Tiffany, thank you for bumping this thread again. It's very encouraging to read your notes Scott.

Just a quickie about Adsense: I clicked through to about five or six pages and found that you may have done as I had done several years ago. I'd removed most of my Adsense.

Lately I've added more ads, especially near the top and my Adsense is over three times what it was before adding more ads.

For you? Are you using BB2? Perhaps you can add an ad to your top right column and your below first paragraph sitewidedot.

'Just an idea. I'm not sure what you have on the rest of your site.

#1383661 by Debs from SiteSell
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:25 pm
On Pinterest images, just because they are on Pinterest doesn't mean they are free to use. Best to be cautious on this.

On #3 add another creative commons image site. Also check out the Graphics etc forum FAQ for links to other image sites, and
there is an article in the Tips n Techniques HQ on images and where you can use them.

If they aren't your own unique images, it is best to combine a couple images into one to make them substantially unique. Google looks at downgrading duplicate content, and that includes images.

I've heard some good things about Mediavine. and Ezoic helping SBIers earn more than just Adsense. Search the forums, test them out. You may be surprised!


P.S. split off an off topic question and my reply re: how to combine images and moved to the Graphics forum.
#1383668 by Scott from Nice
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:13 pm
Thanks for the feedback.
I'm only using images that are in the public domain, so I think I'm safe there.

I'll take a closer look at AdSense, but I'm not wanting to go overboard with these. Placing an ad in the middle of a story probably isn't a good idea as far as readers enjoying a good story.

Andriana, What do you mean by sessions? Is that visitors, visits or page views? Per day or month?

Thanks for all the help.
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