New Models for Papers

Businesses are quickly changing. Print to the web. The web to mobile. With each shift, revenue is lost.

Most of the talk to solve these problems revolves on finding new models. There is a good study on what is facing news papers out today.

We all know that if they don’t adapt, they will go out of business. If I were at a newspaper, I’d focus on one thing. Online communities. Don’t compete on features, don’t compete on content. Figure out how to connect everyone locally. Use your print assets to drive web communities. That will give them a base to deeply innovate and succeed in the future.

Mobile Ads and the continuing challenge of monetization

There is the famous quote of trading analog dollars for digital cents. As consumers flocked to the internet, the advertising dollars lagged. For each minute spent online, the dollars never came very close to the dollars spent on TV.

There is an amazing shift happening to mobile right now. There will be over 1 Billion people soon connected to the Internet via a smartphone. Mobile traffic to websites is gaining steam. It won’t be too long until 50% of HubPages traffic is mobile (maybe in the next 12 months). The challenge is mobile advertising rates are less than web rates.

Businesses that created viable models for the lower monetization rates of the internet are going to have to adapt quickly to the lower rates for mobile.

Confidence - Quote from Kids

Do you talk about your business and ideas so much that your family and friends make jokes about it? I do. For over six years there has been a steady flow of things I’m trying to solve, new ideas and industry speak that they nod to graciously. Most of our friends are also parents and while they’ll discuss their work, they usually talk 60% about their kids. I love hearing about the kids and my favorite thing to hear is quotes from the kids. Today’s special quote comes from a 6 year old boy on the street. “Can I get time off from the NHL to do American Idol.” Gotta love confidence. Hope that sticks with him for the rest of his life.

Seven Days out of the Office

I spent seven days in Lake Tahoe with my family. The kids were awesome. We ate some great meals and spent a few nights with good friends and another couple nights with my brother and his family. It was a fantastic time.

No matter how far away or how long I’m out of the office, HubPages is always swirling in the back of my mind. The interesting thing about time away and thinking about the business is that I seem to be more productive and more concise with my plans when I return. The non-work time when I’m thinking about where I want the business to go is very helpful.

While it’s been pretty rare to get away for this long, I’m going to try and get away for a few days each quarter with my family to have time with them, but to also have time to quietly think about HubPages.

One year later, We are Stronger

One year ago we were engrossed with Panda. It wasn’t a fun time. We spent the last 12 months creating a stronger service while facing an amazing hurdle. Today, I’m spending the day with my family in Tahoe City. My four year old daughter is zipping down blue runs. My legs are tired. My face a bit weathered from the sun. I’m ready to return to the office on Monday and am excited about all the products we will bring to beta in the next week.

I checked our traffic numbers. Steady progress. We are up from where we were Pre Panda and the next 12 months should bring exciting levels of growth. As they say, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.

Thinking About My Wife Today

Robin and I have been married for 13 years. We have three daughters and she works at HubPages with me. Today, when LOVE is all around, I’m quite aware of the investment she’s made in me, in our family, and in our work.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with being present. Often times I’ll zone out thinking about mainly what we need to do at HubPages. This year, I’ve set a goal to spend more time with just her being present. To keep a connection that focuses on her. While today is a funny holiday that seems overly commercialized (look at the prices of roses today), it is a good reminder to think about the loves in your life and how to keep them going.

Small Businesses Can’t Wait for the Government

I do believe that the government will one day put significant sanctions on Google Search. Arrington writes maybe..

For every Netscape there are a bunch of small companies that are killed or adapted when they were competing against Microsoft. In the extreme situation. Do or die. You have to find another way to succeed. It’s not easy. It doesn’t feel good, but for many companies, especially the small ones, that’s the only option. If you’re waiting for the government, you’ll likely be out of money before any action is taken.

Getting a site to rank again after Panda

Many webmasters have struggled with getting a site to rank as well as it previously had after it was impacted by Panda. I’ve been working on a HubPages subdomain with a team of people on a subdomain that saw a recovery when it was moved to a subdomain, a subsequent crash, a subsequent recovery and another crash.

These articles were initially very specific about Rolex watches. Many were combined and updated, several unpublished after the last crash. There was a total of about 50% reduction in pages. While I think the account once received traffic for terms that may be a little reaching. I think it does deserve to rank for how to spot a fake rolex.

The next step is to remove more content accept for the pages that answer the queries the page receives very well. I’ll ask for all pages to be unpublished 404′ed with a time on page of under 1.5 minutes. Then we will give it another few weeks.

Pages fall out of Google’s Index

One of my highest visited Hubs fell out of Google’s index. It’s a bit strange where the Hub was about gift ideas for 8 year old girls. It was ranking near the top of the results. When that Hub fell out, my gift ideas for 7 year old girls started to rank for the 8 year old term, but on the second page.

Google keeping track of billions of pages is bound to lose one or two and when the titles are so similar, that’s bound to cause some issues as well, but this piece of content was getting twice as much traffic as any other page I have. It hurts to lose it - it was about 15% of my total traffic.

So, the question is can the page be resurrected. Does it need inbound links, fresh content, and more comments. I’ve linked it from this post and I updated the content. Let’s see what happens in a week.screen-shot-2011-12-05-at-12044-pm.png

Apple Pie is important

In one of the most interesting tests we have done at HubPages is a small test with video. My first video is about how to make apple pie following a traditional homemade pie recipe. The video is embedded in the page and follows a microformat that should be ingested by Google. I’m looking to see a few things from this test. Will the video show up in the video results quickly, will the text show up in the organic rankings? I’ll be following how this content performs closely.