Today was kind of an off-day at work, since the company hosting my websites was enforcing something like net neutrality on my sites (too many people visited, so all sites part of the shared IP got limited). Maybe net socialism. You can’t be too successful, or else your “unlimited” bandwidth will be taken away and then you will continue to be punished for two more days. Maybe more. We’ll see tomorrow.
Anyhow, I didn’t want to visit my sites much because I figured extra visits from me would just cause more of the 508 Resource Limit Reached Codes. I could be wrong, but I figured I could take a day to work on Google stuff, anyhow. You know, Google+ page, Adsense, Webmaster Tools, Analytics, Adwords, and a lot more you can use to waste a day at work. While I’m sure there were some positives to getting my Google goodies in a line, it seems like a hassle. Then again, I guess that’s why I advertise that I can do this for other people: it IS a hassle if you’re supposed to be doing something else.
Let’s start with the url shortener, since that’s what led to the problems that led to me working with Google all day. Kirk told me he used the Google url shortener so he could track how many people came to his site. It said like 2000 people. My analytics in CPanel said it was more like 4000 visits. However, his pdf download is what’s causing the issues, and I guess someone started sharing the link to the download (a circumvention of the intent of getting potential clients to fill out the form). It looks like 10,000 downloads of the document, which is likely the biggest bandwidth culprit.
I also did find at least one IP address probably up to no good in the rush on the free file:126.96.36.199. Someone in Germany doesn’t need to hit one of our sites 200 times in a day. And those are exactly the kinds of visits that cause bandwidth issues with our hosting company without providing new customers or for us. But this article isn’t supposed to be about the url shortener, bandwidth, or hackers.
I wanted to talk about the time suck of Google that exists as business tools, the first being your Google+ page, or high-pressure business extortion 101. I’m not kidding. The most powerful company online creates a page for you. It’s as important in searches as your official homepage. It has a single negative review, a better map than your page, and contact information, all without you ever touching it. But you better claim it, right? You ought to pay someone to help make it look good. And you can even get Google to send someone out to take panoramic photos for you. If you leave it alone, it will still be there, taunting you. Anyhow, I sunk a couple of hours into a Google+ page so that I don’t look like I don’t care as a business owner.
Another tool I spent some time with today was Adsense. I hate this tool because it provides a dream of what could be. When you have a decent day, (and for me that’s like $5), you start to think that maybe, somehow, some way, that $5 could happen every day, and then why not every hour? Residual income is probably more addictive than cocaine, but we all dream of ample residuals, like enough to afford a cocaine habit. Adsense lets you look at all kinds of graphs that show what has happened in the past so that you can possibly determine how to make it rain money. However, it’s more of a cold, wet, dirty spring drizzle. And it always says how you’re doing compared to last week or yesterday. It’s actually very much like 1984 or the Soviet Union Encyclopedia, except your numbers can go down. However, I was impressed by my 25,000% increase on one of my performance numbers today. Now, if only I can maintain that trend.
I used Google Analytics for a while, too, but it just doesn’t really do much for me. Maybe I haven’t spent enough hours using those numbers to help drive the Adsense numbers. Because I am a writer as well as a web designer and host, I guess I’d rather focus on good content and promotion instead of counting and then counting some more. I’m sure that’s sacrilegious to many of you Google Analytics folks out there who will say that’s why my sites aren’t as good as yours. But isn’t the truth more that you’re getting paid $100,000 by a company that makes millions and probably made millions before they hired you? Me staring at Google Analytics is not going to make me millions, but once I do have that money, I plan on hiring someone to stare at the numbers all day. Someone who loves Google Analytics and can purport to turn my millions into billions by looking at who visits my sites at 3pm on Tuesdays when it’s sunny in Seattle.
Google Webmaster Tools is better than Google Analytics to me. Maybe that’s because I’m more of a webmaster than a numbers guy. I spent a couple of hours getting all my sites verified and sitemapped and other things that sound important to do. However, I’m not so sure any of it is really that important. Even Google implies that most of it happens with or without webmaster help. However, being a webmaster who could make $50-$100 an hour for adding your site to Google Webmaster Tools, I think I should instead say that it’s very important to the success of your business. I guess I look at it this way: if you don’t do it and your business fails, maybe you’ll look back and wish you’d paid me to set it up for you.
The last Google tool I wasted time on today was Adwords. It’s kind of the accelerated way to blow all my Adsense money while hopefully making me some money from advertising my businesses. Actually, it’s probably not a waste of time or money, but I couldn’t work on it today because my bank account had yet to be verified, so I had to not use the three ads I’d created. Actually, that’s probably where a lot of folks could waste a lot of time: creating more ads and overanalyzing the ad campaigns. Again, it’s because Google gives you so much to look at that you want to use all of the data to help you get rich.
Maybe the Google tools will help me sign people up as clients, and maybe I will get rich with some help from Google. However, I want to believe it will still MOSTLY be because of me rather than whether or not I chose to accelerate my ads and optimise my domain in some Googley way.