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What Not to Do When Creating a Website

I’ve made mention from time to time about my website mistakes. After playing around with it a little over the weekend, I thought it would be nice to share with you the “What not to do’s” when it comes to creating a website. I’m able to create this list because it’s everything that I did when I created my website. I’ll share what I did and how Google hated it.

Actually, the list should be entitled “How to Piss Google Off with Your Website So They Will Stop Sending Traffic Your Way.” I learned this list by trial and error. My mistakes were made because I was a newbie and didn’t know any better. I wasn’t trying to buck the system or “get rich quick”. As a matter of fact, I didn’t put any ads on the site until several months down the road. When I created the site, I didn’t even know what Google AdSense was. I was basically testing my HTML coding skills and my writing ability. (Yes, I hand coded the Tidbits site).

Here’s my list of 8 Things to Do to Piss Google Off with Your Website So They Will Stop Sending Traffic Your Way:

  1. Create a broad site. The first way to piss Google off so they won’t send traffic your way is to create a website on several topics rather than a well researched niched website.If you visit my Tidbits and Stuff website, you’ll notice that the topics range from Beauty to Household tips, to Insurance to Writing and so on. This is a no-no. It would have been better to create a separate website for each topic that I have listed in my top navigation. However, being the schizoid that I am, I decided to include my favorite topics all in one website.
  2. Don’t use original content. When I first created the site, I wrote all of the articles. Realizing it was a slow process, I went to a few article directories, such as Ezine Article, and selected a few articles that were well written and offered valuable information that would benefit my readers.Back then I didn’t realize that original content was king. I wanted more information on my site so I went out and got it. I added content at the rate of an article or two a day. On occasion, I would write something, but the rest came from article directories.
  3. Register several domains to point to the same site. This, I understand, is a big no-no. In my search for the ultimate hosting company, I had to suffer through several duds. Each time I went to move my site from one host to another, I registered a new domain name, similar to the old name, so that my site wouldn’t suffer any down time. As a result, I had the original name tidbitsandstuff.com, then I registered tidbitsnstuff.com, then tidbits-n-stuff.com and finally tidbitzandstuff.com (I had to go through several hosting companies until I found Hostgator. I’ve been happy ever since).
  4. Forget about keywords. When I created Tidbits and Stuff, I didn’t know what a keyword was, never mind write articles using them. My choice of meta tag keywords were laughable. If you view the source of several of the articles, you’ll see how pitiful the meta tags are. I never bothered to correct all of them, because I don’t think meta tags are as important now as they once were.As far as keywords in my articles, they didn’t exist. It’s amazing that I get any traffic at all.
  5. Place tons of ads on each page. Once I discovered Google AdSense, I went crazy. I placed ads everywhere on each page, as many as I legally could fit. This not only made each page look like a walking spamvertisement, it detracted from the aesthetics.Later, as I understood the error of my ways, I went back to remove most of the ads. Some pages still have the old spamverstisement format, but I change them as I see them.
  6. Stop updating the site. As a freelance writer on the internet, I’m able to indulge my every writing whim. The wind blew and I got tired of Tidbits and Stuff so I created a few other blogs. As I got more and more engrossed in my other blogs, I forgot all about Tidbits and Stuff. Therefore, months went by without me even checking to see if it was still there. Google doesn’t like stagnant sites.
  7. Don’t try to get backlinks. Back in the early days of my site, I used to write article for free directories in an attempt to get backlinks (Another mistake. Instead of writing new content for the free directories, I used content I had written for my site…boy what a big mistake). As you can see, I’m holding nothing back. All of my mistakes are here for you to learn from.I stopped writing articles and I stopped adding my content to Digg, Reddit or any of the social media sites (BTW, I got banned from Netscape because I treated them like Digg…they didn’t like that so they banned me).
  8. Lose Google Page Rank. As a result of all of the above, I eventually lost my Google page rank. I believe my site has a 0 page rank now. I removed the utility from my browser that displays website page ranks because I got tired of watching it drop. The only place left for my rank to go is “Not available.”

The final outcome:

Here’s the interesting thing about that website. Although Google has dropped me like a hot potato, I still get quite a bit of traffic from the other search engines such as Yahoo, Ask, Life Search, MSM, AOL and others. All of my “Google” mistakes are just that…Google mistakes. The other search engines are more forgiving. After all if you ask Yahoo “how to cook sirloin,” an article I wrote about cooking sirloin comes up as number one (at least as of this writing). The article isn’t all that good, and bottom line, I’m not much of a meat eater, so it’s surprising that it should show as number one.

Periodically, when Google lets its guard down, the same article shows as number one on Google too (but not too often anymore).

The cool thing about all of the mistakes is that even though the site is a Google disaster, I make anywhere from $300 to $500 a month in advertising revenue each month (from Google and other sources). I guess if I took the time to spruce it up and start correcting the massive errors, it might be a real money maker.

Moral of the Story

It’s kind of hard not to make money from a website.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • jen brister February 23, 2009, 11:23 pm

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cassie Tuttle February 24, 2009, 6:37 pm

    Thanks for the tips.

    As a relative newbie, with only a TypePad blog and no actual Web site, would you say these no-no’s apply to blogs as well?

  • Felicia February 24, 2009, 8:04 pm

    Cassie, I’d say they pretty much apply to a blog also. I guess it also depends on why you’re blogging and what you expect to get in return for blogging.

    I find that I very rarely, if ever, use keywords when I blog. A blog develops more of a following because of the back and forth dialog. A website is a bit different (at least that’s been my experience).

    It’s a shame that we’ve been forced to write in such a way to keep Google happy. Can you imagine constantly repeating a few choice keywords when having a conversation with someone? A little awkward. I guess that’s why I don’t really use keywords here.
    It would take too much time and energy to make the constant repetition of keywords sound conversational.

  • AJ Kumar March 6, 2009, 3:39 am

    Interesting. I can’t seem to understand exactly why you got banned from google page rank (backlinks?)

    AJ Kumars last blog post..Influence Someone by Creating a New Reality

  • Felicia March 6, 2009, 9:41 am

    AJ, I’m with you. I don’t understand either.

    Who knows, maybe one day Google will feel magnanimous and give me my page rank back. In the meanwhile, there are other fish to fry.


  • Julie M March 9, 2009, 10:52 pm


    I am in the middle of trying to spruce up my blog including getting a custom domain name. The other thing that concerns me is not having a specific niche. While I do not go too far off track, I still want the ability to write about things that just come to me. What do you think? Is it not possible to have a successful Tidbits and Stuff if the stuff is closely related to tidbits? My latest blog discusses this. Thanks!!

    Julie Ms last blog post..New Domain Name for Website

  • Felicia March 10, 2009, 7:48 am

    Julie, it’s hard for me to say.

    I think websites are different than blogs. Blogs develop a following because of the interactivity. I think you have more freedom to leave the niche path for a quick tangent. I don’t use keywords and SEO tricks here at NJFM, but it seems that the readership does grow.

    My Tidbits site on the other hand, was doing extremely well until Google pulled the plug. Then they plugged it back in and then pulled it again, and so on and so on. I’m not so sure that every site goes through what Tidbits is going through.

    You probably would want to pose your question to a more successful blogger like Daren Rowse at ProBlogger.net. I’m sure someone there has more experience with successful niche blogs than I do. I tend to use my blogs as a public brain dump.

    When you do find the answer, please let us know. 🙂

  • Julie M March 13, 2009, 9:52 pm

    Well, I’d like to keep mine as a public brain dump as well! LOL I have seen blogs like Zen Blogger and one I came across the other day called Ironic Sans that had a more widespread audience.

    Julie Ms last blog post..Writing in the Age of Technology

  • Lisa Russell August 13, 2010, 2:55 am

    AJ- I’m willing to bet she wasn’t literally banned from google. In fact- I searched site:tidbitsandstuff.com and saw 229 pages currently indexed. It’s not a matter of actually being banned from search engines, I think she’s just not getting traffic from google.

    I think the hand-coding is an overlooked “mistake” since content management systems (whether it’s a “real” CMS or wordpress) have several internal SEO-improvers, that a hand-coded sight might not have, like automatically interlinked pages based on topic, category, etc.

    #7 seems to be the one that’s confusing you, right AJ?

    The low page rank from Google is Google’s way of saying “You are not an authority on any topic” basically because of A- the wide range of topics and keywords (since they weren’t a priority, they’re like, nonexistent) and B- because there are no incoming links.

    You could improve the rank by making sure the redirects are a permanent http301 redirect – OORRR- split the content into 4 (is that how many domains you had?) separate sites and rebuild them with a CMS so each site has a different set of focus.

    Set up the new content to be added on a timer- every 3-7 days (or alternate with entirely new content- which could really just be aggregated links to your work on Suite101 or eHow or Examiner) and set up the RSS feed to automatically tweet and set a facebook status update.

    Have each new site link to the OLD original unchanged tidbitsandstuff.com

    Nothing is ever a lost cause in this business. I think if you’re making $300-$500 on the site, there’s no reason not to overhaul its SERP rankings.

    Also- use your search queries to write Suite101 content
    and have you checked the Alexa statistics?

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