Votesy Updates: 3 Weeks Post Launch

February 11, 2016 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It’s been a week since my last update on Votesy, and since Votesy is my #1 focus these days, I thought I’d give you guys an update on what’s been going on during the past 7 days.

Overall, I’m happy with how things have gone throughout the week. I’ve been working on adding new questions to the site to keep things fresh as well as continue to do some light promotion efforts such as some advertising on Reddit (which didn’t perform well), Facebook advertising, and Twitter posting.

I am currently spending an average of $0.51 per Facebook page like. I don’t know if that’s expensive or not as I have never done any Facebook page promoting before, but I’m going to assume it’s fairly expensive since I’m just broad targeting and haven’t done any split-testing at all yet. I’m going to guess you can probably get likes in volume for $0.15 – $0.20 with the right testing.

177

Anyhow, I currently like (for lack of a better word) obtaining Facebook page likes as to me it’s very similar to list-building as I can repeatedly reach out to those users with page post updates. There are only 2 downsides that I can see: 1. It is up to Facebook’s algorithm on whether or not your post will show to them (unlike e-mail where it will always be sent out), and 2. Facebook could shut down your page at any time (highly unlikely, but still a point to consider).

Feel free to like the Votesy Facebook page if you haven’t already, or follow us on Twitter @VotesyOfficial.

Progressive Growth

Below are the stats that Votesy had as of January 30th, 2016 (as mentioned in my previous post update), after having been up for close to 2 weeks:

167

…and here are the stats as of 12:15pm February 10th, 11 days later:

176

That’s an increase of 73 users, which works out to around 6 new users per day. Right now, I’d like to see an average of 20 new users a day, as that would mean 600 new users a month which I think is not too bad for a new startup.

There is not a whole of of retention currently; that is, registered users aren’t frequently returning to vote or comment. I hope to address this in part by sending our regular newsletters which I haven’t yet.

I did a lot of considering on whether or not to send out a press release and ultimately decided against it, as I didn’t think it would be worth the money, at least not at this stage. I may do so once we have something newsworthy to mention outside of simply launching and existing. Maybe once/if we reach 5,000 users or something like that.

Now Mobile Friendly!

One of the major things holding us back before was that Votesy could not be used on a mobile device. It simply didn’t render at all and was near impossible to use.

While not perfect, it’s at least viewable and useable on mobile devices now, with the main issue being that you cannot create a question on mobile.

I’m hoping to get a few more improvements made on the mobile version so that it can last until Android and iOS versions are made.

What’s Next:

As mentioned before, I would like to send out our first newsletter and perhaps set some automated weekly newsletters to be sent out.

I will also continue to promote Votesy as best I can and increase traffic and site activity.

I’m also thinking of running a simple contest, such as giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate to the person who creates a question with the greatest number of votes after a week. If that does well then I can run more and bigger ones in the future.

I probably won’t be doing another Votesy post update for a while as I suspect there won’t be much to write about for at least 2 weeks. Hopefully it will be good news!

Posted: February 11th, 2016 under My Websites 6 Comments

A Change of Pace: Switching My Workspace

February 9, 2016 Posted by Tyler Cruz

When I was 12, my best friend used to completely reorganize his bedroom about once a month.

It was a small bedroom, but he had a lot of stuff as most 12-year-olds do (Super Nintendo, hockey cards, etc.), so it wasn’t exactly easy to move things around. Nevertheless, and without fail, about once a month I would go to his bedroom to see it completely changed.

It was actually kind of amazing, because there are only so many configurations you can do, but it was always so different which made it feel brand new even though it was all the exact same stuff as before. It made it feel fresh and kind of exciting, almost as if he kept getting a new room once a month.

Fast forward 20 years (wow, time flies), and I’m now finding myself remembering the above for the first time since all those years ago. The memories triggered as I was rearranging my office.

About 6-months after moving into my new house, I published a blog post giving a tour of my office including a video and photos. In it, you can see that I had set up my computer on the built-in corner desk of the office, which was a tight fit.

In fact, it took me a while to get used to the cramped space. The desk, while large, had one main problem – there were supports underneath which got in the way of your legs, meaning that you had to kind of bend and lean your way in to use the computer. Basically, it was just horrible ergonomically.

Here’s a photo of where my computer used to be (more photos and video below):

175

Since being diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease just over a year ago, I’ve been doing every possible thing I can to try to lessen my symptoms. I read a little while back that symptoms could possibly be related to my sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is the big neck muscle. Now, I believe that there’s a 2% chance this could all be related to that, but as I say I’m willing to try anything and everything.

And that’s why I decided to switch my work area in my office, so I moved from my corner desk back to my old desk which I’ve had for a good 12 years now and still love. It’s on the opposite corner of my office.

171

Now, I’m not a man of change. I’m a creature of habit, and therefore I never do things such as reorganize my room, so even just changing workspaces has a big impact on me. It changes the way I think and feel. I’m right beside a window now, the lighting is totally different, my keyboard and mouse are back on a pull-out tray, and I lowered my chair and raised my monitors for better line-of-sight.

172

The first few hours at the location were actually very difficult to work because I’m sitting a little farther away from the monitors than I was before due to the pull-out tray, and so I had major eye strain. But fast-forward a few days later and I’m very used to it already. I actually find work slightly less draining, and I especially notice it when writing blog posts.

173

Here’s the view from my office window:

174

And here’s a short updated video tour of my office:

(Note: You may need to visit the post directly at TylerCruz.com if you’re reading this via e-mail or RSS in order to see the video.)

I also forgot to mention in the video that I also upgraded my printer. It’s absolutely worth investing in a good printer, I highly recommend it.

Anyhow, who knows how long this "new" feeling will last, but I just thought it was worth posting about. Maybe try changing your workspace around too. If you do, please let me know how it affects you (if at all).

Posted: February 9th, 2016 under Miscellaneous 3 Comments

PPC.BZ Affiliate Marketing Blog Sells for $1,655

February 7, 2016 Posted by Tyler Cruz

For those of you who are regular readers of affiliate marketing blogs out there, it may be interesting for you to learn that the trolling, flaming, affiliate blog PPC.BZ was recently listed for sale at Flippa.com.

I noticed it for sale when I had Movie-Vault.com listed as well. PPC.BZ was a 7-year-old affiliate marketing blog that was popular with the type of crowd who frequents WickedFire. The blog even focused on attacking me in a few posts Smile

Anyhow, I counted only 8 blog posts made there since July 28, 2013, so I guess it was already a dead blog. It just goes to reinforce my repeated point that long-term blogging is extremely difficult. Anyone can start a a blog and offer fantastic content during the first year or 3, but as time goes on, it only gets harder.

PPC.BZ ended up selling for $1,655.00 USD.

168

Truth be told, I was considering purchasing it myself Smile I thought that it could be worth it purely for the existing backlinks and swapping out its existing affiliate links over to mine, but I ultimately decided against it because I am trying to reduce my own number of sites so that I can focus on Votesy.

The new owner does not seem to have posted anything on the site yet, so it will be interesting what he does with it (if anything, he may just swap out the affiliate links as well).

There have been many affiliate marketing and "make money online" blogs that have simply been abandoned and shut down throughout the years, but I don’t recall many that have actually been sold or put up for auction, which makes me wonder if the previous owner was desperate for cash.

I wonder how much I could get for TylerCruz.com if I sold it now. You can see the major downside to running a blog with your name in it… Smile

Posted: February 7th, 2016 under Affiliate Marketing 3 Comments

I Sold My Oldest and Most Worked-On Website

February 5, 2016 Posted by Tyler Cruz

A few weeks ago I sold my oldest and most worked-on website, Movie-Vault.com.

I’ve owned Movie-Vault.com for over 15 year which is about half of my lifetime, and so I have a lot of history and attachment with the site, especially since it was my first big website.

First, I’ll explain why I even bothered to put it up for sale in the first place considering the above. There are four primary reasons:

Firstly, I’ve actually been selling off my network of sites over the past few years. For a while I was focusing exclusively on affiliate marketing and didn’t have time to run them, so it had already been my goal for a while to dramatically reduce the number of sites I own.

Secondly, I really want to focus on Votesy, and while I was hardly spending any time on Movie-Vault over the past 5 years, having it sold and out of my hands would still take some weight off my shoulders.

Thirdly, I simply lost interest in film over the years, and once you lose interest in a project it is doomed for failure. I was once passionate about movies and film, but that simply fleeted over time.

Lastly, since Movie-Vault.com was essentially "dead", I could have used the money from the sale to put towards Votesy.

Unfortunately, it only ended up selling for $1,500. I had set the reserve at $1 so I was willing to take the risk of a low sale – I was committed to selling it.

The new owner got an absolute steal on it. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a steal he got. Just the robust custom-programming of the site is easily worth the sales price several times over; the entire system could easily be rehashed to make a gaming review site, for example. Then there’s the fact that the system has 15,000+ double opt-in registered members, over 2,500 exclusively-written movie reviews, etc.

169

But sites these days, unless absolutely swarming with traffic, almost exclusively sell based on existing revenue, and Movie-Vault.com was making next to nothing.

I actually first created Movie-Vault.com as part of a grade 12 Information Technology assignment in which we had to make a website. I created a purple website called "Movie Planet", and after I was graded for the assignment, decided to keep working on the website. Shortly thereafter I purchased a domain for it (it cost like $150 at the time!) and the rest is history.

I had worked incredibly hard on Movie-Vault.com, and honed a lot of my skills on it. I learned HTML, Photoshop, Javascript, CSS, MySQL, Perl, and some basic server stuff such as console commands, Apache, etc.

In fact, my decision to try to make money online for a living originally stemmed from those first few months of putting banner ads up on Movie-Vault and making $5 a month, then $11, then $15, etc. That was the exact moment I decided to do this for a living. I don’t believe I ever wrote about that before.

I have a lot of memories with Movie-Vault.com. Apart from personally interviewing people in the industry (directors, producers, film scorers, actors), one of the notable memories I have is when Lucasfilm Studios sent me a cease and desist notice after one of our news posters leaked behind-the-scenes photos of Star Wars Episode II.

We received so much traffic as a result of that, that it took down our servers for a couple of days. We were getting links from all over the internet, including the front page of Yahoo! (Yahoo! was still very popular at that time).

And of course, for a while Movie-Vault.com was attending red carpet premiere’s and interviewing A-list celebrities.

Here’s one we did with Justin Bieber:

(Note: You may need to visit the post directly at TylerCruz.com if you’re reading this via e-mail or RSS in order to see the video.)

And here’s one from the Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon premiere:

(Note: You may need to visit the post directly at TylerCruz.com if you’re reading this via e-mail or RSS in order to see the video.)

Anyhow, the sale of Movie-Vault marks an end of an era for me. PokerForums was my largest money-making website, but I invested the most blood, sweat, and tears into Movie-Vault.

In some ways it feels good to sell it though. Maybe the new owner can resurrect it back to life again, and selling it does take a bit of load off my shoulders. It’s nice to look forward, not back.

Posted: February 5th, 2016 under My Websites 11 Comments