Last Chance for Affiliate Blog Online

If you’ve been keeping track of our latest blog posts, you will know that we are having major issues with keeping this site running smoothly. We were with Bluehost originally and the site would be constantly down with no warning from them. We decided to move it to Hostgator  but Hostgater constantly shut the site down (at least they gave us a warning unlike Bluehost). Then we moved the site to WPEngine which is awesome but not really cost effective for a site not making any money.

So we brought the site back to Hostgator and all was going well until the past few days when Hostgator decided to take the site down yet again. For the past few days it has been down and despite making changes, Hostgator still won’t reinstate it. We don’t really know what the problem is and Hostgator aren’t in the business to help their customers work out these issues.

So we had to have a think about whether we even wanted to keep this site running. This has never been a big money making site for us and really has just been a way for us to babble on about what we do online as well as provide tips and hints for others trying to make money online. As you can probably tell, neither of us have added much to the site lately so is it really worth keeping at all?

So we had a chat about it and decided to give it one last chance. We decided we needed to move from Hostgator so we have made the move to StableHost. Will it be the right move? Who knows, but Stablehost have received quite good reviews so we thought we would give them a shot.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed….

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Time for a Spring Clean…Plus Amazon Earnings

We’ve been in this business for a long time now…I guess you could call 10 years a long time…and as a result, we have built up a whole lot of ‘stuff’ that needs sorting out. When I say ‘stuff’ I mean websites. We just have too many of them and then there are the domain names – we probably have about 100 of them…most doing nothing but just sitting parked for maybe one day when we get around to using them.

Stupid really…we know we are never going to get around to it because we have enough to do already. We don’t want to build more and more websites. We have enough trouble keeping track of the ones we have, plus we created new ones after we were penalised by the Google animal updates.

In other words we have a lot of stuff and it needed sorting out…we needed a spring clean. So we have been spending the past month or so doing just that. Our main task has been moving most of our old sites over to one hosting account. We had 4 hosting accounts and we really didn’t need four. One of those accounts was a reseller account so we decided to move as many sites as possible over to that account. We figured it will make it a whole lot easier to keep track of everything.

Amazon-Earnings-Dec-13So far we have moved 23 sites over. These are mostly our old sites (pre-Google updates) that we no longer really work on. We don’t want to get rid of them though as despite the Google penalties they still make us money. Just to give you an example, for the first two days in December we have made $338 on Amazon and $174 with CJ for those old sites. We have other affiliate accounts so we may have made a little more than that…I just haven’t checked.

So while they are still making us money, we aren’t about to get rid of them. We just update plugins etc as needed and every now and then we will go in and freshen some up by adding content or changing the theme…but most of the time, we really do nothing to those sites.

Then we have some new sites. We could probably classify these are Type A and Type B. Our Type A are sites that we created because we are just interested in the topic. For example, we started a gardening site because we are both into that at the moment and an ASMR site…if you don’t know what that is just Google it. So all of those are going over to our reseller account as well.

Our Type B sites are ones we created to replace our old money making sites. These are our product sites although we are tending to move away from the product based sites and moving towards more generic type sites. And when we say ‘sites’ there aren’t a lot of them. We don’t want to go back to having 20 or so sites that we have to work on.

These sites are going to stay on their own hosting account separate from the rest. We’ve been burned in the past from people finding out what our sites were. They would either copy them completely, or pick out reviews that we worked hard on and use them on their own site, or they would constantly check our site stats and tell us that our system didn’t work if we suddenly had a drop in traffic…blah, blah, blah! We still get those sorts of comments to this day.

So those sites are hidden…WHOIS made private, different domain name account, different hosting account, different Amazon account etc etc.

We’ve also moved the Affiliate Blog site over to the reseller account. In a previous post I wrote about how we moved the site to WPEngine hosting. We were happy with the move and would have liked to have stayed with them but it really wasn’t cost effective in the end. This site gets a lot of traffic and we would go over the allowable traffic usage each month. (Note that WPEngine also includes bot traffic in their calculation). This meant paying an extra $10 or $15 a month in fees.

If we moved up to the next level it would have been $99. That wasn’t a problem but we would have only been able to add another site or maybe two before we’d reach the traffic limit again. So in the end, we decided to move Affiliate Blog over to our reseller account.

There were also some sites that we trashed completely. They weren’t making any money and we knew we would never get around to working on them again. I think we trashed around 5 sites – I would have liked to have trashed more but like I said before, we aren’t going to toss away sites that are still providing us with an income.

Then there were the domain names. We just had way too many and they needed to go. So for at least 10 of them we just let slide and no longer paid for the renewals.

For about 30 other domains, we put them up on Godaddy Auctions to sell. They have already gone through a 7 day auction with no sales but the best thing about Godaddy domain auctions is that you can relist as many times as you like and it doesn’t cost a cent. So what we are going to do is just continue to relist them until they either sell or expire. None of them are terribly exciting so we don’t expect miracles here but if they sell then great!

So all in all, it’s been worth the effort. We still have a number of websites to transfer over so we are focusing on that at the moment but once that is done, we are going to feel a whole lot better having everything organised.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

WP Engine Coupon Code for 2013

WP Engine coupon code 2013If you’ve read our previous post you will know that we moved our hosting for this website to WP Engine and we are extremely pleased with that move. The site is stable for a change so everything is looking good so far.

Now we signed up as affiliates for WP Engine because we like the product and we only promote products we like. So if you click on the link below and use the coupon code then we will get a commission for the sale. Just letting you know so you can make the decision not to click on the link if you want.

Anyway, the discount code gives you 3 months free hosting on an annual plan which is a very cool discount so if you are interested in getting better hosting for your blog then you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the coupon code.

Click here to check out WP Engine and use coupon code “hostober13″

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Why We Chose WP Engine for Our Hosting

UPDATE: Please read the update at the end of this post.

In my last post, I mentioned how we had changed from the Flexsqueeze theme to Genesis in an attempt to solve the issues we have been having with this site. Well, it didn’t work. Within days of changing themes Hostgator shut down the site yet again saying our that our site “was found to be consuming an inordinate amount of mysql connections, to the point of degrading overall system performance”.

I kind of understand where Hostgator are coming from but it certainly doesn’t help when they give no warning. Usually it happens in the middle of the night so the site can be down for some hours before you even realise. And then once it is down, you have no way of getting back into it to try to fix it without first contacting them and getting access.

Included in the email from Hostgator was the suggestion that we move to a dedicated server. That isn’t cheap by any means at a minimum of $174 a month. We’re not even paying that for a year of hosting.

However, we needed to do something different. Hostgator weren’t really forthcoming with what the exact problem was, offering own vague suggestions, and despite removing every single plugin on the site, the memory resources being used didn’t really reduce that much. (Just as a side note to all of this, the plugin that used the most memory on our site was the NextGen plugin which we won’t be putting back on.)

So what did we do? We took the advice of a reader by the name of Tilen Mandelj who left a comment on our last blog post suggesting that we should try either WP Engine or Synthesis for our hosting. I had actually read about Synthesis but had never heard of WP Engine. Both of these hosting companies focus solely on WordPress.

So as I do, I started to research, but thinking that things were now okay with the site I didn’t dwell too long on it all.

However, not long after, the dreaded email from Hostgator arrived saying they had shut down the site. Of course, it came in at night and too late to really do anything. So all I did was email both WP Engine and Synthesis with the exact same email, asking if their hosting could help to solve the problems we were having with this site and then promptly went to bed.

By morning, both companies had responded. This was a good sign. I had already read about how good the service was from each of them. Each had a slightly different response, however Synthesis went a little further to offer suggestions and they also wanted a little more info on what plugins we were using and so forth. Just in those few pre-sale emails, they provided more help than Hostgator ever did.

It took a while for us to decide on which company to go with actually because both looked really good. I was moving more towards Synthesis because they are run by the same guys who created the Genesis theme plus, like I said, their pre-sales emails were quite helpful.

However, in the end we went with WP Engine. We had read a number of glowing reviews for WP Engine and some from those who had actually used both Synthesis and WP Engine and the consensus was that WP Engine was the better at least in their opinion. Plus, if we wanted to start adding more sites to it, the next level up at $99 a month allowed for up to 10 websites whereas with Synthesis, the $99 monthly price only included 2 websites.

So yesterday, we migrated the site over to WP Engine. We followed the migration instructions on their site which are quite good by the way, however it didn’t all go to plan as these things do. So I emailed them and within half an hour I had a response which got me  through the next step and then another hitch, so another email was sent and so on. In all about four or five emails later, we had the site up and running.

With the site now functioning again I decided to test the memory usage. I was using a plugin called Debug Bar as recommended by the guy from Synthesis. With Hostgator, the memory usage was at 53mb which is apparently quite high. An average WordPress site should really be no more than 20mb. Despite deactivating every single plugin, the site remained at around 43mb. After migrating the site to WP Engine the memory usage was now at 4mb which is a major drop. However, that’s not to say that WP Engine solved those problems because when we migrated and transferred the database, we didn’t transfer every table in that database. There were tables in there that belonged to plugins that we no longer used. It could well have been those tables that were causing the high memory issue.

So at the moment, we are still testing the waters with WP Engine. If it turns out okay, we will move up to the $99 a month plan and add a few more sites.

UPDATE: As of December 2013, we decided to move this site over to our Hostgator reseller account. We like WP Engine, we really do, but this site was getting too much traffic and the plan we were on wasn’t working for us. We were being charged for excess visits. The next option would have been to upgrade to the $99 plan but really in terms of  traffic  (which includes bots by the way) we would probably only been able to get another couple of websites into the plan. It just didn’t seem cost effective based on our traffic numbers.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS