If you’re a regular visitor to the site, it has probably come to your attention that I’ve been making some tweaks as of late.
The site was once hosted on Movable Type, but last year I decided to move everything over to WordPress. This transition was largely inspired by the Smart Passive Income podcast, particularly episode 36 with Sunil.
Listening to the podcast gave me a great deal of hope and inspiration to continue working on a site that I didn’t necessarily have the intention of updating or growing any longer.
Not that I didn’t enjoy writing or creating videos about movies and games. It’s just that I’ve always had a lot of other things on the go, and knowing the importance of regularly updated content, I didn’t think I would be able to create new posts consistently enough to make it worthwhile.
Thanks to the YouTube embeds, Amazon affiliate links and a decent back log of indexed content, the site started producing a little bit of money all on its own. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to make me want to consider the possibilities again.
That’s when I decided that a fresh design, a new name (with keywords in the title) and migration over to WordPress would be a good strategic move. I also knew that I could schedule enough content in advance to keep the site updated (scheduled posts in Movable Type never really worked that well), even as I worked on other things. I could leverage the reviews I wrote for the old site, revise and thicken them up a little bit, and publish them all over again.
It sounded pretty good in theory, but when I started implementing the changes, a site that was beginning to produce a bit of income basically dropped down to zero, thanks to the fact that I didn’t immediately migrate over all of the indexed content. Evidently a lot (probably most) of my traffic was coming from search, because, as soon as I made the switch over to WordPress, it bottomed out pretty fast.
Suffice to say, it may not have been the smartest move, but I definitely learned a valuable lesson from the experience. Staying on Movable Type may not have been the worst thing, and infrequent updates may also not have been all that bad.
In either case, I wanted to start over, and I wanted the site to update at least five days a week. This wasn’t all that hard when I still had a substantial back log of content from the old site. However, more recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been leveraging content (videos) that others like Spoony have created. Certainly, it’s not considered “cheating” in the blogging world, so long as you’re adding your own thoughts to the piece and giving credit where it is due.
This isn’t necessarily a long-term strategy, but as I’ve already noted, I always have a lot on the go, and the fact that this site is a little lower on the priority chain is probably fairly obvious.
In essence, what I’m trying to get at is that I see this as a long-term project. I’m very certain that I will need to go back and optimize and thicken up some of the content, not to mention add affiliate links or more ads to monetize it. I may even want to add more writers or more content producers for the site.
The goal of the recent revamp is to improve the SEO and ranking of the site and also to experiment with the Genesis Framework, which I purchased for my birthday. I’d been hearing good things about it, and since configuring the design and layout in WordPress has not been my chief strength (I’m quite good with HTML and CSS), I thought using Genesis might make things a little easier.
I am still testing out to see to what extent this will prove to be true. Supposedly, the framework is a lot friendlier to mobile users, and it’s also supposed to be properly optimized for search traffic. That still remains to be seen, but assuming that’s true, it just leaves the design and layout bit I touched on earlier.
So far, I’m not finding it any easier to configure the design with Genesis than with any other WordPress theme. I had heard that in the hands of a good designer it really comes alive (could be a direct quote from the website), but it seems that even the most basic elements (fonts, links color, background color, etc.) have to be set up manually in a CSS file. I’m a little disheartened by that.
It’s nice to know that the SEO is taken care of, but I’m still wondering exactly what I’m paying for. Perhaps, thinking of it as a well-designed theme is more on-point than seeing it as a catch-all solution for beginner-to-intermediate WordPress users.
Most good themes have customizable widget areas. Some of them have child themes. So, at this point I’m still wondering what exactly is unique to Genesis that isn’t available elsewhere (sometimes for free).
Some of that will probably come to light as I continue to play with it. I do like the fact that they have a variety of pre-designed child themes that you can purchase, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around using themes that others have crafted. I guess this is fairly standard practice with WordPress, but I come from the school of thought that you need to make your website theme your own.
Through some trial and error, I’ve figured out how to do this with Movable Type. I am still trying to work out how to do it with WordPress. So far I have coped by using the sample child theme and tweaking the CSS file. It seems like the most non-destructive way to adapt the theme to my needs.
As well, painstakingly developing my own child theme – at least at this point – is a little out of the question; it’s time I am likely to be spending elsewhere.
The YouTube Channel
Technicalities aside, the most popular component of this whole operation still seems to be the YouTube channel. I guess that makes sense, as video games and movies are highly visual mediums and they lend themselves well to video.
For the moment, it seems that the other social channels we’re on (Twitter, Google+ and Facebook) as well as the website haven’t been fully embraced the same way the YouTube channel has.
I suppose this might just be a “take what you can get” type situation. I would rather have a decently popular YouTube channel than no apparent interest in what I do.
Despite all of the technical stuff, I hope you enjoyed this read. I know that I’ve kind of jumped all over the place, but time permitting I thought it might be good to let you know where things are at periodically.
The long of the short of it is that the site now has more content than it ever had, and I am working towards making it more pleasing to the eye. As I already pointed out, this will probably be a long-term project, and incremental change is what I see happening with it.