Archive for March, 2008

Plans for world domination

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

I was just looking over the membership numbers:

In the first year we managed to get 10,811 members. Then in the following six months we got about 25,000 members (I am writing this one day short of 18 months of Fab Swingers).

So I predict that we will finish our second year with 50,000 members, which I am pretty comfortable with as an assumption.

If the trend continues then we could have 250,000 members in year three and 1 million by year four - and of course 1 million was the original target I set myself.

I am very happy with the way that the UK is going, I am however a bit disappointed with progress in California. A total of 1,225 members is not that great but the problem really is down to a lack of focus from me.

I’m not convinced that I’m going to find time to focus soon; the traffic as we approach 1 million page views a day is beginning to kill the server so I am going to have to spend some time fixing this. I am also very busy with work and other web projects.

On the positive side, it looks like I will be able to quit my day job in a couple of months and will then be able to concentrate full time on my websites. I think that will have a huge impact on the site.

UPDATE: Having checking Google Analytics I see that the number and proportion of visitors from the USA has actually increased this month so I shouldn’t be that bothered by the huge decline in US visitors that Alexa is showing. I’m sure that Alexa will catch up with reality eventually!

Duplicate content again

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

I’ve done it again! I accidentally pointed another domain to the Fab Swingers server and unfortunately it ended up being indexed by Google with at least 55 pages making it into the index according to the site: command.

Google punishes duplicate content very hard so this could well be why the Google coverage has been even worse than normal.

I’ve signed up for for Google Sitemaps for the domain and submitted a request to remove the site completely from the index so hopefully in the next couple of days we’ll see it sorted out.


Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I’ve had a re-think on the advertising. It’s just been really hard finding time to deal with small advertisers (and, to be honest, it’s been very hard to find time to work on the site right now at all). So I’ve changed the advertising page so that there is now a minimum order of $1,000 a month. I will probably push this up over the next few months.

It has also been a lesson in how difficult things get when you are handling even a few subscriptions and a reminder that I don’t want to ever charge for the site!

Despite virtually ignoring the site recently we had our best ever traffic figures yesterday and advertising revenue is up 50% on last month so I reckon that we are sticking to the doubling every two months rule.

I have also tried to spend some of the money on PPC but without much success. There was a problem with a card payment to Google AdWords last year and I mailed a couple of time to try to clear it up but got nowhere. I’ve tried a few more times but it looks like it’s going to take way more effort than I can afford right now.

There is a certain irony in the situation because I am ditching my smaller advertisers because I can’t be bothered to collect less than $1,000 meanwhile Google is ditching me because they can’t be bothered collecting $20,000. I am sure that my ex-advertisers are as annoyed with me as I am with Google!

Server scaling revisited

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The new server is beginning to grunt a little bit. It’s going 2,500,000 hits a day which included 500,000 page views. Bandwidth usage is fine at 430 GB a month out of 2,500 GB in the package (17% used). It’s the pageviews which are the problem because they generally involve quite a bit of processing.

I’m not sure if there’s a huge amount more wins on optimisation although every time I’ve looked at it I’ve found something to be done. For example, I’m not preparing any MySQL queries and there is more that could go into a cache. I also didn’t do the re-tuning exercise when we moved to MySQL 5.

On the other hand, the total cost of the server and bandwidth is as of now is going to pan out at about 5% of advertising revenues so I’m not too bothered as long as we can scale linearly from this point.

I am certainly not going to change the mail server IP again though. It took months to restore mail service everywhere after the move.

Thoughts on America and PPC

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

It’s now looking pretty clear that Fab Swingers is going to become the number 3 UK swingers site by traffic either this year or early next year behind Sex in the UK and AdultFriendFinder although it could be argued that both of these sites aren’t pure swingers sites but more about sex dating. This will have taken two years to do from launch.

My focus now is to do the same in the USA which is a trickier proposition. However one of the big advantages I have now is that the UK business is pretty profitable, and will throw off several thousand pounds over the next half year.

In my day job I am presently selling a product which is identical to its competitors but between a third and a half cheaper. Needless to say it is flying out of the door, largely on the back of PPC adverts.

So putting these two thoughts together, I have decided to invest in carefully targeted PPC advertising looking to recruit Californian couples (although I don’t mind picking up some single guys too). I reckon that I should be able to recruit for in the region of $0.40 which is roughly a tenth of the standard rate but my “free” secret weapon should do it!

From this week I will invest $400 in a pilot with an aim of recruiting 1,000 Californians. This should take me to the 2,500 level where Fab Swingers UK took off on its own.

I will then kill the campaign and target another state, probably Nevada so I can build on the close proximity to the successful Californian community.


Saturday, March 8th, 2008

The rumour is that having a glossary is seen as a good thing by Google and a recent article on appearing in Google definitions had some useful tips.

So, I have added a Swingers’ Glossary to Fab Swingers. It’s only got 10 terms in it at the moment but I will grow it over time. It is generated dynamically from a database so it will be easy to add to.

I would like to see what I can do to improve Fab Swingers rankings with Google, presently does not rank on any competitive term and is always beaten by much lower traffic and less relevant sites. I suspect that much of this is down to the domain name being so new (less than 2 years) but I think that some of the on-page SEO is important too.

UK Swingers Site Rankings for March

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

It is two months to the day since the last site rankings so here we go again. I’ve made no change to the sites we’re tracking.

Alexa Rank PageRank Site
71 7 AdultFriendFinder
6,674 4 Sex in the UK
12,009 3 Swinging Heaven
14,601 4 SDC
42,140 3 Adult Hub
53,700 3 Fab Swingers
57,416 1 Swing Fans
82,831 2
92,848 2 Local Swingers

So on the face of it, the only major change has been that Fab Swingers has moved up one place in the table, passing Swing Fans. However if you look at the Alexa information Fab Swingers has been beating the Adult Hub for the past few weeks so as soon as that filters through into the three month average then we will see Fab Swingers move up another place.

It’s good to see Swinging Heaven resuming its gently decline. I am now pretty confident that Fab Swingers will finally overtake Swinging Heaven this year. This is partly because of the general trend in the Alexa rankings but it is also because Fab Swingers is now in sight of generating enough income for me to be able to quit my job and concentrate on it.

Not only that but there is also now a marketing budget (for the first time ever!) so we should be able to accelerate the growth of the site quite nicely.

Looking back at the table, there is quite a big gap between the top four and the middle bunch so I suspect that it will be nearer the end of the year before we move into that group. I also suspect that SDC (on the up slightly) will overtake Swinging Heaven (on the slide as usual) before we go past SH.