Update: Site Changes – Again

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Update: Site Changes – More Tinkering

I seem to be teetering towards my eventual goal of making the site experience as good as it can be for you guys. I know more work is still to be done…it all takes time.

Some of the latest changes include

  1. I’ve added blanket disclaimers that tell you to just assume the worst and that everything is affiliated. It isn’t, by a long way, but it’s just cleaner to present the worst-case scenario. I’m yet to meet anyone who thinks that shopping links on blogs aren’t affiliated. I’ve also tinkered with other forms of words around the links which had alternate meaning to the ones I intended – basically various laws are continuing to change and all sites have to adapt their messaging accordingly. If you are a big site that’s ‘someone’s job’ if you are me that’s ‘no social life’ 😉 Maybe
  2. I’ve also had to add a new CMP popup which is something to do with keeping California happy about what cookies are being used. Naturally, 99.9% of people will ignore it. Or at least that’s what I think everyone does. I think the CMP popup comes from Google, so again it’s just that bit more trustworthy. Hopefully.
  3. I’ve never previously used Google AdSense directly. Ads had previously come from there via my broker and other places. I now have a direct account with AdSense and that allows me to trust Google to be more creative about where and how some ads are placed. I’m really hoping this will stop
    • too many ads being displayed
    • ads jumping about. You’ll be surprised to find just how hard it is to do apparently simple things.
    • and it will also stop a middleman taking a cut. Maybe.
  4. Google also lets me better control the ads. Ads will normally be tailored to your recent browsing experience by Google. However, if you’ve just been to a very naughty site then I’ve stopped similar naughtiness being displayed in the ads here that are now served by AdSense
  5. I’ve also FINALLY been able to stop manufacturers advertising here without my express permission. I was unable to ascertain which were previously advertising but now you should never see ads from the vendors I normally talk about. From Garmin to STRYD and everywhere in between.
  6. Similarly, several retailers (some competitive ones to my partners and my partners) have now also been stopped from advertising. My assumption has been that historically Wiggle and Amazon target this site based on which of their products I link to. Placing a 0.1cent ad is very much cheaper for them than, in Amazon’s case, paying 3% commission. I always felt that was somewhat unethical (if it happened) but couldn’t stop it. Now I can and I have done that in USA, UK & DE
  7. The upshot is that there is probably now no-one left who wants to advertise on this site and you will therefore get no ads whatsoever. Except for gambling ones. I don’t gamble myself but if you want to …just remember that the house always wins in the longterm.  It’s called maths.
  8. I’ve also done my best to remove ads from some recent reviews as they are published. Just to be nice. On the flipside, more ads will appear on mobile (there only used to normally be one single ad per page)
  9. The site speed should be generally ok to good and ‘really good’ on mobile. I am continuing to work on the site speed. Rationalising the number of advertisers I use will increase the site’s speed as they tend to supply inefficient code to load their ads that is thus slow to load.  I have also been working on improving some of the ads and how they are pre-cached on my site. There should be a slight improvement in the speed of new content from December onwards.
  10. Also linked to site speed will be the placing of a low-quality placeholder image while the real image loads. I’ve tried this and lazy-loading already and it does not seem to help speed too much. However, as a side effect, it seemed to help CORRECTLY render/draw the page elements in the right size & place and stop things jumping around.
  11. I’ve also been working on SEO. I generally try to focus on ‘original’ content, sometimes even GREAT content ;-), which I’m assuming is what brings you all here (thank you for coming). However such contents sometimes conflict with similar bits of previous content and I’m trying to structure the site so that just the main pages for each topic are listed. That is a mammoth piece of work. I now know a lot more about SEO than I used to ! It’s a shame that Google effectively requires it to be done regardless of what they will have you believe…truly great content makes it to the top but rubbish and somewhat misleading content from high-ranking sites also makes it to the top. C’mon Google…that’s your job, not mine.

 

I do listen. It’s hard to turn that into concrete actions that work. That’s life, I guess.

 

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John R

Keep up the good work man! It’s reading your content that helps keep me motivated. Fresh content = more motivation to actually do something which isn’t easy this weather 😀

Ray Maker

Good stuff.

I like how basically some form of the majority of your 11 bullets I’ve spend time on in identical ways the last week. I don’t think most people realize how much time/work goes into ensuring a site runs even half-smoothly. Easily 75% of my time this last week has been spent not on creating content or reviews, but on backend tweaks that 95% of people won’t notice but eventually have to be done. Granted, I’ve been procrastinating those for years…but still. 🙂

Eduardo

I’ve been on the same road as well, although I still have miles to go. I’m also about to change servers and I guess that will help a bit…

By the way, I’m still seeing quite a lot of Amazon ads on the site served by Google, so you should check into that as not all seems to be blocked.