It’s not a rhetorical question.
Take a second and ask yourself “do you like your own niche site(s)?”
What I mean by that is if you searched in Google and ended up on your site, would you consider it helpful? Would you like it?
Another question to ask is do you proudly tell folks your site?
I suppose if you’re in adult niches, maybe you don’t… or maybe you do haha.
If you’re like me you probably haven’t seriously considered these weighty questions.
I bet you’ve solely focused on whether Google’s search algo will like it.
I admit I spend more time worrying about whether Google will send traffic to my sites than whether I think it’s good.
There are things I don’t like about my niche sites, especially my biggest niche site.
Here they are:
It’s too slow. Speed has long been an issue. With hundreds of thousands of images and all kinds of other junk, it’s not as fast as I’d like. It’s much better than it has been, but there’s much room for improvement. I’m working on that.
Too many ads. I’ll admit it. My site has too many ads for my liking. Nevertheless, I’m not removing any of them.
Content could be better. I put a lot into publishing good content, but it’s not perfect. I’m not paying $.25 per word for perfection. I’m paying a fraction of that. I’m paying what I need to pay in order for it to do what it needs to do. The content is good. Some of it is great. None of it is perfect.
Navigation could be better. It’s a big site. I use categories, tags, related posts, the sidebar and an extensive top navigation bar yet I know that people on the site would be interested in other content on there except they won’t find it. It’s a curse of a large site. It’s my bad for not improving navigation.
Is there anything I like?
Yes. Lots actually. I publish a lot of content I personally find interesting; that I would read. In fact, I do read some of it from writers purely out of interest. That’s a good sign.
I’ve actually become engrossed in my own site scrolling through just because it’s interesting (plenty of content gets published that I haven’t checked out so it’s often new to me).
Are there competitors who have better sites?
I hate to admit it, but yes there are competitors with better sites. There aren’t many (my humility shines) but there are a few. These sites are exceptional. They’re worthy of their billion-dollar valuations. I aspire to have sites like them.
Does it matter whether you like your own site?
Yes and no.
The problem for me is it needs to make money which inevitably compromises it. Ads make it a lesser experience for sure. ROI expectations lower content budgets.
The problem on the other end of the spectrum is I can be my own worst critic. I know the ins and outs of this stuff so I notice little things most people wouldn’t. I’m more exacting.
If you don’t like your own site at all perhaps it’s a good idea to make some changes. My site isn’t perfect. There are things I don’t like. But there is much that I like.
Seems to me that if you, who are probably exacting like me, like and are proud of your site, it’s probably very well done.
Am I changing anything?
I’m working on site speed.
I’ve increased put together an outstanding cadre of writers at WriterAccess as well as some great in-house freelance writers.
I’m not going to improve it by reducing ads. I did dial ad aggressiveness back a bit a month ago but that’s it. Yes, it compromises the experience, but I gotta pay the bills. It’s not a charity (even charities need money).
No changes are in store with respect to navigation. I’ve done a decent but not perfect job. For now, the navigation is what it is.
The real litmus test
Do I proudly tell people which sites I own?
Yes, I do.
And while I’m one of my harshest critics, people I know love the site. Or at least they’re nice enough to tell me they do.
What if you don’t like your own site?
I’m not one to tell you what to do, but maybe consider improving it so that you do like it.
On the flip side, you can’t please all the people all the time
Have you ever read the comments on top-tier sites? I have and do regularly. Commenters constantly criticize those sites. Scathing comments. If those sites with million-dollar budgets get skewered, don’t be surprised if you get some bad feedback no matter how great your site is.
P.S. Which site in my portfolio is my favorite?
As a website visitor perspective, I enjoy my biggest niche site by far.
I have a hunch Cyclebaron.com will also become one of my favorite sites because I enjoy the niche (cycling) so I have lots to say so that I can contribute in a meaningful way.
I also love my product-centric niche site because I like the tech gadgets and the writer does a great job.
As for writing for and working on the site, Fatstacks wins that.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.