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Google crawl budget, life force, bootstrapping & The Apple Tax

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Bootstrapping definition

Today’s blog post was originally an email for the Fatstacks email newsletter.

Life force and Google crawl budget

Did you know Donald Trump avoids exercise because he believes he only has so much life force which exercise depletes?

It’s the battery theory to life which suggests there is only so much juice in a battery until it’s dead. Trump equates his life force to that and so he seeks to preserve life force by avoiding exercise.

It’s a mighty convenient theory if you don’t like to exercise.

Despite my penchant for reading news, I had never read this Trumpian theory on exercise before. A buddy told me about it yesterday. I did a search and sure enough, my buddy was right. This is what Trump believes.

We scoff at it because we’ve had the “exercise is good” mantra pounded down our throats for decades. It’s the norm. Anything suggesting otherwise we immediately conclude as ridiculous, which is not always the case. Remember when fat was the scourge? Now some fats are good for us. Go figure.

I’m not suggesting Trump is right. But, it shows he thinks about stuff; arguably in a twisted sort of way. It’s so out there you might think he says it for shock value. However, it appears he actually believes it.

This “life force” theory reminded me of the Google crawl budget concept. Specifically, the life force theory of crawl budget would suggest that since Google only allocates so much resources to your site, there’s no point in continually publishing more content because you only have so much budget anyway.

Mmmmmhhhh, that would be short-sighted but also convenient in some ways.

I actually believe in crawl budget and I’ll tell you why.

My highest traffic site with approx. 3,500 articles has an annual search traffic growth pattern. Every January to May search traffic grows rapidly. From May to Dec. traffic doesn’t budge much. If anything it drops a tad from the May high.

Come January again, the site grows rapidly through late spring.

Yet, I publish plenty of new content all year long.

What that tells me is Google adjusts crawl budget each year which adjusts for new content.

You might be thinking to yourself I’m out to lunch like Trump’s life force theory. Maybe I am.

I can’t prove the whole Big G and crawl budget theory other than what happens each year to my site.

Annual crawl budget, if true, is good and bad

It’s good in that each year overall traffic grows steadily. I can bank on it. My asset is growing.

It’s bad in that I shovel new content into the Web all year long but have to wait to benefit.

If I were a trust funder, I could actually put this theory to the test.

I could sacrifice one year and publish no new content then wait and see what happens in January. Would search traffic grow? Not grow?

I’ll never know cause I keep on doing what I do because it’s working, even if there’s a delay to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Am I out to lunch here?

Maybe.

I’m sure I’ll hear from some readers about how much of a wing-nut I am.

As for smaller sites, crawl budget doesn’t apply. My small sites grow all year long. It appears that if it’s in effect the way I think, it’s mostly applied to larger sites. The thing is, a 3,500 article site is not that big compared to many sites. However, maybe because it has so many images, it somehow falls into the crawl budget process.

The Apple Tax

When I got my first iPhone I thought the iCloud was so cool because everything was automatically stored. No more photo management. Yaaaay!!!

When I bought my Macbook laptop, it was so cool I could have access to everything via the cloud.

And then I filled up my free allotment of iCloud space.

Apple said pay up or lose data. I paid up.

I’m not sure Apple or Google ever thought digital storage would be such a glorious cash cow, but it is. If it was planned from inception, good on ’em. If not, lucky break.

Who knew that adding a camera to smartphones would spawn a billion (soon to be a trillion) dollar industry in digital storage.

Today, I received a notification that I’m running out of iCloud storage space yet again.

Pay up or lose data.

Yup… I paid up.

I’m up to $12.99 CAD per month with 2 terabytes of storage.

Sounds like a lot of space, but at the rate I produce digital stuff, it’ll be filled up in no time.

I could save that $13/mo. if I wanted to go in and delete gazillions of bytes of data, but I don’t want to do that. It’s too much work. It’s easy to snap photos and make vids, but sure hard to manage it all.

How much digital storage will I be paying for monthly in 10 years? 30 years?

I cringe at the thought. In retirement, I’ll probably be signing over my Canada Pension Plan check to Apple. Actually, I’ll be lucky if the CPP check covers it.

The crazy thing is all Apple is selling me is convenience. I could avoid paying by managing my data monthly. But I don’t do it and so I pay for the convenience of having a digital dumping ground.

Now that’s a solid backend offer otherwise known as the Apple Tax.

Bootstrapping

I’ve set things up where my niche sites can more less run on their own leaving me more time to work on Fatstacks. Good news for you… maybe.

But the more I work on Fatsacks, the less plugged in to running niche sites I am and the more plugged into publishing a “how to blog” website.

For example, I’ve started making some vids, launched a podcast, writing out emails… all the fine things one is supposed to do in this type of site.

Problem is my current mindset is largely dedicated to growing this “how to blog” website (i.e. Fatstacks). Historically, I’ve restricted what I talk about to growing niche sites; not discussing what I do to run/grow Fatstacks.

Yet, if I roll up my sleeves and jump back into running niche sites, I don’t have the time for Fatstacks. To date, my limited time for Fatstacks restricted me to writing blog posts and emails. None of the highfalutin media stuff.

Why tell you this?

I suppose it’s a subtle way to announce more Fatstacks vids in the pipeline as well as a podcast.

But don’t expect too much polish.

That’s not my style, at least not yet. For pretty much everything, I’m a bootstrapper and proud of it. I avoid shoveling money into new projects. I prefer rolling up my sleeves and getting them paying for themselves asap.

If vids and podcasting prove fruitful, I’ll put money behind it. Until then, it’s yours truly at the helm which means little polish but hopefully good content.

Any fool can throw money at something but it takes true grit to bootstrap.

Bootstrapping is fulfilling too. You start with little and create something meaningful.

Many of us bloggers and niche site publishers are bootstrappers. In fact, the low startup costs and almost non-existent barriers to entry make it a viable business opportunity.

Just scrape together $6/mo. for hosting and you’re in business. Think about that for a minute. What other biz model requires only $6 per month and no credentials or degree?

Not many I can think of.

Heck, I pay more to Apple to store photos every month than it costs to start what could be a million-dollar publishing business.

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