Why You Should Diversify Your Income Stream

Posted on 16th August, 2007

Since a couple of days ago, I’ve noticed several of my websites have been experiencing a massive drop in traffic, some as much as half of their normal level.

As a result, any income source that depends on free traffic from Google suffers. This includes AdSense and some affiliate programs.

Sabahan.com isn’t spared as some of you may have noticed after checking my Alexa traffic ranking. In addition, it has dropped from number one to number four for the keyword “sabahan” in Google.

Other important keywords Sabahan.com can be found for are now mostly missing from the Google first page results.

The first thing I did when I noticed this was login into my Google Webmaster Central account to find out what’s going on. Sure enough, Googlebot has marked several thousands URLs from those sites as unreachable.

The reasons are either Network unreachable or robots.txt unreachable.

Network unreachable error is an error Google encountered when trying to access a URL. This may be caused by several reasons including DNS error or timeout. The server may have been down or busy when they tried to access the page.

Before Google crawled the pages of your site, they tried to check your robots.txt file to ensure they didn’t crawl any pages that you had roboted out. When the robots.txt file is unreachable they postponed the crawl and will return to your site later and crawl it once they can reach your robots.txt file.

I find this odd because I had 100% uptime according to Pingdom.com when the unreachable incidents were reported. I have never created robots.txt file for some of the websites because I wanted Googlebot to crawl everything, so not having one should do.

In the absence of a robots.txt file, Google should be getting 404 responses when looking for a robots.txt file. If they receive a 404, they assume that a robots.txt file does not exist and they continue the crawl.

And that’s what they have been doing until recently when they stopped crawling. I am incline to believe that this problem may originates from Google itself and it’s only temporarily. I’ll continue to investigate if there’s anything on the server side that’s causing this problem.

Just to be on the safe side, I’ve created robots.txt files and put them into those websites. So that next time when Googlebot stopped by, it’ll have something to munch on.

So back to our topic – if you are depending on Google alone for your traffic source or income source, you are risking your online business.

While my AdSense and affiliate income suffer as a result of this incident, other income sources that depend on the pay per click search engines are actually increasing as I’ve been ramping up my promotion effort.

Had I focused solely upon AdSense as a revenue stream and the organic Google traffic alone, I would be tearing my hair out by now. If you are into making money in the long term, you’ll be better off not to focus on one or two income streams for obvious reasons.

Here’s some suggestion how to ensure your business survives before your traffic source or income stream dries up


Create Other Blogs or Websites In Order to Diversify Your Income Streams

If one income stream dries up, you are left with nothing and you are back to square one (not to mention the anxiety and hair tearing). As the saying goes “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

Multiple income streams allow you to cushion the impact better when something like this happens to you. It gives you some breathing space while you try to figure things out and fix the problem.


Learn How to Use Pay Per Click Search Engines to Attract Traffic

I can’t stress this enough. Of course most bloggers would be happy with organic traffic from Google but unless you are Darren Rowse, there’s no harm trying PPC to attract traffic and make money from affiliate programs. I’ve written extensively about pay per click search engines here and the AdWords category is a good place to begin exploring this topic.


Learn to Make Money From Other Affiliate Programs Besides AdSense

We have Text-Link-Ads.com, Chitika, and whole other affiliate programs. Check out my post here to learn more about affiliate programs. Try to identify programs that work best for you. One that could produce passive income stream such as Text-Link-Ads.com is a good one to pay more attention to.
You’ll do well with Chitika or Amazon affiliate program if you have a tech or gadget review blogs.


Diversify Your Traffic Sources

In addition to organic traffic, you need to build up your RSS subscribers, newsletters and other traffic sources. Use Stumble Upon, or other social bookmarking sites such as Digg.com to your advantage. You may consider running a contest to encourage others to link to your blog.


What would you do if your main traffic source or income stream dries up? Please leave your comment below.


An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

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  • Felex Tan says:

    Making money online is like investing,we should diversify our business into a few website..don’t put all “ROJAK”into 1 website

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  • Seems we’re in the same boat. I do believe it is an internal problem with Google. My sitemaps and robots.txt file worked fine for many sites until August 03 when google stopped crawling. Forums are filled with threads about the same problem. I notice that if you manually update your sitemaps file, you can accidentally make typos in the schemas and screw things up.

    About making money in other ways… I say yes! 100%

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  • ben says:

    i have to agree with you gaman!

  • Gaman says:

    Phew! I think I might have discovered the cause of the problem. Will write about it in my next post.

  • This has happenned to me too many times when google traffic drops income drops. I monetize in many other ways, but nothing is as effective as adsense. Nothing (for me) has as high a CTR. I had one site banned from adsense for three months, and I just now finally got it back into the program, and I had another site have a google -950 penalty for 3 months. Never, ever have all your revenue tied up in one site or one revenue stream – for sure!

  • More than one source of income is always good… Just be sure that every source is taken good care of… 🙂

  • I think Google just likes to keep you on your toes. I had some strange experiences about 6 months back and things have never been the same since.

  • catz says:

    currently im searching a new alternative’s income beside my service. Therefore, i learn on adsense and at the same time upgrade my site’s PR for TLA.

  • ezams says:

    I think it was affected by algorithm changes since your uptime was fine. Better ask Matt Cutts 🙂

    • Gaman says:

      That’s unlikely because it affects many websites at once. Besides Webmaster Central hinted what the problem appears to be.

  • This is a very good point. If you have more than one income stream, you can always rely on another until you get back on your feet! Good luck with figuring things out…

  • BeachBum says:

    I agree not to focus on just AdSense. For me I make more money with 2 other programs and currently testing a 3rd that looks to be a new top earner.


  • Azmeen says:

    It’s possible that your site was unavailable due to a scheduled reboot or something similar.

    It may be coincidence that Googlebot was crawling your site at that time.

    You could check your uptime using the shell prompt just by typing that; uptime.

    • Gaman says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. Uptime has been 100% so far. I should know about the scheduled reboot since I manage the server myself.

      I am a paid subscriber of pingdom.com which checks my server every few seconds or so from every continent in the world. No outage or downtime reported during that period.

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