Things that I would make different if I had the chance

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 3, 2007
Updated • Oct 20, 2012
ghacks, Internet

I'm creating and maintaining Internet websites for a very long time and can look back to almost two years of successful blogging here at ghacks. While there is not much that I would change if I had the chance, there are a few things that I would definitely change if I had the chance to go back in the past and act again.

Some of them are probably great advice for everyone who might face a similar situation in the future and a nice reminder for those who went through the same. Please feel free to add your experience in the comments. I will also ping some friends of mine who probably would like to share their opinion as well.

  • 1. Panic when Adsense earnings drop: This one is my favorite. Whenever I see a (longer lasting) drop in eCPM or revenue I begin to contact Everton and others to ask them if they experience the same. Even with all my experience I almost flipped out in April which was really a bad bad month for me.

    My adsense earnings dropped by 35% with no apparent reason at all. Traffic levels and clicks were the same, only my eCPM went down like crazy. I began to experiment with different settings and ad formats which did not help at all and probably made matters worse.

    My advice: Don't change a thing in the code. If you did not change anything prior to the drop you should simply stand your ground and wait for better times. It took a whole month to regain a level that I was comfortable with.

  • 2. If your site is popular get a root server:This actually happened in December 2005. My site was highly popular with several listings on Digg and other sites and received thousands of visitors a day. To much for a normal webhost and Godaddy, the company hosting my site decided to take if off the web without sending me an email or calling me.

    I realized that it was down when I wanted to visit it seeing only a Godaddy information that I should contact them. I got my site back after calling Godaddy support for 30 minutes and decided to get a rootserver as soon as possible. If I had the knowledge that I have know I would probably try to enable caching and all sorts of tricks before I would really rent a rootserver. Still, a rootserver is a must have for popular blogs.

  • 3. Get a managed rootserver: Well, it is indeed a bad idea to get a rootserver with no knowledge whatsoever. It took me a few days to get ftp, mysql, intrusion detection and all that stuff running on my rootserver which cost me lots of time. A managed server would have been much better suited considering my Linux knowledge at that time.

    Sure, it costs more but you do not have to think about security updates, installing software on Linux, securing a server and optimizing it for best performance.

  • 4. Don't put up to much advertising: If one ad unit is doing well three will do better, right ? NO ! Not necessarily that is. I had to try out a lot of ad formats and combinations. Google Adsense with three ad units, link units, Chitika, affiliate programs to realize that not everything is working on every website.

    I have the best results with just one Adsense ad and no other ads that look or feel like it. Affiliate programs are not working at all on my blog and I do not want to remove the Google Ads at all just to test how they would run as my primary ad unit.

    I was tempted to try this in April when Adsense went down like crazy but I still did not do it. My suggestion, try and compare. Several bloggers are posting their earnings and traffic levels (like Everton) making it easy to compare.

    It is always a good idea to see how the ads are placed on successful blogs and try those on your site. You might be surprised how effective some placements are.

    Oh, I got one story about Adsense placements. I read the Problogger blog back then when I started and decided that it would be a good idea to copy Darrens way of displaying Adsense ads. I later found out that this was not the ideal placement because Darren was not using the blog to make money (secondary motivation) but to market himself. I changed the placement to what it is know and my earnings skyrocket.

  • 5.Make contacts: Contacts are probably the most important aspect of blogging. You can do well alone but you do much better if you have some guys who are also blogging. I'm exchanging knowledge with Everton for instance and we both profit from this exchange.

    He recommended me to Intellitxt for instance which is creating about 25% of my blog earnings since then. Whenever we find something interesting such as plugins for WordPress, interesting articles or websites we mail each other and let the other one know about it.

    It is always easier to be up to date with everything this way.

I'm going to ping the following blogs and hope that they will write about this or comment here at my blog: (I read all the sites daily in my feed reader) Connected Internet, Fosfor Gadgets, Problogger, Cybernetnews, Pimp your Work, Digital Inspiration, John Chow and Webby's World.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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