Anatomy of a Traffic Surge from Various Social Networks

I’ll be analyzing referral traffic patterns for the three large social networks I get most of my traffic from: Facebook, Reddit and Pinterest. I don’t have much  traffic from Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, or BuzzFeed so you’ll have to look elsewhere to find those traffic patterns.

All graphs used cover the same exact time scale, Sep 1 2013 to Feb 24 2014.

Facebook Traffic Anatomy

My Facebook referrals deliver a massive amount of traffic which tapers off to to a small traffic trickle after a day or two. It’s hard to see on this graph, but the slow period after my spike of 10,000 visitors at the end of 2013 is about 100 visitors a day. That’s a decay of around 99%.

facebook-same-time-period

Graph represents ~10% of total traffic for this time period.

Reddit Traffic

reddit-same-time-period

 

Graph represents ~2.5% of total traffic from this time period.

Reddit traffic seems to decay at about the same rate and amount. Both Facebook and Reddit feature similarly time-sensitive news feeds which is why their traffic patterns are so similar. But Pinterest works a little bit differently…

Why I Love Pinterest

Pinterest delivers a surge of traffic that stays put which is why I’ve been focusing more and more on promoting there.

pinterest-traffic-patterns

Graph represents ~19% of total traffic for this time period.

Unlike the other social networks above, Pinterest isn’t time sensitive. A post on Pinterest propagates from user to user, so every time it gets “pinned” it’s published fresh to each new pinner’s network. Rather than taking a couple days, decay takes months and at least for me, has leveled off to a full 25% of its initial traffic spike. That’s 25 times better for long-term traffic than either Facebook or Reddit.

Cryptocurrency/Litecoin/Dogecoin Mining Business Plan

I like what Linus Media Group does. I’m not talking about the content they create, which is high quality and very useful by way, but how they run their offices.

They rent a big house out in Langley which they stuff full of computer and camera equipment which they use when it’s time to get some work done. Linus actually uses the kitchen for many of videos, although the recipes he’s teaching the audience have names like “budget gaming build” rather than “beef bourguignon.”

linus-tech-guy

Photo Credit: Linus Media Group and NCIX Tech Tips

But I’ve never had a compelling reason to rent office space myself – until now.

This new crypocurrency stuff allows me to stuff an office full of workers – virtual workers – whom I could manage remotely. I wouldn’t have to be physically present there unless I wanted to be. This office/house project makes a lot of sense for us right now because heavy equipment is about to turn piddlingly small bachelor pad into a 0BR 0Bath literal hole in the ground.

But is it feasible? I have no idea yet. But I’m going to find out right now with the power of spreadsheets!

Dogecoin Mining Earnings per Day

I’ve got about 2 weeks of data now on our new 700 k/h mining rig, which I can scale to find out what my equipment needs would be to pay for the office space + electricity. Meet Milky the Miner, creator of data points.

milky-the-miner

Now for the Data Dump

Based on a dogecoin value of $1.2 USD per 1000 Ð.

crate-stats

 

doge-chart

What Does it All Mean?

In summary, for every 1000 kh/s in processing power, crypto mining is earning around$3.42 a day, or 102$/month.

Breaking Even on a Crypto Apartment

The first task is to earn enough from the space and electricity a mining rig requires to pay for the apartment.

Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in burnaby runs $950/mo which would require around 9 mh/s (9216 kh/s). Based on current energy consumption of “Milky” (400 watts: 700 kh), a rig this size would conservatively demand around 5.5 kilowatts, which in this region costs $356/mo. So you need another 4 mh/s or so to pay for that for a total of 13 mh/s just to pay for the space.

Now we’re up to 13 mh/s for our very conservative rent paying mining array. We could actually shave 10% right off the top just for currency conversion and another 30% if we use the average price of Ð rather than the period low of $1.2/1000. This is a worst case scenario build with tons of margin for volatility.

Cost of a Rent-Paying Mining Build

Over on /r/scryptminingrigs are some great sample builds with detailed cost analysis. This is currently the largest, a sample build for 4000$ that hashes a hair over 7k mh/s. We would need two of these. $8,000 all-in and we can almost guarantee a rig that can pay for the space it lives in. But your living space better be damn secure.

A Sample Crypto Apartment

This 2 bedroom apartment sits near the highway in Burnaby. According to padmapper, 2 it’s 0% more expensive than the typical 2 bedroom apartment in the area.

It would be very important to check how well the circuits in a place like this would handle the large power draw. However that dryer itself would need about 4500 watts which almost brings us to our power needs on its own. I’m not sure if they make adapters for those high amp outlets though.

kitchen

bedroomPictures from Kijiji Listing

DIY Wine Notes

I make my own wine because it saves me a lot of money. Canada has some of the highest liquor prices in the world, and the provinces I live on the border of – Alberta/Saskachewan – have the highest liquor prices in canada. I think the bare bones absolute cheapest bottle of wine is about 12$ – that’s for a 750 ml bottle. By my calculations my homemade wine costs about 1/10 of that price.

These are my batch-by-batch notes based on the tutorial I wrote at http://fivegallonideas.com/1-minute-wine-recipe/ . I believe my tutorial is the best online for beginners because it’s exceedingly simple, and requires an investment of less than 5$ in winemaking equipment.

Batch 1 – “Too Much Sugar!”

Batch started May 27, 2013

Some people like sweet wine – this batch tastes a lot like a port wine. A bit too sweet for my palate.

In my 2.84 liter jug of grape juice, I added 3 full cups of sugar. The juice started at 8% potential alcohol – then I measure after each cup of sugar that I added. 1 cup, 11%. Another cup, 13%. A third cup, 15%. Perfect. Or at least that’s what I thought.

Although my yeast is rated at being able to ferment up to 18% alcohol, in this wine it topped out at about 13%. I added enough sugar at the beginning of the batch for 15% alcohol. This means that the final 2% potential alcohol didn’t ferment out, making the wine pretty sweet. I think the final 2% will eventually ferment but it may take up to 6 months. I’ll probably finish off this wine before then – Brittany says this sweet wine will probably taste good with soda water.

I took the airlock out a few days ago, and it’s still fermenting very slowly so I unscrew the cap to let the excess CO2 out every few days. The risk of it blowing up is pretty much nothing, my vessel is strong plastic that expands if it has too much air inside. My brother used to make apple juice wine inside its own bottle similarly to my tutorial without an airlock and he never had a problem. He just had to make sure to release the CO2 every day.

Since this is my first batch I don’t have any extra containers to “rack” my wine into, so I think I’ll just let it sit on the yeast until I’m done drinking it.

I worried very little about sanitation with this wine, and have absolutely no off-flavors. I’ll be a little more careful in the future when I’m reusing a washed bottle rather than brewing juice in a sterilized environment.

Batch capped on June 23, 2013. Would have capped sooner, but I was away most of June.

Batch 2 – “Try for a Dry”

Batch started June 29, 2013

This time I added the exact amount of sugar that was able to ferment out last time. Two cups of sugar brought me to the 13% potential that matched the 13% brew I made with my yeast last time. I also dumped out less grape juice for myself this time because I didn’t really see any problem with “krausen” in my last batch. Maybe krausen is more of a beer problem and less of a wine problem. Krausen is gross, I’m happy to not see it in my wine. Means less fussing.

KrausenIt’s bubbling happily and should ferment out in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully my yeasties will eat all the sugars and I can end up with a wine that’s dry as a bone.

I think in the future I’ll try experimenting with adding super concentrated grape juice to my regular grape juice. I think it’s a pretty good deal over at the brew store and will certainly make the wine both taste better and taste better sooner. Because the more white sugar you’re using to brew, the longer you have to let your wine site before its taste matures.

July 7 2013 – I’ve started slowly drinking Batch 1. It gets better every day, but is still too sweet and slightly astringent, just like all immature wines. Brittany and I both agree that right now it’s 2 stars out of 5 – so I’ve started calling it double star which sounds really upscale 🙂

July 9 2013 – I measured the sugar content of Batch 2 today for the first time. Out of an initial 13% potential alcohol, 12% has already fermented out, leaving just 1% left to ferment. It’s been bubbling for 10 days, and it’s just about done. I tasted it and expected something horrendous, but it’s surprisingly drinkable for a wine that’s not even done brewing yet. I noticed more of a haze in this wine, and am not sure if it’s a pectin haze or a haze of the still-active yeast. Either way, this haze will settle in time. Here’s batch 1 and 2 side-by-side – you can see how cloudy batch 2 is (the one on the left) compared to batch 1 on the right.

2-batches-wine

When I measure with my hydrometer, I normally just dump the wine I used to measure right back into the fermentation vessel. This goes directly against agreed upon best practices because most homebrewers are extremely picky about sanitation – but I’m happier pushing the limits to eliminate fussing wherever possible. If I ever run into problems doing it this way, I’ll be fully transparent about it here on this journal.

Batch capped on July 14 2013 @ 0.5% potential alcohol remaining.

July18 2013 – If anything, this wine’s fermentation has sped up since I capped it 4 days ago. I release the co2 every day or 2 and quite a bit of stored air escapes each time – making the bottle settle visibly. I’ve started drinking it, and let me tell you. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s dry as a bone, just the way I like it, barely a hint of sweetness at all. I can no longer really taste the saccharin taste of the common Concord grape in it either.

Fermentation may have sped up due to the wine now being stored in a dark place. A veteran winemaker commented on the main 1-minute wine article to inform me that would happen, and it seems to be happening now.

I’m willing to bet that this wine will ferment into negative territory, which isn’t uncommon for wine to do. I can’t wait!

I would like to present my batch 2 wine next to another dry red in a blind taste test. I am quite confident that it would be hard to tell apart from a moderately priced red wine from the liquor store.  I would consider this the greatest of victories for the 1 minute wine recipe.

Batch 3 – “Batch 2, episode 2”

Batch started July 18 2013

I’m really happy with batch 2, and will probably make lots of identical brothers for it to hang out with. I enjoy drinking drier wines more than sweeter ones, so I will probably only brew another Batch 1 if Brittany want a sweeter red wine once in a while.

I didn’t bother measuring this one with the hydrometer because I already know that it will measure 13% potential alcohol, give or take a hair I am sure.

Batch 5 or 6 – The Public Batch

I stopped making wine for a few months because we had 30 bottles of wedding wine to work through. Now it’s all gone and I’ve entered back into the swing of things.

We filmed this batch on our new Canon T2i and published it to youtube. I used 2 cups of sugar just like I did with batches 2 and 3 and gave it to my camera operator as a gift. After 3 weeks, he reported it tasting way too sweet. His house is an old drafty thing which I suspect slowed fermentation down to a crawl.

Batch 7 – How small can we go?

I did something different with this one. To prove you can use any juice to make wine, I started a batch of peach-mango wine. And at 1.89 liters, it’s approximately half the size of the red grape wines I was making before. I hypothesized that a carboy half the size would make fermentation much slower by a factor of 4.

To make a success even less likely, I only added enough sugar to bring the potential alcohol to 11%.peach-mango-wine_1It took a little bit longer, but fermented out beautifully. It took about 3 weeks instead of 2 so my guess of it taking 8 weeks was thankfully dead wrong.

Now about a month old, it’s clarified nicely which indicates nearly universal yeast hibernation.

wine-glass-peachThe taste is top-notch. I suspect partly because of how sparing I was with the white sugar.

Batch Complete Feb 21 2014

I’ve also got another 1.89 liter bottle of white grape/pear I’m starting today.

Fall and Winter Search Traffic Growth

I’ve been looking forward to following up on my Summertime search traffic growth from last August. Today I’ll be focusing mostly on site “B” because the others have been left to their own devices, as I don’t really write on them anymore.

Here’s a refresher of the old graph. Each data point is one week’s organic search traffic.

graph1

week of may 5: 2169
week of aug 18: 3115
growth amount: 946
growth per week: 59

And this is the chart with all the weeks since tacked on. Highlighted in yellow is the summertime period already covered in the previous graph.

site-b-fall-and-winter-growth

Remember, I’m throwing out the last datapoint which represents an incomplete week.

week of aug 18: 3115
week of feb 9: 6223
growth amount: 3108!
growth per week: 124

Growth rate in search has been blistering, more than doubling since last summer. Interesting to note that it’s mostly been plateaus, punctuated by huge boosts every couple of months. It’s been growing steadily since last December, probably due to some algorithm changes that happen to have worked in my favor.

 

Website Speed

The article Why Your Search Rankings Are Dropping (and 7 Ways to Fix It) reminded me how important website speed is. Thanks Tim for linking that! I won’t link to the article because it employs the greatest numbers of “neo-popups” that I have ever seen and I’m disgusted by it.

For website speed, I used W3 total cache for a long time, but it hasn’t worked well for me since I switched to multisite. For multi site I’ve been really happy with WP super cache which isn’t as powerful but is very easy to set up.

This was my site before I added any caching utility to it, tested with the excellent Pingdom speed test. I trust it much more than testing in my own browser, because I’ve got the entire site cached already. I can even test from a server in the state of Texas, where the bulk of my readers happen to be.

I think the correct interpretation of this test is that my main content loads quickly (score of 87/100) but my page size is way too big, loading ancillary content far too slowly (slower than 85% of tested websites.)

website-test-beforeLess than 5 minutes later, after a one-click WP Super Cache install and a 1-click test to make sure it’s working, here’s my latest speed test.

I had to manually add the settings to my htaccess because I locked that file down pretty securely after a recent server hack. I didn’t bother posting about it because I don’t want this site to turn into a  battered fileserver’s support group.

The new page is almost a full megabyte smaller, loads in a fraction of the time, and is now in the top 20 percentile rather than the bottom. My performance grade has actually shrunk, so perhaps it’s a completely worthless metric.

fgi-test-pingdom-after

Testing with this great tool is free! Go to http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ to test your own site and see how your numbers stack up to mine.

Link to free caching plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/

Writing Blogs for a Living

I blog for a living. Not for other people but exclusively for myself. I wrote my ass off for 8 months earning very little to build up enough of a content base to supply me with income to live off. It’s a significant barrier to get through which I think is why many prefer freelancing.

keyboard

I shove words into the ether constantly. I used to write more than one article a day but I’m now down to around 2 a week. Yesterday I wrote half a dozen real shitty ones on DollarEater.com. My best writing always starts shitty and then is endlessly edited. I find editing skills are far more important than writing skills.

I’m interested in hiring a writer to help out but have yet to find one that meets my criteria. I need someone who doesn’t need management, writes in the same style as I do, comes up with high quality original pictures to accompany posts, and will work for cheap enough that I can earn a profit from their articles. The perfect writer probably doesn’t exist so I shall continue to slog through myself.

The Writing Process

Most professional writers use a process called “freewriting” where they shove as much shit on a page as they can in a set amount of time, then wait for a day or longer, then brutally edit what they’ve produced. It’s like assembly lining your creative process. I wrote a guestpost on freewriting on BlogSexier. I’m hoping to read Steven King’s “On Writing” which talks about this plus other techniques.

Writing and Search Engine Optimization

Excellent writing is the most powerful tool – maybe the only tool – that SEO has left. I don’t seek out SEO education anymore. The important stuff seems to trickle through in the podcasts I follow – marketing over coffee & smart passive income. Much is learned first hand from my own experience running a bunch of different sites which is why I take any “pro advice” I hear with a grain.

I learned mainstream SEO when I worked an intern for 6 weeks at an online job board in 2010. It was a much different time. My job was just spamming press releases everywhere and it worked great. It was boring work and each day ran into the next. This way feels a lot better and it actually works a lot better long term.

I don’t employ anyone for my SEO because for me, SEO means words + pictures and see above for my problems with that. It can also mean social media which I mostly don’t like to do, and videos which are a lot of work but are totally worth it.

Cover picture related: it’s the 15$ logitech I’m typing on.

The Name Change

I’m sure my 0 or 1 readers can’t wait to learn why I’ve changed the name of this site from “just scraping by” to “indie personal finance.”

Just scraping by was exactly my financial position when I started this blog. My expenses exactly matched my income, and it always took plenty of effort to even get that far.

Since then  the internet pendulum has swung once again to provide me the final boost in traffic I needed to earn comfortably in excess of my survival number.

So “scraping by” isn’t strictly true anymore. I’ve got some elbow room now which is reason to celebrate by sprucing up my favorite place to write about my ideas and experiments in living cheaply, residual income and alternative finance. If you’re an RSS reader, you might have to update your RSS to the new address: http://indiepf.com/feed/

Mining Cryptocurrency / Dogecoin Setup Guide and FAQ

I’ve been spending my spare desktop computer cycles mining for the latest hot commodity, DogeCoin. I’m lucky that the graphics card I already have is a pretty good miner already, the 7750 from MSI. Pushing only about 80% as hard as I could, I’m getting a steady 150 kh/s, building my fortune at a rate of about 1000 coins every 24 hours. The going rate for a grand of Ð? About $1.30. Sure that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a sizable chunk of my daily rent cost of $8.33, which includes the electricity that powers the miner.

Building New Skills

I didn’t expect that when I started mining for Ð that I would start assembling BAT files, using the windows console POWERCFG utility, tweaking processor core temps and fan speeds, or managing python libraries and scripts. I’ve learned more about computers in the last 24 hours than I have over the past 12 months and I’ve had a blast doing it.

Is It Risky?

DogeCoin doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which is for the best, considering that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and DogeCoin are still a massive unknown. If you take it too seriously, you might invest a lot of your time and money into something that ends up evaporating like fog on a sunny day. Keep it light and keep your expectations low, and you’ll be better off no matter what happens.

How Do I Get Started?

You need a few things to start mining.

  • A computer. Any computer will do but newer, better ones mine far better.
  • A Doge Wallet. This holds your coins. I use the desktop version 1.5 because it’s more secure than an online wallet.
  • Membership in a mining pool. This is free and anonymous and you can get set up in a couple of minutes. I use rapidhash. Once you are logged in you will need to create a worker for your mining utility to “log in” to.
  • A mining utility. This is by far the most complicated part of your setup. If you have a good graphics card based on AMD you will want to use cgminer 3.7.2 (not the newer versions). If you have a geforce graphics card you will need to use cudaminer. If your graphics card is deficient or non existent, you can use cpuminer instead but your mining speed is almost always faster with a graphics card than with a CPU. There’s a full list of graphics cards along with recommended utilities at litecoin.info.

Mining is done in a little terminal screen and set up using essentially an MS dos prompt. Fortunately the mining pool I recommended RapidHash makes a windows BAT file for you that sets everything up automatically.

cgminer

Can I Still Use my Computer While Mining?

I did this entire article while my graphics card plugged away full tilt mining DogeCoin. I was also running a Dwarf Fortress at its full complement of FPS.

Since the best mining method does not use the CPU, only graphic intensive tasks that use the graphics card are affected. That includes photoshop, youtube videos, and video games. Even the animated gif I used up above is much choppier than usual while mining.

Will Mining Hurt my Graphics Card?

It sure will if you let it get too hot. This rules out mining with most laptops because their airflow is so limited that they can’t handle the heat. Most miners try to keep their graphics card temperatures at 80°C but I like to keep it at a much more conservative 65°C. I find the best way to keep the card cool is by manually setting the fan control higher. Usually you will have to install the specialty software your graphics came with to adjust your fan controls.

Building a Dedicated Doge Miner

I found this useful tutorial on building a 500 kh/s rig for 300$. Considering I’m happy to pay 1$ per kh/s, this is a pretty good deal. US prices.

Source for video clip