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Zine Entry #2

Zine Entry #2

 

Things are not going well for the Texan in the Philippines.  It’s nothing that can’t be corrected but something, I don’t know what, but something is going to have to be done.  Let me start at the beginning because it sucks in more ways than one.

This morning I found out that someone else that I am dear to died.  My Uncle Lloyd back in Texas died this morning.  That makes my Dad the last of that Jackson generation to still be alive.  Uncle Lloyd has not been in the best of health recently, but could have gotten better probably if he wasn’t too stubborn, or most likely too proud, to go to a nursing home to get the care he could not otherwise afford.  His only son offered to set him up there, but he refused.  I can’t say I blame him really because you ain’t getting me in a nursing home either.  At least that is they way I am thinking at 55 years old.

Supposedly he donated his body to science, but since this just happen, all the details have not been figured out yet.  I hear that there will be no real service for him because of the donation thing, but his son plans to have something to help people to remember him.  It sucks that Lita and I are stuck here and can not get back.  It makes me think of what will happen if my Mom or Dad dies while we’re here.  Will we be able to get back?  I’m sure we can, but it would be via Space A and there is no telling how long that will take.  We only have a little money saved up at this time.  I’m going to have to find a way to make it a lot of money, at least enough for the round trip tickets to Texas and back.  What we have now would not even get 1 of us there, much less be able to return.

Wondering about Life

Another way that the Texan in the Philippines sucks is, while I was checking my Google Analytics, I noticed a few things that makes me wonder why I even bother having this site.  There seems to be so few people interested in what I’m saying here.  These are some of the stats listed from 13 Feb to 15 Mar.

Total Visitors:  1,238 (sucks) – When I was keeping track of visitors before with my counter, this got to be like a 2 day total and sometimes all in 1 day.  Seems people are losing interest.

Total amount of new visitors: 98.17%  –  that’s good, but ….

Total amount of returning visitors: 1.83%  –  why are people not returning?  What can I do to up this stat?  Any ideas?

Total Page Views:  1370  –  So 1238 visitors looked at 1370 pages?  I guess people don’t see anything on the front page that interests them enough to look around.

Bounce Rate: 98.57%  –  That sucks too.  So many people that just look at the front page and don’t go any further, they just look and leave.  I suppose if the Page Views increase, this will cause this bounce rate to decrease.

I’m really open to suggestions here people.  I so need to learn e-books, but that’s basically the only thing I know to increase traffic at all.  I’m not even sure that would do the trick.

Confused & Sad

I keep thinking that once Calbayog gets the malls and things in and more people start to visit and want to move here, then this site will have more people visiting.  The only problem is that other sites with more money and more knowledge will have more and better information, so I will still be second fiddle to them for readers.  I need something unique that others do not have.  I have no idea at this time what that could be, but I’m going to think about it.  As I said, I’m really open to suggestions here so if you have an idea, please suggest away.

Salamat, Y’all

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20 Comments

  1. UJ,,,well here is my 2 pesos worth ;). A couple of years ago, when we started puttin gour plans for our move into high gear, I would read your site every day, Now that I am here I still check it out every day or so. But what drew me to the site, was the experiences of an expat there in the Philipping, and the adjustments he/she makes. I do not think in all the years I have been to your site, (and when i first found it I went back and read it from the beginning) I dont think I have ever clicked a news item, frankly I didnt give a rats patoot, I was gleaning the blogs for INFORMATION that would help ME (I know, pretty self centered eh?). So long story short,If I hadn’t found the site usefull to me I wouldnt have kept coming back. As it is now I am an devoted follower. Suggestions? Oh I dont know, you mention often that you take a trike? How much does it cost? Did they try to take advantage of you? Did you got to the BIA for your yearly check in?. Have you gotten your drivers license there? How did that go? (I have a horror story about that lol) Stuff that will help the future oxpat woven into your articles is what I suggest.

    • Thanks for your P2 Scott. I remember that a couple of people told me that when they found the site that they went back to the beginning to be sure they read everything. That is good to hear. I guess you were one of those 2. One of them was a woman, so you must be the other one. So the regular Philippine news did not interest you. It’s things like that I like to hear as they happen. I think I will continue with just the Calbayog news since that seems to be the consensus amongst everyone. I suppose it makes sense, but in my inexperience, I was just trying to do whatever it took to get more people here. As Bob Martin pointed out though, I was just hurting myself.
      Since you mentioned all those little things that happen almost on a daily basis, maybe I should do a post with the question and the answer to them all. I wonder how many questions I can come up with. Actually for all you readers out there if you have a question about something here in Calbayog, please ask and I will include that question with answer in the post. That way I won’t have to think up so many and the ones that you ask are probably ones that others want to know also.
      As for you horror story Scott, why don’t you write it down and send it in to add to the other 2 stories that you already have on here. Those are both excellent stories by the way. I noticed that several people came to the site via those stories. http://www.texaninthephilippines.com/category/misc/guest-authors/scott-h/

  2. I am sorry.. I made an error. I meant to focus on Samar, I said Leyte.

  3. Hi UJ,

    Sorry to hear that your stats are not up to what you are hoping for. I’ll be happy to share a few suggestions with you. Please understand that I am not trying to criticize you in any way, just sharing things that I see on your site that I feel could be holding you back. I hope you understand that I am not trying to slam you or be disrespectful.

    1. Your Philippines news items that you post are, in my opinion, hurting your site. Frankly, most of that news is stuff that people read elsewhere. It is doubtful that anybody comes to your site to read news items that are in major Philippine newspapers. Readers will go to the newspaper site for that, not to Texan in the Philippines. I would highly recommend getting rid of that altogether. Now, if there is news about Calbayog, that is a different story.

    2. The titles that you use for your articles need a lot of improvement. Think about using titles that people would search for on Google. For example, a recent article was entitled “Walkabout and selling”. How many searches do you think are done using those words? Probably close to zero. Use titles that fit the article, but would also show up as search terms.

    3. Your niche is very small. How many people are looking for information on Calbayog? This is good and bad. You talk about other expat blogs doing better, but you have to remember that most of those blogs are focusing on the entire Philippines, not a tiny place in the Philippines. Now, the good side of that is that you are like the only blog about Calbayog out there, so the few people that are searching about Calbayog are easy for you to hold on to, because basically you have no competition.

    4. It has been mentioned about getting guest writers. This is, in my opinion, the opposite of what you need to do. What you need to do is to go out to more popular blogs and ask if you can write a guest article on those blogs. For example, my blog gets about 300 times the number of visitors that you mentioned you are getting. But, you have never asked me if you can do a guest article on my site. I can tell you that I have had many guest writers tell me that after guesting on my site, their readership took a sharp increase. Having others come on your site to write will have little affect on bringing you readers, it works the opposite way. You go write on other sites to bring more people to your site!

    5. You mentioned that you want to learn how to write eBooks to bring more people to your site. Having eBooks does not bring you any readers. If your goal is to increase your readers, forget about the eBooks. The purpose of writing eBooks is to make money from people who are already visiting your site, and to inform those who are visiting your site with more premium content than you are publishing for free. Once you build up your readership, that is the time to publish some premium eBooks. Doing it now would be of little value, most likely.

    6. Back on the subject of #3, you could probably increase your readership by enlarging your niche. Instead of trying to focus only on Calbayog, you could focus on all of Leyte, or expand to subjects that are focused on the entire Philippines.

    7. You often mention of certain people visiting you when they are in Calbayog. How many of those people do you give out business cards to? Do you have business cards to promote your site? Also, give them out to foreigners who you see around town. The ones that seek you out probably already know about your site. Those who you see around town probably have never heard of you. Give them a business card and you may well have a new reader. Maybe they will tell two or three friends… those friends will tell a person or two. Soon you have a big increase in readers.

    Anyway, these are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. There are so many things that you can do to improve your rankings. I wish you the best of luck on this.

    Take care.

    • Thanks Bob. I don’t think you are trying to criticize and I in fact welcome your opinion. I know that your sites do very well and if I get even 1/3 of the success that you have, that would be plenty for me.
      Okay, only news stories about Calbayog. You mentioned expanding to all of Samar, so should I also expand the news to all of Samar or just keep it local in Calbayog?
      I guess my titles can use some work. I suppose my problem with that is that I always thought when people search on the internet that the tags that I put on the posts is what search looks for. Then I thought that maybe it’s both so, I know that “Calbayog” and “Calbayog City” are used a lot in searches and I have used that in several titles recently, but I was afraid it was over doing it.
      As for competition, well there is getting to be more and more of it all the time. Calbayog City is starting to build up with malls, stores and restaurants so the city and the tourism office are hot and heavy into blogging. Also there is a guy that works in the mayors office (I think..somewhere there) and he has his own blog of Calbayog.
      Okay you got me on the guest writers, I never would have figured that. I know that writing for other blogs gets your blog more recognition, but I figure guest bloggers would do more. I guess not. I don’t have too many things that happen around here, but when/if I do I usually use that in my own blog. I suppose if I used my imagination more I could come up with stories about different things that happen here though. You know if I figure something out I’m going to be asking you to guest write on your site right? I actually did guest write once already. It was a little while back. It was for Philippines Plus, but just that once.
      I can hold off on the e-books until I get things figured out, that’s not a problem. Maybe it will even help me figure out something better to write about and something more.
      As a matter of fact just yesterday I made a business card, but I have not taken it down to get it printed up yet. I just used my PrintMaster and made one up.
      Okay Bob, thanks a lot. I’ll get to work on these items and see what develops. Between what you suggest and the other readers here, I think I might actually be able to improve. I figure that it’s worth a try because what I have been doing is not working and, as I said, your sites are very successful, so you must know what your talking about.

      • John,
        I agree completely with what Bob has to say. I think your focus should be on Calbayog first and Samar second. The point about Google searches is on the mark. If an person wants some information on Calbayog, he will probably google it and your site might not come up. I just googled Calbayog and your site didn’t show up at all in the first 10 pages. I didn’t look any further.

        As we all know, Calbayog is growing and more and more people will be heading there. Your site could be the go to place to obtain information about hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc. Expand your information to include all the barangays as much as possible, not just the city core. Show people how to get to these places like the Mondejares Beach Resort. Tourists coming in would have no idea of where it is or how to even get there (or they might not even know it exists). If they want to go there, what is the best way to get there since they probably don’t have a car? There isn’t a rental car agency in Calbayog that I know of.

        • That’s exactly what I was thinking Gary. There’s so much more that John could do here in that way. Great minds think alike, lol.

        • Yes I know that all of y’all are right. I have pictures of Mondejares Puertes Beach Resort and Seaside Lodge, but I was saving them to put in an e-book and not on this site. Since I will not be doing an e-book at this time, then I will add that information to the Calbayog Hotels. When/If I get around to doing an e-book on the hotels in the area, I will just take more and better pictures. I’m not a very good picture taker, but I hope to improve with time.
          Unless I can get one of the relatives here to go with me, I would have to roam the barangays alone looking for the little known places to put on here. I’ll find a way.
          It’s true that if you look up Calbayog or Calbayog City on Google, this site does not appear on the first 10 pages, but if you look up Calbayog Hotels, I’m on page 2 and if you look up a specific hotel in Calbayog City, I’m on page one at or close to the top. Also if you look up Calbayog restaurants, well I’m #1 on page 1. Problem there is if you look up Calbayog City restaurants, I’m on page 2.
          So all is not a total loss. I just need to find a way to get the blog higher with just Calbayog or Calbayog City searches.
          I think I need one of those cameras that has the GPS with each picture. Rich has been saying for awhile now that I should get one. That would help people locate the places.

  4. There are lots of places in the Calbayog area that I never knew anything about such as the nice swimming pool/resort area in the Tinambacan area. (can’t recall the name now) I’ve seen it mentioned in a few other posts here. We went there for JoMary’s 15th birthday and I loved the place. I think there are more places like that around Calbayog that I probably have never heard of and have no idea of how to get there. You could add places like that with directions of how to get there to your site which the growing expat community might find very useful.

    • If I discover those places, I’ll sure put them on here.
      I’m not a big Jollibee fan either. It’s like McDonalds for me. I only go there for the fries, but I don’t even do that often. Of course McDonalds has the muffins now. I haven’t heard anything about the McDonalds. I’ll as a few people and see if they know anything.

    • Montana G. You are probably thinking of the Mondejares Beach Resort. It is located before you get to Tinambacan. Going north from Calbayog, you will turn left at the Mondejares sign (like going to Tomaliques where we live). There is also another resort planned at the beach immediately to the west of Mondjares and has much better beach slope, better sand and is not affected so much by the tides.

      • Randy, yes that is the name of it. I really enjoyed our day there. I told my wife we should rent one of the villas for the night so our son could swim to his heart’s content.

        Another resort will be very welcome to my family. Information like that will be helpful for this blog. This blog could be the go to site for travelers coming to Calbayog.

  5. I agree with alot of what Mark said,I think you need to get out more and take some pictures.There is a site Dutch Pickle he travels alot and take alot of pictures and short stories on them,i know you cant travel as much as him but do somthing similar.I think instead of a pedi trike get a trike like Lita wanted and you can travel to spots from catarman to catbalogan,I have done this on a bike with no problems.I wouldnt worry about anyrebels or anything people, are nice and friendly.I know that is what i like to see,it would help with your wieght loss program.

    • Wayne I have lots of pictures, but it’s mostly of the downtown area and things in between here and there. Of course I do have some of the few places I have traveled within and outside of the Philippines too. I think I’m going to stick with the ped trike and when the time come to visit long distances, I’ll find another way to get there. Of course I may end up getting a vehicle for longer distance later, but not too much later. I have never had any trouble with rebels and I don’t really expect to, but that’s just what the relatives say.
      I went to the Dutch Pickle site and I see he is a lot different than he use to be. I had him added on my expat blogs before, but then he left or something. Anyway I added him back in there and I let him know about it.
      More pictures and short stories on those pictures huh? I’ll see what I can come up with and maybe give it a try if things work out.

      • dutch pickle was in north dakota i think working for awhile in the new oil boom there.when you are driveing your self out side calbayog there some neat things to stop and see and peaple to talk to and learn alittle about there lives,it might make for some good stories,almost every trip back and forth we would stop two or three times to meet people and learn new things.

  6. I like some of Marks ideas… Pictures of waterfalls and caves is kool. What guerrillas? Like real ones or the kind that kidnap people. Anyway I like seeing pics of different places like their food or culture and some of the awesomeness, like the beach. I love the ocean but never get to see it much. Do you have anyway of getting the word out about your site? Like on Facebook. That’s all I can think of for now… so lets bust out that camera and get a look at the Philippines from your point of view. From the life of a Texan in Texas.

    • I looked on Facebook advertising and Blog radio on facebook and it seems like a good way to spred the word..

    • Well John I can get plenty of pictures of the ocean from a lot of different views. The food and the culture is not a problem either. When was the last time you saw the ocean, when you were in Okinawa? I try to spread the word about the site, but I never heard of Facebook Blog radio. I’m going to look that up right after I finish typing this response. I’ve got hundreds of pictures, I just recently got the picture gallery working correctly and have to reload all the pictures. I’m working on it, but it takes time.
      I’m glad that you finally decided to look at the site and leave lots of comments. I already approved all the comments that you made on the pictures. Don’t be a stranger on here, Facebook, E-mail, Skype and or Messenger.

  7. With a very personal connection to Calbayog City I really find your site helpful in making me more aware of what’s going on there. It gives me things to talk to the wife about when our own lives aren’t interesting enough, lol. What I like about your site beyond that is that you make it personal enough to give it very real feeling. If you want my opinion I think you should venture out a bit more and get to some of the places we hear about but never see. The caves and waterfalls, the different barangays. Put them on your map. Give directions to them. Maybe have Juvic or her sister take photos for you if they’re willing to and you can’t do it yourself. Post some upcoming events on the calendar or some holidays so people can know what to expect or look forward to. Just my 2 pesos worth. I think if you have enough information about Calbayog and the surrounding areas people will visit the site more. Maybe have a guest writer or two? Kuya Rick or his wife, Randy or someone else, even a local who has something interesting to say. A local person may give your site a different perspective, too.

    • I know that I connect with a few people that way, but it’s not many. I can get to different barangays, but for what? What’s there? Sure they have the caves and waterfalls and I suppose I could get to a few of those, but my relatives here tell me that most of them are way off the beaten path and there could be guerrillas there. Maybe it’s all BS, I don’t know. I want to put upcoming events on the calendar, but when I ask about them at the tourism office, the don’t seem to have anything going on. Maybe it’s because they have their own website to put it on. The City of Calbayog has also started back up their site and they get all that information way before I do.
      Juvic and Grace would take pictures for me anytime they are downtown if I let them use the camera. I wanted to hire them to do that for me, but that never developed. It seems they don’t want to do it really or don’t have the time. Especially in the case of Grace because she is in school most of the time. Juvic has Samantha to take care of too. The only time I get to go to different places is when Ramil is around and has time to show me places that are even halfway interesting. I could venture out on my own, but I wouldn’t really know which way to go.
      As for a guest writer, well I have been trying to get anyone on here that wants to write to do so. I have gotten 4 articles from others and 2 of those were from the same person. Scott, Tom and Rick have all given me an article. 2 for Scott.
      The only locals I can really communicate with, since I don’t speak the language, are the relatives and they are usually busy all day. I ask them at times if they have anything interesting that I could put in here, but they say that there is nothing, their life is very boring.
      I get this way from time to time when I see other sites that seem to be doing so much better than mine. I just want to have something extra special for the people that visit this site and it frustrates me that there are not that many return visitors. There must be something that will keep their interest. Maybe I should just accept the fact that this will never be anything except a mediocre website.