Dropping traffic, Gutenberg, and Google: what on earth is going on?

Woman confused with computer. PNG - JPG and vector EPS file form

My ads are back (WordAds/WordPress must have been having issues earlier today), but I do wonder how much longer I’ll qualify for the WordAds program (members get a small income based on number of impressions per ad).   My earnings have been dropping along with my traffic, which has been dropping steadily for several months, but has really taken a nosedive since the beginning of this year.

I can’t think of anything I’ve suddenly done differently that I hadn’t already been doing.  I did change my theme fairly recently (I think it was around Thanksgiving), but I don’t think that has much, if anything, to do with the drop.  In fact, my readers have said my new theme is easier to read and the layout less cluttered (I removed a lot of widgets from my sidebar).   So I think, if anything, the simpler, cleaner theme would be a draw.   Removing the unwanted and outdated sidebar items also has increased the speed of loading.

My WordPress stats show that my search engine activity is lower than it used to be.  This blog also no longer comes up on page one or two if I type in keywords that are used frequently on this blog, such as narcissism, or narcissistic abuse.    I can see that my Google hits are low, but there’s no way I can find out why.   Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow its users to use Google Analytics, which does go into a lot more detail about the reasons why your blog isn’t getting Google traffic.

Not writing as much as I used to is obviously a factor, but I think there’s more going on, since each month is worse than the last and I’ve actually been writing more recently, or at least sharing old blog posts to social media when I’m not posting.   I don’t write every day, but I do spend a lot of time promoting this blog and its posts.  I seem to get half of my hits these days through Pinterest, of all things.

I have two theories as to why my hits have dropped so drastically lately.

  1.  Google has penalized this blog (but again, since I can’t get Google Analytics as a WordPress.com blogger, I can’t find out why.)
  2.  Gutenberg.   I don’t understand Google algorithms or even what they are, but I’ve been told its algorithm has been changed recently and it prefers Gutenberg to the classic editor, which I am still using (and want to continue to use).   So articles written in Gutenberg, apparently, are given priority.

Now I’m wondering if I should make the switch to Gutenberg, as much as I hate it (I’ve played around with it on a dummy blog I created just for that purpose, and I still hate it).   But I know if I did that, blogging would be a chore instead of a pleasure, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it.

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That scary moment when you think your blog got hacked.

Terrified Woman Screaming --- Image by © Images.com/CORBIS
Image by © Images.com/CORBIS

I had a huge scare last night. After I posted my Monday Melody, I scrolled down the page and noticed my sidebar was gone! Also, the font had changed to a tiny, ugly font, and was scrolled all the way over to the right, where the sidebar should have been. “Older Posts,” which should be at the bottom of the page, was in the center, in the middle of another post! I finally found my sidebar–at the very bottom of the page, under all the posts. The blog was a mess. Of course my initial reaction was panic, and I was about to head over to Forums to ask what to do, or if someone there could fix it.

But I remembered that while posting my Monday Melody, I had to switch to “visual” to add links, and it had put some weird code in there when I went back to HTML (has anyone else had this problem with the new editor?) I went back into Edit mode and saw a strange little code at the end (I don’t dare type it here to show you). I took that out and republished the post. I guess that one little code was messing up my blog, because after that everything was back to normal. Whew!

Slow load time?

slowloadtime

My analytics page just informed me my site is “very slow” and that 99% of other websites are faster than this one. I don’t seem to have any problems with slow load time; is anyone else having this problem? I’m not sure what can be done about it, but maybe I can look into a solution.