Howdy! You may or may not have noticed that we haven’t posted here in a couple of months, and wanted to give everyone some idea of why the posts suddenly stopped. A lot of things have changed over the last few years so lets rewind back to 2011 so that you get an idea of the events that lead up to today.
This was a good year for CyberNet. In 2011 we hit traffic records with our best month bringing in around 550,000 pageviews. Late that year Google made some changes to their search algorithm that negatively affected us quite a bit, but we decided to keep on going anyway.
At this point Ashley had been a teacher at a private local middle school for several years, and really enjoyed working with the kids. Before the 2011 school year began she tried to get approval for taking a few weeks off in December 2011 for jaw surgery that she had scheduled to correct a misalignment that could later lead to arthritis in her jaw. After the surgery she would have her mouth banded shut for weeks, which as you can imagine would make teaching difficult. The principal of the school wouldn’t provide the approval, and instead of trying to push harder for the time off I just told her to take the year off and look for a new teaching job the following year. That way she’d have plenty of time to recover.
During her time off she was looking for something to do, and she wanted to start her own recipe site since she enjoyed cooking. We spent time working out the details and developing the site, and in December 2011 (about a week before her surgery) we launched CenterCutCook.com.
By the end 2012 CyberNet’s traffic had leveled off to around 200,000 pageviews per month, which is quite a bit less than what we had just a year prior to that. We weren’t really all that disappointed though because we had a really good run with CyberNet, and in just one year Ashley’s CenterCutCook.com really started to take off. She ended 2012 with about 1.2 million pageviews over the course of her first year, and was already bringing in about 175,000 pageviews per month. So after a year she stood about equal in traffic to CyberNet which had been around 7 years.
The dilemma we ran into was that I was doing all of the development for her site, and we had so many ideas for features on CenterCutCook that we couldn’t get everything done that we wanted to. Since I already have a full time job, I needed to figure out where I wanted to focus my weekend efforts, so in December I decided to direct my attention at CenterCutCook. That’s when the articles stopped on CyberNet.
And here we are in the present. It’s been over a year since Ashley had her surgery, and she got a little cosmetic dental work done as a reward for everything she has been through. The results actually turned out so remarkable that the company behind the veneers wanted to use her in their ads. They flew a team from Los Angeles to Chicago (where we live) to do a professional photo shoot. It’s only been 6 weeks since the photo shoot and they already have her in several national magazines, and more to come. This is what the ad looks like for those of you curious:
So where do we go from here? That’s something we’re still trying to figure out. We’ve learned a lot of lessons with CyberNet that we are determined not to repeat with Ashley’s CenterCutCook. One problem we noticed over the years with CyberNet was that it had a major flaw… much of its content was so time sensitive that it takes a lot of upkeep to keep it going. For the most part almost all of our content on CyberNet becomes useless after a year or less. News becomes irrelevant, and software changes making any guides or reviews inaccurate. So we wanted something that would be more lasting, and recipes seemed like a great market to enter into.
It’s obviously a crowded market with the thousands of other food blogs out there, but we have an added advantage that most other recipe/cooking blogs don’t have: we’ve already built one blog from nothing to having served tens of millions of visitors. Both Ashley and I have learned a lot over the years, and we both believe CenterCutCook’s success will be several times that of CyberNet. Heck, CenterCutCook has already seen days equivalent to those where CyberNet was fortunate enough to grace the front page of sites like Slashdot (example).
One thing I also learned is that people loved the CyberNet WrapUp posts. This summary of news, tips, and updated software really piqued the interest of many of our readers. You may not have expected that since it never showed up in our most visited articles found in the sidebar, but that’s because the WrapUp articles were always our most viewed items in the RSS feed. We always liked doing the WrapUp posts because they pushed traffic to other sites, and we’ve seen upwards of 1,000 clicks to other sites from a single post… which doesn’t even count the clicks from people through our RSS feed (we don’t do click tracking in RSS so we aren’t sure how many outgoing clicks there were).
At this point I’m not quite sure what will happen to CyberNet. I’ll probably post here periodically if I come across anything that I’m really excited about (like with XBMC last year). Other than that it may stay a bit quiet, or I may open it up to guest authors that want to contribute. We have some options, but there probably won’t be the same posting schedule that we had previously.
Thanks to everyone for the support over the years! You’ve all been awesome! If you get hungry though, feel free to jump over to CenterCutCook.com and peruse the nearly 200 recipes Ashley has posted.