No Buyers – Why online business is so slow

Starting in 2013, many webmasters who monitor their traffic closely have noticed a dramatic decline in search engine traffic. The effect is seem mainly on Google, who recently has been implementing many “quality” updates that are unfortunately resulting in lower quality SERP’s in many vertical markets.

Here’s a list of a few reasons why you may be seeing less traffic and slower business to your website.

1. Poor Traffic – Google Penguin and Panda updates may have determined your previous star performing site to now be low quality.
2. New EMD update may be dinging your site for containing competitive keywords in the domain name and sites content, again lowering Google’s quality rank of your site.
3. If you run WordPress, your site may be is running slower due to the ongoing Brute Force and Web Bot attacks.
4. Many scraper sites are popping up that are stealing your image content and instantly ranking high. You’ll recognize them by the obvious NON EMD domain names which are usually fictitious, made up words.
5. Weather – The long winter and sudden warm up is a sure fire traffic killer.

There are a number of other problems affecting the web, but at the moment most troubling of all the above issues is ongoing BFA (Brute Force Attack) on WordPress sites and bot floods that can bring a server to it’s knees.

If you run WordPress, take a few easy precautions. Install the “limit login attempts” plugin as well as W3 Total Cache. The LLA plugin will likely prevent the BFA from breaching your site (also change your admin account to something OTHER than admin). The W3TC plugin will take the load off your server and is recommended by most hosting companies.

Feel free to register and comment on this topic.

Search Engine Updates for April 2013

We pick up our discussion 17 years after the founding of Google.

If you are an experienced webmaster, please join the discussion and offer you personal observations on how the top search engine on the planet has affected your online business or website. Please be sure to understand our terms of service before you post and let’s keep it as clean as possible. Thanks!

Harbor Freight 10×12 Greenhouse

Harbor Freight 10×12 Greenhouse Construction

Starting Your Own Greenhouse – Home Grown Veggies:

With today’s high gas prices comes high food prices, but that’s not the only problem. Challenging economic conditions can introduce problems in the quality of foods and produce that we consume.
First was the spinach scare, then lettuce, now tomatoes. Fed up, we decide to build an inexpensive harbor freight 10×12 greenhouse to grow all our summertime vegetables; canning any excess for winter consumption.

Greenhouse Construction:

The first step was to  find adequate space. Next was to design the greenhouse shed itself. Finally we would attach a manufactured greenhouse. The idea being that attaching it to a building would add structural strength.

We did a search on the web and found greenhouse prices running several thousand dollars. That cost could make the price of home grown veggies a loosing proposition. Searching further we found one MIC model of greenhouse made by  Harbor Freight, The HFGH 10×12 model 93358 for a mere $599. The price has now jumped to $789. Luckily we managed to get in on an early season sale. If 10 x 12 is too big, try the HFGH 8  x 10 model 93920 for $499.

Google can help you find many good sites that will help you build and modify the Harbor Freight greenhouse. These models seem to have become a DIY cult item for gardeners on a budget.

Here is a link to one blog that shares seven time saving steps in building your HFGH.
It’s a great addition to the sketchy factory provided instructions and is a RECOMMENDED READ.

Progress of our DIY Garden Shed and 10×12 Harbor Freight Greenhouse project.

garden shed foundatin photo
Garden Shed Foundation

May 30 2008:

Construction begins with town approval and building permit.
Excavation and foundation framing, gravel and rebar took about 2 hours.
Photo at left showns the 12’x24′ garden shed foundation.
Excavating and concrete was done work by local contractor.
Cost for the concrete slab, about $1800.
Concrete poured and sealed the next day.

garden shed construction progress
Construction in progress

Garden shed construction progresses…

The gravel pile on the south end will eventually become the greenhouse foundation.
The south door will be the entrance for greenhouse.
Framing on the ground is a 4×6 pressure treated timber foundation.
The greenhouse base will be locked in gravel and the framing secured to the shed’s south wall.
As of 3/2014, we’ve had no storm damage (knock on wood).


Garden Shed Getting a Roof
Garden Shed Roofing

The garden shed gets a roof.

After just under 30 days of construction, the garden shed is finally taking shape!
Contracted the scary labor out to a local roofing firm.
Cost of labor: about $250, and they were done in 2 hours.
Any price to keep me off the roof.

Garden Shed and Greenhouse

Secure the Greenhouse to something solid.

The greenhouse attached to the south side of the garden shed.
The total cost of the shed and greenhouse including concrete work.
Roofing and all materials were just under $5000.


complet greenhouse project
Completed Green House Exterior

June 25 2008: Here is the final project result.

The greenhouse is in operation with plenty of growing space.
The structure rides out storms very well. This last weekend saw
50 mph winds and hail. No problems whatsoever.
This photo also shows how the roof pitch of the greenhouse compares to a standard 6/12 pitch of the shed. It looks better if the two roof pitches match or are at least close. Looks like 7/12 or 8/12 would match well.

greenhouse interior shelving
Completed Greenhouse Interior

Complete the interior  with shelving.

The inside of the greenhouse features a heavy duty shelving structure made from 4×4 AC2 treated lumber stained a redwood color. The color of the raw lumber was not very appealing and the stain job was worth the effort. Be sure to stain BEFORE the poly carbonate panels are installed or they will become spattered with stain. There is about 32 feet of 32″ wide shelves and the upper support will be for future wire shelving. Do not use lumber shelves above or they will cut out a considerable amount of light.

Safe, Bug Free Veggies:

We can now grow our own vegetables in a controlled, bug free environment that should accelerate production and be a fun  hobby  for years to come. The next step is to add some basic automation for watering using and Allen Bradley Pico controller and a few relays and dishwasher water solenoids to feed a Misty Mate 17 nozzle patio cooler. We’ll keep you posted as this develops…
Have Fun!

Follow up:   I have been occasional losing panels during high wind storms. Luckily we have a fully fenced in yard and the panels have always been contained by the fence. For those who have lost panels, I can get 6mm replacement poly carbonate sheeting locally in DePere Wisconsin from the exactly same place Sundance supply gets their poly. I am a dealer for this material. Leave a comment if interested.

Update: As of July 26 2013, my green house is still standing and working great. The panels are slightly yellowed after 5 years of exposure, but it’s mainly from dust and dirt.
The Misty Mate irrigating approach did not work out so well. Our well water has too much dissolved solids that block the spray nozzles. The best approach is to use a small diameter soaker hose instead. Oh, and to keep panels from flying off, I reinforced them with silicone around the perimeter and center, plus added a few extra screws & washers.

Update: May 7 2015 – The green house is still standing a performing well after seven years. No major yellowing other than the accumulation of dirt and a few bugs and leaves. 7 years later and HF is still making this greenhouse: buy one, you won’t be disappointed.

Update: June 27 2016 – Even after a rough spring and early summer with many severe storms, no damage at all. However, since I spray a lot of water inside, the base steel appears to be rusting away. Not sure what that will do to the stability, but is doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  I am already planning on what to do in case it does finally fall apart, but until then, we’re still good to go.

If this thing ever does fail, I’ll likely re-use the panels and build a cedar or MicroPro treated wood framed structure, or buy a new one.
This model appears to have a 10 to 12 year lifespan. I suspect a higher price might reflex better quality and longer lasting parts.  For the initial price, it was well worth it.

Here are some comparable green house kits available on Amazon:

This article was originally posted on


box elder beetle

Box Elder Bugs: The Red Black Beetle Menace

Red Black Beetle Menace:

box elder beetleIt’s that time of year again here in Wisconsin (and many other places in the United States) where on warm spring or autumn days those pesky red black beetles know as Boxelder Bugs or more accurately  Boxelder Beetles begin collecting into large groups searching for a place to over winter . They don’t bite, but the shear numbers of their swarms are frightening and create a major nuisance. Don’t mistake these beetles with Asian Beetles that look like Ladybugs.

red and black beetle
the Box Elder Bug before it’s soapy demise.

Digging In:

If you have an outdoor pool or bar area, or any south facing structure, both varieties will attempt to find a crevice in which to spend the winter. They don’t harm structures and perhaps they could act as additional insulation for older homes (grin). Autumn isn’t the only time you’ll see these little critters, they also emerge in the spring time to “do their thing” and reproduce. This is a great time to wipe out the tiny masses of newly hatched beetles.


I’m sure you are wondering how to get rid of those red and black Box Elder Bugs, and if you’ve tried bug spray, you’ve already found that it does not work. They seem immune to the stuff and just keep on crawlin’.

The only way I have found to eliminate them is using an Ortho Sprayer filled with several cups of Dish Soap or  Laundry Detergent. Yup, you read right, liquid dish soap or laundry detergent. Set the sprayer on the 2 oz setting, just so the mixture creates a foam.

Alternatively, you can use a pump sprayer – fill with water first, then add just a squeeze of lemon dish soap. Any scent will work, we just need it to form soap bubbles. That’s basically what stops them.

kill red abd black bugs
any liquid soap will do, but RAID won’t stop ’em

Kills Bugs Dead and Leaves a Fresh Clean Scent:

For some reason, this concoction will kill them in their tracks. I’d love to know how this really works and I found this by accident while cleaning some garbage cans. At 1 to 2 oz per gallon concentration, the spray does not hurt plants & trees. I told a few people about this and now the whole neighborhood is in on the Box Elder Bug War. As we’ve learned, any cheap liquid dish soap works as will any non-phosphorus laundry detergent. If there are any Entomologists out there that can answer this mystery, feel free to comment.

UPDATE – How it Works: One reply below has shed light as to why a simple soap & water solution will kill them; Apparently these insects breath through tiny holes in the side of their abdomen called spiracles. The soap solution creates a bubble film that effectively plugs air flow to the spiracles and they quickly suffocate. Thanks Ken and Mark T!

dead box elder bugs
kill large numbers of these invading pests and leave your home smelling fresh and clean

Here is the gruesome aftermath of a good detergent wash down. You don’t need the volume of suds shown in the photo, 1 oz per gallon of liquid soap should kill 98% of Box Elder Beetles.

Increase the dosage if needed.
Very effective and leaves a fresh clean scent!

Follow up:

If they’ve already made it inside your home, use a small wet / dry shop vac to collect them intruders and place a few cups of soap & water in the collection canister to kill them.  Find the entrance and plug it with liquid spray foam, such as “Great Stuff” or a similar brand.

Be pro-active: In spring and early summer, watch for tiny swarms right after they hatch and soap ’em down good so they can’t spread, mature and reproduce.
Caulk & Seal: all openings – while this won’t deter the bugs from gathering, it might keep them out of your home.

Have fun “cleaning up”  those pesky bugs!

This article was originally published on our website and was moved here with our permission.