How Well Do You React To Adversity?

September 4, 2012

Around the world this growing season, we've had flooding, severe drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, wildfires, earthquakes, and more. I don't know too many people whose gardens haven't been affected in some way.

So how do you react to this? What did you do? How did you feel?

A post over at the Site Build It! forums (which is one of the best parts of this wonderful system I use to build the site) got me thinking about the question quite a bit lately.

You see, in April 2012, Edible Landscape Design was doing really well. For the first time, I was making over $100 a month (which is wonderful for a site only 18 months old), and the search engine traffic was growing more and more each day.

Then Google decided to change their rules for which websites were put higher in their search engine.

A little background: most people don't search past the first page or two, so if you're not on the first or second page, you might as well not be there at all. And if people don't see you in a search engine, they don't know where your site is. So this is really important if you want new visitors.

Which sites go where on Google is all done by a computer algorithm, because there are way too many websites out there in the world for anyone to look at them individually. The change was supposed to get rid of websites who secretly paid people to link to them in order to boost their traffic.

This change happened right before the last weekend in April.

I lost over 80% of my traffic to Edible Landscape Design in one weekend, in the middle of gardening season.

Wow! And this was after 3 surgeries and 5 deaths in my family in 2011 (two of whom I was very close to), which I don't think I had really overcome.

So, while my garden struggled a bit this season, I struggled more ...

There are three ways someone might react to severe changes:

1) Complain

If it hasn't rained in weeks, keep on watering every day, then complain about your water bill. Don't change anything.

When I saw my traffic statistics, I felt like I had been kicked while I was down.

I appealed to Google (complaining), and they told me that they found nothing wrong with my site or how people linked to it. But they could give me no answers as to what to do to improve things. It seemed so unfair!

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining now. I'm just relating what happened then.

2) Give up

If your garden is drying up, let it die. If it's under water, write it off. Forget about edible landscaping ... that's for other people.

I can sort of relate to this, as I considered giving up for about a fraction of a second ... but this is not me. Besides, I had a front yard contest to run ;)

3) Adapt

If your garden has flooded out the last few years, plant a water garden. If it doesn't rain as much as you're used to, look for drought tolerant or even desert-loving plants. Has your ground turned to mush because of constant earthquakes? Set up light-weight hanging gardens that sway rather than crumble. If it is really bad outside, set up a greenhouse or grow your edible plants indoors.

Do whatever you have to do to get the results you want.

Site Build It! had a huge update recently which makes building pages much easier. So I thought, why not redo my site? No one is looking at it anyway, so if I mess something up, no one will care.

(I was honestly thinking this way.)

Right then, I started getting freelance graphics work for the first time, which began to partially replace my lost income. Things were improving!

And then I saw the problems with my site. I decided to redo my navigation, update my pages, and add new ones. I have a lot to do to adapt to the new climate.

But an increased number of people visited for the first time in August, so my changes are working. As it's turned out, what I originally perceived as a setback has been one of the best things that could have happened.

Here's the lesson: If things are going well, even if they are going REALLY well, things may not stay that way. Don't rely on what has gone on in your garden -- good weather, solid soil, enough rain. Be aware of what is happening, and if things change, take measures to adapt before your garden (or anything else!) becomes a mess.


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Comments for How Well Do You React To Adversity?

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Sep 13, 2012
You go, Girl!
by: Gretchen

Never give up on a dream - the going might get really tough, but my experience is that it costs more to abandon the dream than to keep trying to succeed.

Sep 21, 2012
Not what I expected, thank goodness!
by: Cynthia Kirst

Oh my goodness! I had just subscribed and was finally getting a chance to check out all you offer......about edible gardening. No way did I think I was going to get a challenge about handling life! Granted, you applied responding to adversity in your garden, but I needed this for other life transitions that are father just passed away, starting a new job, adding two classes to my schedule and now moving in 8 days! So......thank-you for the post....will focus on adapting RIGHT AWAY!

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