Help Me Keep Romania Experience Alive

Blogging has been my job since 2008. Not once since I started my uncommon career have I stared at a blank page for as long as I did before being able to finally start writing here.

Asking for help is never easy. Especially in capitalism, where businesses come and go. That’s how things are.

Note: I wrote, deleted, rewrote, edited, and changed this article for probably a dozen times in the past 3 days. Please bear with me!

I feel both disappointed and stressed. I am afraid I will be judged. I am afraid there might be no reaction at all. But even more so, more than ever since I started this career, I am afraid about the future. So… here I am.

Starting September 2023, the perfect storm (but in a bad way) started for many amazing blogs out there – and some maybe not as amazing ones, like Romania Experience. A combination between the “rise of AI” and changes made by Google to their core mechanics of ranking websites (and rewarding them with traffic) resulted in MANY websites losing up to 90% of their visitors, sometimes over night.

Romania Experience is in a similar situation. Below, you can see a graph showing the number of visitors Google sent to this blog in the past three months:

Romania Experience Traffic Drop

The traffic went down from the regular ~500 visitors per day to around 250 basically over night and then to just around 80 per day now. That counts for an 84% drop in Google traffic.

And it is devastating.

As a result, I had the worst performing day in several years now (probably more), in terms of ad revenue:

May 19 Revenue

This means that, if each day was like that (fortunately, I’m still a bit higher, at an average of a bit over $4), I would earn around $90 per month.

Romania is a cheap country, that is a fact, but that’s nowhere near an amount you can live off on (WAY under the minimum wage, for example).

Fortunately, Romania Experience is not the only blog I own, but it is my only real passion project. It is the only where I actually poured my heart and soul into.

It also represents (or represented) a huge chunk of my monthly revenue – last year, it was the second-best performing blog that I owned. And this is why it hurts so much to see it being penalized so heavily: both on a personal level AND financially.

You can help keep Romania Experience alive

I will write more about the situation below. But, in case you don’t need to know more or you just want to become one of the pillars that keeps this website alive, you can do so by signing up for a monthly membership via Patreon, linked below:

Support Romania Experience here

Please, don’t feel obliged to do it! If you are reading this article, it most likely means that you are one of the blog’s regulars and I am thankful for that alone. Unless you really can and want to, you don’t have to do it.

But if you do it – I’m thankful and grateful. Thanks to you, Romania Experience is still alive!

I am also thinking about ways to reward those who decide to become Romania Experience supporters, like offering them an ad-free blog experience, exclusive articles and/or updates, maybe creating a forum or some sort of discussion channel (like Discord – which is something I’m not using at the moment, but I’m considering all options).

I WILL come up with something. But, to be honest, I want to make sure that there is some interest from others in keeping Romania Experience alive. Because the pessimist in me thinks there is, actually, nobody who cares…

But if you do and if you have additional suggestions on how I could reward you for being a supporter, please let me know.

More about what’s happening & the future

OK, now that I got that out of the way, for those who are still interested in reading, I have more to share. Answers to potential questions you might have, plans of my own and probably some rants and ramblings.

I honestly don’t know how deep to go on a personal level here – I don’t want to sound desperate, as fortunately that’s not (at least for now) the situation. I don’t want to sound cold either – the situation IS serious and my heart is torn and the stress levels are higher than ever.

But here are some potential questions you might have (or at least find interesting to read the answer to):

1. What will happen to Romania Experience if nobody decides to support it?

No matter what happens, I will do my best to keep the website up and running for as long as I can afford it.

Right now, I still believe I will be able to keep the website alive indefinitely. As the traffic drop just recently happened, things can change overnight… but hopefully the worst has passed already.

Even if nobody decides to support this project, I will still continue to write articles, update old ones so they’re always up to date, and continuously pour my heart and soul into Romania Experience.

I am not sure for how long I’ll be able to do it without additional support, though. And I am not sure how often I will be able to write and update. But I will do my best to keep Romania Experience as the best resource for those looking to move here or visit Romania, as well as learn more about it.

2. How much do you actually need to keep the website alive?

Fortunately, the monthly costs for keeping this website alive are relatively low:

  • Hosting: $18.60 (I am looking into moving to a cheaper hosting plan and hopefully reduce these costs by up to 50%)
  • Domain: $1.25 (paid once a year: $15)
  • Other costs: $1.50 (one plugin to keep the website running & theme costs).

So, overall, the bare minimum for keeping this website alive is $21.35 per month. But this is just running costs, and nothing in terms of me actually making anything in return for my work.

3. So, are you asking now for donations to finance your lavish lifestyle?

Absolutely not. The online world is changing tremendously, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and changes made by Google, which is still the main search engine in the world (with a market share of anything between 80%-90%).

You will most likely see more and more websites do this in the future simply because there’s no other way around it. Plenty of amazing blogs and sites have been destroyed by the recent changes, and many won’t be able to last through this.

You’ve probably seen some large publications already asking for monthly/weekly payments to read their articles. I’m not there yet, and hopefully I will never be forced to do this.

One of the main advantages Romania Experience has over other websites is that it is a small, independent website ran entirely by myself. I don’t have to worry about paying a salary to others and I can choose to work for peanuts (or even nothing) as a passion project.

BUT there are costs. I have a family to look after. I put hours of work into keeping this website updated and alive. While it’s not a full-time job, it’s still at least several hours per week. Sometimes, per day.

4. What are YOU doing to change things around?

I have spent days (and I will spend many more in the future) trying to figure a way to change things around. The online publishing world is changing, and I have to adapt in order to survive.

Apart from adding this membership option for those who want to directly support Romania Experience, I have various plans for my business overall, and this website in particular:

  • I am considering trying to create a news section that will hopefully bring in more people to the website (and therefore increase income).
  • I am going to focus more on writing new articles and improving the ones already on the website.
  • I am considering doing YouTube videos again. Please subscribe to Romania Experience on Youtube to know when I start posting again. Videos are not something I am good at or particularly fond of, but I think they might help.
  • I keep reading and learning from more experienced people to find new ways to bring more people to this blog.

I am also taking important steps to reduce my family’s monthly expenses. We are already pretty frugal, but there are still some areas that will be improved. This comes with MAJOR changes in our lives – but I will write about these in-depth in an upcoming article.

5. Hey, why don’t you get a job?

It’s very difficult for me to write the answer to this question. Of course, if everything that can go bad WILL go bad, I will most likely have no other option than getting a traditional job.

But there are a few problems here. First of all, for my entire adult life, I ran my own blogs and wrote for them. And with the world of blog publishing changing so drastically, with more and more writers/journalists being fired than ever (and replaced by AI), I don’t have a lot to offer.

Also, I’m 40. Starting a new career is difficult – although not impossible. Still, my bachelor’s degree is in Journalism, so basically I am in a really strange and tough spot.

Add to that some health issues that I have for a few years now that prevent me from being able to safely hold a 9-to-5 traditional job long term, and you have a clearer picture of the entire situation.

I don’t want to sound like I am trying to find excuses. And, even though it might seem so, I want you to understand that I am not lazy. On the contrary – I work (but especially worked in the past) like crazy and did nothing but work and work and work.

I used to work up to 14 hours per day (which is what brought most of the health problems I mentioned) for years. Now, since late 2021, I wasn’t physically and mentally able to put in as much work – sometimes not even 8 hours per day – but I am still running at 110%.

And, yes, if everything goes from bad to worse, I won’t have any option than to find a traditional job. But I am doing my best to try and avoid that.

6. Can I help in any other way?

Don’t feel pressured to support Romania Experience if you don’t want to, can’t afford to (or if it’s adding additional pressure on your finances), or for any other reason.

I am personally not expecting any success with this, and I already feel as ashamed as possible for trying it. But there are other ways you can help without spending any of your money.

The simple fact that you’re here, reading this article – and reading my articles on Romania Experience – is helpful and highly appreciated.

Any visit to this blog counts – and leaving comments, sharing this blog’s articles on social media and Pinterest, or with your friends, as well as being subscribed to my email list, following the Facebook page and YouTube channel helps even more.

In other words, by simply visiting the website, you are helping me out. And if you have any additional ideas – I am open to suggestions and advice.

But, in case you want to become a monthly supporter of Romania Experience, you can do so via Patreon here.

And if you read everything up to this point – THANK YOU. If you are disappointed by this article and if you’re disappointed with the Patreon thing – I apologize and I understand where you’re coming from. But, right now, I honestly don’t think there’s any other way.

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2 thoughts on “Help Me Keep Romania Experience Alive”

  1. I’m very sorry to hear this. I have read your blogs for the past few years and if you recognize my name, I’m sure you have read many of my comments about my many trips there. I have subscribed to your patreon to help you out! Good luck!

    • Thank you, Brian! I appreciate your help and welcome it. And yes, I read all your comments over the years and I know about your love for Romania, its people, and other acts of kindness you have shown them. I hope I’ll read many more comments from you in the years to come! Thank you again.


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