Welcome to the monthly report for December 2016. This is also the final report for 2016.

For those of you who are new, I share these details since mid-2016 to document my journey of growing this travel website, as well as the lessons I picked up along the way.

I am ecstatic about this month’s report. The number of unique visitors and revenue charted an all-time high even with the site running on complete autopilot.

What happened? Let’s dive into the numbers now!

Profit and Loss Statement

Last month, kuaby made a loss of $23.53.

Revenue

From November to December 2016, revenue increased by 103% to $18.71.

  • Google AdSense: $13.02 (+57%)
  • Amazon Associates: $4.52 (+397%)
  • Booking.com Affiliate Program: $1.17

TOTAL REVENUE: $18.71 (+103%)

Will it go up or down next month? Click here to be first to know.

The increase in revenue from Google AdSense correlates with the higher amount of unique visitors and pageviews in December.

Amazon Associates revenue is from this Christmas gift ideas content piece that I published in early 2016. It did not get much traffic until very recently.

Last year, I also published two content pieces covering accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur:

On average, the affiliate links in these content pieces receive less than 20 clicks every month. December is also the first month they generated revenue. Moving forward, I am planning to share them with readers who are consuming travel guides for Kuala Lumpur attractions as well as email subscribers who signed up lead magnets related to Kuala Lumpur.

Expenses

Expenses for December stayed the same as November.

Here is the detailed breakdown:

TOTAL EXPENSES: $42.24

Traffic Update

In December, kuaby had 5,006 unique visitors, which is an increase of 31% from November.

kuaby's Daily Unique Visitors Overview in December 2016 Based on Google Analytics

December is when students get a month-long school holiday in Malaysia. I see this spike in traffic as seasonal since all the content on this site are about travel attractions in Malaysia. I don’t have the data to back this statement now, but it will be interesting to revisit this assumption next year.

Here are the top traffic sources for kuaby in December:

kuaby's Top Traffic Sources in December 2016 Based on Google Analytics

And these are the most visited content pieces in the same month:

kuaby's Most Visited Content in December 2016 Based on Google Analytics

Interested to read the Top 5 content pieces? Here are the links to them:

Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)

Revenue per 1,000 Pageviews or RPM is a metric to measure a website’s efficiency in monetizing its page views.

kuaby’s RPM for December 2016 is $2.66, up by 58% month-on-month.

I do not know what the industry average is for this metric. Please share if you are tracking this metric for your blog. It is not a metric that I am focusing on right now.

Community Update

I continued to ignore my communities in December, but I have plans for this area this month. Read about it here.

What Happened in December?

As mentioned in the introduction, the site was running on its own throughout December. There were no new content, and zero marketing activities.

So what was I up to in December?

My Trip to Taiwan

Wayne Liew Exploring Alishan Mountain Forest with His Girlfriend

To celebrate the New Year with my girlfriend, Shook Ting, I went to Taiwan for 18 days with a plan to circle the country along its coastlines. It was the first trip that we took together after I got serious about building up kuaby.

The trip was fun. It was planned in such a way that we can fully experience every single attraction, mingle with more locals, and experience the local culture better. However, it still feels hectic. 18 days is simply not enough to circle the entire island when you want to travel deep and do it slowly. Also, we didn’t schedule for work.

As a result, nothing was done for kuaby and its social media channels. Moreover, for every attraction we visited, locals gave us two or three more places to visit. Many of them are fascinating, but they didn’t show up at all when I was researching about Taiwan before our arrival.

When I was planning for the trip in June, I noticed the amount of travel content in English is very limited, especially if you are planning a trip beyond Taipei. This, coupled with the fact that many locals outside of Taipei do not understand English, makes it hard for foreign travelers to navigate around the country.

To me, this presents an opportunity for kuaby. Stay tuned. I am heading to Taiwan again soon!

The Struggle with Hustling While Traveling

Let’s just say taking photos or videos, and putting them on social media is not as easy as it seems.

To make things trickier, we didn’t insert any work time into our itinerary. During certain stretches of our trip, we were constantly on the move. Even when we were not, I was simply too tired to work.

Here are the takeaways for myself after this trip:

  • Stay put at the same place for at least three days before moving again.
  • Schedule days to work, chill, wander, interact with people, or for serendipity to do its job.
  • It’s okay to miss what was planned.

I don’t know how things will turn out next time, but I do hope these takeaways will make future trips more productive.

Planning to Go on the Offensive with Marketing

If you have followed these monthly reports since the very beginning, you know that Gary Vaynerchuk inspires me a lot. I learned a lot by watching his videos and following him on social media.

In one of his videos, an interviewer asked him, “(Between) Snapchat or Instagram, what do you do?” He answered, “Both!”

Instagram or Snapchat? … BOTH

Do your actions back up your mouth?? Why don't you use this video to finally call yourself out and why don't you shut the fuck up about your plans and resolutions and back up your mouth! My friends I want this so bad for you .. but it starts with you owning your shit and attacking as many levels as U can!!

Gary Vaynerchuk 发布于 2017年1月6日

“I need to be everywhere!” I thought to myself.

I listed down all the social networks, online communities, Q&A websites, and forums where travelers hang out. I then looked at Google Analytics to find out which of these websites contributed the most visits to kuaby. With the data, I prioritized those that deserve my attention the most.

This screenshot gives you a glimpse of the outcome.

kuaby's Marketing Tasks on Google Keep

To be honest, I don’t know how it will go, but I will make the time for them. I want kuaby to succeed, badly!

Focus for January

In January, kuaby will be moving full steam ahead.

Content creation is my biggest priority. I am still aiming to produce at least six content pieces a month. On top of that, I want to execute all the daily marketing tasks that you saw earlier.

It’s all grind, and I’m so excited about it that you would think I’m mad.

More Lead Magnets and Commercial Content

The PDF version of KL Sentral guide is the only lead magnet I have so far. I am planning to create two more lead magnets in January to acquire more email subscribers.

Aside from that, I also want to experiment with a piece of content around travel gear recommendations.

When The New York Times announced that they are acquiring The Wirecutter for slightly more than $30 million in October, I started paying attention to the monetization model that the latter is using.

People believe in the reviews and product comparisons coming out of The Wirecutter. Although I cannot have the trust that The Wirecutter has from its readers overnight, what they are doing is worth dissecting.

I’m Eager for the January Grind, Are You?

That’s everything I have for this month’s report. As you are reading this, I already started rolling out the content production and marketing plans. I cannot wait to show you the results next month.

What will you be working on this month? Share them with me in the comment section below.

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Wayne Liew
Wayne fell in love with traveling and every aspect of it when he traveled to Singapore in 2013. He is a newbie when it comes to traveling and he loves chatting with other travelers to learn from their experiences. Are you a traveler? Let's connect!

48 COMMENTS

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  1. Such a worth reading this, You really do a great job that why it continue your growth and I wish I can be like you, I’m working on mine as well

  2. Great post. Its always interesting to read about other bloggers success. Big thumbs up and I wish you the very best in the future.

    • Thanks Angie. Yes, that’s the whole point. Instead of getting inspired or discouraged by other income reports, I want to be encouraged by seeing the progress that I made. 🙂

  3. How wonderful to have such traffic growth while you were off traveling and not actively working on your site. I am a big fan a Gary V as well, he is very inspiring!

  4. Oh wow, this is impressive! Congratulations. You made me think of my January grind, I may just copy your plan for “marketing” loved it! All the best. cheering you on.

  5. Wow! This is such a great report! I really need to do some homework myself! This is so detailed,I’m amazed! Well done!

  6. I have so much to work on this year! I just started up my blog and I’m getting used to all this planning. I like your social media schedule, mine is kind’ve similar. I have all these social media platforms to worry about along with writing blog posts and doing graphics. I didn’t know blogging was so involved haha. But congrats on your increase in revenue and email subscribers.

  7. Awwwww we all have those months!!!! At least your traffic is doing good!!! That’s always the toughest part about blogging

  8. This is awesome. I’m hoping to focus on monetizing my blog more this year. I made a little bit last year, but for the amount of time I put into it, I hope to get more out of it! 🙂

  9. This is remarkably detailed. I kind of wish I had done something like this when I started out to know exactly what my growth has been over the last two years. I track freelance work and sponsorships, but I only glance at adworks.

    • You can always start now, Stacey. Even if you didn’t document your progress right from the start. The progress you’ll have from today onwards will be fascinating to look at a year or two from today. 🙂

    • Good to know that you find this blog income report encouraging, Rose. All the best for your blog’s growth this year. I am trying to turn it into a profit too. Fingers crossed. 🙂

  10. Glad to hear you are doing well! I am struggling with the post-Christmas traffic drop right now, but I know it will be back.

    • Hey Jazzi, the spike in traffic is probably because December is a huge holiday season in Malaysia. All the articles on the site right now are about attractions in the country. This is the most valid assumption that I have for now. 🙂