Welcome to kuaby’s monthly report for February 2017.
For first timers, I started publishing monthly reports since August 2016 to document my journey of building this travel website.
In these updates, you will find all the revenue and traffic numbers for the site as well as the actions I took to grow it.
Your support is what pushes me forward, so I really appreciate you for taking time out to read this report.
Let’s find out what happened in February.
- 1 What Happened in February?
- 2 Upcoming Highlights for February
- 3 Profit and Loss Statement
- 4 Traffic Update
- 5 Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
- 6 Community Update
- 7 How Else Would You Monetize a Travel Site?
What Happened in February?
Social media marketing was my focus in February.
Introducing marketing-related tasks to my routine for kuaby makes the whole thing less monotonous.
On some days, I enjoy writing while on some other days, I just want to leave comments on other people’s Instagram photos.
Engaging on Twitter and Instagram
Unlike Facebook, you can still grow your following on Twitter and Instagram without having to pay a dime. You can even make sure those who are following you are relevant to what you are promoting.
It is now part of my routine to engage with potential readers on both of these platforms. To be specific, I now perform these tasks daily:
- Respond to 5 tweets on Twitter Search and follow the person tweeting them.
- Comment on 5 Instagram photos and follow the person posting them.
It all boils down to utilizing the search function on these platforms as much as I can. These are the search histories on my accounts:
On Twitter, I look for people who are tweeting about their upcoming trips to places covered on this site. On Instagram, I use location search to uncover travelers who are taking photos of attractions that were featured on this site. All these are potential readers who might be impressed by the content I am creating here!
Here’s how my notifications on Instagram and mentions on Twitter look like these days.
People actually don’t mind engaging with a brand.
Testing the Waters on Pinterest
I didn’t plan to dip my toes into Pinterest, but when Vadim Fink, a talented marketer, and a co-worker of mine, shared this case study on Pinterest marketing, I was hooked on the spot.
The case study shows you how to use collaborative boards on Pinterest to acquire traffic from the social network. It’s a no-brainer for a travel site to be on Pinterest. But I just didn’t know where to start because I am not a user of the service. This article showed me the direction, and I got to work immediately.
I created a Pinterest-friendly thumbnail for my KL Sentral guide, as well as my other most visited travel guides. I then reached out to 25 owners of collaborative Pinterest boards via email so they can add me as a contributor to their respective boards.
Out of the 25, 8 got back to me. 8 might not sound like a lot, but it’s huge when you look at the amount of reach that these boards unlocked. kuaby’s Pinterest account only has 79 followers. With these boards, I now have the potential to reach over 35,000 people on Pinterest.
Processes to Outsource Tech-Related Tasks
In my last monthly report, I shared that I was going to outsource some simple tech-related tasks to my younger brother, Taka Liew.
We sat down and identified a few more projects that he could be helping me with. Here’s a snapshot of what he will probably be working on in the next few months.
His immediate focus will be to implement SSL and Cloudflare CDN for kuaby.
Who knows? I might unveil a kuaby chatbot for Facebook Messenger soon. 😛
Scored an Email Interview
In February, I also spent more time on Facebook groups for bloggers.
I stumbled upon the opportunity to get featured on a new blog while I was hanging out in these groups. The interview has been scheduled to go live in October. I will share the link with you once it is up.
Even though I will not get a ton of traffic out of it, I am still excited because this is a mini milestone for the work that I am putting into kuaby. Furthermore, I’ll get an incoming link, which is always good in the long run.
Upcoming Highlights for February
Moving into March, content production will become my priority again. Apart from that, a couple of new things will be implemented as well.
Daily Grind Reports on Social Media
On March 1, I decided to get everyone who is following me on social media to become my accountability partners.
Doing so gives me a healthy pressure to get something done for kuaby on a daily basis. It’s daunting at first, and it will still be every time before I click hit publish. But I will keep doing it because external accountability has been very effective for me to be productive.
This is an example of the updates that I am putting on Facebook every day.
Implementation of SSL and Cloudflare CDN
One thing I couldn’t stand after making Firefox my default browser is this tiny little icon that is showing on the address bar every time I visit this site.
Around the same time, I read this article by Klint Finley on how half the web is now encrypted.
If more than 50% of the web is encrypted, your site is an anomaly if the green padlock icon is not showing on the address bar when somebody is browsing your site!
Thus, one of my priorities in March is to implement SSL and HTTPS for kuaby.
My younger brother also suggested using Cloudflare CDN to speed up my site, in particular for visitors who are accessing from locations outside of San Francisco, where my server is located.
A content delivery network, also known as CDN in short, is a network of servers around the world serving static files like images to my visitors.
When you are not using a CDN, all your website files must be accessed and downloaded from the server where your site is hosted regardless of the physical location of your site visitors. Using a CDN speeds things up because your visitors will be able to load the files from the nearest server on the content delivery network.
It will be interesting to see how much faster kuaby gets after the implementation.
Let’s dive into the numbers for February 2017.
Profit and Loss Statement
In February 2017, kuaby made a loss of $33.69.
Revenue for February was at $8.55, an increase of 8% from February.
- Google AdSense: $7.09 (-11%)
- Agoda Affiliate Program: $1.46
TOTAL REVENUE: $8.55 (+8%)
I know I need to be patient when it comes to growing something, so I am not freaking out with the lack of revenue growth.
However, I already started brainstorming for some monetization ideas. Nothing is solid yet, though. I still need to validate them by speaking to potential clients.
Here is the list of expenditure for January:
- Digital Ocean: $12.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Grammarly: $6.25
- Google Apps: $5.00
- ActiveCampaign: $9.00
- Developer (my brother): – (-100%)
TOTAL EXPENSES: $42.24 (-24%)
In February, 3,958 unique visitors came to kuaby. This represents a 13% drop from January.
Of course, February is a shorter month, but seeing unique visitor count drop for two consecutive months is a little unnerving.
With the focus coming back to content production in March and the routine I have in place for social media marketing, I am hoping to see an increase in unique visitors in March.
Here are the top traffic sources for kuaby in February:
No surprise candidates here.
These are the most visited content on the site:
You can find links to the top 5 below if you want to read them:
- KL Sentral
- KTM ETS Train in Malaysia: The Ultimate Guide
- Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary
- KLCC – Bukit Bintang Pedestrian Walkway
- KLCC Park
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 February 2017 is $1.47, up by 24% 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.
kuaby’s following on the social media platforms above grew because of the daily routine I established for each of them.
How Else Would You Monetize a Travel Site?
In March, the numbers should start growing again. But still, I will be playing around with some monetization strategies for the site.