Hey everyone, welcome to kuaby’s monthly report for January 2017.
This month, I am changing the order of how I present things. Instead of showing the numbers first, I am going to keep it until the very end.
If you are new here, these monthly reports are where I document my journey of growing this travel site. You will find them interesting if you have plans to start your own travel blog or online project.
Without further ado, let’s see what happened on kuaby in January!
- 1 What Happened in January?
- 2 Upcoming Highlights for February
- 3 Profit and Loss Statement
- 4 Traffic Update
- 5 Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
- 6 Community Update
- 7 QOTD: What Are the Tools You Use for Your Side Hustle?
What Happened in January?
In January, I took a week off from work to visit my family back in Penang, Malaysia. Seeing my family after a while is always nice, but more importantly, the down times allow me to revisit the work I’m putting into kuaby.
I figured out the writing app that fits me the best, and the tasks that should get prioritized considering where the site is at right now.
Before I continue, just note that kuaby may earn a commission if you sign up or make a purchase after clicking on any of the links below. The earnings keep the site running, thereby allowing me to put up more useful guides for travelers from all over the world.
Lead Magnets and Commercial Content are in the Works
As mentioned last month, I wanted to create more lead magnets and commercial content.
I didn’t start on creating more lead magnets.
On the commercial content front, however, I managed to put down over 3,000 words. I was also learning a lot from the following blog posts on how to write a solid product review:
- How To Write The Perfect Affiliate Product Review by James Johnson
- How To Write Product Reviews That Sell Without Making Your Site Look Cheesy (And a Template You Can Follow) by Gael Breton (Hat tip to Lu Wee, my accountability partner for sharing this article with me!)
Following the best practices laid out in the blog posts above, the commercial content that I am creating should look more appealing aesthetically. They should also include more elements that drive readers to make a booking or buy a product.
It’s all talk now, but stay tuned to see the finished product! It is coming in the next report.
More Emails from Readers
One really cool thing about running a website is that you will start receiving emails from strangers, I mean, readers.
I used to get one email every few months. In January, however, I got 3 emails and 1 Facebook message. One of them, who is planning to visit Kuala Lumpur in March, even requested to meet up when she arrives.
It is very motivating to see my travel guides having an actual impact on helping travelers out with their planning.
By the way, I’d love to connect with fellow bloggers and website owners too. Send me an email if you want someone who is like-minded to read your rants and follow your progress of building a site. 🙂
Implemented Comment Email Reply Notification Plugin
The monthly report last month received 24 comments. It is the most commented blog post ever since I started the site.
But I had a problem – those who left a comment had no idea when I reply to them. How can I automatically notify someone who left a comment that I responded to it?
My brother, Taka Liew, solved the problem for me. For just $13.57 (heavily discounted of course), he installed a WordPress plugin called Comment Email Reply for me. He also customized the code a little, so the notification emails read exactly like how I want it to read. Boom!
Leave a comment below to see the plugin in action.
Grammarly Becomes My Go-to Writing App
Growing any website today involves creating a ton of content. In my case, this means churning out A LOT of words. Because of this, I spend a lot of time optimizing my workspace and the tools I use to write.
One of the tools I swear by for my writing since January is Grammarly.
I tried many solutions in the past. Name any apps out there, and I probably tried them! Evernote, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, lightweight code editors, fancy distraction-free writing apps – you name it, everything! But Grammarly is the tool I settled with.
The apps or software below didn’t work for me…
- Evernote: My own notes make it a distracting place for me to write.
- Google Docs: Google Drive is where I store all my files and photos. I don’t like sifting through folders to find word documents that I am actively working on. Also, the interface is ugly.
- Microsoft Word: The many features it offers are distractions.
- Lightweight code editors and distracting-free writing apps: They usually don’t offer a web app. Many of them are not free, and I don’t see the value in paying for them now.
Grammarly might not be the best tool for everybody, but here are the reasons why I like it more than the rest:
- Both the web and Mac app have a minimal and distraction-free interface.
- The typeface is gorgeous.
- Attending to Grammarly suggestions is somehow helping me achieve clarity with my train of thoughts.
- The ability to customize Grammarly’s suggestions based on document type or the tone you want for your writing is very useful.
- The vocabulary enhancement feature reduces repetitive words, and this makes me love what I wrote even more.
- I don’t need to worry about formatting (bold, italics, headings, etc.).
- I’m paying for and editing with Grammarly anyway.
Once my texts are ready on Grammarly, they go directly onto WordPress where I will then have them formatted for the web before hitting on the “Publish” button.
Even though Grammarly is my go-to app for writing, I am curious about what you are using. Leave a comment if you are using a tool that is not Grammarly.
Upcoming Highlights for February
I am not adding new items for February. I need to focus on content creation. All the drafts and lead magnets that I am working on must go live.
I might even look for options to outsource some tasks just to be able to double down on content creation.
Continue to Crack the Social Media Nut
I wanted to go all out with social media, but it wasn’t executed well. On the one hand, it is something that ranks behind content production as a priority. At the same time, I might have bitten off more than I can chew with my plan.
In January, I am going to focus on just the following:
- Daily updates to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Participate in Facebook groups.
- Engage relevant tweets using Twitter Search.
- Comment on related photos using Instagram Search.
Also, I will start tracking my time spent on the activities above to make sure it is worth it.
Smaller social media communities like Quora, Tumblr, and WeHeartIt will take a back seat for now.
Outsourcing WordPress Management
I taught myself WordPress, HTML, and PHP when I started blogging and building WordPress sites almost 10 years ago.
Although I have the knowledge, I am not the best person to be overlooking the technical aspects of this site. I have the bright shiny object syndrome, and I always struggle to convince myself that a new feature idea is not needed.
When this happens, I will spend hours, if not days, to meddle with plugins and codes.
When I got my brother, Taka to help me out with the Comment Email Reply Notification plugin, I realized it will be so much better to have someone more technical advise me on site features. Not only that, the implementation of any feature is going to be faster simply because he is better at WordPress, codes, and all these technical stuffs.
Thus, setting up processes that will allow me to outsource WordPress management and the tech side of things is a priority for me this month.
Let’s jump into the numbers!
Profit and Loss Statement
In January 2017, kuaby made a loss of $47.86.
kuaby’s income for January 2017 stood at $7.95, a decrease of 58% from December.
- Google AdSense: $7.95 (-39%)
- Amazon Associates: – (-100%)
- Booking.com Affiliate Program: – (-100%)
TOTAL REVENUE: $7.95 (-58%)
The drop is within expectation because a large chunk of the revenue that came in last month is from this article on gift ideas. The traffic to the article died off after Christmas.
With new commercial content coming through the pipeline, I am hoping to generate more revenue from affiliate programs in the next few months.
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): $13.57
TOTAL EXPENSES: $55.81 (+32%)
4,551 unique visitors came to kuaby in January. This number is 9% lower than December.
The drop, again, is within expectation. The spike in December’s traffic is because of the holiday season in Malaysia.
Here are the top traffic sources for kuaby in January:
I like how the site is slowly getting more traffic from Facebook.
These are the most visited content in January:
Here is the list of the top 5 if you are interested to read them:
- KL Sentral
- Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary
- KLCC – Bukit Bintang Pedestrian Walkway
- KTM ETS Train in Malaysia: The Ultimate Guide
- 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 January 2017 is $1.19, down by 55% 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.
With a sharper focus on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook this month, the number of followers the site has on these platforms should start growing again.
QOTD: What Are the Tools You Use for Your Side Hustle?
That’s it for this report!
I am excited to see what February holds for the site. It’s a shorter month, but I will hustle harder so that I can report some good news next month.
If you are still reading, answer this question for me in the comment section below: