kuaby in January 2017: Grammarly Becomes My Primary Writing Tool

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kuaby's Monthly Report for January 2017

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!

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:

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.

Facebook Messenger Conversation with a Reader
Facebook Messenger Conversation with a Reader
Reader Email Asking About SIM Cards and Mobile Apps in Malaysia
Reader Email Asking About SIM Cards and Mobile Apps in Malaysia

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!

Sample Email Notification Sent by Comment Email Reply WordPress Plugin
Sample Email Notification Sent by Comment Email Reply WordPress Plugin

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.

Grammarly Premium Account Dashboard
Grammarly Premium Account Dashboard

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.

Get to Work

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.

Will I finally execute on the social media front? Click here to sign up so you can be the first to know.

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.

Revenue

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.

Be the first to know kuaby’s revenue in February 2017. Click here to sign up for an email notification that goes out when the next monthly report is live.

Expenses

Here is the list of expenditure for January:

TOTAL EXPENSES: $55.81 (+32%)

Traffic Update

kuaby's Daily Unique Visitors Overview for January 2017 Based on Google Analytics

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:

kuaby's Top Traffic Sources in January 2017 Based on Google Analytics

I like how the site is slowly getting more traffic from Facebook.

These are the most visited content in January:

kuaby's Most Visited Content in January 2017 Based on Google Analytics

Here is the list of the top 5 if you are interested to read 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 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.

Community Update

Email Subscribers: 42 (+31%)
Instagram: 483 (+3%)
Twitter: 322 (+1%)
Facebook: 96 (+3%)

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:

What are the tools you are using to build your side hustle? List them down.
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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!

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  1. I love gramarly!!! I use it whenever I write articles for HuffPost to make sure I’m not looking like an idiot to the editors lol…

    • High five, Courtney! Oh my God, did you really write for HuffPo? Do you mind sharing the article and the steps you took to pitch for it?

  2. This is such a great idea. I started keeping blog stats at the beginning of this year and I’ve begun to see the growth in my blog.

  3. I love Grammerly! I’ve noticed when I use it in my FireFox browser that sometimes it will repeat a sentence if I go back through and edit. I just have to double check my work to make sure this doesn’t happen and if it does, I have to fix it. I’ve actually seen the double sentence thing on another girl’s blog and knew exactly what it was. I sent her a message so that she could delete the duplicate and she didn’t know how I knew she used Grammerly until I pointed this out!

    • Weird bug. But many extensions on Firefox are buggy though. I was looking for an alternative to Chrome. When I settled with Firefox, popular extensions like Lastpass and Evernote were very buggy for me. That’s why I eventually make Safari my default browser.

  4. These are such great ideas!! Every time I’ve attempted any of the tips, I tend to fail due to the lack of understanding. So complicated! One day, I’ll eventually get the hang of it! Thank you for sharing 🙂 xoxo

    • Hey Thi, thanks for leaving a comment. I’d be more than happy to help if you’re stuck. I appreciate all the help that I received so far from all the bloggers out there, and I would love to pay it forward. 🙂

  5. Isn’t it fantastic when readers contact us – it totally makes the whole blogging thing worthwhile (besides the money, when it comes in!). I too have just installed the Grammarly Chrome extension – it’s fantastic!!

  6. I’ve never seen a more detailed breakdown for the month, to be honest. I think you’re doing great. It’s really going to cost you during the first couple of months but it’s definitely going to pay off. I think it’s awesome that you’re very determined to succeed, that’s definitely a huge driving force when you’re blogging. It’s also motivating to see responses and queries from readers!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth. Yes, I LOVE getting emails and messages from readers. 😀

      What about you? Where are you at with your blog?

    • Hey Kelvin, thanks for dropping by. At the moment, it’s just ads and affiliate links. I am looking at launching a travel guide soon, but nothing is concrete yet. How about you?

      What are magnet links? Are you referring to lead magnets? Lead magnets are things that people will want to exchange with their email address. Often times, this is a free e-book, but it can also be a checklist, a PDF version of your blog post or a list of resources.

      As for followers, the best tactic for me so far is to engage with people who are posting photos or tweets that are related to the places that I’ve covered on this site.

  7. Wayne, you have a really detailed breakdown. A long read but informative. I am using grammarly too. Just the free one. I don’t know the difference yet because I haven’t paid for it.

    • Thanks Analie. The premium version covers more grammatical areas. But the most useful paid feature for me are vocabulary suggestions and grammatical suggestions based on the tone of the text that I am working on.

  8. This is a fantastic break down! I should really look into doing a monthly report. Especially when it comes to finances! I really wish I knew what worked or didn’t work for the blog. 😛 One day I will keep track.

  9. This is a great breakdown of what’s working and what isn’t working for you and your blog! Hopefully you’ll be able to use it in future months to increase your revenue – I know it’s always a blessing for me when my blog turns a profit!

    • Thank you, Brandi! Do you mind sharing how are you making money from your blog? I know I should be patient since I don’t have a lot of people visiting the my site yet, but I should start experimenting with revenue channels as well. 🙂

      • For me, turning a profit isn’t that hard, simply because I don’t pay out to keep my blog. I’ve learned to design it pretty well myself so I don’t pay for that. When I want something on there and can’t learn it, I don’t have it. I don’t pay for a domain because I feel that a blog doesn’t need one. Subdomains ARE somewhat limited, sure, but they aren’t prohibitively hard to remember or anything like that, especially not for loyal readers.

        As for how I’ve monetized: I have ads on my blog and also use affiliate marketing. I’d like to learn maybe a bit more about doing an e-course of some kind – and I also have a semi-secret project in the works that will hopefully launch and do well in March. I’m finding that varied sources of income work best for me right now – a little here and a little there really does slowly add up.

        • Got it! I’m gonna be more conscious about what I am paying for to grow the site. It’s hard to resist sometimes because there are so many new tools coming out everyday. Hahaha…

          Let me know once your semi-secret project is ready for the public. I’d love to have a look. 🙂

          • Thanks for your interest! The secret project was an audio version of my blog, available exclusively to my Patrons at patreon.com/Authorbrandikennedy. This is in addition to monthly short storues, and who knows what else I’ll end up adding!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Ashley. What are you doing so far on that front? I can give you a tip or two to help you get started if SEO wasn’t your focus before. 🙂

  10. Good report, very interesting

    You should include your incoming links in your report,,, that way you can compare the value of your link building efforts against building your social media….

    That way you will know what is worth pursuing in terms of earning cash in the bank

    • Hi Garry, I might add it in the future if more people are interested in it. Right now, the value of both channels are obvious based on the traffic sources report, but it is not ideal to put all my eggs into one basket. My goal now is to diversify my traffic sources by improving how I am tackling social media marketing.

      Does your travel site rely more on search traffic or social media?

  11. Great job. I love how you have it broken down so specifically, so you can track everything. I started doing that this month as well, and look forward to being able to see my site grow. I get a ton of emails and Its on Facebook, I am struggling to get readers to make their comments public, so I will be looking into incentives for that.

    • Hey Stacey, good to know that you are starting to share your numbers. Do you mind sharing the link to it here if it’s public?

      I guess commenting is slowly dying as people move their conversations to social media. Have you tried turning on Facebook comments?

  12. Very cool seeing the detailed data like this. I personally like google docs because the ugly interface keeps me from getting distracted haha! I just came across a social media platform for just blogs called Bloglovin, maybe it would be good for your list.

    • Thank you for your comment, Porche.

      Bloglivin is a platform that I have not explore. How is it doing for your blog as a traffic driver? I might want to spend some time on it. Do you have any tips for me or articles that I can read?