Welcome to kuaby’s monthly report for March 2017!
It has been a fun month with a lot of experiments, and I cannot wait to share them with you.
For first-timers, monthly reports like this are how I keep tabs on the growth of this site. They are how I share lessons I learned in the past month, revenue generated, and the expenses I incurred.
Without any further delay, let’s find out what I did to kuaby last month, and how it performed.
- 1 What Happened in March?
- 2 Upcoming Highlights for March
- 3 Profit and Loss Statement
- 4 Traffic Update
- 5 Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
- 6 Community Update
- 7 Super Excited to Get Laser-focused
What Happened in March?
A lot of things happened.
My lifestyle completely changed around this new routine I have for kuaby. Continue reading, and you will find out what this change is all about.
Daily Facebook LIVE Shows
In my last monthly report, I revealed that I am going to start publishing ‘grind reports’ on a daily basis. The purpose of these reports is to give all my Facebook friends an update on the things I did for kuaby.
I started releasing these reports, and everything was on track. People were reacting to my posts, but I was slacking a little just after a few reports in. When that happens, I decided to kick things up a notch.
On March 21, 2017, I went live on Facebook for the very first time. I called it kuaby Daily. The purpose of the live show is to update my Facebook friends on the work I did for kuaby, and in turn, have them place accountability on me to get things done.
Here’s the first Facebook live show that I did:
As you can tell, I was so nervous that I lost my train of thoughts multiple times. If you watch the subsequent episodes, I did get a little better.
Today, I am still going live on Facebook. Even though I still get nervous minutes before I turn on the camera, it is now a daily habit for me just because I enjoy doing it so much.
Also, I am hoping that doing these shows will help me to improve my spoken English (I am a non-native English speaker) and communication skills over time.
Interested in joining me when I go live? Add me as a friend on Facebook!
SSL and Cloudflare CDN Implementation
Last month, I discovered that Mozilla Firefox, the browser I was using back then was showing kuaby as a non-secure website.
The warning prompted my decision to introduce SSL and HTTPS on kuaby. With the help of my younger brother, Yee Min, I am proud to announce that all connections to kuaby are now secured.
All hail the green padlock icon in the address bar!
At the same time, my younger brother implemented CloudFlare CDN for the site. It should now load faster, especially for visitors visiting the site from places far away from San Francisco, where kuaby is hosted.
Of course, kuaby is still not the fastest travel blog out there, but I am glad the site is making some progress on this front. There are more improvements that I can introduce to the site, but many of the tactics, beyond what I already have now, require additional expenses. I don’t think it is wise to invest more until the site is generating more income.
An Update on Marketing Activities, Again
Another monthly report, another update on the approach I am taking with marketing. It went from spreading myself all over the place, then focusing, then spreading myself all over the place again, and now – becoming laser-focused on just a couple of things.
I always get distracted by new fancy marketing tactics, and I will even jump into them without thinking whether the visitors they bring are the type that I want to have.
In March, I sat down and tinkered about the kind of visitors that will find my travel guides useful. In the marketing world, we call this exercise ‘creating the marketing persona’. It took only a few minutes to figure things out, and I decided to just focus on acquiring these visitors – travelers who are researching for their upcoming trips.
They are not people who want to get inspired by beautiful travel photos or quotes. They are not individuals who are looking for general travel tips like ‘how to save for upcoming trips’ or ‘how to pack your luggage’. Also, I have no intentions to target advanced or expert travelers who figured out how to incorporate travel as part of their way of life. Thus, I am on the wrong path if I am cracking my head to figure out how to attract travel bloggers, digital nomads or professional housesitters to kuaby.
Once I have all that nailed down, the marketing channels that I need to focus on become crystal clear. They are:
- Organic search traffic
- Online communities and forums for travelers
Having organic search traffic as a focus means that I will have to look for opportunities to acquire inbound links. Building this channel includes:
- Establishing relationships with bloggers.
- Participating in collaborative posts.
- Guest blogging.
- Get interviewed on other blogs.
To unearth the opportunities above, I will need to become more active in Facebook groups for bloggers and webmasters.
On the other hand, I have to interact with travelers who are asking a lot of questions about their upcoming trips in different online travel communities across the Internet. I am already part of a few Facebook groups serving this purpose, but I will keep looking for more.
The best way to generate traffic from these communities is to mention my guides and have a link to it whenever somebody asks a question that these guides can answer. For example, if someone is curious about the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur, I can reply with links to my guide about KL Bird Park, Central Market, and others.
I want to stick to this refreshed focus until the end of the year. It will be hard to resist the temptations of all the social networks out there and their brand-new features, but let’s give it a try.
Upcoming Highlights for March
Aside from being laser-focused with marketing, there are a few other things that you can look forward to in March.
Keep Churning Out Guides for Attractions in Kuala Lumpur
As with marketing, I will stop jumping from one content idea to another.
Just like marketing tactics, I didn’t have a focus when it comes to content creation. Whenever I stumble upon a blog post about new content types that can attract more site visitors or generate more revenue, I will try to produce something based on what was taught. They could be right, but because I was publishing different types of content all the time, I kept encountering writers’ block and got stuck in an endless loop of procrastination.
- “What fancy elements should I add to this post to make people click on my affiliate links?”
- “What photos should I use?”
- “How should I promote this after it goes live?”
Endless questions, never-ending ponderings, but zero action. I want to put a stop to this.
Moving forward, at least for the year ahead, I am only going to publish guides about travel attractions. For now, these guides will only be about attractions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Just because I am physically based here, I can make sure the guides I publish contains all the information a traveler needs when they are researching for their upcoming Kuala Lumpur trip.
Creating kuaby’s First Ever Digital Product
What do you do when you have so many content pieces about one city? Publish a travel guide about it. Of course!
I always wanted to publish my own digital product, so I am excited to let you know that the first draft of my first ever product will be ready by the end of April. I don’t know how it will look like at this point in time, but I am committed to making it happen!
Profit and Loss Statement
kuaby made a loss of $78.72 in March.
kuaby generated $8.67 in March, an increase of 1% from February. This is the breakdown:
- Google AdSense: $8.67 (+18%)
- Agoda Affiliate Program: $- (-100%)
TOTAL REVENUE: $8.67 (+1%)
I started brainstorming for monetization ideas last month. The execution for some of these ideas, such as launching kuaby’s first digital product, is already underway.
Here is the list of expenditure I incurred for the site in March:
- Digital Ocean: $12.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Grammarly: $6.25
- Google Apps: $5.00
- ActiveCampaign: $9.00
- Developer (my brother): $45.15
TOTAL EXPENSES: $87.39 (+52%)
The biggest increase comes from hiring my younger brother to take care of the tech side of things. At the moment, he is helping me with the updating of WordPress, plugins, and anything ad-hoc or new features that I want him to work on.
In March, 4,809 unique visitors came to kuaby. This represents a 22% increase from February. Comparing the number to January, which has the same amount of days, March’s unique visitor count is also higher by 6%.
Not a lot, but I am hustling towards having a similar increase this month despite the lesser number of days.
Here are the top traffic sources for kuaby in March:
I am surprised to see Blogarama sending that much traffic to kuaby. It is just a blog directory that scrapes new blog content. The bounce rate of traffic coming from it is unusually low so I will investigate to see whether this is normal.
Anyway, I disabled kuaby’s RSS feed last month, so I don’t think Blogarama will stay as one of the top traffic referrers for long.
These are the most visited content on the site:
Click on the links below if you want to check out the top 5 travel guides:
- 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 March is $1.23, down by 16% month-on-month.
I do not know what the industry average is for this metric, and it is also not a metric that I am focusing on right now. Please share your RPM of your site with me if you are tracking this metric.
- Email Subscribers: 56 (+20%)
- Instagram: 624 (-%)
- Twitter: 390 (+9%)
- Facebook: 136 (+12%)
- Pinterest: 82 (+4%)
The following count for kuaby on some of the social networks only increased by a small margin because of my decision to focus on growing kuaby’s search traffic in March.
Until I move my attention back to social media, it is unlikely that you will see significant shifts in these numbers.
Super Excited to Get Laser-focused
March has been very exciting for me, especially after knowing the things I want to focus on with content creation and marketing. At the same time, I am also pumped about the things that are happening in April.
Until the next monthly report, answer this question for me:
Let me know in the comment section below. 🙂