Welcome to kuaby’s monthly report for November 2017.
It has been a quiet month as expected, but I also got a lot more done, so I can’t wait to share what happened with you.
For those who are new, monthly reports like this are how I document the work I did to grow this very travel site from scratch.
These reports, which I started publishing since August 2016, showcase information such as revenue, expenses, and traffic numbers of this website. On top of those, I also go into the detail of the things I did and lessons I learned along the way.
Continue reading, and you’ll know what I mean.
- 1 What Happened in November?
- 2 Upcoming Highlights
- 3 Content Production Update
- 4 Profit and Loss Statement
- 5 Traffic Update
- 6 Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
- 7 Community Update
- 8 It All Comes Down to the Hustle
What Happened in November?
November was the month for me to increase the number of words I write each day, so I didn’t experiment with too many new tactics.
Engaging in Facebook Groups for Online Business Owners
It takes me around 20 to 30 minutes to commute to work, so I spent around an hour on commuting every day. In a week, the amount of time spent adds up to 5 hours. And in a month, that’s 20 hours.
I know I need to be doing something productive while commuting, so I’ve been constantly looking for “the thing”.
For now, I settled on interacting with like-mind individuals on Facebook Groups.
I toyed around with Facebook groups before, but I stopped doing it because I didn’t have enough time.
The groups that I was engaging previously are mostly for travelers, travel bloggers, and owners of website related to travel. My goal was to acquire traffic to my travel guides and to build relationships for link building opportunities.
Link building opportunities were pretty rare in these groups. Moreover, sending cold emails still work if my proposal is good enough. There is really no need for relationship building.
As for Facebook groups where travelers congregate, questions about Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur are few and far between. I was spending a lot of time searching for them, not to mention that researching and writing a solid answer to an open-ended travel question is very cumbersome to do on a phone.
I found the sweet spot in November. Instead of Facebook groups for travel bloggers, I became active in those that are for online business owners.
Since I work full time as a digital marketer, I can participate in many of these discussions effortlessly. In fact, I was so active that I became one of the most active members for November, in a Facebook group that I am part of.
Many of these discussions are two-way conversations, and I love them. In some threads, I am helping a newbie out with the basics of building an online business or a website.
On the other hand, I was also learning from more experienced members.
Look at the feedback I got when I shared my monthly report for October 2017.
Last but not least, these group members are the target audience for my monthly reports. Have a look at my daily unique visitor chart. It happened because I was sharing my October 2017 monthly report in these groups.
I don’t think my monthly reports will ever become one of the most visited posts on the site, but since I spent time producing them, I might as well promote them to people who might be interested.
kua.by and My Plans for It
In November, I became the owner of kua.by.
It was an impromptu purchase, but after discovering that it is possible to buy a .by domain name, and that kua.by was available, I just couldn’t resist paying for it.
One thing is for sure – I would hate to see it end up in someone else’s possession.
However, I didn’t know what to do with it until two weeks ago.
Creating masked affiliate links that redirect visitors to the websites I am promoting takes a lot of time. By a lot, I mean HOURS! I was doing it because most affiliate links are long and ugly. For example, would you click on a link like the one below?
A solid link shortening and redirection service would make my life so much easier, but the solutions out there are very expensive, considering the fact that kuaby is still struggling to turn a profit.
Realizing my needs, my brother offered to build exactly what I needed.
Instead of a tool that just shortens and beautifies affiliate links for me, he went a step further.
The tool that he created is capable of redirecting visitors based on the countries they are in, as well as the device that they are using.
These are very powerful features that people are charging at least $50 a year to provide!
With these additional superpowers, I will now be able to redirect visitors to e-commerce or travel booking sites that make the most sense for them.
For example, I can now send visitors from the United States to Amazon, and visitors from Malaysia to Lazada, all through the same link.
I simply can’t wait to use this tool more!
My head is now jam-packed with ideas on how kuaby can generate more affiliate commissions after reading this article about Amazon Associates by Perrin Carrell. This tool will definitely make things so much quicker and easier when I am implementing some of the ideas.
The next step for this tool will be for it to integrate with Google Analytics, so actions like optimizing the placement of affiliate links can take place.
I try not to add too many things to my plan for December since I may end up spreading myself too thin again.
Thus, the focus will still be on churning out more words.
Instagram as kuaby’s Next Source of Traffic
As you can see from the screenshot for kuaby’s top traffic sources below, Google brings in 85% of the traffic to the site.
This is not a bad thing. It’s a sign that validates what I am doing for content production and link building.
However, to future-proof the site, I need to do more.
It is risky to rely solely on against one source of traffic. Nobody knows whether future algorithm changes by Google will have an adverse impact on kuaby’s traffic.
As such, I want to start exploring other traffic sources, or at least understand how they work before I’m forced to figure them out.
The traffic source with the most potential these days will be social networks. Out of so many of them, the one that travelers love the most is definitely Instagram.
More travelers are using Instagram to find out more about their upcoming travel destinations.
With so many photos uploaded onto the platform every second, you can really get a feel for how an attraction is like before going there yourself.
kuaby’s Instagram Strategy
In December, kuaby’s Instagram account will become active again.
The following is a simple list of the strategy that I have in mind:
- Scour location tag of attractions covered on kuaby.
- Reach out to Instagram profiles with beautiful photos of the attractions.
- Get permission from the profiles to reshare their photos.
- Reshare the photos with credits and appropriate hashtags.
- Rinse and repeat.
If I have some free time in between tasks, I might even follow travelers on Instagram and interact with them.
My assumption is that if an Instagram account is putting out beautiful photos on a daily basis, it’s follower count will start to grow organically as well.
But Will You Lose Focus?
Yes, if you have been following these monthly reports, you know that I get distracted by social media easily from tasks that truly matter, such as producing commerce content.
To solve this problem, I will be enlisting my girlfriend’s help.
She has been looking for things to do during her free time, so she is more than happy to jump on this.
Also, she lightens up when she gets a reply from the outreach messages she sends out. So I guess this might work, especially when I’m also considering paying her for the efforts.
I am not sure how this will turn out, but more updates will be coming your way for sure.
Content Production Update
- Average Word Count in October 2017: 162
- Average Word Count in November 2017: 555
% Difference: +243%
Work in Progress:
- Best Area to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
- Luxury Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
- [Guest Post] Must-Try Foods in Kuala Lumpur
- [Guest Post] Digital Marketers, The One Thing You Need to Stand Out Today
I Wrote More Words Than Ever
As you can tell from the numbers above, I managed to write way more words in November as compared to October.
I have to credit the results to my word count benchmark spreadsheet.
Every day when I got back from work, my goal is to turn that status from RED to BLUE. So far, it works!
And since my benchmark will only grow, the number of words that I write in a day will increase over time.
A flaw stood out with this current model, though.
Looking at the lists above, there are quite a few articles in progress. 3 out of 4 of those articles are waiting for me to edit them or pending for tasks like formatting, image insertion, as well as the inclusion of affiliate links.
At this moment, I do not have a solution for this. The best time for me to do these tasks is probably the weekends.
Profit and Loss Statement
In November, kuaby made a loss of $71.07.
kuaby generated $42.09 in revenue for the month of November, which is a month-on-month increase of 30%.
This list breaks down the revenue by source:
- Booking.com Affiliate Program: $5.12
- Involve Asia Affiliate Network: $5.96 (+4%)
- Google AdSense: $22.22 (+7%)
- HotelsCombined.com Affiliate Program: $0.78
- ShareASale Affiliate Network: $- (-100%)
- Trivago Affiliate Program: $8.01 (+88%)
TOTAL REVENUE: $42.09 (+30%)
The following is a list of expenses incurred in the month of November:
- ActiveCampaign: $9.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Developer: $48.94
- Digital Ocean: $12.00
- Google Apps: $5.00
- Grum: $25.00
- KeyCDN: $3.23
TOTAL EXPENSES: $113.16 (+32%)
Grum is an Instagram scheduling app that I bought through AppSumo’s Black Friday promotion. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, I paid $25 once to use the app for life.
I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.
kuaby had a 9% month-on-month increase in unique visitors despite November being a shorter month.
The increase puts the unique visitor count for November at 9,481.
Since we are having school holidays now in Malaysia, I should continue to see the unique visitor count go up in December.
These are the top traffic sources in November.
The increase in referral traffic on Facebook is probably from Facebook Groups that I was actively engaging. I was sharing the monthly report for October 2017 in these groups.
It is not surprising to see people clicking through because the posts I created garnered quite a high amount of engagement in some groups.
The screenshot below displays a list of the most visited content on the site in November.
In the list, there are two pieces of commerce content – Luggage Sale in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur Hotels with a View of PETRONAS Twin Towers.
This shows the potential of commerce content to not only generate income for kuaby but also to become a traffic magnet.
You can check out the top 5 by clicking on the links below:
- KTM ETS Train in Malaysia: The Ultimate Guide
- Luggage Sales in Malaysia
- Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary
- KL Sentral
- KLCC to Bukit Bintang Pedestrian Walkway
Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
Revenue per 1,000 page views or RPM is a metric to measure a website’s efficiency in monetizing its page views.
kuaby’s RPM for September is $3.16, up by 19% month-on-month.
I don’t 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: 123 (+10%)
- Instagram: 500
It All Comes Down to the Hustle
November passed by, and I was in a constant state of flow.
I churned out so many words that it feels unbelievable looking back. It’s also pretty cool to finally find the mechanism that keeps me going.
I know it will not be easy, but I will hustle through the month of December to make sure I produce more words than ever.
Until the next monthly report, keep grinding!