Welcome to kuaby’s monthly report for October 2017.
Every month since August 2016, I’ve been documenting my journey of building and growing this very travel website.
In these monthly reports, I reveal the revenue number that the site is making, my expenses, the things I did, as well as the lessons I learned along the way.
It’s been a month packed with lots of traveling. Not much action was going on, but there was some progress on the site’s growth that I can’t wait to share with you.
Let’s jump into the numbers and check out what happened in October!
- 1 What Happened in October?
- 2 Quiet November Ahead
- 3 Content Production Update
- 4 Profit and Loss Statement
- 5 Traffic Update
- 6 Revenue per 1,000 Impressions (RPM)
- 7 Community Update
- 8 Am I Being Too Patient?
What Happened in October?
Like in September, nothing much happened in October because I was traveling a lot.
The good thing, though, is that there are a few positive developments that will contribute to the growth of the site.
A Guest Post I Wrote Was Published, Finally…
A long time ago, I was very active on a number of Facebook groups for travel bloggers.
During that time, I stumbled upon an opportunity to write a guest post about things travelers must know before visiting Malaysia.
The guest post was finally up last month. You can read it here: Things You Should Know Before Going to Malaysia.
For those who have been staying in Malaysia or those who have visited Malaysia before, I’d love to know what you think about the article. Are the points accurate? What else do you think travelers should know before visiting Malaysia?
In August 2017’s monthly report, I mentioned I wanted to allocate 3 hours a week to work on new guest posts. So far, that almost never happened. It is still something that I really want to do, though.
Guest blogging is probably the only way for kuaby to gain inbound links now because most of my new content, like the one about the best luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur, will be commercial in nature.
I will make sure I spend some time working on new guest posts this month.
Profiled by a Blogger
On top of the guest post, I was also featured on CoffeeHeartMind as part of Chelle’s #TheBloggerBehindTheBlog series.
CoffeeHeartMind is not a blog with a lot of visitors, but Gary Vaynerchuk once said in one of his videos:
One is greater than zero.
And I firmly believe in that.
I am grateful for being able to connect with Chelle through a Facebook group that we were part of, and I look forward to interacting with other like-minded bloggers who will stumble upon this piece.
Opportunities to get featured like this are rare, even on a small blog. Not sure how will I get more of them, but if they come by, you can be sure that I will be jumping on them.
Slow Recovery from CDN Implementation Hiccup
In September, my itchy fingers toggled a setting in KeyCDN that I shouldn’t have.
Doing that resulted in a steep drop in traffic because I was essentially blocking Google from indexing images on kuaby.
Over the last few weeks, traffic to the site is slowly recovering to the level where it was before the mistake. The screenshot below taken from Google Analytics illustrates the recovery that happened in early October pretty well.
Things are moving in the right direction now, but it is painful to look back and think that if the mistake didn’t happen, there would have been an increase in traffic this month.
But then again, this whole incident taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget, probably for life.
Today, I only lost some visitors. A lot more could be at stake if the mistake takes place later when kuaby is a bigger site. Because of that, I’m grateful that I learned my lesson now.
Kota Kinabalu Trip
The first trip out of the three that I did in October is a retreat with the entire team at Mindvalley, the company that I am part of.
Fueled with the perfect setting at Nexus Resort Karambunai (TripAdvisor | Trivago), a 5-star beach resort in Kota Kinabalu, the entire retreat was jam-packed with bonding activities, parties, and sessions that were both fun and deeply rewarding for my personal growth.
I got to know some of my team members whom I’ve never spoken to. At the same time, the conversations I had at the retreat were also some of the deepest. We spoke about our vulnerabilities, challenges we face while charting our journey in life, as well as our appreciation and love towards each other.
Such an experience is rare, and I’m grateful that I was given a safe environment to have these conversations.
The retreat lasted for 3 days, and my favorite was the second night. I’ll let my daily vlog for that day do the talking.
In October, I also had a 2-day, 1-night trip to Singapore for a training at Facebook Asia Pacific’s headquarters.
Aside from the training, I also enjoyed chilling with my team members at a speakeasy bar until late night.
That was my first 5-star hotel experience in an expensive city like Singapore. Most of my travels have been on a mid-range budget, so the experience truly opened my eyes. Now I know how is it like to stay in a very luxurious hotel.
I asked myself two interesting questions after the stay, which I managed to answer quite easily.
- Will I consider staying in a 5-star accommodation when I travel in the future? Yes.
- Will I give up other experiences just to stay at a 5-star hotel? No.
How would you answer these questions?
Right after I got back from Singapore, I was scheduled to fly to London the next day.
It was my first time in London. This trip was also the first time I flew for more than 12 hours in one go. It was a direct flight with British Airways, and I enjoyed every moment on the flight.
I like London, and I will probably enjoy the city better if I had the opportunity to explore the city and all the smaller towns surrounding it.
When I was flying back to Kuala Lumpur, I even managed to write 300+ words, which was a first too!
Here’s an Instagram video of my last day in London:
Quiet November Ahead
In October, I wanted to push myself to write more, but as you can see in the Content Production Update below, I pretty much failed because of all the traveling and subsequent recoveries.
Therefore, ramping up my content production speed will still be my focus for November.
To monitor my output better and to keep me motivated, I’ve revamped my word count dashboard to measure my output against a benchmark only goes up.
Here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet together with a chart that illustrates the rolling average of the number of words I wrote.
I’ve made the spreadsheet public too. For those of you who want to push yourself to write more, you can access it here.
The benchmark looks at the highest rolling average of my daily word count. If I write 25% lesser than the current benchmark, the status will turn to red. Else, it will stay blue.
Feel free to duplicate the spreadsheet for your own use. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, and I will try my best to help you out.
kuaby’s growth correlates with the number of words I write, and I really hope this new measure will finally push me to write more.
Content Production Update
- Average Word Count in September 2017: 261
- Average Word Count in October 2017: 162
% Difference: -38%
Work in Progress:
- [Guest Post] Food You Must Try in Kuala Lumpur
- Best Area to Stay in Kuala Lumpur
Profit and Loss Statement
kuaby made a loss of $53.51 in October.
In October, kuaby’s revenue saw an increase of 68% and stood at $32.27.
Here is the detailed breakdown of the sources:
- Agoda Affiliate Program: $- (-100%)
- Google AdSense: $20.80 (+66%)
- Involve Asia Affiliate Network: $5.72 (+7%)
- ShareASale Affiliate Network: $1.50
- Trivago Affiliate Program: $4.25
TOTAL REVENUE: $32.27 (+68%)
Here are the expenses incurred in October:
- ActiveCampaign: $9.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Developer (my brother): $47.35
- Digital Ocean: $12.00
- Google Apps: $5.00
- KeyCDN: $2.44
TOTAL EXPENSES: $85.78 (+3%)
Expense items are similar to what we have last month, except for KeyCDN, which is the content delivery network (CDN) that I am using to speed up the site.
kuaby received 8,675 unique visitors in October, which is a 2% month-on-month drop from September.
The drop would not have happened if not because of the CDN implementation mistake that I did last month.
Nevertheless, as you can see from the chart, traffic is starting to grow again after the mistake was rectified. I am looking forward to next month’s numbers. Based on last year’s trends, the upcoming year-end school holidays will lead to an uptick in traffic too.
Here is a list of the top traffic sources in October.
For those who are interested, this is the list of the most visited content last month.
Luggage Sales in Malaysia, which I consider to be a commercial content piece since its purpose is to generate affiliate income for kuaby, surged into Top 5 last month.
The page is generating a small revenue and has 6 subscribers signed up to receive notifications about the latest luggage deals.
Not bad, but I am also looking at ways to increase the amount of traffic coming to this page as well as revenue opportunities such as branded placements.
Click on the links below if you want to check out the top 5 content pieces on kuaby:
- KTM ETS Train in Malaysia: The Ultimate Guide
- Sungai Chiling Fish Sanctuary
- Luggage Sales in Malaysia
- 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 $2.66, up by 64% 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: 112 (+12%)
Am I Being Too Patient?
You are a very patient person. In fact, too patient…
The above is what a coworker mentioned to me when he learned about the progress I am making with kuaby.
What do you think?
I have been very focused on content production over the last few months. It’s tedious, and I have to admit that growth has been slow.
When I zoom out to look at things from a broader perspective, it seems like all the numbers are growing. Numbers are much higher year-on-year, but then again, it may look a little flat for some.
As I approach 2018, I will start to think about small efforts that will help kuaby bring in more traffic from other sources.
For example, I am seeing some traffic from Pinterest even though I am putting zero efforts into social media marketing. Perhaps spending an additional 10 minutes creating a Pinterest-friendly vertical thumbnail every time I work on the thumbnail for a new post will bring in an additional 100 to 200 unique visitors a day.
What do you think? If you have this travel website that is getting around 300 unique visitors a day? How would you grow it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.