2011 is almost gone and it’s been a great year. The site launched just eight months ago and I’ve seen nothing but steady growth since the debut in May. Because this site is completely based around its readers, and only survives with your continued support, I feel it is right that you all know how things are going around here. So read on for a breakdown of how the site is doing, and for the chance to pick up a pretty cool piece of “holiday cheer” at the end.
Traffic Growth and Content Publication
The site is still pretty new, so traffic is expected to be slow for a while, but by the rate of growth I have seen around here, I have some very high hopes for the coming months/years. In its debut month, May 2011, the site saw just 329 views, and almost every one of those was from Code Canyon and people checking out the live demo of one of my plugins.
After the first month, traffic saw a steady growth. June saw twice that of May with 675 views, and July tripled that with 1594.
In the first month, I published 22 tutorials and plugin demos. A lot of those were for the initial content push, so June saw a lot less, with just three items published. I was also in the middle of getting married in June, so was not in front of the desk nearly as much. But in July I picked it back up with 15 publications. This was the month that community involvement began to take off on the site as well.
August took me completely by surprise with a huge traffic spike, as compared to the first three months. The month of August saw 9,276 views; more than four times as many as July. The publication rate for August was a lot slower, with only five items, but the traffic made up for it.
September was an even better month than August with 12,599 views and 16 items published. The content pushed in September was much better than previous months as well, because it was almost entirely tutorials, instead of plugin demo pages.
October saw another increase in traffic with 14,461 views. So between July and September, there was an average growth of about 2,000 views. There were 11 items published in October.
Then in November I was hit with another surprise. Instead of the 2,000 views growth I was expecting, I saw a growth of almost 11,000, with 25,295 views for the month. November had 16 items published, and was also the month I began asking for more community input, to get a better idea of what the readers wanted. I believe this was a huge success and very valuable. The site’s busiest day was November 25, with 1,412 views.
December was looking to be another record breaker, but then the holiday season struck, and traffic slowed down a lot. This was expected, however. It’s still looking to be a great month though, with more than 20,000 views and counting at this time. December has seen nine items published, with 5-6 slated for publication on New Year’s day (along with something else really cool).
If you’re not a numbers kind of person, and would rather visualize the site’s growth, check out the graph below.
Since its debut, the site has always had ads on it. They were not sponsored or powered by BuySellAds, but were only adsense and personal affiliate ads. There was enough income generated to offset the cost of hosting, but I really hated them, as I’m sure most people did. In November, however, I was able to remove all of the nasty adsense ads and replace them with a single ad from Pressed Ads, a WP Candy venture. This allowed me to clean up the site a lot, and support an advertising model that I feel has a lot of merit.
A New Look
The site’s design had bugged me for several months. I didn’t feel it was clean enough, nor nearly easy enough to modify whenever I wanted to make changes. So last month I began hunting for a new theme. I opted to purchase one, instead of building one myself, simply because my design skills are . . . well, not exactly present. Quite frankly, I have no design skills whatsoever.
I found the Swagger theme by Jason Bobich, and loved it. With only a few minor tweaks, I was able to make it work exactly as I wanted. One of the great things about the theme is that it’s fully responsive, meaning it’s very, very mobile friendly.
Plans for the Next Few Months
There’s a lot coming in the next month or two, but the item I’m most excited about is the launch of my subscription model. As anyone knows who has attempted (and succeeded or failed) to run a tutorial site, one of the most difficult parts is coming up with new tutorials and getting them published on a regular basis, and maintaining a high level of quality standards.
By releasing a subscription model, which will allow users to signup for a premium subscription to gain access to paid members-only content, I will be a lot more able to push out high quality content on a regular basis. The plan is to release at least one subscriber restricted tutorial or plugin each week. I have 4-5 complete tutorials / plugins ready (or almost ready) to be released on New Year’s day. This is the day I will release the subscriptions, and I want to ensure that the first subscribers have good reason to fork out a little cash to get access.
The pricing for subscriptions is going to be extremely affordable. The goal of the subscriptions is not to provide me with a lot of extra income, it is merely to offset the cost of running / maintaining the site, and publishing content on a frequent basis. The pricing will start at $6 per month, go up to $16 for three months, and $60 for a whole year. Each user will have the option of paying for a single period at a time, or signing up for a recurring subscription. The longer the period you sign up for, the cheaper it is.
To celebrate the coming of 2012, and the going of a great year, there will also be a discount code available for all new subscribers to use that will give a 10% discount on any subscription level. If you sign up for a recurring subscription, you will also get 10% off of every payment for the duration of your subscription, not just the first period. Simply enter 2012 in the discount code box when signing up.
A Little Holiday Cheer
Since it is the holiday season, and t’is the season of giving, I have a little present for a few of you. In celebration of 2011, I’m going to give away three copies of my Restrict Content Pro plugin, which is not yet released, but you can see a little preview of the plugin here.
Restrict Content Pro is the plugin that will power the subscription system on this site, and it’s slated for release in about two weeks. Three lucky commenters will have the opportunity to get their hands on the plugin before it is released for public purchase.
It is by far one of the most complex and powerful plugins I’ve ever written, and I’m really excited to see what you all think of it.
To put your name in the box (for a chance to be chosen as one of the lucky three), simply leave a comment below and tell me what you might use the plugin for. If you have no plan of using it on a “premium content site”, that’s fine too. Saying that you just want to “explore the code”, or just let it sit on your hard drive for a long time, is okay too.
You Tell Me
Now it’s your turn. Since you, the users, are what keep this site growing, please tell me what you would like to see in the coming months. If you have something you’re unhappy about around here, tell me that as well.