Hey Indie Hackers! I am Rich, maker of Failory, a content site for entrepreneurs and startup founders.
A few days ago I published Failory's December report, talking about this great month in which I was able to work a lot of time on the site, improving different features and launching some projects. I have tried to be the most transparent as I could - if you still have any questions, let me know and I will answer them on the comments!
The monthly reports are back 😆
I haven't been working a lot on Failory during the last months of 2018 as I was really busy with work. I limited myself to publish some content every week and share it on social networks. That’s why there wasn’t any sense on publishing a monthly report.
However, in late November and December, I was able to work a lot on the project (seriously, a lot!). And this had paid off as December went spectacularly well.
I proposed myself on late November to carry out a 31-day Failory boost in December, which consisted on redesigning the site, implementing a few marketing strategies that I had been thinking over the previous months, publishing new content and connecting with more users.
And I believe I was able to achieve these goals.
Here are some interesting things that happened in December 2018.
Launching Failory 2.0
On the last days of November, I started re-designing the entire site, page by page, of Failory. I wanted to remove the interviews with failed startup founders from the homepage as the website had stopped being only about failure interviews a long time ago.
That’s why I removed these interviews from the homepage and instead started displaying the titles and descriptions of each of the content pages and tools of Failory.
But I wanted all pages to keep a similar style to this new homepage, so I decided to redesign everything. The entire process took me like 4 weeks, as I also emailed a few email subscribers and asked them their opinion and feedback on the new design.
I still have to analyze how it is working, but I have navigated a bit through Google Analytics comparing some periods and have found that people now tend to visit more pages and stay for a longer time on the site.
Once the design was finished and I had carried out all the feedback of Failory email subscribers, I decided to launch the new redesign under Failory 2.0 version.
The launch campaign consisted on:
Email to Newsletter
I sent an email on Friday December 7 telling Failory subscribers that I was about to launch Failory 2.0 with a completely new design, and invite them to try it. I sent another email on Tuesday December 11, with a link to the new site, PH campaign, Hacker News and other places/communities where I submitted Failory 2.0. This resulted in two great things: feedback that helped me improve the copywriting and design before launching the site, and many upvotes/likes on these communities.
The tweet on my personal account went pretty viral, achieving 45 likes and 6 re-tweets - which is awesome for an account in which I tweet once a month! This tweet had 6.491 impressions and meant 110 users on the new site.
I then also tweeted about the final stats of the Failory 2.0 launch campaign (super interesting tweet by the way!). This also meant more clicks and visits to Failory site and PH campaign.
Due to this sort of virality that my personal Twitter account got, my monthly tweets got 17.100 impressions and I earned 31 new followers.
As for the tweets on the Failory Twitter account, they gained almost none support. I am finding it quite difficult to reach the audience on Twitter through the business account so I am considering moving into my personal account.
I hate Facebook. I just did the simple things (because they still bring traffic), but I didn’t want to spend much time on that horrible social network. So, I just shared the news on the Failory Facebook page and shared it on some Startups groups which are awesome and the only reason why I still login twice a week to Facebook.
The truth is that this Facebook promotion did bring traffic. It meant 187 users with almost none efforts so I really don’t see any reason for not doing it so.
I am testing LinkedIn. I shared the Failory 2.0 link on my personal account (120 connects, I know I need to improve this!) and some startup-related LinkedIn groups I found googling. Less than 30 users… Will need to reconsider this strategy!
As it couldn’t be otherwise for a tech product like Failory 2.0, I stayed awake on December 11 up to 5am (because it is the Argentinian time in which PH products change) just to share Failory 2.0. I think you can now schedule campaigns, but you have to pay for their Ship tool. As I don’t have it, I decided to make this sacrifice and wait until that hour 😴.
5:02 I published the product as I had previously designed and wrote everything I needed. I shared the link on some places and with a few friends. I went to sleep only a few minutes later, having been upvoted by 10 hunters.
However, I woke up the next day just to find the product wasn’t even featured on the homepage! This sounded strange to me, so I picked my Macbook and searched for the Failory 2.0 post in PH. That was when I found that the product had a lot of upvotes (many more than 10 other products that were being featured in the homepage), but it still didn’t appear in the main page.
So, I decided to contact Aaron Oleary, a Community Manager of Product Hunt. He told me that the PH algorithm could work this way but that there still was a possibility of getting featured the next day.
And that was what it happened. I woke up the next day with Failory 2.0 being featured on the homepage. It had a lot of upvotes but it still was being displayed in position #10, much lower than products with fewer upvotes. Anyway, I was happy with the results.
Failory 2.0 has gotten 521 upvotes and lots of nice comments. 1,421 users came to the site from PH in December.
I share Failory 2.0 on Designer News, but not with the objective of bringing traffic, but trying to get some feedback and opinions on the design. I was able to receive a lot of helpful help and 1,252 users arrived at the site from DN.
This was amazing! I tried luck and submitted Failory 2.0 on HackerNews with little hopes. However, I was able to make it to the front page of HN for a few minutes/hours and to the front page of Show HN for more than 8 fucking hours! This meant 2,819 users and hundreds of new email subscribers.
This went pretty well as I received lots of upvotes and comments. But it didn’t bring much traffic.
Slack & Other Communities
Finally, I shared the link to Failory 2.0 and PH campaign on a few Slack and online communities. It went well. Some more (especially new) users.
Failory 2.0 launch campaign went spectacularly well. I was expecting half of the results.
In five days, the site was visited by 10,376 users in 12,795 sessions viewing 28,130 pages. The average duration time was 3:23 minutes and in every session, users tend to view 2.20 pages.
These were the main acquisition channels:
As for email subscribers, I think we got 800-850 new ones - a, ma, zing! This meant a conversion rate from user to subscriber of 7.71%.
You can read a bit more about the analytics and results here.
Now let’s move with the next great thing.
Improving Startup Cemetery
I was able to make some advances and fix some bugs. On the Startup Cemetery, a tool I am building in which I have analyzed why +100 startups have failed. I am also carrying out a re-design of a few things that were quite confusing, based on the wireframes of Alek Manov, a design consultant I had a chat with a few weeks ago.
Moreover, I created a Google Form and connected it to many different places on the site in which people can enter their email to receive notifications and updates about the Startup Cemetery. Amazingly, 108 people have already entered their emails!
Calls with Consultants
In mid-December, I joined GrowthMentor, a platform to find mentors and easily schedule calls with them. I found 9 really interesting consultants which were offering their call sessions for free. I decided to schedule a call with each them.
This was an amazing idea. I was able to get really helpful information about different topics: social media marketing, design, automation and product-market fit. I got lots of strategies which I am implementing right now, such as using Google Optimize to A/B test a few things on the site, carrying out a survey on Failory newsletter (which I will talk about later) and working the SEO of Failory’s interview.
One of my goals for 2019 is to increase Failory’s MRR. That’s why I am also looking for a consultant who knows about monetization. If you know any, let me know here!
Read a LOT!
As I had a lot of free time in December, I decided to read all the articles and eBooks that I had pending from the previous 6 months.
Moreover, I love podcasts. So, while working on Failory, I listened to over 170 podcasts. 120 of them were quite short, 20 minutes. The rest were much longer.
I am Spanish native speaker, so I prefer listening to Spanish podcasts. If there’s any native-Spanish-podcast-lover reading this, make sure to check out Boluda’s Podcast.
In mid-December, I signed up to Genm, a platform in which you pay $50 and you get 40 hours of digital marketing from apprentices, as part of their training. This sounded really cool and as something that I had to try on Failory.
So I joined and start looking for an apprentice who wanted to work on content marketing. I have already found it, but I still have to teach him everything and sign up the contract. I will probably write more about this on the following monthly reports.
As I really like Genm, I decided to sign up to their generous affiliate program. For every user that registers with your link and buys a credit on Genm, you get $50. So I thought that the tool was related to Failory audience and decided to add this referral link at the top of Failory interviews and blog articles.
This was the second best decision I made in the month (the first is below).
In only two weeks, the link got clicked over 400 times, 25 of which signed up and 2 bought, meaning $100. I know it’s not a lot, but I didn’t have to do anything to get them!
Finally, joining Genm made me start thinking of creating a sort of content creators team. I am thinking of hiring 4 more apprentices to work on creating content about startups and working the SEO of these articles/guides.
Publishing Two Content Pieces/Week
In December I was able to get some consistency and publish two pieces of content every week. I tried one blog post and one interview but it varied a lot.
This consistency can be seen watching Failory’s Google Analytics. It meant 152.90% more users than last month, in which I only published an article/interview every week.
Moreover, publishing so many content pieces meant getting viral on HN twice. The first time was with Failory 2.0. But the second one was with LiveAgent’s interview. 87 people upvoted the link and 36 commented. This meant that the interview received 11,854 page views.
Setting up GA Goals Correctly (Finally!)
This was something that I had pending for a long time. When starting the site, I set GA and started analyzing my users’ behavior perfectly. But I didn’t set up any goals.
That’s why in mid-December, I decided to take a cool Google Tag Manager course.
Based on this video, I was able to install Tag Manager correctly and set up a few goals on GA, such as:
- Track Amazon referral link clicks
- Track other referral link clicks
- Track people who subscribe to the newsletter
- Track people who contact me looking for a paid sponsorship on Failory
Also, I decided to install Google Optimize so as to start carrying out A/B tests. I had some problems doing it so (because, apparently, Google developers don’t like Apple and their MacBooks), but I am now running a campaign, testing if a white background on Failory interviews works better than the blue background I have.
Selling Lots of Sponsorships
Launching Failory 2.0 and getting viral on Hacker News meant lots of new sponsorship inquiries. I was able to sell 2 newsletter sponsorships for December newsletters, which meant $100. I was also able to sell three newsletter sponsorships for January, which meant $150.
But the best decision I made in December was to add “The Everything Package” on Failory /sponsors page.
I was going to sleep when a thought came to mind - “Why am I not offering a complete sponsorship on the entire Failory site and newsletter for one month? It would be both beneficial for the company and for me, as I will have to stop looking for sponsorships every month.”
So I picked my Mac, entered to Webflow (the visual website designer I use to manage Failory), copied the format of the other sponsorship packages, and edited the text. I called this new package “The Everything Package”, and added a cool description explaining what this included. I also added a “Contact us“ button, but didn’t display any price.
I think it took less than two days to start receiving emails asking about it. I priced the package $650, as I estimate over 750 clicks for the business and want to try how this works.
I was able to quickly sell one Everything Package for February and I am negotiating one on April. If anyone is interested in buying an Everything Package for March, let me know! I am pretty confident about it.
Podcast, Yes or No?
I have been thinking a lot of carrying out a podcast. I have been requested this thousand of times, so I assume there is great interest. But my English is not really great I am scared that the podcast would turn to be really boring.
I have analyzed signing up a revenue-shared contract with someone who wants to host it, or paying someone to carry it out. Would love to know your opinion about this.
Carrying Out a Survey
After 16 months of working on Failory and building a great newsletter list, I have carried out my survey…
I did it after having a call with Maciej Gałkiewicz, a consultant who advised on the importance of understanding what Failory users wanted. So I created this short survey based on this awesome Grow&Convert blog article.
Once I had created this survey, I started by sending a personalized email to the 100 most active subscribers of the Failory list.
This was a great idea as over 30 people filled in the survey because of this email.
Three days after this, I sent a short email to the entire newsletter list (which has over 5,000 email subscribers), with a link to the survey. This meant other 50 people to answer the survey.
I am planning to send more reminders about this survey so that I can achieve 100 responses. That would be a great number from which I can get a lot of data.
Creating a Metrics Spreadsheet for 2019
So just before 2018 ended, I decided to create a spreadsheet to track the metrics and goals of each month of Failory.
I created this spreadsheet and I decided into four charts: website, email, social and revenue metrics. There, I will add some data every month and the spreadsheet will calculate me a few other things.
On this spreadsheet, I have also created a second sheet talking about 2019 Failory goals. These are:
- Make $6,000 throughout all the year
- Reach 10,000 email subscribers
- Have an average open rate over 40%
- Have an average click rate of 10%
- Reach 1300 followers
- Get 5 news platforms to cover Failory
- Build and launch 3 projects
- Get 264,000 users throughout all the year
- Get 750,000 page views
- Get 100,000 users by organic searches
To track the progress of these goals, I create a third sheet in which I will check every month if I have achieved the goal for that month. For example, if I want to achieve $6,000 in annual revenue, I have to make $500/month. In this third sheet, I will be able to check if I have achieved it.
Numbers of the Month
30,024 users visited the site (28,357 of them for the first time this month), in 37,947 sessions and view 67,093 pages (1.77 pages/session). The number of sessions per user was 1.26 and the average session duration was 2:40 minutes.
I think that the number of pages/session and session duration is that low because I get viral on Hacker News. People just entered the site, checked if the interview was interesting and left the site without going into more pages of Failory. But at the same time, the reason why so many users visited the page and so many pages were seen, was Hacker News.
As for email subscribers, I believe +1,000 new users subscribed to the newsletter, which is really amazing! I couldn’t perfectly track this because my email tool is not really great (I am changing it soon) and I hadn’t the goals set until mid-December.
Regarding the money I made, it was $100 from Genm affiliate link, $100 from newsletter sponsorships, and $10,47 from Amazon affiliate links. This means $210,47 in revenue. But I had to pay $147 for three months of Genm and $20 for Webflow, so the profit ended up being $43,47.
Finally, here is the analytics of the entire year 🎉
December was an amazing month. The traffic and new email subscribers numbers are really great, but the real value I was able to get is feedback from my users and interaction from them on the site/emails.
Thanks for your support in December and the entire year.
Have a happy new year!