Welcome to our November 2020 monthly update on SiteBuddy.
In case you’re new: SiteBuddy is an open startup. That means almost everything about our company is accessible to the public. If you’d like to learn more about us, hear why we’re open, and get our juicy numbers, check the About page.
Let’s jump right in. You can read the blog version below or watch the video version here:
We had a good November as far as strict revenue, but we dropped the ball on some tasks and our MRR dropped.
To be in our third month and bringing in $915 is not too bad. Our total revenue in 2020 has been $4,237. Not much to complain about there since we got started in September.
You can see that our MRR dropped from a peak of $780 in October to $608. That doesn’t sound too bad, but it represents a 22% decrease in MRR. What happened?
November wasn’t a month that I am proud of. In general, we sucked at executing the tasks we wanted on the marketing side.
You can either have good excuses or a good business, and there are no good excuses here.
Jon and I had several key tasks on our plate that were never done. This happened more for me than it did for Jon. We’ll discuss what tasks we had and what tasks we didn’t do later on in the post, so keep reading.
Users & Churn
As of the end of November we had 620 total users (we’re working on a dashboard to show this) and 40 paying users. We acquired 7 new subscriptions and had 10 churned customers.
The churn is something that has been somewhat unexpected. When launching SiteBuddy, our initial thoughts were that this would be a business where people buy, fix their site, and then maintain their subscription as insurance against disaster.
But it seems like many people (~26%) aren’t using it that way.
Before starting SiteBuddy, we created a spreadsheet with some numbers to help guide us in the future. We assumed 10% growth month over month, X% conversion rates, etc.
This spreadsheet estimated a 5% churn month over month. A more recent version of that doc used 20% churn as a worst-case-scenario, but 20% might be closer to reality than we would like.
My first assumption is to assign blame to myself, and I think there’s some logic to it: If people aren’t using SiteBuddy as insurance, is it because we haven’t talked about it like insurance?
A few other questions I’m asking about churn:
- Who is churning?
- What’s our churn for different price points?
- Are they using the tool to fix their site?
- Is this churn representative of what our churn in the future will be?
- Is this churn being influenced by coupon users who forgot to cancel before paying, are logged as a subscriber when their coupon runs out, then cancel on their next month?
I’ll try and find some answers to these questions.
Revenue Per User, ARR, & More
There are still some metrics that don’t have enough data to be useful. Average revenue per user, annual recurring revenue (ARR), run rate, and some others to be in this category.
It’s an open question whether churn falls into this category.
We’ll start including these in future updates as they become more useful.
We’re a long ways from profitable.
We don’t go in to a lot of details regarding our expenses, but it’s safe to assume that they’re higher than our income.
Perhaps more detail here in later months.
Features & Development
Conor has taken up residence as our part-time exterminator. He’s still killing bugs wherever they might hide (and they are hiding in many places).
In October/November Conor worked hard to make sure that websites were scanning as they should.
Competing With the Joneses
Conor built a new scanner for SiteBuddy and dare we say it: we’re beaten the Joneses.
Our new scanner is newer, 2x faster, and more reliable. While the old scanner had a 1-2% fail rate, this one is working on every single site we’ve tried it on.
If it was a car it would be a Tesla, or an electric Lamborghini. Take that, Joneses.
New User Interface
Conor has spent a lot of the past of months working on a new user interface.
While I think our current interface looks great, my mother tells me that I have no sense of fashion, and that when I was young it was so bad that she was afraid I was color blind.
So a new UI might be a good thing. More on this later.
Friend of a Friend of a Friend
Our affiliate program is rolling right along! We paid our affiliates for the first time in November and it was a pretty good chunk of change.
There’s no one we’d rather pay than you guys. Thank you. (if you want to be an affiliate and get a semi-personal “thank you”, you can join here).
We’ve had several people mention us, the most notable of whom would be Jon Dykstra. Getting verification from a guy like him meant a lot – you’re killing it out there Jon!
And our affiliate program is growing by the month. That’s exciting.
We’ve been working on a cold-outreach campaign for SiteBuddy where we take an export, find email addresses, and let them know that they have site problems.
Think something like shotgun skyscraper, but for subscriptions instead of backlinks.
It hasn’t gone well. We have a 60% open rate, but our copy doesn’t seem to be converting to paid users.
But the campaign might be driving free sign ups. We aren’t sure and there’s no good way to track this without getting very bogged down in email addresses. This might be a good task for a VA at some point.
Crack It Open, Baby
I’m not sure where that heading came from but I imagined it as something an Indiana Jones type would say to an attractive female before opening a treasure chest.
We don’t have an attractive females on our all-male team, but I do hear that there are several near my location.
I’m talking about more open metrics, woo!
We launched our official Product Roadmap in November. This tracks where we’re at on certain projects, what we have coming up next, and keeps a log of everything that Conor has done from a dev standpoint.
We also published our OKRs.
OKRs stand for “objectives and key results”.
Objectives are the goals, key results are what will get you there.
We keep this spreadsheet updated over time. Click here to check out our OKRs.
All in all, the marketing for November feels… lame.
I got a lot of “stuff” done. But other than finding affiliates, very little effort was spent creating new conversations about SiteBuddy.
I didn’t talk it up enough in social media, I didn’t send enough emails to our users, and I didn’t do the things that moved the needle.
I run another business full time, so this is in part understandable…
But that doesn’t make it acceptable. We can either have good excuses or a good business, and my November was filled with excellent excuses.
That won’t happen again.
Product & Development
We have some very exciting things coming up in our R&D department (that’s Conor).
Mid-December, we’re going to be launching a new user interface. This is going to make it easier for you to scan your site, rescan after you’ve fixed your site’s issues, and see details about what’s going wrong.
Plus, it just looks sexy.
SiteBuddy is also about to do some other neat things. In no order:
- You’re going to be able to use SiteBuddy for any Amazon marketing (not just the US and Canada)
- You will be able to use SiteBuddy with tons of affiliate programs (Rakuten, ShareASale, Clickbank, etc.)
- You will get notifications if pages of your website go down
- You’ll be able to use SiteBuddy with link shorteners
And then we have some wild long term plans…
We’re going to be solving some problems that we’ve had for years as affiliates and content-site owners.
November felt like a flop, but that won’t happen again. We’ve got several things on the marketing team’s plate.
First, we’re going to stop being slouches and get to work.
We’re going to be working on the cold outreach machine. I’m not optimistic as I’m not a big fan of cold outreach… but I would like to be surprised.
You’re also going to be seeing a lot more about SiteBuddy in the coming months. We’re about to be featured in some neat case studies from all over the internet-marketing world.
We’re also going to be finding more affiliates and working on grabbing guest post opportunities.
Some other miscellaneous stuff we’re working on:
- More mentions in blogs and YouTube channels
- Collecting testimonials
- Getting data from users on what to do better/add/remove
- Getting SiteBuddy included in due diligence reports on website brokers
We’ve got our work cut out for us ;)
Thanks for reading so far down. What did you think about the video for this month?