Welcome to our first public report for SiteBuddy. Since this is #1 out of however-many-updates-we-need-until-heat-death-of-universe, I’ll take a moment to explain:
We’re going to do monthly updates of SiteBuddy where we talk about our revenue, expenses, progress made, and upcoming features. We’ll be taking a look at our public metrics, our product roadmap, and the ideas/achievements that come out of Conor’s Big Brain.
From now on, we’ll record these during the first week of every month to cover the last month. So we will record the next report on November 3rd to talk about what we did in October.
Read on if you’re an interested customer or a competitor who wants an inside look.
Let’s start with the dollars we made (and lost).
We went from $8 to $760 monthly recurring revenue (MRR) over the course of about 2 weeks. A lot of this was due to our awesome affiliates and promo-ing SiteBuddy to the AuthorityWebsiteIncome (Jon Gillham’s asset) and BrandBuilders (my baby) lists.
Our primary customer acquisition model was to send a one-month coupon to as many people who would use it. We sent these coupons to several lists and friends in August and payday came in September.
We also tested a special offer for affiliates: We would give their list a one-time offer where they get a year of SiteBuddy and we make the fixes for them. After we make the fixes, we start monitoring their site and continue making fixes as required. This is where the spike in Net Revenue came from and the reason it’s disassociated with MRR.
If I could get a redo, I would find more affiliates for the September push. We’ll chat about this more later, so keep reading.
Users & Market Validation
We have a total of 461 customers on the free plan (not shown in Baremetrics – we’re working on it) and we have 44 paying customers. We acquired a total of 43 new paying customers during September.
We now consider SiteBuddy validated in the marketplace and we’re excited to get more people using it.
We are still far from profitable. Like, far far.
Our total revenue for the month was $3221, but this is not near a level where we would consider the business sustainable.
Right now we are a small team – Conor is the master programmer, Jon is strategic vision and monetary investment, I am the marketing guy. None of us are taking home what we’d like from the business yet.
Who said entrepreneurs were rich?
Churn, Revenue Per User, ARR, & More
In the future updates, I will include more metrics: Churn, average revenue per user, annual run rate, and perhaps some other metrics if you’d like to see them. As of right now, we don’t have enough data for these to be meaningful.
Features & Development
September is a story of us coming out of open beta. Conor put his exterminator hat on and went to work rooting out all the bugs.
We fixed several minor issues, but the biggest accomplishment was reducing how many sites failed to scan. You couldn’t get results and we couldn’t figure out what was causing this.
We implemented a new way of crawling as a temporary fix for most sites. We’re still working on a more permanent solution that should deploy next month. More on this in a minute.
Conor also made the tool look and work better. He changed a few of the uglier features in the user dashboard to be more appealing to the eye.
But this isn’t to say that design was our main focus; we spent a lot of time and energy making the product better, not just look better.
This means changing a few user interface things.
We noticed that several people had several similar complaints:
- They weren’t sure how to add new websites
- They misspelled their website and needed a change
- They needed help accessing the product links that were out of stock in the tool
We streamlined the dashboard to make things like adding new websites more obvious. The other two issues are top of our priority list since these are crucial problems in having the best product for you.
We’ll discuss our plans to change these in a minute.
We added an affiliate program to SiteBuddy! We decided to offer 25% recurring, lifetime commissions with a 90 day cookie on all visitors. Click here if you’d like to sign up ;)
We’ve had several affiliates do really well so far. Thank you to you all! We hope to make you rich.
Promos From Friends & Affiliates
Our big push in September was asking our friends and affiliates to mention SiteBuddy to their list. As mentioned before, this is where I would like a redo.
We had some great affiliates push SiteBuddy for us, but I wish I would have worked harder in finding more affiliates. Affiliates are an easy-ish, low-cost way to acquire customers…
But they’re only easy once you’ve built a relationship. It’s like asking your friend if they want to hang out. It’s an easy yes if they’re your friend, but it doesn’t work as well when you ask strangers from the street…
They just think you’re weird.
(I don’t think you’re weird, we can chill)
The difficulty with having great affiliates if that you need to have a great relationship for it to work best. So while I’m sure we could have secured some low quality affiliates…
We want our affiliates to be happy to promote us and we want their audience to be happy to hear about us.
This means more relationship building. This does not mean finding every single person who can or will promote SiteBuddy in exchange for dollar bills, y’all.
It means we need to find and provide value to people who have audiences that need SiteBuddy; people who we want to associate with.
I wish we had started building these connections sooner. In my personal life, these are the connections that have changed everything for me.
This is a primary focus going forward: Finding people who could use SiteBuddy, getting them excited because we’re excited, and helping their audience be excited too.
We also did some cool stuff with email marketing. We’re using ActiveCampaign and have some sweet automations set up.
Our goal is high deliverability. We want you to value every single email we send, so our strategy is crazy high value in every send and giving people an easy way to unsubscribe.
Features & Development
We created a public Trello board that we’re using to track what features we’re adding and what issues we’re fixing. Click here to see the roadmap.
Top of the list: Fixing our scanner. As mentioned before, some sites just won’t scan. The problem is complex and multi-faceted, so I’ll keep it simple: Sometimes when you put in a website to scan, you get an error message.
This is a huge problem for a tool that’s purpose is to scan websites. We’ve put a temporary fix in place for most sites and we’re working on a permanent solution.
The new scanner will fail less often, but it will also be faster… about 2x faster. You might not notice this if your site is smaller, but for sites with 10,000+ pages, this makes a large difference in the end result.
One complaint we also received were that sometimes users wanted more scans. We’re working on a way to allow you to manually scan a page and this should be in place soon.
We’re also working to implement a few cool things:
First, we’re making sure that it’s easy to see the affiliate link on out-of-stock products so you can find these without any problems.
Next, we’re planning to add more functionality. This means Amazon.ca, .uk, .co, .fr, and all the extensions of Amazon. At some point we’ll also integrate with other popular affiliate programs like ClickBank, ShareASale, Rakuten, etc.
On the marketing front, we have a few main strategies:
- Build relationships with amazing affiliates
- Be active in social media groups and help people
- Build amazing email marketing funnels and automations that emphasize value
- Be open and transparent with our metrics (soft marketing)
It’s weird to think of open metrics as a source of marketing…
But we share our metrics to show you the challenges and successes of building an online business in general and a SaaS business in particular.
We want to provide you with so many resources to succeed that people just can’t help but talk about it.
Until Next Month
Thanks for reading so far down. We had some errors with our video for this month so we’re working on getting that fixed. From now on, we’ll publish video when we publish these updates.