From Fox TV to Forbes. Marvelous March monthly report

fox_alex_mcclafferty

At the end of February, we forecast Marvelous March and that’s exactly what we got. Here is how it went down:

$13,604 + 15% growth + Fox + Forbes = a great month for @wpcurve – CLICK TO TWEET

$13,604 monthly recurring revenue (MRR) – 15% growth

march_mrr

In February, we only grew by 5%. This was our lowest growth since we launched 9 months ago. On the first day of the month, we shut down our private community and proactively churned 22 paying monthly customers. This put us at -6% on day 1 which made it a tough start.

I could write a long post-mortem on why the community failed and I may in the future. For now, we’ll just say that it failed to gain traction. With WP Curve taking off,  it made little sense to us to keep fighting to keep the community alive so we cut our ties and closed it down.

We were bracing for a potential 0% monthly growth in March, because even getting to above 6% would have been reasonable. We managed to go from -6% growth to 15% growth for the month. Here are the numbers:

  • Our MRR went from $11,868 at the end of March, down to $11,052 on 1 March and up to $13,604 by the end of March.
  • At the start of March, we had 133 WP Curve customers, which increased to 170 by the end of March. This represented a 27% growth in the number of WP Curve customers and a signup rate of over 1 customer per day. This was more than 3 times as many as we have signed up in any other month since launch.

Our 2014 goal is to reach $250,000 in annual recurring revenue or $20,833 in MRR. That is looking very achievable now.

We are incredibly excited by our results. We’ve grown by 5%+ per month for 10 months in a row. We have also foregone a lot of one off revenue in order to invest in what we feel like is a growth machine.

We are now a team of 8

We hired 2 more staff members in March. We welcome Ness as our admin assistant and Loreto as our 5th full time developer. We have estimated from the start that we will need a new staff member every 30 or so clients. That has proven to be accurate.

We relaunched wpcurve.com

We spent a fair amount of time in March redesigning and developing wpcurve.com. We wanted a website that reflected our company to be the best in the world at what we do. We also wanted it to load quickly and lead by example in terms of optimization.

The site isn’t completely finished, but we got the new look live the day before the Fox interview. We also worked on the site speed and managed to reduce load time from 5.2 seconds to under half a second. We covered the changes in our post on WordPress speed.

We still have work to do, particularly on the mobile version and on boosting conversions. Overall, we are stoked with it and it was particularly pleasing to have it appear on the Fox interview the day after we got it up. (Note from Alex – this new site wouldn’t have happened without Dan – he spent countless hours improving, tweaking and testing the site to make sure it was ready in time. Nice work, mate!)

A record month in website traffic

website_visits_march

Traffic was also great for us in March with 22,594 visits to wpcurve.com. We had a little bit of traffic to our other sites, but in March we migrated all of our content over from Startup Chat and Inform.ly. WP Curve will be our main home from now on and we’ll just report on traffic to wpcurve.com in the future.

Here are our top traffic sources for March:

march_traffic

It’s pleasing when you start to get a lot of traffic without forcing it. A lot of the traffic here is for mentions that have happened that we didn’t plan, for example the Social Media Examiner mention, Foundora mention and Product Hunt mention.

This chart from Google Webmaster Tools gives us some more info on keywords:

keywords

We don’t obsess over search engine results but one nice thing that happened in March was we started outranking all of our competitors for ‘WordPress support’. Not bad for a 9 month old company. It’s also pleasing to see that a lot of the traffic above is people searching for content. A lot more people are specifically searching for us .

Fox + Forbes

The coolest thing that happened in March was our mention on Fox News.

Alex was interviewed in the New York studios about WordPress and WP Curve by Clayton Morris. You can check it out here.

fox_alex_video

The previous interviewee was Mario Lopez and the next interviewee was Dolly Parton!

9 months ago, Alex was a wantrepreneur who had moved to the US after a career as a consultant in Australia. Now he’s running this exciting business and is a TV celebrity haha.

We were also stoked to see an article on Forbes.com about WP Curve. Alex was responsible for arranging both of these stories and we will write up some useful content on how it all happened.

It’s a bit hard to say what this does for our business. It will definitely help with proof elements on our site, and the search requests for our business name have gone up considerably. We also had a number of other people mention us being on TV including:

I think all of these external proof factors are great for a business and it helps people see your business in a different way. We will be exploring more opportunities like this in the future.

Content

I was recently saying to Alex how we were doing a lot more content, but we were getting less traction. This changed in March. We didn’t get as much content completed, but we had a couple of big wins.

We were able to produce 17 pieces of content either on our site or on external sites. We also count content created about WP Curve that we helped organize, like the Fox news piece above.

We had 4 particularly memorable pieces of content in March:

noah_kagan_120We chatted to Noah Kagan from AppSumo on our Startup Chat podcast. It was one of the best episodes we have done.

I know I always say that but seriously, check it out.

We had a bit of live action on that show as well with 30-40 people tuning in live which was cool.

nikhil_arora_120A week later we chatted to Nikhil Arora about his booming mushroom and aquafarming business Back To The Roots.

Nikhil is running a physical products business, which was particularly exciting to me. He’s also a ridiculously happy dude. He spilt his coffee all over himself before the show and still couldn’t stop smiling ha.

We also had a couple of big blog posts towards the end of the month.

My article 10 red flags your startup idea will fail was a surprise hit. The article had 1,783 visits and 83 tweets and we didn’t even email it to our list!

We had tweets from a number of influential people including Dan Martell.

dan_martell

I also wrote a long detailed post on how to improve your WordPress speed. This was the first long form post I’ve done this year and I was really hopeful that this post would do well. At just under 3,500 words it was one of the longest posts I’ve done and I put a solid few days into it.

Thankfully it was well received and we’ve had 79 tweets 1,634 visits to the post. Again I was happy to see some tweets from some influential accounts.

speckyboy_tweet

 

We also had a lot of comments which I always like and particularly a lot of people saying that they’d taken action based on the content which I love!

All in all a great month content wise, particularly given how busy we were signing up 37 customers, adding 2 team members and handling Alex’s celebrity duties.

The total downloads for our podcast in March were 7,784 up from up just under 18% from February. Unfortunately we had some issues with Feedburner and missing files as part of the migration, so that impacted our downloads a bit.

podcast_downloads_march

The current format seems to be going well, however it’s a lot of work. We’ve decided to do them a little bit less frequently for the next few months, as we experiment with other marketing strategies.

7 Day Startup book progress

Somehow among all of this chaos, I managed to make a bit of progress with my book during March. I didn’t really even realize it but looking at the February report, I was only 3 chapters in. I’ve now written 20,000 words and I’m close to finalizing the first draft.

The book is called The 7 Day Startup and it aims to be a practical take on the Lean Startup for bootstrappers. If you want to be on the launch list, feel free to opt in below.

7 Day Startup Free Book

Enter your email below to grab my upcoming book (when it's ready). 

You will also get our best content weekly. 

We have a fairly robust process of going from my rough notes through to a finished book, so it’s still probably a way off. It’s still nice to see some progress, and we’ve also made a few decisions about it in March:

  • We will release it for free. I’m not interested in one off revenue and we don’t want to distract ourselves with months of book marketing.  So we are seeing this as a big content marketing activity.
  • We will build a site around the book with a whole bunch of free downloads and templates.
  • We will release all of the content via the blog in the form of blog posts on the various topics covered.
  • It will also be a PDF and on Kindle.
  • I’m also hoping we will be able to release an audio version and an accompanying Udemy course, all for free. We haven’t really looked into the work involved with this yet though.
  • For marketing, we’ll organize a bunch of guest posts and podcast interviews. On those sites we’ll provide the site owner with a direct link to the book to give away in whatever way they like.
  • On our site, the book and all associated resources will be available to the public with an ’email opt in encouraged’ script. That is, it will be able to be skipped if people don’t want to opt in.

What a month!

I love doing these reports. I feel very fortunate looking back at everything that happened in March. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

About

Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

20 responses to “From Fox TV to Forbes. Marvelous March monthly report”

  1. Andy Brown says:

    As ever Dan a fascinating behind the scenes view of your business … thanks for sharing. Just watched Alex on Fox News, covered a lot of areas because he was able to give short to the point answers ( a skill I always admire because I tend to ramble on!)

    I was intrigued by your decision to say goodbye to 22 paying customers. Do you mind sharing how you politely said to them that perhaps it was time to go your separate ways.

    Love the fact you have nailed how many clients you need before taking on another developer. I assume it’s a great position to be, where you are working on your business and no longer in it, actively offering support.

    One thing about your body font. Unfortunately for me it isn’t easy to read. It seems pixelated with some parts of each letter missing. I remember seeing someone else make a similar comment, and I know you are looking into it. The font looks great on my iphone, I just have the problem on my desktop.

    Well done to both of you

  2. Dan Norris says:

    Hi Andy thanks mate. For us it was pretty clear cut. The membership was dwindling and people weren’t really engaging with what we were putting out (fortnightly calls with experts, sharing groups etc). It was pretty obvious which way it was going so I don’t think members were all that surprised.

    We definitely still work ‘in’ our business, we are still the ones that are managing the jobs and interacting with clients etc. We aren’t quite ready to hand that over just yet. Maybe towards the end of this year we’ll start hiring project managers.

    Yep the font is in my list, I think it doesn’t work well on Windows.

  3. Andy Brown says:

    Gotcha re. the business, even more impressed you can produce all the content … plus project manage!

    I see I misread about the 22 customers. For some reason I assumed they were WPCurve customers that were asking for too much work. I see I scan/read that part a little too fast and got mixed up.

    By the way the 10 red flags your startup idea will fail was great … most of the key points are now on my whiteboard. It didn’t surprise me that did so well and definitely an article I can see myself sharing with others for many years to come.

  4. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks mate appreciate that.

  5. Tim Davies says:

    Keep pushing guys and well done on the continued progress. I know in a year or two I’ll be continuing to follow your content and by then probably be pretty envious of the position you’re in. But I’ve watched the struggles over the past 12 months – particularly the early ones for Dan – so when that time comes, I’ll be sure to keep in mind where you came from.

    The forumla seems pretty simple though:
    Hardwork + Persistence = Results.

  6. Dan Norris says:

    Hey Tim thanks for the support mate. I wish there was a formula, unfortunately there are only things that help. Hard work helps, persistence probably helps (but can also hurt).

  7. Frenchified_Teena says:

    Hey Dan and Alex, bravo all round! So proud of you both for getting a 6+ minute spot on Fox News!

    Excellent interview Alex. Great to see two Aussie blokes doing so well.

    PS Just clicked the video to watch Alex but the link goes to : http://wpcurve.com/fox-say-marvelous-march-monthly-report/video.foxnews.com/v/3372912504001/wpcurve-takes-wordpress-to-the-next-level/#sp=show-clips

    — which should possibly be: http://video.foxnews.com/v/3372912504001/wpcurve-takes-wordpress-to-the-next-level/#sp=show-clips

    Cheers

    Teena on the Gold Coast

  8. Dan Norris says:

    Oh hey Teena thanks for that, I’ve fixed it up now. Thanks for the kind words also.

  9. John Peterson says:

    Very wise Dan. Very wise.

  10. Chris Mason says:

    congrats dan. huge month!

  11. Tim Davies says:

    Persistence to achieve your goals.. not persistence on the things you do to achieve those goals. The latter could be a distraction and complete waste of time.

  12. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Chris much appreciated.

  13. Justin Cooke says:

    Congrats on the great month, guys!

    Alex was BOSS on Fox News. Both him and WPCurve came out of that interview looking great – excellent job.

    LOVE the free content approach you guys are taking with the book, downloads, etc. I couldn’t agree with you more – marketing the book could be a huge distraction for you guys right now. If you can get some traction for the book organically from people who dig your shit, you’re going to get plenty of distribution which will lead to new sign-ups over the short-mid term. Looking forward to seeing you guys skyrocket in 2014!

  14. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks man we really appreciate that.

  15. Derek Buntin says:

    Great stuff Dan, as usual some great inspiration, you have allowed us to see what can be achieved and certainly the project based model can be difficult, so like you guys, we are also doing something similar, not with WP though, i’ll be in touch as i’m sure we could hook up and help one another push even further 🙂

  16. Dan Norris says:

    Hey Derek good stuff mate. I’m looking forward to hearing what you are up to.

  17. mechlin says:

    Hi Dan – your transparency is amazing and humbling. I think you are the CEO of the future.

  18. Dan Norris says:

    Ha thankyou 🙂

  19. Holy shitake this was one heck of a month indeed. Huge congrats

  20. Dan Norris says:

    Ha thanks. I think April might even be bigger if the first week is anything to go by!

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