37% increase in web traffic and 8% revenue growth – January 2015 monthly report

January was a slowish month for us as expected but overall we had good results. Our traffic had a huge boost and our business grew by 8%.

8% monthly revenue growth from $56,319 to $60,624 and 37% increase in website traffic – the @WPCurve monthly report. – CLICK TO TWEET

8% growth to $60,624 monthly expected revenue (MER)

NOTE: We define MER as our monthly recurring revenue at the end of the month plus any one off jobs throughout the month. 

We missed our 10% monthly growth goal in January increasing from $56,319 to $60,624 (8%). This isn’t a surprise for this time of year and 8% growth is not a bad result.

We blew past 800 total customers with an increase of 54 customers for the month.

People, product and process

People

Our team grew from 28 to 33 in January. Our second European developer joined us (Peter from Hungary) which means we now have team members in 7 different countries. We also employed a systems developer who will work solely on our support system. This is a key hire that we’ve been wanting for a long time and has really been holding us back. We are now making solid progress on the system which we hope will have a big impact on our quality of service and response times.

We are working on finding team members for the weekends, which is currently where our response times are longest.

Product

Customer happiness is up to 88% this month, a 2% increase. Unhappy customers is down from 8% to 7%. This is a good sign that things are stable after the switch in customer happiness reporting system and it was not disruptive to our customers.

Help Scout calculates a ‘Happiness Score’ which is % of great minus % of not good. For us this came out at 81. This will be our metric from now on. Our long term goal will be to get this to 95 but it’s going to take some time.

We have almost finished the first phase of our system for managing customer jobs. We are confident this will have an impact on happiness. We have also devised a Quality Assurance process for developers to utilize when we feel they need it. We will be rolling that out shortly so we hope this will impact the overall happiness score in February.

One other minor change is we have an auto reply that gives customers a rough idea of how long it will take to do the job. We want to get better at this, but for now customers are happy to see this.

Featured Happy Customer –  Fraser M. “Thanks you very much for the easy-to-understand, patient, kind, and very professional services! Paying every month to have online help is so much better than having to hire a full-time web admin. Thanks so much to Julie and Charles for helping out my Company.”

It’s awesome to get messages like this and we get them often.

919 jobs completed – we had a 16% increase in jobs completed this month.

Responding faster to customers is one of our big challenges and targets to improve. We reduced our average response time by about an hour from 16 hours 37 minutes to 15 hours 57 minutes.

We aim to have this below 8 hours. Right now the weekends are where most of the longer responses are happening.

  • Average first response –  15 hours 21 minutes
  • Lowest response time – 10 hours 16 minutes – Jan 9
  • Highest response time – 1 day 7 hours – Jan 3

Improving response times will happen via a few ways:

  1. Get better performance out of our current team. We are working on a performance management process, team leaderboard, employee of the month and other initiatives to support this.
  2. Hire more people. We are constantly hiring but to date we have struggled to hire on weekends and in the US timezone. This is an ongoing challenge that we need to keep focusing on.
  3. Changing the way we prioritize tickets. More on this below.

Process

There are a bunch of procedural changes we are working on. One of the highest impact changes will be changing the way we prioritise tickets. At the moment all tickets are given equal priority, however in reality not every ticket is as important as the next.

For example we do a monthly check of customers sites. It doesn’t really matter if that happens on the first day of the month or the last. At the moment it goes into the system as a job and slows down the response times on the other jobs. We can reduce response times by prioritise jobs requested by customers and only introduce these jobs into the system when we are quiet.

We have about 20 different ideas like this which we will build into our new system. This will change the process for handling jobs and hopefully improve satisfaction and response times.

We are making early strides towards getting this aspect of the system completed by giving a ‘priority score’ to each ticket based on a number of factors. It’s going to take time to get this process right but we are excited to be finally making good progress on it.

Website traffic

January saw a 37% increase in traffic with 57,639 visits (up from 41,971 visits in December). We’re happy to see traffic increasing again, near the end of the month we were receiving nearly as many visits as we did with the first few days of launching the 7 Day Startup.

Traffic sources

What’s interesting about this increase in traffic is that it came mostly from direct traffic. We saw a 78% increase in direct traffic from last month.

Our weekly email is usually the big driver of direct traffic, but it rarely outperforms our organic traffic. The end of the month saw a huge flow of direct traffic. Unfortunately direct traffic is difficult to get good information on exactly where it came from. But we can see where it went, more on that below.

traffic graph

Top pages

Two of our new posts received a majority of this direct traffic. How we effectively use Trello for project management, and 35 business tools that help us run our WordPress support machine spiked one after another. We wonder if our friends at Trello shared our article with their staff and users in a newsletter or similar?  Other than that we aren’t really sure where this traffic came from.

Page traffic

Email List Growth

We had 743 new subscribers added to our email list.

We’re working to follow up the successful content and new exposure from last month and examine if these new visitors are valuable traffic for us compared to our normal traffic channels. I have created a segment in Google Analytics to track the new visitors that came from this traffic spike and see how the behave for the next few months.

Content

Our goal has been to create 15 pieces of content each month, which included 5 podcast appearances by Dan. Dan is now doing a lot more than this and isn’t recording them so we’ve modified the goal to 10 pieces of content for the WP Curve blog (podcast appearances are no longer counted).

We still did not manage to hit this goal. In the coming months we will be putting together some structure to make sure we do hit the goal. The good news is, almost every single article published this month drove a high amount of traffic and social shares.

We consider 50+ tweets to be a break out hit. In January we had 4 break out hits.

Any questions?

Please let us know in the comments below.

Info about this report

We do these reports to help other entrepreneurs get real information about running a startup. Dan did the 1st report in 2012 when he was earning $0. Here is the full archive. Here is a post we wrote recently on some monthly income reports from other startups. If you like the reports we’d love you to share it.

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About

Kyle is the founder of Conversion Cake . He is the author of "The College Entrepreneur" A book for students who want to break into entrepreneurship. Follow him @kylethegray

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