Welcome to my third monthly review report on Tropical U.P! As I have indicated in my first monthly review, I will post a monthly overview of all the things that I have done the past month. In this post, you can learn about my successes and struggles and how far I am from realizing certain goals.
You might ask why I want to share these details with you in the first place? First and foremost, they are here because they help me with keeping track of my progress. Once I put it online, there is no denying to the things that I should have done, but also sharing the things that went well for me.
The second reason I decided to put these reviews online is that I thought it would be interesting for you to follow changes that are ongoing in my life. As might know, I was laid off earlier and since then a lot has happened. I hope that these reviews encourage and motivate you to chase your dreams.
September was an interesting month, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons, so let’s get started!
In September, I have focussed a lot of attention on Tropical U.P, and I have written 12 new posts. Getting more content out there was important to me as I feel it is something that makes people come back to my site. If there are barely any new posts on my website, I think it creates the impression that I don’t care about getting good content out there. Still I think we should all be cautious about creating as much content as possible, important is that content should add value to your audience. Ultimately it is better to publish something really good once a week than three half-baked articles a week.
In my monthly review of August, I mentioned that I was still busy with a redesign for Tropical U.P. In September, I did finish most of the redesign and I can say that I am quite content with the result so far. Another aspect that came with the redesign but that I did not expect was that I also started to write technical how-to posts. I felt a lot of the information on the internet is not helpful for solving certain problems, and I feel I can add value here.
As I change and customize more aspects for my website, I am planning to write more short posts with instructions on how to make certain changes to your website. On the home page of Tropical U.P, I now have added simple and easily accessible post categories, this will make it easier for you to find previous (and future) posts about a certain topic.
In October, I plan to change more small aspects of Tropical U.P, without losing focus on the core of my business. A nice added benefit is that while doing so I will also identify potential topics for technical posts and how-tos.
In my previous monthly review, I mentioned that I experienced a 100% increase over the month before. September saw a 20% increase in unique visitors compared to August, albeit a good thing, I want those numbers to be higher. Last month’s increase in visitors was mostly because I promoted my website on social media for the first time.
I have been focussing on SEO from the beginning but honestly I still so too meager results. I have checked all the stats in Google Webmaster Tools, and there seem to be no problems here. Now I do realize that this topic that I am trying to rank for is not easy. There are many websites out there that attempt to rank for similar keywords, so competition is fierce.
Another small issue that I am experiencing is the lack of increase in Domain Authority in Moz. Over the past months, I have created several backlinks from sites that I know are crawled by Moz, but yet no links appear in the Open Site Explorer. I have researched the matter, and it seems that Moz hasn’t updated the index release, this could be related to the issues I am experiencing.
At this moment, I am not (yet) able to disclose my financial numbers. Income that I generate with Tropical U.P is still limited, on the other hand, this site also does not cost a lot of money.
I can share my current revenue per a 1,000 sessions (I will refer to this as RpK). I believe this to be a useful metric as it tells me how efficient my site is, and it gives me a general idea what could happen once I scale (while keeping or improving my ratio).
For September, my RpK was: $ 83.33
The number above is quite good I believe, but I will have to keep track what happens once visitors and active sessions increase. I think it is likely that the RpK decreases when visitors/sessions increase, the real metric to have an influence here is probably the engagement of the visitors.
As I mentioned before, I am also in the process of creating a physical product with several partners. We are still in the development phase but once we have received our first shipment, we plan to automate our business and sell online.
Since I am doing this product with several partners, I am not in a position to disclose any specific information about our company, product or even the industry. I hope you understand my decision to respect my partners.
September however, was a rough month for the development of our product. Earlier in September I wrote a post about trademarks, what they are and why they are important to your business. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that early research or due diligence is just as important. In short, the name that we were planning our product and brand around was not available. Now the only thing we can do is go back to the drawing table, decide on a name that we can trademark, and then finalize the development of our product.
Still, despite this small setback I am glad it happened now. I can’t imagine the negative impact it would have had when we found out later when we already ordered our first shipment. Let it be a lesson to you and proceed carefully when it comes to brand names and products. It is better to spend some time and money upfront than to be sued or left with an unsellable product later.
Now that Tropical U.P is fairly set up, and I want to shift some of my focus to other websites that I am developing and maintaining. Currently, I have several domains that I am managing, and I am planning to update these and start different ways to implement monetization for these websites.
More information on these websites, my strategy and results will follow in future review posts.
On my new homepage I have added a section for work with me, in this section I am planning to offer services that support new entrepreneurs that struggle with certain aspects of starting a business. I am very enthusiastic about this as it gives me a chance to personally help people excel at their business by making a direct impact on what they are struggling with. The page at the time of writing is still under development but stay tuned for more updates!
PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED
To close this monthly review, I want to take some time to reflect on the things I have learned in September. I have learned that planning and research are very important of all aspects when you are starting a business. The setback we had with the development of our physical product showed us that planning matters.
Sometimes it is good to take some time and observe where you are now and where are you going, are you still on the right track? In the heat of the moment, it might seem like a good idea to keep pushing forward, taking the time to reflect might save you a lot of headaches later.
Another important issue that I have learned in September is that it no shame to let third party professionals do their job. You don’t have to solve every puzzle by yourself, I say it again, but focus on where you add value and make that the core of your business!
Thanks for reading my third monthly review. As you may have noticed this monthly review is way more detailed compared to previous monthly reviews. I hope you enjoyed reading this review, and I hope it inspires you to find your passion and to build an awesome business. Thanks for your support and I am looking forward sharing the next review!