Archive for the ‘stats’ category

Bingo Card Creator Year 2008 In Review

December 21, 2008

Well, it is that time of the year again: home for Christmas, jetlagged like crazy, and up at 2:00 AM after passing out for 11 hours.  Sounds like a great time to compile end of the year stats!  These will change a bit in the next 10 days or so, but not all that much, so they’re roughly representative.

In A Nutshell: 2008 was a very, very good year.

My goal had been to sell $20,000 worth of BCC, after having sold $10,600 last year.  

Sales:

Total Sales: 815

Refunds: 24  (~2.9%)

Sales Net of Refunds: $20,707.40

Customers requesting CDs: 205 (24.9%)

Customers using Paypal: 373 (46%, remainder Google Checkout)

Expenses (Approximate):

AdWords: $5,850

Freelancer (Bingo Cards): $1,000

SwiftCD: $1,050 

Paypal: $400

Domain Names: $500  (Kind of went hog wild, eh.)

Hosting: $500

CrazyEgg: $240

Software: $200

Clicky: $90

e-junkie: $60

Total: ~$10,000

Profit: ~$10,700

 

Various Other Fun Metrics:

Unique Visitors (to main site): 285,000 

Page Views (main site & ChristmasBingoCards.com) : 1,000,000

Trial Downloads: ~57,000

(Implied minimum conversion rate: ~1.4%)

Confirmed Installations: 12,700

(Implied maximum conversion rate: ~6.4%)

Number of people who sat down at their computer one day and said “You know, I really need to play some Cheese bingo”: 52

Number of people who played Christmas bingo (plus an unknown number who evaded tracking when I borked it): 5,652

Commentary:

What went spectacularly right: In my writeups of last year’s results (blog and BoS forum) I had mentioned that I had high hopes for incorporating the bingo cards into my site design, to catch people looking for specific niche activities and funnel them into downloading BCC and then eventually making me money.  This has been a smashing success, and has greatly improved my SEO efforts.  The $1,100 paid to a freelancer might stick out in the expenses — I assure you, it is like paying for straw so you can spin it into gold.  And the loom is 95% automatic, whee.  I’d make such a poor wicked fairy, I make so much on the alchemy I can afford to do it without needing anyone’s firstborns.

The other thing that has helped me out was continued improvement in Google AdWords, largely due to Conversion Optimizer — I don’t get to keep nearly as much of the sales I get from it ($5,850 — Google, I want a nice Christmas gift from you guys)

What went wrong: I had much higher hopes for ChristmasBingoCards.com than eventually ended up getting realized (see here).  

I also regret that I have not proceeded much on the project I started at the 30 Day Sprint this summer — despite paying Slicehost quite a bit to keep a 512 MB slice sitting largely idle (yay, SVN repository) and my designer $500 for the design, I have done almost nothing with it since the summer.  I blame a combination of personal issues during the summer and work issues for the rest of the year — nothing sucks it out of you like getting out of work at 10 PM and then facing a 2 hour commute.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit of work on it over the break, when not enjoying family and friend festivities.  After all, as nice as BCC is I have dreams of eventually going full-time and while BCC provides a quite nice foundation for that I think the next project will be the one that pushes me over the top.

Other Random Trivia:

  • My chapter in Blog Blazers was published.  I really like how it came out, and “My son, the published author” cooings have made my free copies great Christmas gifts.
  • I now hang out on Aaron Wall’s SEOBook forums quite a bit, as a moderator.  SEO is one of my favorite parts of this job — great intellectual challenge, combining a bit of engineering, a lot of marketing, and heaping helpings of pure magic.
  • As of next year, BCC will be providing part-time incomes for about five people (three freelance writers and my designer, plus me).

Goals for next year:

  • $30,000 in sales for BCC
  • $20,000 in profits for BCC
  • Release a second product
  • Go full-time (we’ll see where life takes me)

Bingo Card Creator Sales Stats

March 19, 2008

As promised yesterday, I’ve cobbled together a feature to semi-automatically generate monthly sales reports.  At the moment I can’t show you guys the more impressive portions of the backend, as they integrate customer data at the moment, but I did manage to totally bulletproof the monthly sales report.  (Meaning it is physically impossible for anyone to get from the sales data to any identifiable information about customers, which would be 101 flavors of bad.  The actual backend code is not even uploaded on the production copy of the server.  I’m a little paranoid, what can I say.)

You can take a gander here.  Note the stats for March 2008 are, by necessity, not complete yet. 😉

Results of Site Redesign

March 15, 2008

About a week ago I merged Daily Bingo Cards and Bingo Card Creator, and embarked on a massive site redesign.  I thought I would write a bit about how this improved my numbers.  I have compared traffic to the combined total of the two sites — all other comparisons are against Bingo Card Creator itself, because I am lazy.  These are not rigorously devised statistics — they’re my quick eyeball of typical statistics for a weekday.

Visitors: 900 -> 1,200

Pages per Visit: 2.5 -> 3.5

Time per visit: 90 seconds -> 150 seconds

Trial Downloads: 100 -> 125 to 150 (hasn’t settled yet)

Confirmed Application Installs: 20-25 -> 30-40 (hasn’t settled yet)

Sales: 2 -> slightly under 1.

I’m sort of at a loss as to what is causing the sales to go down.  Its possible that is just natural fluctuation, as all of the pre-sales indicators are way the heck up.  I also might have some folks working through the trial pipeline who remember the old branding and get turned off by the new design (“This isn’t the right site!” is a very serious worry in my market). 

A graphic on how well the design focuses user attention, stolen shamelessly from my page on St. Patrick’s Day bingo and courtesy of CrazyEgg (I just upgraded to their $19/month plan because I’m getting too much traffic for the $9 plan to be useful — please, God, send me more problems like that one).  (This image will almost certainly be truncated by WordPress.  Click to see the full sized version.)

St. Patrick's Day click tracking

And one more, because images are fun.  Caution: this isn’t the best test in the world, because I did some significant changes to the sidebar several times while the test was running, and when element IDs change sometimes CrazyEgg “loses” the clicks from some of the views.  (This is so that you don’t see big red splotches where page elements no longer exist, obviously, but it also means that most of the clicks on those buttons aren’t getting shown.)

CrazyEgg analytics of front page

Alright, back to my favorite Saturday activity: doing taxes!  (I got the uISV part done already.  It came out to a bit over $800 on $6,300 odd of profits.  Now I’ve just got to collect a bunch of statements documenting less than $100 in interest and then fill out a bunch of boring administrivia forms.)

Year 2007 Stats and Year 2008 Goals

January 13, 2008

2007 was my first full year running Bingo Card Creator, and I had impressive growth over last year (about a factor of four on both profits and sales, looking at my last tax return).  I hit my major goal for the year, $10,000 in sales, and see bright things in my future.

 Obligatory disclaimer: Don’t audit these numbers too seriously.  I haven’t given them the full once-over to make sure nothing is double-counted, etc.  (Although I do expect my Schedule C to resemble the following to a major degree.)

Sales: 406, including 116 CDs

Gross Income: $10,375 + ~$200 in various currencies = ~$10,500

Expenses:  $4,280

AdWords: $1,724

Freelancers for Daily Bingo Cards: $570

Hosting & Domains: $600  (Largely because I prepaid about a year at Slicehost, and use one server more than necessary there for putzing about with.  Cheap at twice the price and service is fantastic.)

SwiftCD: $550

The rest: CrazyEgg, e-junkie (best $55 spent for the second year in a row — they gave me a month free to apologize for some issues one week), one-time software purchases, and the like.  I don’t count Internet connection, laptop, or anything as I would be purchasing it anyhow.

Profit: ~$6,200

Rough estimate of wage per hour worked: ~$60  (beats my day job — substantially)

OK, enough about the money.  How about the website stats:

Bingo Card Creator

Visits : 140,488

Unique Visitors: 123,167

Page Views: 311,184

(Both of the following are from Google Analytics, which typically only counts about 60% of my sales conversions, so don’t trust them as gospel.)

Trial Downloads: 17,831

Confirmed Downloads: 5,846

 Daily Bingo Cards (keep in mind, only open 3 months):

Visits: 6,828

Unique Visitors: 6,022

Pageviews: 17,326

Bingo Card Files Downloaded (a precise count — yay Rails): 2,859

Big Wins for this year:

1)  Continuous improvement at very boring things, like web page design and on-page SEO.

2)  Continuing to provide great customer service

3)  Launching Daily Bingo Cards.  I think it will double my sales, eventually.

4)  Conversion Optimizer, which has made my AdWords campaigns much more effective than my manual tweaking ever did, while decreasing greatly the time I spent fooling with them when I could be doing stuff that mattered.  I was so successful with this that Google decided to write me up.  More on that later.

5)  Blogging.  At least when I manage to do it.  Besides the fact that it opens up great opportunities for me, like the above Google case study and (at last count) eight job offers, it is one of the reasons I’m able to collect legitimate links in a field where most of the customers do not possess the web savvy to link by themselves.

Goals for 2008:

$20,000 in sales (might have to revise that to $25,000 later — I want it to be a challenge)

Seeing Daily Bingo Cards be as successful as I know it can be

Releasing a new product

Restructuring my net-presence so that there is a dedicated Bingo Card Creator blog, at least

Because You Can’t Quite Get Enough Transparency…

November 26, 2007

I really wanted to post how Daily Bingo Cards was doing statswise today, but probably will not have the time.  (The short version: the snowflake queries are loving me and owning a top 10 spot on every possible variation of “thanksgiving bingo cards” is worth 1.5X owning the 11th spot on [thanksgiving bingo cards] itself.  Don’t ask me how you can rank for a phrase that competitive in less than 2 months of work.)  While I know the analysis is the really interesting bit, for the stats geeks in the audience I decided to make my website stats public in real time.  Enter a Rails plugin named Sitealizer, about five minutes of work, and powie, stats for anyone.

Want to take a gander?  Daily Bingo Cards stats.  At the moment it should be showing search queries, referrers, and the like for about the last 24 hours.  You’ll note that it is hardly as tricked out as Google Analytics (one nice feature Analytics lacks: it tells you what crawlers are hitting your site and at what rates), but it is good enough to keep me more or less honest when discussing traffic numbers.

September 2007 Stats, Or, You Make $1k a Month on WHAT!?

October 3, 2007

Capsule: I made it past the $1,000 mark in sales, finally.  Net profit was significantly below that due to heavy experimentation with AdWords.  It should hopefully be healthier this month.

Income:

Sales: 41 (1 refund due to customer error, 12 CDs)

Gross Income: $983 + $25 in Canadian + 26 pounds = ~ $1,061

Income Net Paypal: ~$1,039 

Expenses:

GoDaddy: $7

CrazyEgg: $9

e-junkie: $5

SwiftCD: $71

AdCenter: $18

AdWords: $325  (Yowch!)

Total Expenses: $435

Total Profit: $604

Commentary: Yes, as you can see I lost an awful lot of money figuring out what worked and what didn’t with AdWords.  Not all of that is “lost” so much as it is temporarily negative cashflow — there are literally thousands of my trial versions now installed as a result of that expenditure, and some portion of them are going to convert in the future.  I learned a few lessons: #1 you have to watch the content network like a hawk but #2 if you do, especially using their new Conversion Optimizer, it can be amazing.  (I am paying something like 24 cents a free trial now for the last week.  That implies a cost of less than $12 per additional $24 profit sale.  Do a little dance, make a lot of money, get down tonight.)

It seems like it has been a while since I posted updated Analytics stats, so here we go.  Note that the free trials is slightly borked at the moment (it conflicts with Website Optimizer, for some reason — was someone not paying attention to their own product line at Google?):

Visits: 16,000

Trial Downloads: 2,000 + download sites (conversion is about 12.5%, lower than the 20% I was getting last year due to both large numbers of uninterested prospects from the Google search “bingo cards” and also because I am much stricter in counting “conversions” now)

Known Good Trial Installs: 615 (6.5% of them bought, although this is slightly skewed by the fact that the easiest route for buying will automatically flag their trial as a known good install)

Biggest Source of Traffic: The Big G, with 46% of my traffic

Head of the Line or Long Tail?: Long Tail!   Google keywords averaged three hits apiece.  The top 10 keywords counted for only 40% of the total and it falls very, very rapidly from there.

What are the top few?  Same as usual.  Bingo cards, dolch sight word list (#2, first time ever I think), printable bingo cards, bingo card maker, bingo card creator. 

How is the blog doing?  That Free Bingo Card post gets about 1.5k hits a month now, translating into 500 clickthroughs to my site, and about 50 trials or ~ $35 a month in revenue.  ($50 this month, actually.)  Not bad for one single post, and I will finally get off my duff and launch the Bingo Card Creator blog this weekend.

Biggest Vexation?  Google only finds about 60% of my sales, and I remain clueless as to what percentage of AdWords referrals actually go on to buy.  I have a good lower bound for it (which makes my campaign borderline unprofitable) but have no clue what the actual number is — could be double, could be better.  Anecdotally, I definately see the sales numbers go up when I increase AdWords spending, but I’m not sure if the increase is .9x or 1.5x since the data is too darn noisy and limited to boot. 

Best Single Day Ever, Plus August 2007 Stats

September 1, 2007

Hideho everybody.  I made some changes to my AdWords campaign right before leaving America, and lo-and-behold they increased the amount of clicks I was getting from about 10 a day to 60 a day, which contributed to me having my highest legitimate hits day ever (>500 visits, ~100 trial downloads).  Some of that is probably due to the end of August being the start of the term, but after looking at the numbers it appears to be mostly AdWords.  (100 trial downloads implies 2.5 sales implies about $70 in revenue, and believe me, if I could sustain that I would be sitting pretty.)

Anyhow, lets talk August numbers:

Sales: 33 (2 refunds, 9 CDs)

Income net of refunds: $813.45

Expenses:

Godaddy: $7

e-junkie: $5

CrazyEgg: $9

AdWords: $60.17

AdCenter: $11.28

SwiftCD: ~$65 (waiting on invoice)

Net Expenses: $157

Profit: $656

Lets see, what is of note this month:

#1 — Someone had shipping issues with their CD, and was a little miffed after it didn’t arrive, figuring it was my fault.  It wasn’t, of course (I trust the SwiftCD sent it when their records says it did, which leaves it about 50-50 that it was customer error or the USPS up to its usual tricks), but of course I didn’t tell them that.  What I did tell them was that I would UPS one out immediately (cost to me: probably close to $15), and I would have overnighted it if they had been any more upset.  Yeah, that eats most of the profit from the sale, but they’re now very pleased with my responsiveness rather than thinking I’m a shiftless shipment-forgetting Internet conman.

#2 — I also sent someone a free CD rather than taking their school’s purchase order (PO).  For those of you who have not sold to institutions, a PO is essentially a “Send us this stuff and then we’ll send you the exact amount of money on this document” transactional instrument.  Dealing with them is a pain in the hindquarters — Quill had a whole DEPARTMENT of people whose only job it was to read school POs over the summer (one of them being me), and then there is another department for collecting payments on the ones that have been satisfied.  I have only ever had one customer want to pay with one, and rather than spending hours of my life getting that mailed to me, then dealing with the school’s payment clerks to actually get my $29.95, I just sent them a free CD with my compliments.  Now I’ve got a team full of teachers who love me and are hopefully plugging my software to parents, friends, and colleagues… who pay with credit cards, like normal people.  🙂

(P.S. If you’re in the position where you NEED to take POs, signing up with eSellerate or one of the other major shareware processors will work for you.  Its one of the only times they earn their keep.  However, since getting POs is as much a hassle for them as it is for you, be prepared to pay through the nose for it.  eSellerate charged, if I recall correctly, $20 a month just to flag your account for accepting POs!  I am skeptical that you can make the numbers work out very well on a $25 item.  If you’ve got a $X00 item, though, get it done.)