Stats for my projects this month:
- 3,769 unique visitors (-10% from last month)
- 6,275 page views
- 00:55 avg session duration
- 243 waitlist signups
- 556 site visitors
Fantasy Congress (maintenance only):
- $469 revenue this month
June was all about "deep work". I spent most of my time heads down, hustling to launch PageFactory. But even though I've been neglecting my other projects, they had some small wins this month.
Plateaued Growth for the Experiment Site
Growth for my experimental programmatic SEO site slowed for the first time this month. It had a slight dip in visitors this June, but overall, traffic seems to have plateaued around 130 visitors per day.
I'm unsure of what's causing the dip. Part of me is concerned this is a consequence of Google's core update from May. If so, traffic would likely continue to decline. But also, the niche this site is based around (gardening) is seasonal, and it's peak period has passed.
Since site impressions in Google Search Console leveled off in June, I'm inclined to think gardening searches have slowed in general. But to be frank, this is speculation more than anything else.
On the bright side, the experiment made it's first affiliate earnings in June! Two separate purchases which earned me a whopping total of $0.87 in commissions.
As others pointed out, you won't get far with the Amazon affiliate program selling cheap merchandise like $5 seed packets. Selling more expensive items means higher commissions. So, I'm thinking about higher priced items I can highlight on the site in place of the seeds.
I also started to see an uptick in the number of pages indexed by Google this month.
In May I worked on improving internal linking for the site, hoping this would get more pages out of the "discovered - currently not indexed" status. By the end of June, I had 14 more pages indexed.
Safe to say, I think the changes are working. There's a lot more I'd like to do in regards to this, but I doubt I'll have time in the next few weeks.
Fantasy Congress' Fall Preview?
Summer is typically the "off-season" for my small educational game, Fantasy Congress. A majority of it's revenue comes from civics educators, who make most of their purchases in the fall and at the beginning of spring semester.
To my surprise, Fantasy Congress got a handful of inquiries in June. One educator made a purchase, while others have started the process of purchasing through their school (which typically takes a full month).
The interested parties came from a teacher Facebook group, and I was delighted to see that the person who shared it also shared their referral code!
Referrals were the last project I worked on for Fantasy Congress before taking a break to pursue other ideas. The update was pushed live in February, so it hasn't been tested during peak purchasing season yet. I'm hoping these June purchases are a sign the referral program will bring in more business this fall.
Hustling to Launch PageFactory
My main focus for June was launching the MVP for PageFactory, a tool that helps you generate pages for programmatic SEO.
I sent an email to my 200+ waitlist about closing the beta in mid June. Initially I communicated that PageFactory would be launched at the end of June, but with the Fourth of July holiday in the states starting around that time, I thought it would be better to launch the week after. My official launch date is July 11th to the waitlist (with a discount), and July 13th to the public.
The fully "launched" version of PageFactory will be different from the beta in a few ways.
First, users will be able to use a WYSIWYG editor to create templates, replacing the need to write HTML or Jinja code.
And second, PageFactory will "sync" pages to Wordpress websites, so users don't have to deal with manually importing content into Wordpress. If the launch goes well and this seems like a viable product, I plan to integrate PageFactory with more website builders. Next would probably be Webflow.
Admittedly, I'm doing more for the "official launch" of the MVP than I probably should. Unnecessary customization, optimizing things that don't need to be optimized...typical stuff that builders and tinkerers like to get hung up on. But solving the technical challenges for PageFactory have been really fun! When I get in the "zone," it's hard to keep myself in check. 😅
Enjoying working on PageFactory has surprised me. I've had a lot more fun working on PageFactory than anything I've done for Fantasy Congress in the last couple years. And yet, Fantasy Congress is the project I'm more passionate about. Maybe it's because PageFactory is shiny and new. But I've also started to think "passion projects" are less adaptable and inherently more grueling than "profit driven" projects.
Still, I'm trying to keep my expectations for the launch to a minimum. Already I've put a lot of energy into something that might completely flop. Perfectionism is something I still need to work on.
The big plan for July is launching PageFactory and validating it's potential to turn a profit.
My goal is 10 paying sign ups by the end of the month. Anything less than that and I doubt this is a product people really want.
Since I spent all of June heads down cranking out code, I've neglected marketing the launch. But I didn't completely forget about marketing! I've promoted it on twitter here and there, trying to build the waitlist. I also submitted PageFactory to BetaList but was rejected, even though I followed all of their guidelines. 😒
Regardless, I'll need a real marketing plan if the launch goes well. Ironically, programmatic SEO doesn't seem like a great match for PageFactory. So whatever marketing channels end up working will likely be brand new to me.
Launching is exciting but also nerve-wracking. Honestly, if people don't find value in PageFactory, I'll be bummed. But disappointment is a small price to pay for the potential upside.
In one month, we'll know if the ship sinks or sails!