How’d I Grow Revenue 3x in 2011?

So I decided to check out how most of my growth in 2011 happened. I was looking for anything that lead to an increase in signups, traffic or revenue.

The blue line is traffic and the pink is revenue:

Revenue and Traffic Graph

Note: Graph from

One thing that jumps out is that revenue growth was been strangely steady throughout 2011. Nothing gave me a huge jump in revenue at any point in time it seems. Actually, the graph is a little misleading because October, November, and December revenue growth was slooow. I saw about 4x growth in January over those months (3x in a few others).

Anyways, things that worked:

  • Getting a blog post and tweet from 37signals for a Highrise integration
  • Doing an AppSumo deal
  • Doing a couple of interviews (Mixergy and strangely enough The Startup Foundry)
  • Cross promotion email with My SEO Tool

Those gave me some nice traffic and resulted in more signups but the best was definitely the integration (which is consistent with what I’ve seen in past integrations).

So what did I learn?

The “needs improvement” stuff:

  • Traffic hasn’t dramatically increased in a year
  • I didn’t try enough enough new things — I need to experiment more and push on the things that seem to be working
  • Annotate more of my experiments (there were several things that I tried and went nowhere but I can’t remember since I didn’t jot them down anywhere)

The good:

  • Do more integrations and make sure they get promoted
  • More cross-promotion emails
  • Interviews are stressful for me but take the opportunity when asked
  • Revenue kept increasing even though traffic stayed about the same (on average)

What about SEO?

While my monthly total traffic at the end of 2011 was about 13k/month, I stared with 10k/month. Not a huge increase.

If I look into search traffic I see that it increased from about 3.5k early in 2011 to about 7k by the end of the year. Double the traffic and it basically accounts for the 3k/month increase I had by the end of the year. OK, but I need to do better.

Top Referrer Sites?

  1. — 9,304
  2. — 5,192
  3. — 2,414
  4. — 2,134
  5. — 1,013 
  6. — 1,010
  7. — 846

Interestingly enough the highest converting sites look very different from this list. The other thing that jumps out form looking at the list is that I need to do a better job of getting write-ups on other sites. These numbers are lame.

So while I had 3x increase in revenue and did some work on the conversion side of things, it wasn’t an amazing year on the marketing side of things. This year I’m already off to a better start and have some new things I’m excited about trying 🙂

3 thoughts on “How’d I Grow Revenue 3x in 2011?

  1. How did you build up your original traffic and can you pursue that strategy again?

    Do you have competitors with more traffic where you can take a look at their strategies?

    Keep killin’ it, Ruben.

    1. Hey Robert!

      Original traffic came from SEO and blogging for the most part. Also did some commenting on blogs and participating in forums but way too time consuming and not enough click. And AdWords was pretty good to me back then. So yeah, I’m still moving forward on SEO stuff, hiring high quality bloggers to start doing that again, and just got a $100 coupon for AdWords so I’m going to see what that looks like nowadays.

      Unfortunately (or fortunately) my competitors suck at traffic generation. The one that seems to be doing OK relies heavily on advertising and their ads seem kinda lame. I have gotten some new competitors so it might not be a bad idea to take a look at what the new guys are doing and see if there’s anything to learn there.

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