August 4th, 2020
July 2020 was an all-time record month for revenue and content published. It was also a record for organic traffic. It was our second-best month of all time in terms of traffic and new email subscribers.

While June focused more on experimentation and change in vision, July was all about putting our heads down and working on these new ideas.

Over the weekend, a couple of friends asked me “so what’s the plan for Starter Story?”. It’s an interesting question because it kind of implies that what we’re doing now is not sustainable. Although the business model is unique, Starter Story is very sustainable and actually prime for a lot more growth. 

The “plan” for Starter Story is to keep building a media company. We will be Forbes meets Crunchbase, but niched down to small and online businesses.

We will be taking most of our profits and investing in this growth, mainly growth in content. There is still so much opportunity in growing our web traffic. We just had our best month of all time in organic traffic, and this was from some minimal SEO efforts. I believe we are just scratching the surface here.

Our advantage here is this custom CMS that we are building behind the scenes. It will allow us to scale content, and retain a very valuable database of case studies, businesses, business ideas, and thousands of more data points about starting a business. Think Crunchbase meets Forbes, for small and online businesses.

Gross bookings for the premium subscription hit $14K this month (not accrual), an all-time high and an 80% increase month over month!

We landed our first “enterprise” deal, an online school that was interested in a bulk subscription package for their students.

We are continuing to build out more diverse content types like business names posts, business ideas inspiration roundups, and more how-to guides.

Our new long-form style of the weekly newsletter is performing very well, driving 2-3x more clicks than the old ones, and also driving revenue for the business.

Last month, we tried some changes to the site to see if they would increase time on site and other metrics (one example). The results were not great. The learning here is that great, targeted content is the ultimate factor in user experience and retention.

Finally, we are lucky to have Klaviyo on as our sponsor for another year! This added investment will allow us to keep our focus on growth, just like we’ve done over the last 2 years. 

July Numbers

- Monthly revenue (accrual): $12,367 (+4%)
- Traffic: 101k unique users (+19%)
- Content published: +116 (+6%)
- New email subscribers (net): +1,940 (-21%)
- Email collection rate: 3.12% (-8%)
- Avg time on site: 98 seconds (+2%)
- Avg pages per session: 1.75 (-5%)

Plans for August

August will be all about producing, scaling, and outsourcing new great content:

  • Produce 200 pieces of content in August
  • Hire new writers and content managers to enable more content.
  • Continue building out features of custom CMS to enable faster content production.
  • Add and curate more data points on businesses, business ideas, etc. Improve data scraping and automation features.
  • Training/outsourcing of how-to guides posts.
  • Training/outsourcing of business names posts, including business name generator widget and features.
  • Training/outsourcing of business ideas/roundup posts.
  • Increase outreach for new interviews.
  • Roll out new location-based roundup posts (best business ideas in Nashville, TN)
  • Roll out new content around creating an LLC, business plan, etc