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Month Two of TSF: 140,000 page views, $500 in revenue, and how I screwed up

Published: Apr 4, 2011 4:27 pm

Running a startup news site, I ask founders for hard numbers all the time. I think it’s only fair to publicly share mine once a month as well. This article is focused on the second month of TSF. You can read about our first month here.

The second month was hard for me. Running a startup full-time and a side project (The Startup Foundry) is paradoxically draining and fulfilling simultaneously. Alexis Ohanian (a co-founder of Reddit) nailed it when he said “Entrepreneurship is a bipolar existence”.

Hard numbers:

Traffic was up from 120,000 pageviews to 140,000 a month. 60 days ago TSF didn’t even exist and we’ve still managed to serve over a quarter of a million page views. This is very encouraging to me and I would like to say thank you to our readers.

Through sponsors we’ve generated $500 in revenue this month.

Things I did correctly:

1. Increased Revenue: Last month we made $462 dollars in revenue. This month I increased that number to $500. Even though it’s not a huge jump, it’s progress. The more money I generate, the more time I can spend on TSF. Slowly but surely I’m seeing this grow.
2. Viral Promotional Piece: I doodled a Startup Death Clock on a napkin for fun. An hour later I had a rough version put together in Photoshop and HTML. Two hours after that a TSF reader (Ashley Williams) helped me with some javascript and we completed our silly clock. In the first 6 hours after launch, the death clock received 5,000 page views, and people had spent over 11 days playing with it. This promotional piece helped drive traffic to the main site and increased our followers on twitter significantly.

Things I sucked at:

1. Article output has dipped: Situations arose in my life when I was unable to publish an article for the day. I should have had several stories in my backpocket that I could fill in the holes.
2. Better submission process for startups seeking coverage: I need to streamline this. Entrepreneurs and founders are already busy people. I want to make their life a little easier.
3. Mailing lists: Currently I have two mailing lists. The Weekly and the Daily Digest. I need to do a better job of creating value with my newsletters, and promoting them.

Next Steps:

Each month I focus on one metric to improve. This month I’m working on lowering the bounce rate. Currently we are at an 80% rate. I would like to see this number drop to about 50%. Most of the changes to TSF in this month will be addressing this issue.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. I will try to answer each one as openly as I can.

For more startup news, follow us on twitter @StartupFoundry.

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Hi, I'm Paul Hontz.

I'm a YC alumn and I love startups. I created TSF to highlight companies I find interesting. You can learn more about me here.

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