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– Chris Cagle
Looking back on it, I am really glad I put together my 2017 resolutions post. It kept me pseudo-accountable and set real goals for me to work towards.
In 2017 I made a handful of smaller resolutions, but four really stood out and drove what I did throughout the 2017 year. Here are those four, along with a quick synopsis around how I feel I did at hitting that specific goal.
Wow, this was the scariest and most profitable by far. I started looking for a supplier in May 2017, and finally got my first product in Amazon's warehouses in October. It was a whirlwind. I enlisted the help of a few people to help show me the ropes, and ultimately it was probably our best decision of 2017.
While this has been successful so far, there are a lot of challenges that I never accounted for when we started. More on that below.
I actually didn't do much for the beginning of each season here, I just made sure I had what I needed done by then. This meant I had the base pages built out for the MLB and NFL by time those seasons started. The best way to see if my sports pages performed adequately is to look at my VPN affiliate sales. My VPN conversion rate ticked up a tenth of a percent, but I don't think that jump is a significant to use as proof.
If you look at my VPN sales, my largest months - by far - is May and September. These are due to the start of the MLB and NFL seasons starting in those months, respectively.
For me, relying on Google SEO traffic is hard habit to break. Luckily, NoCable has fantastic SEO, but I have relied on it a little too much at times. I've worked hard on social and newsletter traffic sources, and have grown them into nice traffic chunks, but unfortunately their percentage of my overall traffic actually declined.
One aspect I did manage to ramp up was Google News. I hired a handful of excellent writers in the third and fourth quarters of 2017, and eventually got accepted into . While it is still "Google", Google News actually has a different search engine I've learned. So in a way, I did diversify a little... right?
A few different things helped this (primarily Amazon's new OneLink product), but I increased my Canadian revenue from next to nothing to something well worth my time. My Canadian revenue still pales in comparison to the US, but it no longer is an unrewarded effort.
Between direct sales, my DFP integration and higher traffic numbers, my advertising revenue went through the roof in 2017. I had a handful of direct sales which helped when they were setup, but overall I am very pleased with the way DFP works. While it was a major headache getting setup, it was well worth it in the end - mostly from a reporting and ease of adding new advertisers point of view.
I do still have concerns around to what extent advertising eats into my product sales on Amazon, but that is for another day. I may get brave and turn off all advertising for a week or so to see how things shake out, but not yet.
2017 was a real learning experience for me. I felt like NoCable finally hit the bigtime, and with that came a host of other problems, hurdles and challenges. Bigtime? Yeah, let me explain... in 2017, NoCable
A lot of this success was driven by the 2017 resolutions I made almost exactly a year ago.
If 2018 goes similarly to the way 2017 went, we will be ecstatic. However, who wants to stand still? Here are some of the 2018 goals I have set for us:
This is an over-arching concept that needs to be taken seriously in just about every aspect throughout our business. This goes for just about everything: product sourcing, Amazon management, support tickets, newsletters, publishing on news and social media and all the boring business type (i.e. taxes).
Amazon SEO is nothing like Google SEO, so there is a learning curve with this one. I have just started, but there is still so much to learn here.
Putting all my eggs into the Amazon (sales) and Google (traffic) baskets comes with some level of risk. We have been working hard at derisking this situation throughout 2017, and we need to continue working on it. However, at our size, there are other risks... like trademark protection, liability insurance and steering clear of poor decisions.
There are other places tools can be built other than on our website. We are seriously considering putting out a smartphone app in the first half of 2018. I've also toyed with the thought of building an Alexa skill... which at this point sounds more interesting than useful, but we'll see. The point is that there are many other tools we can use to help get the NoCable name out there. We just need to be creative with it.
Here's to a great 2018!!