It’s that time of year when Spoon Graphics gets a little older, with 2023 marking 16 years of tutorial creating, freebie sharing and article writing on what started as a blog that was attached to my design portfolio website in 2007. Every April I take some time to reflect on the past 12 months and talk about how things have changed. Last year I talked about how successive drops in traffic have taken my site back to 2008 levels, so let’s take a look at the latest stats and figures and see how things are going another year on.
I always start these anniversary posts with links to my previous yearly celebrations. It’s interesting to go back and see how my blog has evolved:
Traffic change: -33% (again!)
Email Subscribers: 133,937 (-7% after a cull of inactive subscribers)
YouTube Channel Subscribers: 534,588 (up 9% from 2022)
Previous years have seen traffic drops of 25-30% and this year was no different with the gradual decline continuing with another 33% decrease in website visitors. We have now gone full circle and are almost back to year one traffic levels!
Thankfully things are looking better over on the Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel. Over the past year I surpassed the milestone of 500,000 subscribers and view counts are on a slight trend upwards after the Christmas and New Year lull.
One of the big changes I touched on in the last anniversary post was my decision to convert many of my previously free resources into members-only downloads for Access All Areas members. Over the course of the past year I have also made many of those items purchasable as individual products without the need for a membership.
Those previously free downloads that still have good search rankings have unlocked a new revenue source that has helped to replace the lost income from ads. This has made me realise just how much money I left on the table by giving away my resources for free for 15 years! I can only imagine how much more I could have earned if I sold my tools rather than give them away back when Spoon Graphics was at peak traffic levels. That’s not to say I didn’t make a decent living from ads and affiliate income, though in hindsight it probably wasn’t the most efficient way of monetising the traffic.
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Hosted on: Bare Metal Server
Server location: Dallas
Monthly bandwidth: 6TB
Average running costs: $1414 per month (-3% from 2022)
The largest monthly expense is my email newsletter, so I try to give it regular maintenance to remove inactive subscribers. My server setup wasn’t ever downgraded after converting those free resources to premium downloads, so the site is now only using around 30% of its bandwidth allowance.
Over the past few years I’ve also been working on a little side-hustle that has turned out to be quite successful! Until now I haven’t even mentioned it on my Spoon Graphics platforms because I’ve enjoyed growing it independently, but I suppose it’s silly not cross-promoting it to an already established audience! If you’re into mountain biking and other outdoor activities, check out Odyssey Activewear for a range of clothing and accessories. We ship internationally too!