2015 How to Ghost Income and Statistics Report
We cannot believe that this is the second yearly report we are writing. It does not seem like it has already been over 2 years since we started. It is pretty amazing to look back on where Ghost was, and where we were, at this time last year. It has been so much fun to be so heavily involved in the Ghost project. We could not ask for better people or a better product to be interacting with everyday.
One of our goals this year was to hit 1 million page views across our network. You can see below, that we didn't reach that goal. In fact, despite the numbers going up, most of the sites seem to actually be trending downward in terms of traffic. A lot of the percentages are up because we started 2 sites in the middle of the year in 2014, so obviously traffic will look much larger in 2015 with a full year vs half.
We are not sure wether we are being out ranked more now by other sites or if searches in general about Ghost are just down. It has always been hard for us to measure how our SEO is doing because our traffic increasing or decreasing is largely based on Ghost's popularity. We kind of go as they go. We are not SEO experts in the slightest and have always had the mindset of creating content before anything else, but, this is definitely an area we would love to grow in. If anyone has any tips for us, we would love to hear it.
Enough blabbering, lets get to the good stuff. To start, here are the statistics for the entire network combined, and then below that, each site will be broken down individually followed by the income breakdown:
How to Ghost Network
Pageviews693,631 (+25.9% vs 2014)
Sessions359,883 (+31.1% vs 2014)
Visitors257,026 (+33.4% vs 2014)
YouTube Videos Created10
Total Email Subscribers175
Overall a very good year. It is very exciting to be at almost 700k pageviews, but it wasn't the growth we had hoped for and would love to see that increase next year (obviously).
Launching the YouTube channel was definitely something we had wanted to do for a very long time, but just never felt like we had the time. And, well, lets be honest we were very nervous also. It was always, we don't have the right equipment, where would we record, would the lighting be good enough, and anything else that would make the video not 'perfect'. Then, one day, we just said screw it, flipped on the screencast and webcam and went for it. Definitely glad we did because we feel it has been a great addition to what we are already doing.
Here is a breakdown for each site
All About Ghost
Pageviews131,259 (+0.26% vs 2014)
Sessions95,503 (+20.7% vs 2014)
Visitors70,875 (+26.0% vs 2014)
All About Ghost didn't get a whole ton of love this year, because a lot of our focus was on building out Ghost For Beginners and All Ghost Themes. Despite that, the site stayed pretty consistent stats wise.
The pages per session and average session duration seem way down, because we are ranking very high for a Nginx proxy post that attracts people outside of Ghost. People come to grab our example config and leave. All About Ghost is kind of built for people to come and get what they need and go anyway, but that one post is exceptionally high.
All Ghost Themes
Pageviews169,847 (+157.0% vs 2014)
Sessions51,309 (+164.3% vs 2014)
Visitors39,152 (+165.7% vs 2014)
All Ghost Themes was a huge focus of ours this past year. It was originally built as a way to help us look for themes when making posts, but it actually generates quite a bit of traffic and makes us some money.
This site is also probably the hardest to work on, because it can feel so monotonous. Going through each page checking for errors, or looking at theme after theme trying to find unique ways to describe them can be grueling, but we like this site and think that it is extremely helpful.
We are also currently in the process of making some nice improvements to the site that should help speed things up and make finding quality themes easier.
Ghost for Beginners
Pageviews242,179 (+48.5% vs 2014)
Sessions114,261 (+83.7% vs 2014)
Visitors73,520 (+84.9% vs 2014)
Ghost for Beginners has taken over the mantle of our most visited site. This site definitely got the most attention throughout the year. With the release of the eBook, and the completely built out theming section. We have loved what this site has become.
We think some of the growth has been slowed by the expanse of Ghost's own support.ghost.org, but the number of articles on the site is definitely going to grow, especially in the theming area as Ghost continues to expand its capabilities.
This is definitely the site we think could benefit the most from some SEO work.
How to Install Ghost
Pageviews148,648 (-22.0% vs 2014)
Sessions97,724 (-14.1% vs 2014)
Visitors72,595 (-11.4% vs 2014)
How to Install Ghost has been on a slight decline for quite some time. When the site first launched it was the only one of its kind with completely unique articles. Now, all of our articles are competing with dozens of others and sometimes with the hosting companies themselves.
To be honest, we don't really know if there is a way to get this site onto an upward path, because more and more install articles are made every day. This site still generates about 80% of our revenue though, so we definitely still need it around, but we aren't sure how to really expand it because of the micro-niche that it is.
How to Ghost
How to Ghost is a site we started out of a serious need to create some sort of branding. It has become a very fun place to blog, because it is really the only non-technical site we have. It allows for more freeform writing about our experiences, updates, or whatever else.
We are planning to put more articles on this site detailing what we do and how we do it just in case it may help someone else.
Total: $6,101.94 (+$2410.25 vs 2014)
Here is a breakdown of all the income we made and what sources it came from:
Total: $5,553.39 (+$2193.58 vs 2014)
- DigitalOcean - $4,295.00 (+$1765.00 vs 2014)
- A Small Orange - $575.00 (+$309.75 vs 2014)
- DreamHost - $28.50 (-$147.25 vs 2014)
- Webfaction - $42.60 (-$2.05 vs 2014)
- A2 Hosting - $180.00
- Themeforest - $280.62 (+$100.62 vs 2014)
- Creative Market - $69.10
- Amazon - $82.51
Total: 548.55 (+$236.67 vs 2014)
- Book Advance - $300.00
- Ghost for Beginners eBook - $248.55
As you can see, DigitalOcean again made up the huge majority of our income. We have been working to spread our income into other areas, such as the eBook, because it makes us a little uncomfortable most all our income with one company. If they decide to change something, then we may be out of luck.
That being said, DigitalOcean is the hosting company that we recommend (along with Ghost(Pro)), and that won't change no matter what. We host all our sites with them and they have an amazing service.
The income from Themeforest and Creative Market were also nice additions this year. Those are directly from All Ghost Themes, so that site is more than pulling its weight right now which is nice.
Total: $1,499.66 (-$555.97 vs 2014)
Total: $449.93 (-$367.07 vs 2014)
- Hosting - $86.42 (-$350.12 vs 2014)
- Domains - $265.82 (-$40.67 vs 2014)
- Amazon S3 - $97.69 (+$30.86 vs 2014)
Total: $1049.73 (-$188.90 vs 2014)
- Campaign Monitor - $45.00
- PO Box - $123 (+$23 vs 2014)
- Software - $34.00 (-$52.00 vs 2014)
- Design - $368.25 (+$206.79 vs 2014)
- Business Lunch - $56
- Ghost T-Shirts - $72.51
- CPA - $150
- Virtual Assistant - $39.50
- Donations to Ghost Foundation - $161.47
Most of the reason the expenses were down this year is because we didn't spend the $575 on buying Ghost for Beginners. Also, our hosting cost on DigitalOcean went down a ton because some of our other sites had their own affiliate accounts, but weren't allowed to be paid out, so they turned into hosting credits.
Total: $4,602.28 (+$2426.22 vs 2014)
All in all it was an amazing year. We almost doubled the profit that we made last year, got a ton of new content up, and expanded into a couple new areas.
Thank you all again for being apart of our community! We could not ask for a better group of people to interact with everyday.
We are extremely stoked for another awesome year for us and for Ghost. #keepblogging 👻🎉
David Balderston and Andy Boutté