2011 has been a very good year for us. We’ve now got a team of 13+ talented people writing for us on a regular basis and the site, despite a few hiccups, is on a trajectory we’re pretty happy with.
On the revenue side, things are growing nicely (which helps when you need to pay people!) but what I’m finding is forever eating up more of my time is throwing all these numbers together and preparing charts etc that compare year on year and month on month performance etc etc.
The problem is I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’m not from a business background (it took me three attempts to pass Accounting I — I switched to a BA to avoid Accounting II) and while I love making charts, I am making it up as I go.
I find over and over again that I’ve been summarising data in the wrong way and need to go back through 3,4,5 years of data and re-tabulate it. It’s great when you’re procrastinating, not so hot at other times.
Even when you get the data right, there’s not exactly a central respository of averaged out data that gives you some guidelines to benchmark against. There’s no point getting all excited about raising a conversion rate from 5% to 8% when the industry average for your niche in 19%.
So what I’m saying is a resource backed up with data that says ok, for hotel bookings you need to track A,B,C with moving averages over X & Y days. Track cancellations as a percentage, not raw numbers, chart time between booking and stay etc etc.
For other affiliate areas, serve up industry average conversion rates for a content site. For eg X for insurance, Y for books, Z for tours etc. Attach to this some templates for spreadsheets that you can pour data into so that now not only are you saving time but you’re looking at representations of data that fit some kind of “bigger picture view”.
I realise all sites are different and, especially in travel, there’s many variations and vagueries, but if I’d been able to get something like this five years ago, it would have saved me an awful lot of time. An awful lot of time.
So if you’re an “ebooker” looking for an ebook worth writing, there’s a new pet project for you
What would I pay? I dunno — $500 to a grand depending on level of detail and, importantly, how much time it would save me.