18 Month Progress Report

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 months since I launched ESL Jobs World. My active development has had roughly two phases, one lasting about two months in March and April of 2007, and another for two months in November and December of 2007. The remaining time I’ve let the site more or less take care of itself, with periodic checks to ensure it’s still up and running successfully. I’m about to embark on a new round of development, though, so I thought it would be helpful for me to summarize the current status of the site.

Traffic Overview

My traffic has been consistently growing month after month. It has been averaging about 30,000 unique visitors per month and 100,000 page views per month. The sources of the traffic are roughly 78% from search engines, 11% from links from other web sites, and 11% from direct traffic such as bookmarks or visitors typing the address into their browser. This traffic has all been organic. While I experimented with PPC advertising for a few months in late 2007 and early 2008, I didn’t feel the ROI justified the expense, and my sense was that there was significant click fraud as well. As a result, I have not engaged in any PPC advertising in well over six months, and will likely not pursue it for the foreseeable future.

Search Engine Results Overview

I have been trying to rank well in the major search engines for a few keyword phrases, most specifically “ESL jobs” and “English teaching jobs,” as my research has shown they are the highest searched terms that most closely correspond with the niche of ESL Jobs World. My results have been quite good, especially considering the length of time my site has been live compared to its competitors. For a search using “ESL jobs,” the site is ranked #2 with Google, #6 with Yahoo, and #3 with MSN. For “English teaching jobs,” the site is ranked #2 with Google, #2 with Yahoo, and #1 with MSN. These rankings have been fairly consistent month to month, with little variation. I periodically work to establish more inbound links using those keyword phrases with directories and related sites, which is the primary means to further increase their position.

Subscriber Overview

There are two types of users that can register with ESL Jobs World, teachers and employers. At present, over 1200 teachers are subscribed to a weekly newsletter that summarizes recent job posts, and over 1400 employers have registered to post jobs. Of the employers, slightly more than 10 percent are active every week, and about 300 jobs are posted every week. Growth of both registered teachers and employers has been steady and consistent, which is a necessary condition to ensure a healthy community and the future success of the site. Every week, about 2% of the unique visitors to the site choose one of the forms of registration. Increasing this percentage is a key objective.

Income and Expense Overview

Of course, the bottom line is how much income the site is generating. At present, it earns about $400 per month exclusively from Google Adsense. Its only direct expense is $10 per month in hosting charges. I briefly experimented with Kontera and AdBrite, but did not feel either was a good fit for my particular niche as the ads they served were not well targeted. Of course the overall ROI of the site is strong, but it’s nowhere near the original goals I set when it launched. Fortunately, there a number of areas that I can pursue in the weeks and months ahead to significantly increase its monthly income.