In your own words, what does your company do?
Online Solitaire is a site where people can play popular solitaire games online for free. Every month 1m+ people play more than 4m+ games of Classic Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, FreeCell, and all the other 320 solitaire games available on the site.
📈 Monthly revenue: Around $15,000
📈 ~% Churn: N/A
📈 ~% Net profit: Around $15000 (only server costs and such)
📈 Funding: Bootstrapped
📈 What was the initial cost/investment to start the company?
Nothing. I designed and developed it myself. I switched the domain at some point which I paid $1000 for
📈 Number of team members: 1
📈 Started 2017, January
How does the company make money?
💰 The site is ad-based, so it makes money from display ads. It also has a subscription model for people who want to get rid of the ads, but very few people use it.
4 strategies that have worked to attract and retain customers?
✅ SEO has been the main driver of growth. As with most other ad-based businesses, the ROI doesn’t pan out for advertising.
✅ Having a big focus on design, functionality, and implementation has helped retain users. Listening to users’ feedback and answering emails has helped retain users.
✅ Releasing a Chrome Extension has worked well in regard to getting new users.
✅ Creating custom-branded solitaire games that other sites can implement on their site has helped to spread the word about Online Solitaire.
3-4 things that haven’t worked (or didn’t work as well) when it comes to growing the company?
❌ Blogging hasn’t been very successful for me. I’ve been blogging for a while, but as it turns out, people don’t search much for solitaire-related things.
❌ Releasing an Android app hasn’t been that successful either. The app has gotten 1000 downloads or so, but it hasn’t reached any impressive download numbers.
❌ Working with copywriters to create blog posts for me hasn’t worked out well. The blog posts have always seemed to be a bad copy of an already existing blog post. SEO seems to me to be a thing you need to do yourself.
Through starting & growing the business, what have been the 3 key lessons that have possibly changed the trajectory of the company?
✅ Implementing ads: It wasn’t until the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 that I decided to implement ads. To be honest, I didn’t really think that much money could be made on ads anymore, but it did generate a bit of money. That gave me the push to fix all the bugs on the website, improve the design, work on SEO, and do everything else I’ve done since then.
✅ Going full-time on the site: I’ve gone full-time on the site a few months back. Having the site as my main focus makes a lot of things possible that otherwise wouldn’t have.
✅ Overcoming my fear of SEO: I’ve had a love/hate relationship with SEO for a long time. I still do to some extent. It’s seemed like a black box of knowledge to me for the longest time, but now that I’ve finally started to dive into it, it doesn’t seem that frightening anymore.