How Online Solitaire grew to $15k/month 

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.


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