SiteGuru Update: How We Went From $400 To $12K MRR In 3 Years

Published: November 25th, 2022
Rick van Haasteren
Founder, SiteGuru
$5K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
SiteGuru
from Katwijk, South Holland, The Netherlands
started January 2018
$5,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
Discover what tools Rick recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hey there! I’m Rick, the founder of SiteGuru, the SEO tool for online marketers. SEO can be quite intimidating if you’re not an SEO expert. It’s our goal to make organic traffic growth possible for everyone without first becoming an SEO expert.

We do that by giving you an easy-to-understand SEO to-do list after auditing your site. Also, we connect to Google Search Console and Google Analytics to give our users and easy to understand of SEO dashboard, without having to log in to three different tools.

Our main clients are in-house marketers and small business owners, but even SEO agencies love the simplicity of the product.

We’re currently at around 12.000 MRR, up from about $400 when I first shared our story here.

siteguru

Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

We had incredible growth for basically all relevant KPIs last year. Our monthly revenue is now at around $12.000, up from just around $2.000 last year. Churn remains low, our traffic keeps increasing, and most importantly, we’re getting super positive feedback from our clients.

It’s been a magical feeling to see how everything seems to come together. I’ve worked on this product for years without a lot of traction in the first few years. But last year, the product has improved, our marketing efforts started paying off and the business has grown a lot.

That motivates me to keep going. I still have a lot of ideas for the product, and now that I’m able to outsource some tasks to other people, I have more time to focus on building new features.

The product has shifted from being just an SEO audit tool to becoming more of an overall SEO tool that includes keyword tracking, monitoring performance, and helping people run their websites.

From day one, I have aimed to build an easy-to-use SEO tool. Most tools start like that, but as they grow, they become more complex and harder to use. I’m proud to see that pretty much everyone who reviews our product talks about how easy it is, even if they are not SEO experts. That’s always been the goal, so it’s great to see that that has worked.

The funny thing is that I haven’t changed much: we still focus on content marketing, and building a great product. It’s just that you need to keep pushing and stick to your idea. Success doesn’t come overnight: it takes years.

Some stats:

Weekly signups:

siteguru

Monthly visitors:

siteguru

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

I always thought that our technical setup was very scalable, but as it’s grown in the past years, I still kept facing bottlenecks in the system. Crawling around 100,000 pages every day is something different than crawling 10,000. It took some work to make sure the platform kept running smoothly with this continued growth.

One other thing is on a more personal level: building a project and managing it by yourself can be a bit lonely. I took on some consultancy gigs to have more interaction with other people, and that worked well. As a bonus, these side projects also help me learn how to further improve SiteGuru, so that’s a win-win situation.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

It’s been cool to see how working on a product for a couple of years finally started paying off: SiteGuru got the traction and revenue growth I had been hoping for. It taught me that just putting your head down and putting in the work while listening to your customers eventually pays off.

I’ve also realized that with my never-ending to-do list, demanding customers and so many ideas, it’s super important to decide what to focus on, and what not. Earlier on, I would just get to work and start with whatever was on top of my to-do list (ok, and sometimes just what I felt like). But now, I try to be a bit more deliberate about what I’m working on.

Every 3 months I create a plan for the next quarter. I list several focus areas, as well as some areas that I’ll stay away from. Then every weekend, I try to plan the week and decide what I’ll work on. I try to center my tasks for the week around one specific theme (like onboarding, marketing, or outreach). I’ve noticed that I’m a lot more productive when I take on a specific area in a week without too much distraction. It helps me go deep on that topic, and make better decisions.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

There are so many more opportunities for SiteGuru to help marketers succeed with SEO. For the next year, it’s my focus to come up with even smarter SEO suggestions for clients, in a way that can truly boost their organic performance.

By adding more external data sources, the tool can make better predictions about what will work for our clients. Also, many of our clients are SEO or online marketing agencies. We’ll add more features to help agencies work together with their clients, and move a bit more upmarket.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

The Minimalist Entrepreneur by Sahil Lavignia is a great read for entrepreneurs like me. It’s about how not every company needs to become a unicorn, and that speaks to me and how I want to build SiteGuru into something bigger without rushing it.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Like many SaaS founders, I’m a solo entrepreneur. I like that because it gives me a lot of freedom. But there’s also a downside: you miss outside opinions and people who can hold you accountable. Also, it means that literally, every task in running the business is on your plate: from the technical stuff to accounting, and from marketing to customer support.

Therefore I can recommend hiring a coach who can challenge you, and who can bring you an outside viewpoint. It helps you sharpen your vision. Also, being held accountable means you have extra motivation to focus on things you would otherwise postpone, but which are important.

Also, I’ve hired a freelancer to do my content marketing and social media. It’s those things I always dreaded doing, but I know they can help me grow my business. I was lucky to find someone who understands my business and customers. It’s been great to have some of the work off my plate, so I can focus on other things.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’m not planning to hire anyone in the short term, but I love working with inspirational people on a freelance basis to help me progress the company.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!