Hillrunner.com 2004 review

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    2004 was a great year for Hillrunner.com in some terms and not quite as wonderful in other terms. Here is my breakdown of the year in two terms of importance, visitor statistics and revenue statistics.

    My goal with visitors is simple. I want to see a growth. This was definitely the case this year. The numbers as of now (should all be in now but some December numbers could still trickle in) have been very good. In January, Hillrunner.com had 7854 visits by 4168 unique visitors. December showed some confusing numbers but, if I am to believe them, 17,384 visits by 7131 unique visitors. If I don’t want to believe the December numbers, I see no reason not to believe the November numbers of 10,076 visits by 4367 unique visitors. For the whole year, we had 113,579 visits by up to as many as 55,957 unique visitors (every visitor could be counted up to 12 times, 1 per month). I don’t have exact numbers from previous years but these numbers blow any previous year out of the water. (Explanation of visits and unique visitors in the sidenotes.)

    My goal with revenues is also simple. I would like to see costs covered with enough left over to help out some running related causes. Depending on what costs are counted, this may or may not have happened. I’m not sure how specific I should or am allowed to get with money, so I’ll offer general observations. On revenues, Road Runner Sports carried the load but, in less than half of 2004, the Google ads were a solid second. Amazon also had numbers worth noting. Other than those advertisers, none had numbers that would register on the chart. Expenses related to server and domain registration costs were easily covered by revenues. Once including costs of covering the Olympic Trials in St. Louis, team registration for Al’s Run, plus $100 in charitable contributions in 2004, revenues fell slightly short of covering those costs. The expense that really drove this over the edge was the trip to St. Louis but this was also the event that brought visitors to the site and will hopefully help drive revenues into the future.

    Some sidenotes:

    I am a little disappointed that revenues were not high enough to support more charitable contributions. I want to give back to running related causes but I simply didn’t have the money to do so. 2002 and 2003 were better years than 2004 in terms of revenues and that allowed me to give more back to worthy running related causes.

    On that note, while I am happy that the basic costs of the site were covered with revenues, I am a little concerned about the trend. While I’m not one who likes to beg for money, please remember that the ads placed on this site are how the bills are paid. I appreciate the support by those of you who have supported Hillrunner.com by using the ads on this site and I want to thank you for helping me pay the Hillrunner.com bills.

    Overall, 2004 was a very good but not great year. I am happy with how 2004 went for Hillrunner.com but there is still room for improvement. The number of people we have coming to Hillrunner.com is wonderful and it lays the groundwork for a very successful future. However, I do not feel like I am meeting my financial goals with the site. I have never had any intentions of becoming the next Internet millionaire but I have hoped all along for the site to pay for itself and give me enough to give back to running.

    Visits: This is one visit to the site by one visitor. The software that tracks number of visits will keep track for a certain time between hits on the site so if you open up a browser window and browse around all day, maybe once per hour, you are only counted as one visit. If you open up a browser window twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, it will be counted as two visits.

    Unique visitors: This is a tracking of unique computer IP addresses on a monthly basis. Roughly speaking, this means if you visit the site from five different computers, you are counted as five different unique visitors. However, if five different people visit from the same computer, they are counted as one unique visitor. The counter is reset every month so one computer will be counted as one unique visitor no matter how many times you visit the site using it in a single month and will be counted as a maximum of 12 unique visitors in a year no matter how many times you visit over the course of a year.

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