SpoonGraphics

It’s that time of year when Spoon Graphics gets a little older, with 2020 marking 13 years of tutorial creating, freebie sharing and article writing on what started as a blog that was attached to my portfolio website in 2007. Every April I take some time to reflect on the past 12 months and talk about how things have changed. Last year I talked about how much the landscape of the Internet has changed since I started Spoon Graphics and my worry for what the future might hold, so let’s take a look at the latest stats and figures and see how things are going another year on.

Spoon Graphics 2020

I always start these anniversary posts with links to my previous yearly celebrations. It’s interesting to go back and see how my blog has evolved:

Spoon Graphics Traffic Stats

Traffic change: -23%
Top Content: 25 Adobe Illustrator Brush Sets You Can Download For Free (2016) & 45 T-Shirt Mockup Templates You Can Download for Free (2017) (NEW)
Email Subscribers: 189,773 (up 14% from 2019)*
YouTube Channel Subscribers: 332,014 (up 30% from 2019)
Highest Traffic Peak (This Year): Tuesday May 14th 2019 – 17,517 visitors (10 Distressed Vector Halftone Patterns for Illustrator)
Highest Traffic Peak (All Time): Tuesday November 11th 2014 – 44,592 visitors (How To Create a Realistic Painted Effect in Photoshop)
*I gave my mailing list a spring clean which removed almost 65,000 inactive subscribers, so that total figure would have been even larger!

Spoon Graphics 2020 Analytics

Unfortunately, traffic levels have nosedived this year by the largest amount ever with a 23% reduction in visitors, taking me back to the kind of figures I was getting in 2008, just a year after creating Spoon Graphics. That’s down -56% from its peak in 2012. The biggest factor seems to be a 30% decrease in Google Search traffic, which might explain why there’s a new entry in my Top Content this year. My roundup of 20 Free PSD Templates to Mockup Your Poster Designs had been my most-trafficked content for several years until it dropped to 2nd place last year. In its place is a roundup of T-Shirt mockup templates from 2017, so it seems like Google might have dropped many of my older posts from their established search rankings.

Spoon Graphics 2020 Email Stats

While traffic levels have plummeted, it is good to see my subscriber counts are continuing to rise, by an additional 24,000 email subscribers, and 77,000 YouTube subscribers. One success story I have to share is a tweak to one of my newsletter signup forms that tripled my daily new subscriber rate! Previously, a popup window prompting users to subscribe to receive my free bundle would appear when they had clicked to download one of my resources. It was my most successful signup form, but it appeared after the file was supplied. I’ve never wanted to make it mandatory to supply an email address in order to download an item, so instead I made a ‘forced interaction’ popup, which appears the first time someone clicks a download. It asks whether you want ALL my resources in one go by subscribing or to just download that individual file. The signup stats clearly show a huge increase in new subscribers, with only a minimal increase in the number of unsubscribes.

Spoon Graphics 202 YouTube Analytics

Views stats over at my Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel had also been in a slow decline in mid-2018 to early-2019, but thankfully I struck gold with the YouTube algorithm with a tutorial titled How to Give Your Photos the Cyberpunk Look in Photoshop. Within a week my channel saw a large spike in views that set a new all-time high. It was short-lived as traffic returned to normal by the end of the month, but I’ve seen a steady trend upwards in views since.

Technical stats

Powered by: WordPress
Hosted on: Bare Metal Server (NEW)
Server location: Dallas
Monthly bandwidth: 13TB
Average running costs: $1870 per month (up 22% from 2019)

My server setup was upgraded again this year, this time from a VPN to a Bare Metal Server setup. Even though I previously upgraded to a 10TB bandwidth package, I was still seeing overage charges every month due to the sheer number of free downloads I host. A deal came up on a Bare Metal Server with a 20TB bandwidth limit, which has saved me a large chunk of money each month by avoiding those overage charges. Despite this, growth in my mailing list has still resulted in a 22% increase in costs!

Website vs YouTube?

Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel

One of the difficult decisions I now have is how I should divide my time between my Spoon Graphics website and my Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel. The subscriber and view stats on YouTube are dramatically outperforming my website, so maybe that’s where the future lies for Spoon Graphics? On the other hand, it’s this Spoon Graphics website that allows me to pay the bills and earn a living through the Access All Areas membership, the affiliate promotions I send out to my mailing list, and the recent paid products I released. It sounds like I need to think of ways to funnel those 300,000 YouTube subscribers over to Spoon Graphics! As always, thank you to all my readers, from veteran subscribers who have been around since the early days, to newcomers who have just discovered my content. I appreciate all your support!

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21 Comments

  1. Chris, this was a great article, one that made it very real what you have to do in order to keep going. I love all of your content and so, after reading this, I will work out how to pay for an All Access membership. Thanks so much for doing what you do!!!!!

    • Thank you so much Trish! I really appreciate your support. I hope you find those premium resources useful

  2. Thanks for sharing yet again Chris. Your continuous growth has always been inspiring. There are few OG bloggers left!

    • Thank you Jacob! I think we deserve some kind of veteran recognition haha. Did you know that you are the first person to have commented on my very first post?

  3. Thank you for the reports, it is highly informative… the utube shares show that people consume video and video, but it is hard to turn it into a profit that make your work substainable… keep it up with the good work !!

  4. Because Adobe is becoming more insolent and not everyone can afford the CC. I now also work with alternatives. Unfortunately, I can no longer understand most of your tutorials with my old Photoshop version. Sorry for my bad English. Greetings from Germany (Niedersachsen, Oldenburg)

  5. Thank you again for sharing great information with us. I hope you keep your website I’ve been following you since I was a student and love what you do.

    • Thank you Suzanne, don’t worry Spoon Graphics isn’t going anywhere! Even if I decide to focus more on YouTube those videos will be embedded as posts here too.

  6. Thanks for the great yearly roundup. I’ve been a subscriber since 2008 and probably the only one graphic blogger I kept subscriptions to. Although I don’t always click open all your emails, I kept the ones I find useful in a ‘save for later’ folder. Thanks for the straightforward, simple and easy to understand contents. It makes it easy to digest when time is tight!

  7. Congrats on 13 years, Chris. That is an amazing feat, especially given how short peoples attentions spans are and how quickly a lot of sites come and go. Stinks to see traffic go down on here BUT with all of the other information you have re: where your traffic is going and what kind of content people are consuming, I bet that will help you make informed choices that could continue to drive traffic in the future.

    • Thanks so much Justin!
      It has been worrying see almost all the similar sites to mine come and go over the years, but hopefully I can continue riding the wave by adapting with the times

  8. Congratulations on 13 years! This was an interesting read. I realized that I am not doing you any favors. Somehow, I get your newsletter on two different emails. I will now unsubscribe from one, so I still get your emails without wasting your money by having two come my way.

    Congratulations, again!

  9. Chris – Congratulations on your years years of amazing tutorials, assets and generally being someone to look to for inspiration. I know I appreciate it immensely, and will be back to being a paid contributor as soon as possible.

    Many thanks meanwhile, you’re amazing!!!

  10. Hi Chris! thank you for all the inspiration given!, keep up the good work! many many thanks!

  11. Hi Chris,
    I have been subscribed to your newsletters for some time now. This is the first time I have come to your webpage, some great resources here. Viewing your emails on a desktop is great, although I mostly check emails on my mobile. This said; your links to membership which are at the very bottom of your newsletters have never compelled me to look any further. This is the same for your webpage, but once scrolled to the very bottom the membership deal has got me interested. One thing that has stopped me in my tracks though is I assume your prices are in GBP?

  12. Great post. Super interesting!
    Thanks for keeping your website going. It’s a wonderful resource.

  13. Thank you for your annual insights Chris and for all your amazing and hard work :) I’ve recommended you to friends and colleagues through every stage of my career and you still bring me ideas and inspiration just when I need it.

  14. Loved the article. It gives me a heads up on how much you really have to put into this business to make it run! I don’t watch enough Youtube content on my own, but have you ever considered throwing together a Skillshare as extra revenue content? You can even combine a couple of Youtube techniques (matched, something similar themes, say, all typography stuff) to have basically a 10 min built video.

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