Rolling into 2022 with 12 New Templates

IntroCave Updates

I might have used this image template last year. It's a good template.

New Category: Rolling into 2022 with 12 New Templates

Coming off a pretty rough 2020, I kicked off 2021 with pretty modest goals: keep the site running and keep putting out new videos.

Mission accomplished!

I added 171 new templates in 2021 and fixed up a bunch of old broken video templates, which brings the total up to 349 active templates with the 12 new ones this month. That's almost double in one year! In addition to keeping the site up and expanding the content library, I finished up 3 major features that had been on my TODO list since taking over the site in 2018:

It worked great for 2021, so I'm going to continue the trend and not set any major goals for 2022. If we're talking minor goals: finish swapping out IntroCave assets for the new branding (todo: social banners, Product Hunt), keep working on the content pipeline (the easier it gets to make new videos, the more time I can spend on other features), figure out ways to add more value to the subscription plans, and figure out what else I can automate.

2021: Fun with Numbers

According to my analytics, IntroCave / Intro Maker did just over 8 million page views in 2021 spread over about a million sessions. Topline revenue and profit are all a bit down but within swinging distance of the hightly covid-inflated 2019 numbers. A pretty good year numbers-wise!

Traffic tanked in October with the domain migration, but it's already starting to recover. I've been doing some basic SEO stuff for a few years now (mostly on the technical side), but I was always leery of doing heavy link building to the old domain. Now that Intro Maker is at its "forever home," I brought on an SEO agency to run that for me for at least a year or so.

Bringing on outside help will likely make Intro Maker unprofitable for a little while, but it has been a huge mental relief. There are always things that could be better, but the product is in the best shape it's been in since I bought the site. Driving more traffic will bring more chances to optimize/tune both the single video funnel and the subscription plans, which is where I'm happiest spending my time. I'm not likely to run the site at a loss for years, but in my head the best-case scenario is that at some point the extra traffic pays for the SEO work in perpetuity.

Not-Intro-Maker: MicroPE, Fitness, Games

Micro private equity (microPE) became a term in 2020, which I expect will be really good for me long-term. I'm reading a ton of newsletters and following a lot of folks on Twitter in that space (follow me on Twitter!. I'm back on my 2018 bullshit, looking at a ton of listings and building financial models on potential new sites to acquire. I swapped dozens of messages on MicroAcquire last year, but only made one serious offer (outbid!). I'm keeping tabs on a few projects that I think would be fun to own/operate, but I'm more in "keeping an eye out" mode than actively searching for deals.

From a microPE perspective, bringing on outside help is kind of weird. I believe it will significantly help the site and grow the long-term value (especially if I can shift more users over to subscription), but it completely tanks the SDE and valuation on paper in the short term. If I were to take Intro Maker back to FEInternational or MicroAcquire with an agency on the books in the last 12 months, I doubt a potential buyer would be willing to slide that over to the discretionary column. "Recurring but at-will" is kind of a weird place to be for expenses. From that point of view, I'm committed to running the site for at least another year (maybe forever!).

Possibly the best thing about 2021 was that I finally got to start reaping the benefits of full-time WFH after schools reopened (I'm still working a W-2 job 4 days a week). With all that extra not-commuting-and-not-babysitting time, I spent a shitload of time and money figuring out how to not be fat (which for me means quitting diet soda, weight lifting, Beat Saber, and getting outside a lot more). My family got super into biking and paddleboarding this year, we started rock climbing (which I hadn't done since before my 9yo was born), and we started taking archery lessons. My activity level ramped up across the year and I ended up dropping ~25 lbs (I'm still fat, though).

I try to do most of my IntroCave work on Fridays (my standing off-work day), but for the last few years that has bled over into the rest of my "tinker time." With the major overhauls behind me (fingers crossed) as of September/October, I've noticed that I have a lot more time and mental bandwidth available to work on other stuff (like shitty Tetris prototypes!).

I'm hoping to keep that trend going in 2022 and work on some other weird projects. I doubt I'll get to all of these, but here are some ideas for 2022:

  • turn the Tetris prototype into a strategy farming game
  • port some more of my old Flash/iOS puzzle games to html5
  • play around with generative art (FXHash? Something in Unity? html5?)
  • update my intro game programming course (once upon a time I was a fill-in college professor for a quarter) and run my oldest kid through it
  • do an electronics project
  • make more hot sauce

New Videos for January 2022

Maybe slightly too late to be useful, I grabbed some fireworks effects and rolled out 12 new videos just in time for the New Year. As usual, you can check out the IntroCave YouTube channel to see all the new videos in one reel. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new templates!

If you're not getting the newsletter, subscribe to the Intro Maker YouTube Channel to see the new videos each month.

Fireworks Tile Titles

Five text titles against fireworks, ending with a logo.

Fireworks Tile Logo

Your logo against blinking tiles and fireworks.

Fireworks Tile Text

Your title against blinking tiles and fireworks.

Fireworks Mosaic Titles

Four texts against a mosaic of fireworks, ending with your logo and subtitle.

Fireworks Mosaic v1 Logo

Short golden fireworks video with logo and subtitle.

Fireworks Mosaic v1 Text

Short golden fireworks video with title and subtitle.

Fireworks Mosaic v2 Logo

Short blue fireworks video with logo and subtitle.

Fireworks Mosaic v2 Text

Short blue fireworks video with title and subtitle.

Mosaic Slideshow

Mosaic slideshow ending with logo and subtitle.

Mosaic Photograph Logo

A single photo mosaic into logo and subtitle reveal.

Mosaic Photograph Text

A single photo mosaic into a title and subtitle reveal.

Photo Tile Slideshow

Five photographs with text ending with a logo.

it me

IntroCave is a one-person-show operated by Will Hankinson, but it's not 100% accurate to say every word is written by me. Some articles were live on the site when I took over. I hire writers from time to time to work on specific articles. People keep asking me to do guest posts, but I haven't actually seen any relevant submissions yet. "Intro Maker staff" might make a better by-line, but currently that's just me. I've been building digital things for 10+ years now, and some of my favorite projects are posted over at my personal website if you want to take a look!

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