Blogging Wizard - Case Study

Digital Marketer Adam Connell’s Blogging Wizard Increased Pageviews up to 2.6 Million and Generated $600,000 in Commission After Moving to Cloudways

casestudy-Blogging Wizard

Blogging Wizard

In Conversation With

Adam Connell

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About Blogging Wizard

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Blogging Wizard has been a well-known name for individuals and businesses that want to accelerate their growth rate with proven strategies shared by Adam Connell, the founder of Blogging Wizard. He has been working in the industry since 2012 and has helped hundreds of businesses to maximize their impact on customers.

Adam Connell was looking for a hosting platform that could go hand in hand with his growing blog and make it available even after traffic spikes. He tried different options, but his search ended with Cloudways. This case study highlights all his challenges and how he overcame them while improving the pageviews and affiliate commission after moving to Cloudways.

Cloudways: Hello Adam, tell us a little bit about Blogging Wizard. How and when did you start? What are some of the projects that you are proud of?

Adam Connell: Hey there. Sure thing. Around June/July of 2012, I started working at a marketing agency. We could say that I was thrown in at the deep end. I was learning a lot about marketing, so I wanted to create a platform where I could share what I was learning.

Blogging Wizard went live in December 2012. It’s changed a lot over the years, but it’s one of the projects that I’m most proud of. We reach millions of bloggers each year. Another project I’m extremely proud of is UK Linkology.

Back in my agency days, the launch was somewhat of a pet project of mine. After 3-4 months, we had a new 6-figure business on our hands. Which is incredible since I only spent a few days each month on marketing.

Cloudways: Why did you choose WordPress as the center of your business model? What was it about the platform that led to this decision?

Adam Connell: Years ago, I started an online record label while I was at college. I originally used Dreamweaver to build the site, but it took too long to maintain. WordPress allowed me to build a website that looked great and was much easier to maintain.

At the time, nothing offered the same level of flexibility or support from the community. While there are plenty more alternatives these days, WordPress’s ecosystem is incredible. Nothing can match it.

Sure, website builders provide fewer technical hurdles, but they are incredibly restrictive and don’t have any of the other benefits of open-source software.

Cloudways: What are some of the challenges that you have faced with running a blogging business? How do you overcome these challenges?

Adam Connell: The main challenges I’ve faced typically relate to growing pains. Mainly of a technical nature. But while technical challenges are tedious to deal with, every single one can provide an opportunity to learn. For example, one of the more recent issues we faced was restrictions with our previous web host.

Support wasn’t able to explain what was happening. But we found that we’d start facing errors as more of our team logged in and used the site.

After some more digging, we found the issue was due to hitting PHP worker limits. Our previous host allowed 3 PHP workers maximum. This was one of our primary reasons for moving to Cloudways.

Cloudways: Competition is fierce when it comes to blogging. How did you manage to break through the noise?

Adam Connell: Breaking through the noise is never easy. The key is to dig in and do your research. Identify what others are doing well and not so well. Then fill the negative space.

This ultimately boiled down to three key factors:

  • Long-form content;
  • Leverage influence;
  • Subject matter expertise.

Other bloggers had been writing long-form content for a while. That’s nothing new, but most bloggers were focused on short-form content.

The reality is that every blog needs a diverse content strategy. Just publishing long-form content is difficult to sustain, but I make sure we publish a large pillar article every so often. For example, we published an article on 30+ ways to get more blog traffic that gained much traction. A more recent example is our post on 30+ digital products to sell on Etsy.

The key to getting the blog traffic article right was that each piece of advice was actionable and specific. We created an example-driven article to inspire creators for digital products to sell on Etsy.

This would be done in several ways when it comes to leveraging influence. Blogging is a team sport. You grow faster when you help others grow.

Initially, this would be done by mentioning other bloggers, including quotes, etc. Later, I ran some group interviews. The sort of “How to get noticed online: 40 pros share their top tips” kind of thing.

This was before the “expert roundup” post thing went crazy. Only I and a few others were doing them back in the day.

Cloudways: Other than Blogging Wizard, what projects are you currently working on? Are there more blogging sites you are looking to launch in the future?

Adam Connell: My other main project right now is Startup Bonsai. I like to think of this site as an evolution of Blogging Wizard.

We cover similar topics with a different audience – small business owners. My mission with this site is to share the insights and resources that small businesses need to grow faster. They can compete with heavy industry heavyweights on a more level playing field.

Also, a while back, I launched Tone Island to provide a creative outlet for another of my passions – guitar and music production.

Cloudways: Why did you choose Cloudways? Describe your selection process and what criteria you were looking for. What made our solution stand out over others that you researched?

Adam Connell: I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years, and in that time, I have used a lot of different web hosts, so I had a good idea of what I was looking for.

My last web host did a good job for the money, but there was no scalability, and we were hitting PHP worker limits constantly.

So, there were several things I was after specifically:

  • Higher PHP worker limits – The number of PHP workers dictates the number of dynamic PHP tasks that can be carried out. Cloudways offered higher limits than our previous host.
  • Scalability – We serve millions of visitors each year, and Cloudways allowed us to scale resources to meet the needs of our users.
  • Speed – We tested several of the cloud hosts supported by Cloudways and chose Vultr. This was before Vultr High Frequency was added, but our speed tests went extremely well. Our site now loads faster both on the front end and back end.
  • Control – The ability to resolve issues ourselves was critical. With our last host, we had to contact their support to resolve the smallest of issues. Most of these issues would be solved by restarting specific server processes. Cloudways gave us the control we needed to solve most issues quicker, thanks to its feature-rich control panel.
  • Affordability – Cost control was an important factor, so it was critical to go with a company that priced its services fairly. In my research, I found Cloudways to offer huge value for money vs other web hosts.

Cloudways: How long have you been with Cloudways? What sort of things does Cloudways help Blogging Wizard with?

Adam Connell: We migrated Blogging Wizard over in February 2020. Since then, I’ve moved over to my personal blog, Startup Bonsai, and WP Superstars (this site was later merged with Blogging Wizard).

The process of moving over the sites was incredibly simple. With other hosts, I’d have to wait around for the support team to migrate my site. I love the fact that Cloudways has its own migration plugin. And it’s powered by my favorite backup plugin – BlogVault.

For the most part, the flexibility of the Cloudways platform has allowed me to move through potential roadblocks faster than I could with other web hosts. A critical factor here is the Cloudways dashboard. It offers a huge amount of control.

For example, in the past, I used to spend a lot of time explaining issues to my previous web host. Most of the issues can be resolved by restarting server processes, but that had to be handled by support.

With Cloudways, I can just open up the platform and reboot these processes in moments. This has been a huge time saver. I can easily clone my server and push it to a different host. Recently, I used this feature to move all my sites over to Vultr High Frequency.

And for those times when I do need a bit of help somewhere, I can jump on live chat and speak to someone within minutes. Most importantly – I get answers to my questions fast.

Cloudways: How did Cloudways help you resolve your problems? What do you think about the performance, speed, and security offered by Cloudways?

Adam Connell: The performance is incredible. There was a night and day difference after migrating my website. Higher availability and faster speeds.

What I particularly enjoyed personally was the fact that the back end of WordPress loaded far quicker. It was always a bit sluggish with my previous host. This has helped us be more productive.

Before migrating my sites, I ran speed tests with several of the cloud hosts supported by Cloudways. Vultr was the one we settled on. It provides a great balance between performance and affordability. We upgraded to Vultr High Frequency recently for even better performance.

Security is a big focus of Cloudways. I love the extra control I get within the platform. And there’s out-of-the-box support for Sucuri and Cloudways. The bot blocker powered by BlogVault is a nice addition too.

Cloudways: Share your experience with WordPress, PHP, & WooCommerce. How challenging is it to optimize them for performance? How many of your clients are hosted on Cloudways?

Adam Connell: I’ve been working with WordPress for 10+ years, but I’m not a developer, so this does present some challenges.

Since first migrating sites over to Cloudways, I’ve enjoyed working my way through the platform. It offers some nice options for improving performance. Options that aren’t available on most other hosting platforms. And it’s great that Cloudways has a dedicated caching plugin for new WordPress installs.

I only manage my own sites these days. I then handled marketing and web design projects for some big brands. I only wish I was aware of Cloudways back then. It would have made our projects a lot simpler to handle.

Cloudways: Which hosting company was you using before Cloudways, and what limitations made you switch? When did you first come to know about Cloudways?

Adam Connell: Before February 2020, I hosted my higher-traffic sites with WPX Hosting.

My smaller sites are still hosted with them. Overall my experience with them has been good. But for my larger sites, I was beginning to run into limitations due to our growth. Sluggish WordPress admin area, PHP worker limits, and no scalability.

I’d known of Cloudways for quite a few years by this point. I asked around to get some feedback from my contacts, and they suggested that I give Cloudways a try. Soon after, I moved all my high-traffic sites over, and I’ve had no regrets.

Cloudways: What are the three most used features on Cloudways that help increase productivity or that you find very useful?

Adam Connell: The most useful feature for me is the staging feature. Sure, most hosts have staging right now, but Cloudways makes it incredibly easy to push/pull data between staging & live. This means I don’t have to keep deleting the staging area and recreating it. It’s very flexible.

Then there’s the control over server processes. I can reboot processes, clear server caches, etc. It’s quick and easy. And, I can install Redis for improved performance. Awesome.

Most managed WordPress hosts I’ve used previously don’t have this option. I’d have to jump on live chat and explain the issue to support staff each time. This has enabled me to solve simple issues far more quickly.

And I love that I can increase server resources with a few clicks. I’d potentially need to migrate the entire site to a new host for other hosts. It’s nice not having to worry about this type of stuff.

Cloudways: What five things do you think we do better than any other hosting provider, and why would you recommend your customers to use Cloudways?

Adam Connell: I’ve touched upon a few of these already. But here are some of what I think Cloudways does incredibly well:

  • Affordability – What Cloudways offers for the money is incredible.
  • Scalability – If my server runs low on resources, I can scale up resources within moments. No need to migrate servers or move hosts.
  • Control – I can choose the cloud provider I want, tweak app and server settings, and view traffic/error logs. The level of control I have over my website is incredible.
  • Balance of simplicity and functionality – Most hosts are too simple to restrict your control or too complex to manage unless you’re a developer. Cloudways has a great balance between the two which is perfect for me.
  • Responsiveness of support – With some of the more mainstream web hosts, I’ve spent 45 minutes+ just trying to ask a simple question on live chat. With Cloudways, I can quickly jump on live chat and speak to a real person.

Cloudways: It would be great if you could share some pictures (stats, performance, team, etc)

Adam Connell: Sure thing. Despite the turbulence of 2020, we managed to break over 2.6 million pageviews on Blogging Wizard:

And from just one of our affiliate partnerships, we have surpassed $600,000 in commissions:

This amounted to around 15,400+ individual transactions.

Now, I’d love to share a gratuitous photo of a large team of people wearing branded t-shirts, but the reality is that I’m able to run a lean 6 figure online business with a few full-time members of staff and several freelancers.

We tried the office thing shortly before the pandemic started but decided to go back to 100% remote. Here’s a photo of my workspace:

Thanks to Cloudways, I don’t have to worry about hosting, so I can focus on growing my business and enjoying hobbies such as making music, etc. And that’s the dream, right?

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