Michael Donovan - Case Study

How Cloudways Helps Michael Donovan Achieve Their Business Goals Through Performance and Scalability


In Conversation With

Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan

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About Michael Donovan

Michael Donovon is a content creator and publisher who has been working with his tech site for the past two years and has gotten incredible success. He hosts his site on Cloudways and is generating six figures from ad revenue.

But how does he do that? Well, Cloudways Maverick Brent Weaver unpacks it all with Michael today so you can see what lies behind his website’s incredible success. You can also follow his best practices and experience the magic yourself.

Let’s dive in!

Cloudways: Would you describe your business to our audience? What core business do you publish on top of Cloudways?

Michael: My primary business is what I refer to as a content site.

I am basically putting out content that ranks high on Google. 90% of my traffic is organic, and I’m using those page views to monetize them with display ads, which account for about 90-95% of my revenue.

Now I have some revenue coming from affiliates and Amazon Associates. The rates are pretty bad over there, so I haven’t spent much time trying to optimize there.

Most of my focus has been on content, so I’m in the content business, and the site that I’m happy to share is in the tech niche and is my business’s primary driver.

Cloudways: How does Cloudways help you achieve your business goals? Can you give us a highlight reel of where your content site is today in terms of traffic and revenue?

Michael: So the site is slightly over two and a half years old this month (May 2022). It should do close to 6,00,000 page views and track to about $22,000/month in revenue.

Those are the stats today. It took a while to get here. It wasn’t overnight, but, incredibly, a site with 250 posts can have that kind of output.

So, to run a business, you have to get into some expenses, and Cloudways is one of them, and it’s incredibly affordable compared to other businesses. I can’t imagine having costs that low.

Cloudways: We would love to know about the hosting plan you’ve chosen on Cloudways, so we would understand if you know some of the overhead or costs associated with running the site and maintaining it?

Michael: Currently, I have a 4 GB DigitalOcean hosting plan, and I pay $42.50/month. It’s a pay-as-you-go plan, and I can get into specifics about why I decided to move to Cloudways.

What I loved about it is that you can scale it up as you grow, so I just have to press a button and move from four gigs to eight gigs instantly.

The server is located in New York because I’m out of Boston, and I’ve been with Cloudways for eight months. I have had zero issues so far, and everything’s been great. I am happy with that decision to move over at this point.

Cloudways: I saw your tweet about your site benchmarking that you got your site speed score from 91% to 100% on mobile and desktop. What were some of the things that you did to achieve this?

Michael: want to caveat this by saying that if you’re very new to content sites, don’t worry too much and don’t get bogged down in the technical details.

I think it’s worth getting on Cloudways on day one because the lowest plan is ten dollars a month. I mean, you’re paying just $120/year.

Speed is a big part, and Cloudways has rapid load speeds in terms of the content being served, so I did two things. I moved my site to Cloudways, which has had an evident impact.

The other thing I did was to install a free plugin named flying scripts – a WordPress plugin used to delay certain JavaScript on your page until the user has an interaction.

If your site has ads, you can reach out to your ad provider and even ask them to delay ads for a specific time. It’s usually three or four seconds before the first interaction.

Cloudways: ou mentioned earlier that you’re on the DigitalOcean $42/month plan serving 600,000 page views a month. How is Cloudways’ uptime better than the other hosting providers?

Michael: It is an important point, and I look at it in a way that you can’t earn thousands of dollars a month if your site goes down multiple times in a month for half of the day.

So I wanted a good provider on the hosting side that ensured an excellent uptime because every second my site is up, I’m earning money.

If you go with a Bluehost or other hosting provider, that may provide scalability but may not work well for uptime.

I have done a lot of research on different hosts and have listened to many recommendations. So far, Cloudways has proven itself as the best for the last eight months. I haven’t had a single issue with the uptime.

Cloudways: You mentioned a couple of hosting providers. Were you always on Cloudways with your website?

Michael: I started on Bluehost and was paying just under $4/month. I didn’t know if my site was going to be successful or not.

I was just focused on the lowest cost, but as you learn more about hosting and how it works, you don’t need to be super technical to realize that Bluehost is fine for only a specific segment.

And then Bluehost is a shared service, meaning there might be a hundred other websites on your server, and those websites and their traffic may negatively impact you.

So once I learned about hosting, I decided to move all of my websites to Cloudways. And it has given me a dedicated server, which is totally awesome!

Cloudways: You’ve recently created nichetwins.com. Tell us a little about your vision with niche twins and how you’re helping other content creators achieve some of these similar results.

Michael:I shared the top 10 pages of my website with Keith (my brother). He dissected, studied, and then built his site, so his website is now seven months old and getting 40,000 sessions a month.

We both wanted to work together, so we created nichetwins.com, where we document and share the monthly updates regarding our earnings and growth. So this helps other users to learn how they can get this much traffic and is especially beneficial for small business content publishers.

We can also share the details on Twitter, as it is an excellent brand, but we wanted to go deeper. We wanted to share images and a lot more text than usual, allowing us to share stuff in a more digestible way instead of those short snippets.

Cloudways: Who would you recommend Cloudways in general? How do you benefit from it, and how can others take advantage of it?

Michael: I have a particular lens around content sites or blogs. If you’re in the business of affiliate marketing display ads, you need your site up at all times and be served quickly. Cloudways is a perfect blend of excellent performance and affordability if you need high uptimes and speed.

So anyone who takes their sites seriously and treats them as a business. Cloudways would work for them well.

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