This week we analyze a 13-year-old gardening site, GetBusyGardening.com. The site receives 327,000+ traffic per month (Ahrefs estimate).
The owner of this site has done an amazing job of growing the site as a solo operator. It appears that the owner, who is an expert in the niche, wrote all the articles on the site herself (unless she used a ghostwriter).
We analyze this already successful site in the competitive gardening niche and uncover ways that it can take traffic and earnings to the next level.
This is what I cover in this report:
- Website overview
- Major highlights
- Competitor overview
- Easy wins to increase revenue and/or traffic
- Actionable takeaways you can apply
Let’s get into it!
✅ Website Overview & Highlights
The website has very strong organic traffic growth over the last couple of years, growing from 90k traffic in September 2021 to 327k traffic in September 2023 (263% increase).
The site receives this traffic from only around 555 pages, an average of 589 traffic per article published.
Since 2021, organic traffic has trending upward without any major drops in traffic from Google updates.
The website was started in 2009 by Amy Andrychowicz, a software developer with a passion for gardening.
Amy is also the author of a popular gardening book titled Vertical Gardening, which is displayed prominently on the sidebar and adds great credibility to the site.
A majority of the articles on the site are “how to” tutorial articles on growing and caring for various indoor and outdoor plants. Some topics also overlap with the homesteading niche with articles about freezing or canning vegetables that are grown in the garden.
The site has many original photos of different plants which sets it apart from some gardening sites that use a lot of stock photos.
The owner added static Pinterest buttons below some photos to encourage visitors to share images. This has helped increase Pinterest sharing as the DIY Succulent Soil article has been shared 358,754 times on Pinterest.
The site also offers several informational products like eBooks and courses. Some examples include:
- Houseplant Pest Control eBook ($9.97)
- Starting Seeds Indoors eBook ($9.97)
- Houseplant Care for Everyone eBook ($15)
- The Seed Starting Course ($75)
The website design looks professional yet personal with a simple and minimal layout. The navigation is very minimal with plain text links and a large logo.
The design emphasizes the social accounts although some accounts like YouTube and LinkedIn are not frequently updated. A good addition to the site design would be an “As Featured On” box that shows top brands that mentioned the site.
- Pinterest account with 138k followers and 3.8 million monthly views
- 5,800 referring domains including many high-authority links
- About 555 well-written articles with original photos
Why is this site winning?
- Strong topical authority by covering specific gardening topics in depth with many related posts
- The author is a recognized expert in the gardening niche as a published author
- Strong link authority from mentions by many large media sites including Good Housekeeping, Huff Post, The Spruce, How Stuff Works, and many more
Top 3 Competitors
Here are similar competitors targeting many of the same keywords.
- JoyusGarden.com – A competitor site that focuses on taking care of houseplants and garden plants (187k Ahrefs traffic)
- GardenersPath.com – A basic gardening site covering how to grow different garden plants (1.3 million Ahrefs traffic)
- GardeningKnowHow.com – A large gardening site with several thousand articles about growing different garden plants (3.2 million Ahrefs traffic)
Let’s get into the easy wins to grow this specific website.
🔥 5 Easy Wins To Grow This Website
There are opportunities to significantly grow this brand. I break down the following easy wins:
- Expand content with more informational articles
- Add course or eBook call-to-action popup with timer
- Add listicle articles to grow traffic
- Add product reviews and buying guides
- Improve CRO of buying guides
Let’s get into it!
➡️ Win #1: Expand Content With More Informational Articles
Compared to competitors, this site has much fewer total pages at around 555 articles. For comparison, Epic Gardening has about 2,400 articles.
A high percentage of articles are how-to tutorials, but there are relatively few informational articles that cover basic information about specific garden plants or indoor plants.
The owner may not be interested in hiring outside writers as we couldn’t find any articles not written by Amy Andrychowicz.
Although the owner may be happy with being a solo business, a lot of potential traffic is available by aggressively adding more informational articles to the site.
With its very high link authority, the site should rank easily for many other keywords in the gardening niche.
Many low-hanging opportunities can be found by entering competitors into the Ahrefs keyword gap tool and then filtering for a keyword difficultly between 0-10.
➡️ Win #2: Add Course or eBook Call-To-Action Popup with Timer
With about 10 information products available for sale, the site could convert more visitors into paying customers by adding calls to action like a popup with a timer on relevant articles.
With a tool like ConvertBox, the site could display a popup when visitors stay on the page for a certain amount of time. The popup could explain the value of the eBook or course and include a call-to-action button and a countdown timer to encourage clicks.
Additionally, the text links for the eBooks and courses in the top left navigation could stand out more if changed to buttons with colors that contrast with the site’s color palate. With plain black text, these links are very easy for visitors to miss.
To optimize the conversion rate, the most relevant eBook or course should be offered in popups based on the topic of the article. For example, articles about plant propagation could display a popup for the seed starting course.
➡️ Win #3: Add More Listicle Articles to Grow Traffic
A proven type of content format that tends to generate a lot of traffic is listicles like “21 Best Container Plants for Pots Outdoors” (estimated 2,400 organic monthly traffic).
There are several listicle articles already on the site that are generating thousands of organic visitors per month. However, many more potential topics can be covered.
A good example of a similar site that does this well is Gardeners’ World, which has one listicle about the best perennials that generates over 33k organic traffic per month (Ahrefs estimate).
Listicles can also feature affiliate links for lists of products like their page “21+ Essential Tools Used for Gardening”.
Listicle content is great because it is not difficult to write and can be outsourced. Listicles tend to be longer content with many images, which means they will have more display ads than shorter articles. They often rank well for certain keywords and are more likely to be shared on social media sites like Pinterest.
➡️ Win #4: Add Product Reviews and Buying Guides
In the gardening niche, there are almost countless products that can make things easier or improve the garden.
This site publishes very few buying guides, but they have the link authority and topical authority to rank well for many commercial keywords.
Epic Gardening is a successful gardening case study that grew from $400 per month earnings in 2016 to 8 figures per year in 2023. They have a dedicated product review section on their site with many useful buying guides about different gardening products.
Get Busy Gardening could follow the example of Epic Gardening and increase revenue by adding more affiliate content.
➡️ Win #5: Improve CRO of Buying Guides
Although there are few buying guides on the site, the conversion rate optimization can be improved and applied to future buying guides that are added.
For example, the call to action buttons use the same orange color as the website’s design. The call to action buttons could use a contrasting color like red and more enticing text like “Check Price on Amazon”.
Other ways to increase the conversion rate of buying guides include adding a comparison table of products above the fold and adding popups to a top converting affiliate product.
👉 Actionable Takeaways
Here are actionable takeaways that you can apply to your niche website today:
- If your niche is a good fit for Pinterest, add static “Pin it” buttons to encourage sharing.
- If your site has much fewer articles than competitors, there may be a good opportunity to grow by aggressively adding content based on competitor keyword research.
- Test relevant popup calls to action (with a timer) for info products or affiliate links to increase revenue from existing traffic.
- Listicles can be a great content type to grow traffic and they typically earn good display ad RPM due to their length.