Since its inception in 2007, GardeningKnowHow.com has become a gardener's guide to everything green, reaching over 180 million plant parents and gardening enthusiasts annually. "Our founder likes to call it a hobby that got out of hand," says Peggy Doyle, Gardening Know How's CEO. Founder Heather Rhoades wanted a business that could combine her digital marketing skills with her passion for gardening, and that same desire to pursue one's passion attracted Peggy to the CEO job in 2018. With a team of 12 full-time employees and 16 part-timers and freelancers, Heather and Peggy have built the business into one of the largest online gardening resources.
Gardening Know How
Peggy Doyle, CEO
Growing an audience of 180M gardeners and a blooming business
"Since I joined, I wanted to build on Heather's strong foundation," shares Peggy. To deliver on that, one area of focus has been "optimizing ad opportunities and finding ways to improve user experience." The Gardening Know How site started using AdSense to earn ad revenue. "We built our business with Google and chose to use AdSense to help us earn money from the site," Peggy explains. "As we grew, we decided to partner with Freestar, a Google Certified Publishing Partner, to manage the ad side of the business while our teams focused on creating valuable content."
Though the site experienced tremendous success, like most businesses at the start of the pandemic, Peggy and her team weren't sure what the future would hold. "Despite that uncertainty, we stuck to our mission to help everyone in the world become a gardener," she shares. "During this time, a lot of people turned to the restorative nature of gardening and kicked off projects to create a backyard haven, or grow their own food, or just create something green and beautiful."
The explosion of interest in gardening during the pandemic, plus the efforts of more than a decade of great content, led to nearly 180 million unique visitors to Gardening Know How in 2021 to explore their 14,000 articles and thousands of questions answered by experts. "We were happy to welcome in these new gardeners to our community and help them – it was a nice silver lining to a challenging year," says Peggy.
While the team spent their time uplifting the gardening community, Freestar helped the business keep growing. "Between the partnership with Freestar and the surge of interest during the pandemic, we've seen almost an 80% increase in our traffic and over 126% increase in ad revenue."
As a business supported by ad revenue, Gardening Know How has the resources to build and invest in their business. "Steady ad revenue has enabled so many aspects of our business growth," Peggy highlights. "We've expanded our team, published over 14,000 articles, and built more community engagement. And we're kick-starting our growth this year with a big expansion of our YouTube channel and the launch of an exciting new venture, Gardening Know How's Learning Channel offering expert-guided courses, workshops, and events in a fun, community-based setting."
It also helps the Gardening Know How team continue their mission offering a wide range of content and a welcoming community to every type of gardening enthusiast. "99% of what we do is make gardening more available to people, so for us, ad revenue is the best business model to help achieve our mission," says Peggy. "Being free and ad-based is the most natural fit for the kind of content we create and the audience we want to connect with."