Online Success Story:

Online Success Story:
Mike McGroarty from Perry, Ohio

Mike McGroarty is the owner of a popular gardening site.

1. When did you set up your website?

I built during the winter of 1998 and it went live January 3rd, 1999.

2. What gave you the idea for this particular niche & website?

I had a lot of expertise in the area of gardening and I also had 3,000 self published books in my garage that desperately needed a home so I was hoping the internet would solve that problem.

3. Did you have any experience with online business prior to creating this website?

Absolutely none.  I had very little computer experience and no internet experience at all.  I was scared to death of the internet and the thought of creating a website just seemed impossible to me.  Yet, I forced myself to give it a try.

4. What did you do for work prior to setting up an online business?

I read water and electric meters for a low hourly wage.   But I dreamed of and was determined to do better for myself and my family.

5. How did you initially promote your website, and if different - how do you promote it now?

Some would say that I spammed gardening message boards.  I'm not sure if that's true, but I did visit gardening message boards and would answer questions and offer gardening information.  I didn't have a clue how to promote a website and I knew absolutely nothing about the search engines.  I just trudged along and one by one people found me I guess.

Since then I've used every tool in the book to promote my site from paid traffic to organic traffic from the search engines as well as an affiliate program.

6. Is your website profitable? Can you share some basic traffic & profit stats with us?

Yes, my website is profitable.  It provides a full time income for my wife and I, as well as my oldest son.  A year ago I hired him to work with me full time.   I also have an assistant that works almost full time and one other part time employee.

I have an Email list of about 186,000 enthusiastic gardeners.

7. What are your plans for the site going forward?

My goal is to offer more additional products to my list and create a sub niche of my niche.  That's in the works now and we hope to be able to tell the world about that very soon.

8. What ONE piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting their own niche site or blog?

Just do it and don't look back.  Be committed and do something or several things everyday to promote you efforts.  Here's the deal.  The internet is a sea of traffic, all you have to do is put yourself in front of one little tiny slice of that traffic and you will do well.  You'll learn so much so fast you won't believe it.

Mike McGroarty

Thank you, Mike and congratulations on your success!

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Well done Mike, especially for facing your internet fears in the early days and turning it into a profitable business.

  2. Matt Poc says

    That's a nice story, Mike 🙂

    I do not know how long it will take me to build a list of that many people, but I hope that some time in the future I will 🙂

    Good luck!

    Matt Poc

  3. james samy says

    Thank you for sharing your experience and success here. Your Q&A will improve my knowledge online

  4. Cindy Brock says

    Your comment, "Just do it and don’t look back," is so true. I started my first online business ( in 1999 when there were no "internet marketing" plans to follow. The only choice was to pay to get on a Yahoo list so people could find you. (Because the list was alphabetical, that's how I selected "affordable" as the first word in my business name.)

    Many folks may not realize (or appreciate) that it took you a time to build your list to the level it is now. It simply didn’t happen overnight. If I might use a gardening analogy: You had to plant the seeds and tend your garden before you could reap your rewards!

    I hope to hear more about how you've subdivided your acreage and expanded your crop selection in the future. (Too much garden-speak?)

    • Mike McGroarty says

      Cindy, you're right, it takes a long time to build a large list and I made mistakes and threw away tens of thousands of subscribers using the wrong software. List building has to be one of your main focuses because you lose people off of your list on a regular basis so you have to keep adding people daily to maintain a list.

  5. Karen McGreevey says

    What a great read, Mike. Thank you. I love to read experiences like yours. You're certainly a study in perseverance and persistence.

  6. Peter Lawlor says

    Great success story. Mike, I wonder if you can reveal whether you generate more revenue from your list or from your site directly? I must say your subscribership is incredibly impressive (as well as your site).

    I checked out your site and can see why you built such a huge subscribership. If I had any interest in gardening, which I may one day, I'd definitely request your report "21 plants that are easy to grow." What a terrific topic for a free report in your gardening niche.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your site and story.

    Lynn, I'm really loving these success stories. Keep 'em coming. I look forward each day to reading the next success - so varied, yet there seems to be common elements which are just do it, be persistent, and focus.

    • Mike McGroarty says

      Peter, the profit is in the list. I use the list to send people back to the pages on the site that I want them to see. I also use the list to build a relationship with my subscribers. They won't buy from you until they like and trust you.

  7. Amazing story of growth and profit! It's funny because gardening is often used as an example in internet marketing courses and on blogs and you'll hear people in the back of the room saying things like "that can't be profitable as a niche," - I bet you get a good chuckle out of their thoughts 😉 Off to check out your site now.

  8. DianaWalker says

    This is very inspiring, thanks for sharing your story, Mike. Wow - an email list of 186,000 subscribers!! I like your web-page, very straight-forward and clear and welcoming. I'll be recommending your site to a couple of my friends, and subscribe to your newsletter too!
    Thanks again, Diana

  9. It's very inspiring to know that someone without any experience in the internet industry can reach the success level that you have. Wish you continue success on your site!

  10. DavidHenry says

    Well done Mike, this is very inspiring to everybody thinking about building a list of subscribers but 186K Wow Mike! Have you seen any difference since the google panda update to your site rankings? I have written a report on the implications of the panda review and what steps you now need to take to get your content ranked, I m sure this will be of massive benefit to your subscribers, take alook at my blog post.

    Thanks David Henry

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