The journey to 2 million monthly visitors

I started Accelerated Ideas back in 2005 at a time when Web 2.0 was on the horizon, Facebook had just Launched and Twitter was a mere concept.

It’s sole purpose was to help me study for a web development certification - I’d create a site from scratch, keep it for 6 months and then abandon it once I’d passed.

Little did I know that over the next 10 years the site would take me on a life changing journey. I'd reach out to millions of people, earn a tidy second income and even be invited to speak at Google.

Today, the site receives over 2 million visitors every month.


80's and 90's
Growing up with gaming
Lemmings 2 - Cover Image

Playing video games is a passion that I’ve always loved and anyone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s will tell you a similar story. Those days were the golden age of gaming.

My first computer was the Commodore 64 which I shared with my brother when I was 8. It had 64KB of RAM and games were played with the keyboard or a single button joystick. Loading times from cassette tape were incredibly slow but this was forgiven thanks to some unforgettable 8 bit background music - Cybernoid 2 music anyone?

The Amiga 500 came next and I simply adored this machine. Workbench was the name of the graphical OS and games would run from floppy disk this time around. The UK games industry was thriving back then and Sensible Software, Psygnosis and Team 17 were all based in the UK. I had many favourite games but Speedball 2, Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder stood out the most. Few Amiga fans could ever forget the theme tunes to Super Frog and Cannon Fodder.

In the early 90’s two massive giants, Nintendo and Sega, would revolutionize the gaming industry with the SNES and Megadrive. I never owned either, I guess because of the distraction of the Amiga. Many of my friends did though and I would eagerly switch from Amiga to console to experience classic’s such as Super Mario, Sonic and Street Fighter. Nintendo had a habit of creating some of the most highly addictive games with simplicity and playability top of the list.

Wipeout 2097

Later in the mid 90’s my parents would buy me a Sony Playstation and with it came Wipeout 2097. The graphics were outstanding, the soundtrack rocked and the gameplay was highly addictive. There were many other memorable games around this time including Resident Evil, Crash Bandicoot and the SSX series. Sony had entered the gaming industry with an impressive console and would continue to dominate for many years to come with their PS2, PS3 and today’s PS4..

In the late 90’s we got our first home PC along with cable internet. You wouldn’t believe how life changing the internet was back then! I immediately turned to online gaming and discovered Westwood Studio’s Red Alert and later Red Alert 2: two of my all time favourite games.

Early career
Twin Towers

Fast forward a decade and the new millennium was in motion. Terrorists had destroyed the Twin Towers in 2001 and by the summer of 2002 my Computer Science degree was officially complete. It wasn't a good time to land your first job!

Whilst taking on a temp job, I spent countless hours applying for jobs and hoping for the best. Patiently waiting for 12 months I was finally rewarded with a junior Delphi developer job in Central London.

Pay was awful and the train journey lousy but I had a job and was learning along the way.

Studying web development
ASP .NET 2 book

2 years into the job and I’ll never forget the day when one of my colleagues suggested learning about .NET - it’s the future he would say.

It was a simple suggestion that not only sparked the origins of this site but also formed the basis for my career.

Microsoft's revolutionary framework was still in its infancy back then but I was interested in learning something new with the hope of moving on to another job. After reading a few technical books I was hooked, ASP .NET really was that good.

In an unpredictable turn of events, i quit my job and moved to Brazil with my girlfriend. I used the time away from work to enjoy an amazing place; carnival, beaches and the friendliest people on the planet; all the while studying for a Microsoft certification (MCSD).

To help me study I wanted to start a prototype site that I could build up on my own, try new things and gain experience in web development.

Accelerated Ideas was born.

Early days
Working on laptop

The original site was full of random sections and the kind of thin content that today's Panda algorithm would happily destroy. The design was awful, I mean seriously bad.

There was no CMS and everything was purposely created from scratch; CSS, server side code, databases and the like. I was loving Visual Studio and intelliSense was like black magic.

I didn't care how the site looked though, it was helping me learn. I built a photo gallery, an online shop and then developed Windows components to sell online. No one bought a single component but I was proud to have made something myself.

All the while I was hammering through the books, building the tutorials and passing the exams. Accelerated Ideas was serving it’s purpose nicely.

Google Office

Almost by luck, a friend recommended trying something called AdSense to make money online. Make money online you say? Sounds like a scam.

I held out little hope that this would work but had nothing to lose. After adding a few ads and checking the stats I was making a rather pathetic £0.05 a day. That was enough to cover a fraction of hosting costs so I was happy to carry on.

Over the course of the next 10 years, Adsense would help me earn a six figure sum.

A stroke of luck
B2B Marketing

In 2007 I changed tactics. Rather than publishing content for myself I switched to helping other people promote their company and products, almost like an affiliate program except I wasn’t getting paid.

This change in tactics would prove to be the catalyst for Accelerated Ideas success and had that not happened then the site probably wouldn't exist today.

Almost by mistake I hit the jackpot. Within days, companies were sending me emails, thanking me for promoting their products on my site. I’d never seen that kind of feedback before and it was a source of inspiration and motivation.

As the months went by, new links started to crop up and Google was turning into my best friend. Within a month the site had changed from less than 20 views a day to over 500!

Little did I know that Google’s wintery animal known as Penguin would punish me badly for this choice in the future (resulting in the removal of tens of thousands of pages). But at the time things were flying and it was just how you made SEO friends back then.

Returning to the UK

In 2007 I finished the last of my exams and gained my MCSD certification. Accelerated Ideas had served its purpose and at this point I would have closed it down if it wasn’t making that little income stream through Adsense.

I decided to move back to the UK, find a flat in London and look for a higher paying developer job. Within 2 weeks of arriving I had a job earning twice as much money as in 2004. It was amazing how things had turned around.

In the background Accelerated Ideas was growing steadily by the day. Page views were now above the 500 a day mark and there was no reason to let the site die - it was even becoming profitable.

Hosting from home

Over the next 12 months it was time to clean the site up and move away from the cheap hosting provider. Performance was suffering and the growth in traffic was taking its toll.

Dell had some of the most affordable servers at the time and I went for the T100 which would become my trusty server for the next 3 years.

The computer was perched on top of a writing desk and I had phone cables running from the hall to the living room. In the summer months the machine diced with death but I took the risk on uptime and thankfully the trusty T100 survived the harsh terrain of a one bedroom flat and improved performance dramatically.

My new job kept me pretty busy for the next year but I always crammed in a few hours a night without exception. The site continued to be a valuable learning tool helping me understand server administration, domain configuration and firewalls.

Financial crash
Financial crisis 2007-2009

The financial crisis of 2008 was bad news for everyone. I lost my job in 2009 and ad revenues plummeted on the site.

As luck would have it, I found a job which I would keep for the next six years. It was at this point that I decided to push forward with expanding Accelerated Ideas.

I used my acquired SEO experience to research on a daily basis, looking at market niches for any gaps to fill and trends to follow. Nothing came up and I found myself looking at an empty horizon with no clear path to immediate growth.

Thankfully in 2010, Treyarch’s Black Ops game was released to immense praise from gamers. The zombies experience had taken the series to a whole new level and I started to cover the game in detail.

Once in a blue moon
Minecraft Wallpaper

If I was to mention a famous open-world block building game you'd have no trouble guessing which one. But back in early 2011 Minecraft wasn't on the radar yet unless you were part of the Alpha or Beta community.

As luck would have it, I discovered Minecraft around Feb 2011 at a time when Notch was still working fulltime on the game. It was hard to believe the amount of interest in a game which was going completely unnoticed by mainstream media and popular gaming sites.

This lack of competition proved to be exactly what Accelerated Ideas (and many other smaller gaming sites at the time) needed to grow. Many of today’s famous YouTube channels (Simon and Lewis, Captain Sparklez, iHasCupQuake) all have Minecraft to thank for their success too.

Traffic started to rocket and the true potential of a trend with low search competition was clearly visible. It was at this point that I pushed ahead with as much Minecraft content as I could conjure up over the next 2 years.

That was hard and intense work, consuming many, many hours but it sure was worth it.

Huge growth
Black Ops 2

Minecraft was ticking along very nicely in 2012, moving ever closer to it’s official release. That search term was now consuming 60% of all the traffic to my site.

Black Ops 2 made it’s welcomed appearance in November of 2012 and along with it came another opportunity to cover the game in detail. I loved playing Treyarch’s games anyway so it certainly wasn't a chore.

With the help of Minecraft and Black Ops the site changed from 20,000 views per day in Jan to 70,000 views by the end of 2012.

Riding the trend at the right time was key.

Angry Penguin

2013 was one of the toughest years for the site. In May, Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm came along and annihilated 40% of the daily visitors, almost chopping traffic in half along with revenue as well. I cried for days.

Like many other long time webmasters out there, I felt that Penguin was unfair. Most of the traditional link building strategies I’d been using for the past 7 years had landed the site in massive trouble. The links were by no means spammy, it’s just that many sites had decided to link to Accelerated Ideas in the same way. Penguin hates that.

Over the next 6 months I learnt a new skill - Penguin Recovery. Not a skill I wanted to learn but certainly something that I couldn't turn a blind eye to. The key to recovery was to be as ruthless as possible even if disavowing my own links was like cutting my fingers off one by one.


Bungie are certainly not a lightweight in the gaming industry and in September 2014 they hit the jackpot once again with Destiny. Accelerated Ideas covered the game in detail through the early days and the interest in this game was huge.

Unlike Minecraft, the competition for Destiny was a harder battle but the site had now become somewhat of an authority on gaming topics. As a result, traffic increased 50% and we were back to the good times once again. Similar to the Minecraft era, many smaller YouTubers gained massive popularity through the game (Planet Destiny, MoreConsole and Datto).

The key once again was timing.

A golden year in gaming
Metal Gear Solid 5

2015 was one of the most memorable years in gaming for a long time. It was also a time when I decided to go back to what I loved the most - playing games. I invested in a PS4 and covered many amazing games including The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V and Black Ops 3.

It felt good to be back into gaming and Accelerated Ideas was gaining a slow but steady increase in traffic.

The strength of my site had also reached the team at Google and in 2015 I was invited to take part in several research sessions and live panels, discussing Adsense improvements with the engineers in London.

The future
Giving something back

The past decade has been an amazing time for me and I’ve learned and achieved more than I could possibly have hoped for.

As with all things in life, there comes a time when it’s good to give something back. I’d love to recreate that moment from 2004 when someone's recommendation led me to create a site which now reaches out to millions of people.

If you’re a blogger or gamer with a passion for what you do then why not work together? I offer a variety of paid services from content strategy, web development and SEO consultancy to help you grow your website or online business. I'm also very interested in collaboration to mutually increase our reach together.

All of my advice comes from real life experience and I’m not a salesman or marketing agency - I’m an individual who understands the cogs behind Google search and how to make them work for you.

Work with me

Get started