Try Hard Guides

Shaun Savage, Founder

Arizona, USA
Try Hard Guides Try Hard Guides
Forging his own path into web development

Shaun Savage has always had a passion for web development. "I learned to build websites early on in my teenage years," he recalls. "But when I finished high school, I ended up in a janitorial job, working a graveyard shift." After awhile, Shaun realized he wanted to pursue something different. "So I developed a portfolio of websites and found a web design job."

While working as a web developer, a friend in the industry inspired him to start his own websites. "One of my friends had their own site and was making money with Google AdSense," he says. "I quickly followed suit and started building websites and monetizing them with ad revenue from AdSense." After a while, Shaun decided to lean into his entrepreneurial spirit and build his own business. "I took the opportunity to become my own boss and go full force into making ad-supported websites."

Teaming up to build a business

As he got started building his sites, Shaun began collaborating with his then-girlfriend (now wife), Christine. "Christine had started posting makeup tutorials online," he explains, "and we decided to turn them into a blog and use AdSense to earn money – and that changed our lives completely." Christine's makeup website quickly found success, and after five years of working on it, Shaun decided to pursue his passion for gaming and launch a gaming website. "I created my first website for gaming and slowly built an audience and used ad revenue to fund the site," he says. "Then I started another website that I sold three years later and actually ended up taking an early retirement – that's how impactful ads have been – to have the opportunity to retire early was totally unexpected."

But after about a month of retirement, Shaun decided he wasn't ready to leave his passion and started building a new gaming information website, Try Hard Guides. "I wanted to create a site that was simple and straightforward and got people answers to their questions right away," he says. "Along with helpful content, Shaun was after a sense of community and engagement with his audience. "I wanted space to create a community so we allow comments on our site. A lot of websites have gotten rid of this, but for me it's important to be able to hear from our readers. One of my favorite stories is that on my last website, a grandma would leave questions about playing video games with her grandchildren and I'd get her an answer and we'd have a nice little exchange. When I started my new website, that same grandma commented and was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I found you again!' I just loved the fact that a grandparent is playing video games and that I could help them get the answers they needed to spend time with their grandchild. I was so amazed."

“I would have been happy with a few little websites making a little money but things just kept growing and we've had more success than I could've ever imagined. Christine is amazing, she's my absolute mentor and paved the way for me. Growing up, the sky was not the limit for me - the limit was the ceiling. But with Christine, the sky became the limit.”
Keeping the site free, and growing

For Shaun, keeping the site free for readers is also a key component of building community. "We want users to be able to experience all our content no matter what," he says, "so we've always used ad revenue to fund our sites and keep the content free to access." Earning ad revenue has also helped to grow the business. "Google Ad Exchange has been a big partner for us in our ad stack and we were able to ramp up with Try Hard Guides super fast – we're not even a year old yet," Shaun highlights. "Ad revenue gives us the ability to create new tools and jobs for writers, and funds all these aspects of the business. It's a great give and take; people get content for free, they see some ads, and we're able to keep working on the site we love."

And being able to work on the site he loves and content he's passionate about has been an unforeseen career trajectory for Shaun. "I'm an example of someone going from a janitorial job to finding a job that I really enjoy with web development and being able to make it into a business," he says. "I've had a long journey, but there are so many opportunities because of the internet and advertisements - it really enables people like me to do things they love. It's not a fairy tale – I'm living it!"

About the Publisher

Shaun Savage is the founder and editor-in-chief of Try Hard Guides, a new, popular gaming destination. He has been building websites for over 20 years and has had an interest in video gaming for even longer! He has been able to successfully build websites by leveraging his expertise in search engine optimization and finding under-tapped niches. His ability to write comprehensive, understandable video game guides that are still search-engine friendly has made his websites quick to take off. When he's not grinding away on his website, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family, watching bad movies, and binge watching TV shows.
About the author