I’ll be completely honest: at a certain point, I was definitely starting sites on a whim last year. I’d sit down to dinner with my husband, and be like “I think I’m gonna start X new site” and would have it launched and deployed within a week. While I pride myself on coming up with (what I think are) good ideas and moving on them quickly, it got to be a bit much – we did end up running twelve sites at the end of 2021!
Since then, I’ve been working to come up with long-term strategies for each site I launched last year, as they mature and develop. In some cases, that means not focusing on the site anymore (or for certain parts of the year, like Great Plains Travel Guide, which goes on hiatus from September through March each year). For other sites, it means bringing them more toward the center of my focus, such as with Eat Like Bourdain, my Anthony Bourdain fan site.
As you’ll read, I see a lot of potential in ELB, and want it to grow as quickly as I can. This means I have some big goals for the site as it enters its second year, and hope that it will accomplish them – with all the work that entails!
What are these Case Studies?
As a reminder, I do case studies for almost every site I’ve created, at the 6-month, 9-month, and 12-month marks. Then I switch to every six months for the next year; you can expect reports at 18 months and 24 months. If a site reaches its two-year mark and I plan to continue writing, I’ll switch to annual reports. Here are the ages of each site and its current status:
- Valerie & Valise – 8 years – annual w/ monthly recaps
- Space Tourism Guide – 4 years – annual
- Discover Sausalito – 2 years – semi-annual
- Follow the Butterflies – 2 years – semi-annual
- London on My Mind – 17 months – quarterly
- Great Plains Travel Guide – 15 months – quarterly
- Soup Whoop – 14 months – quarterly
- Jordan Traveler – 13 months – quarterly
- Eat Like Bourdain – 12 months (this post!) – quarterly
- True Crime Pods & Solar Smarts – 11 months
(Links will take you to the full list of reports about that site!)
Here’s a quick glance at the stats for Eat Like Bourdain at the one-year mark.
|Date First Published||June 8, 2021|
|Articles Live (as of 5/1/22)||26|
|Monthly Pageviews (last month)||14,610|
|Highest Pageviews (30 day max)||14,610|
|Google Traffic||79.8% (last 12 months)|
|Monetization/Amount Earned (total)||$102 (74%/26% affiliates/ads)|
History & Status of Eat Like Bourdain
While I was pretty strict about starting my first few sites in 2021 using my 10/10/10 website launch plan, I did not do that for later sites, including Eat Like Bourdain. In the case of this site, I launched with weekly posts, and was able to maintain a weekly cadence for 14 weeks before dropping off to focus on other sites in the autumn. (Specifically, I was catching up on a huge set of partnership deliverables for Valerie & Valise – always schedule your deliverables as you commit to them to ensure you can meet the deadlines!)
Since then, I’ve had periods of activity on the site, and some times when I didn’t have the time to focus and create new content. However this site has been growing like crazy, and I think it has some real potential, so it’s my goal to focus on more consistent content in Year 2 and see where it takes me. (More on that below.)
As of today, the site has only 26 articles but is generating as much traffic as London On My Mind was with over twice as many articles (58). One stat I compare between sites is “average traffic per post;” as of this month, ELB gets ~585 pageviews per article, while LOMM only gets 350 (and was only getting ~200 at its 12-month mark). Even V&V isn’t as powerful as ELB right now, as it only gets ~485 pageviews per article!
Eat Like Bourdain is a powerhouse, and I’m excited to bring it onto the front-burner (so to speak) in 2022-2023.
Content Structure & Effectiveness
ELB is not structured like other sites – the categories of the site are Bourdain’s four TV shows (A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown), and the tags* are countries and continents.
Every article is based on geography – a city, state, country, or region – depending on where Bourdain traveled in a given episode – or series of episodes across his different shows. For example, some articles directly report on a single episode, others incorporate dining locations from several episodes in several shows.
In any case, there’s no meaningful way to compare between shows or destinations, so I don’t have charts doing that. For some insight though, European cities and countries have been driving the vast majority of my traffic so I – as initially detailed in my six-month report – have continued using geography to choose which cities/countries/regions to focus on. I’ve finished Portugal, and am currently working through Spain and France with Italy, Austria, and Germany on the list before the end of the year.
*Geography is actually a category if you look at the site because of how my theme works, but I think of them as tags.
So far, my geography strategy seems to be working – after deciding to choose topics based on geographic proximity rather than volume/difficulty, I’ve had no problem ranking well (like, 1 or 2) even for high volume, high competition keywords. In some cases, I’m outranking CNN (which hosts the Parts Unknown site) and the #1 competitor whose site inspired me to start ELB. This is despite the fact that the site is only 12 months old, only has a DA of 10, and took 6+ months for most content to start even getting indexed.
The main takeaway I have for you is to always consider: if you’re struggling to find low-volume, low-competition keywords, are there other ways to brainstorm keywords? Can you use your rainmakers to design a strategy? (This is what I did, as I was able to link from rainmakers to newer posts and rank faster.)
What’s Next for Eat Like Bourdain
I wish you all could sit behind the scenes and watch me come up with strategies for these various sites – if you even care that much! – because it’s always interesting to consider what each site can do, and how to balance them.
Below you’ll see I have a LOT of ideas for Eat Like Bourdain, and that’s partly because I can see its potential and will also be reducing my focus on other sites (some permanently, some temporarily) starting in September/October 2022. This gives me more time to focus on ELB which I think has the potential to be a really strong part of my site portfolio.
Geographic Content Strategy Continues
As previously discussed, my geographically-based content strategy seems to be working well. Because I’ve been able to gain E-A-T on the topic of “Bourdain” and a few specific European destinations, I am able to “punch above my weight” on other European city/country keywords that another site might never rank for.
I already have a plan through the end of 2022, and plan to continue covering Europe in 2023, moving on to Central Asia and Asia in 2023 if I manage to get through all of the European destinations before this time next year.
In addition to a set strategy for choosing topics, it is my goal to publish one article per week on average for the next 12 months. I had originally set a goal for biweekly posts on ELB in 2022, but I can see now that this site is a traffic-generating rocket ship, and I want to make it go faster!
Qualify for Mediavine
Obviously, the main target for this site is getting to the threshold for Mediavine. The site is currently on SHEMedia, so it’s earning something, but as mentioned in my LOMM April recap, my earnings doubled when I switched to Mediavine – so that’s always the goal.
Since this would be my fourth site with Mediavine, I’m guessing they will likely approve it somewhere in the range of 20-30k sessions. (it has more European audiences, so will likely need to be at the higher end of that range.) It’s currently at 11k, so there’s lots of work to do here; I probably need to double the number of articles on the site. If I write my next 26 articles in the next 26 weeks (as detailed above), I can hope to apply for Mediavine early in 2023.
I’m not sure there is a solid email and product strategy for ELB, but I’d like to spend time in the next year, probably in Q4 of 2022, thinking about what that might look like. I’m leaving this idea quite nebulous so I can be flexible to explore ideas as they come to me.
(There is one important consideration in everything, which is that there are huge IP (intellectual property) considerations with this site that make direct monetization harder than with other sites. I have no doubt that Bourdain’s estate or CNN or somebody would love to send their army of lawyers after me if I cross some line I don’t quite know exists).
Launch a Podcast…?
I’ve been really enjoying the process of creating podcasts, and have a half-baked idea to start one for ELB at some point in the future – maybe that’s a Year 3 project. I chatted with some blogger friends who run another travel show fan podcast and got some good feedback to continue simmering on as I flesh out this idea.
This all feels like plenty to be getting on with, in the second year of this site. Do you have any other questions about this recap for Eat Like Bourdain? Let me know in the comments; I’m happy to share anything that I forgot to include!