Eat Like Bourdain 2-Year Report

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Anthony Bourdain died. Back on the first anniversary, I wrote a post on my travel blog about how his death inspired me to leave my traditional office job and strike out on my own to do this blogging thing full-time. At the three-year mark, I launched my site Eat Like Bourdain to create the best possible resource for people like me who are (still) inspired to travel and eat at the places Tony did.

Now it’s been five years, and I sort of wonder: what should I do to mark the occasion?… Other than writing this case study update, of course.

Below you’ll find an analysis of how my site has done so far, and what I have in mind for the future. I don’t have any grand plans for this fifth anniversary, but I do have ideas in the works (me, always). Let’s dive into ELB at the two-year mark and see what’s next!

🎧 Want to listen to this case study instead? The podcast version of this recap is coming soon!

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 either continue semi-annual or switch annual reports. Here are the ages of each site and its current status:

(Links will take you to the full list of reports about that site!)

Fast Facts

Here’s a quick glance at the stats for Eat Like Bourdain at the two year mark.

Date First PublishedJune 8, 2021
Articles Live (as of 06/01/23)150
Publishing CadenceDaily (as of 2023)
Monthly Pageviews (last month)94,002
Highest Pageviews (30 day max)94,002
Google Traffic89.1% (last 6 months)
Email Subscribers2,909
Monetization/Amount Earned (total)~$9,850 (70/30 ads/affiliates)

How do I keep track of all these stats? I’ve got an organizational system!

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History & Status of Eat Like Bourdain

For the first time, I’ve added more vertical lines to help you see how each case study milestone looks quite different:

  • From 0-6 months, the site was DOA, stuck in the Google “sandbox.” (I still think it’s real!)
  • From 6-12 months, I finally started to get articles ranking consistently and saw growth.
  • From 12-18 months, I saw more growth followed by what looked like seasonality.
  • From 18-24 months (today), the site has been on a real tear – traffic is almost 3x what it was six months ago, with only 2x more articles.

I’ve always said that this site was a “rocket ship” (meaning it just grows like crazy) but there’s one important caveat: there are only a certain number of articles to write (I’ve called it a “closed-loop project” in past case study updates).

After finishing Bourdain’s shows and all the destinations he visited, I do not currently have plans to move into other areas of content (such as recipes). Additionally, it loses volume/demand every year after Tony’s death (5 years this month!). So while I love the growth I’m seeing, I’m also well aware that it’s limited and time-constrained.

Strategic Takeaways

To be honest, I feel like I’m in such a fog of the content treadmill with ELB right now, I don’t have a lot of like, good, strategic takeaways for you. Instead, I think what I’ve learned and been contemplating is a bit more in line with Tony’s legacy.

Burnout Sucks, Do Not Advise

I think it’s clear now that Tony was burned out at the end of his life, and it hurt him mentally in many ways. I feel the same way about this project a lot: I’m always behind, I’m always catching up, I’m always trying to push harder, and it’s never good enough.

The solution I have for this problem is to keep pushing until the end (of this site – more on that below), and then breathe easy while it does its thing. However, in the meantime, my mental health is definitely suffering.

All this to say: be kind to yourselves, site scholars. Give yourself breaks, as I advised in my 2023 strategy. The work can wait – you and your well-being cannot. (She says, completely hypocritically…)

Past Goals from the 18-Month Mark

During my last update, I set a few goals and areas to focus on; here are updates on each of those items. As in my quarterly accountability posts, I’ve used the stoplight system to indicate my success.

  • 🟡 Content Sprint to the Finish Line – This is still a work in progress; as of today, there are – checks BOSS spreadsheet – 84 more articles max – before this site is finished. That’s another 50% on top of what we’ve already published, and frankly, it’s been exhausting so far… but we’re not done, so we push on.
  • 🔴 Launch (or Kill) the Enthusiast Podcast – As I have said for several updates now, I just need to make a decision. I have not yet, and I’m kicking the can: I’ll think about the Enthusiast podcast once I finish writing all these articles!

What’s Next for Eat Like Bourdain

As usual, I find it helpful to share a few goals that I’m focused on between now and my next update (at the two-year mark, in June 2022).

Always Be Publishing

As mentioned, there are only 80-ish articles that stand between me and the end of this hellscape I created for myself in honor of my travel hero. With the help of my writers, my hope is to finish by October 1st. So far, it’s been a slog: we published and updated 108 articles in the last six months (182 days) and I’ve felt burnt out the entire time. Doing another 80 in four months (122 days) will be tough, but setting hard goals is how we get close to accomplishing them.


As part of stepping back from the Enthusiast podcast idea, I re-optimized my Instagram account for ELB, adding his name to my handle. I had a hypothesis this might help me get organic follower growth, and so far my hypothesis has proved true: I show up anywhere from #2 to #5 on the accounts page when you search his name – and I’ve gained about 20 new followers (that’s 20% growth, big numbers, people!!).

When it comes to content, I have a very clear strategy in mind for reels and galleries, but haven’t had the time to sit down and commit. I can say: this is the #2 account in my mind right now, after my V&V account. Maybe by my next update, I’ll have some movement here!

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!

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Valerie has been blogging since 2001, and has been running her oldest travel blog for a decade. You can find her across the internet on her various niche sites, but she started Site School to help fellow bloggers grow and create better content.

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