Sometimes, you start a project simply because you’re passionate about it. Such was the case with a site I started in June, focused on all of the places that Anthony Bourdain ate in his many journeys around the world. A combination of travel blog and food blog, Eat Like Bourdain has been a fun way to revisit the catalog of Bourdain’s television work – and discover new places I want to visit and eat too.
This is my first case study report about Eat Like Bourdain (ELB), and as you’ll see, it’s very different than many of the other sites I started in 2021. From the launch plan to the site structure – to the way I’m changing my strategy to overcome a technical SEO problem I can’t fix, this is a whole new adventure.
If you’re curious about how I set up this site and where it’s headed next, read on for my six-month report on my Eat Like Bourdain food+travel niche site.
What are these Case Studies?
As a reminder, I’ll be doing case studies for every site I’ve created, at the 6-month, 9-month, and 12-month marks. Then I’ll switch to every six months for the next year, so 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 – 23 months – semi-annual
- Follow the Butterflies – 20 months – semi-annual
- London on My Mind – 11 months – quarterly
- Great Plains Travel Guide – 9 months – quarterly
- Soup Whoop – 7 months – quarterly starting at 9 months
- Jordan Traveler – 7 months – quarterly
- Eat Like Bourdain – 6 months (this post!) – quarterly starting at 6 months
- True Crime Pods – 5 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
- Solar Smarts – 5 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
(Links will take you to the full list of reports about that site!)
I thought about doing 3-month reports, but as you’ll see below, I don’t believe there’s much to report when a site is that young. I might occasionally call out a site if it’s doing something really unique before six months, but that wouldn’t be a regular thing.
In this Case Study update, I’ll try to give you everything I think is interesting about running this site so far, and a real “peek beneath the hood.” If you want to know anything else, be sure to let me know in the comments!
|Date First Published||June 8, 2021|
|Articles Live (as of 9/1/21)||17|
|Monthly Pageviews (last month)||2365|
History & Status of Eat Like Bourdain
I didn’t launch ELB with my traditional 10-10-10 plan (10 daily, 10 weekly, 10 ongoing); instead I just started posting new content weekly for a few months. Over the past six months, my attention to the project has waned and become inconsistent, as evidenced by having only 17 posts for the 26 weeks since I started the site.
That said, I still consider it an active project and it’s something I want to focus on more for 2022, which is why I’m sharing this case study.
Content Niche Structure & Effectiveness
As you might guess, Eat Like Bourdain is structured a bit differently than some of my other sites. Instead of focusing on topics or regions, the site is divided up based on Bourdain’s various shows: A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown.
At this point, all but one of the articles I’ve written have been from No Reservations; the other one article featured a destination that was also in A Cook’s Tour. So unlike other case studies, there’s no real point in me showing how the different parts of the site compare – there’s really only one part of the site at this point! 😅
One big issue I’ve had with this site is in getting it indexed. There’s an unacknowledged Google bug right now where some new content is getting stuck in “Discovered – Currently not indexed” and never making it into the Google index. Nobody’s quite sure why this is happening but it is widespread across niches and domain ages; it also seems to be tied to the July core update. In any case, ELB is affected by this: only half of the articles I’ve written are even in the index at this point, six months on.
As such, I am changing course in my strategy a little bit. While I let that magic combination of keyword volume and difficulty drive my early strategic decisions (and almost all of them just happened to be featuring destinations from No Reservations), I’m changing course now to focus more on geographic proximity. For example, my Lisbon article does really well, so I’m going to focus on writing the posts I had researched about Porto and Portugal (because they have the best internal linking opportunities) and then move onto Spain (and cities therein), France, etc.
I have no idea if this will help, but my hope is that focusing on destinations I can link to from already indexed posts will help them get indexed faster (or at all!).
Data-Based Progress Report
ELB has had a good – but small – trajectory in its first six months. If you keep in mind that this traffic is only coming in on half of the posts I’ve written (thanks, Google!), it’s actually a really healthy little project. (If it were getting 2x this traffic, it would be my most successful new niche site at this point in its history!)
As you can see, the main thing I didn’t do well was keep producing content to help the site grow… but when I saw that I was basically flipping a coin on whether anything I wrote would be indexed, I decided to take a break and let my creative energies for the project refill.
I don’t know that I ever had a really strong goal for ELB when I started it, but I think it has the potential to be a fun potentially popular site for years to come, as many people still love and trust Anthony Bourdain’s advice on where to eat. As such, I’m making a few changes to keep this site moving forward.
Content Strategy Changes
As mentioned, I’m changing my content strategy, and that’s the biggest thing I have planned for this site going forward. I need to get a greater percentage of content indexed, and this (letting internal linking opportunities drive the topics covered) is the next-best idea I have for how to get it done.
A “Fun” Site
One other strategic decision I’ve made for 2022 is to let this be my “fun” site. Don’t want to work? Throw on an episode of one of Bourdain’s shows and take some light notes – then write the article later! Want to watch something different one evening? Bourdain shows won’t count toward my personal TV budget (one of my 2022 goals).
I’ve started basically all of my sites because they’re topics I’m interested in – and I want ELB to retain that joy in the project, even if it’s a small/different project than what I’m otherwise working on. Making it a fun/hobby blog is my plan for keeping it that way.
Do you have any other questions about this recap for Eat Like Bourdain? Let me know in the comments and I’m happy to share anything that I forgot to include!