I feel like I was only just sitting down to write my first case study report for Jordan Traveler… heck, I feel like I only registered the domain yesterday! But the clock doesn’t like: it’s been about 9 months since I launched my niche site focused on travel in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan. As you might expect, it’s been a bumpy nine months – even bumpier than usual for travel content about a Middle Eastern country!
Jordan Traveler is actually growing nicely and I’m excited to see where it might go with enough time, attention, and new content. I’m also very much looking forward to my first return trip in six years, which will happen at the end of March 2022. Having new experiences, new photos, and new content should be a great help in growing the site to the next level.
If you’re curious about what it takes to grow niche sites and how my sites are going, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find an update on my Jordan Traveler site, and plans for the future.
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, with reports at 18 months and 24 months. If a site reaches its two-year mark and I plan to continue working on it, 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 – 21 months – semi-annual
- London on My Mind – 13 months – quarterly
- Great Plains Travel Guide – 11 months – quarterly
- Soup Whoop – 10 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
- Jordan Traveler – 9 months (this post!) – quarterly starting at 6 months
- Eat Like Bourdain – 8 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
- True Crime Pods – 7 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
- Solar Smarts – 7 months – quarterly starting at 6 months
(Links will take you to the full list of reports about that site!)
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||May 1, 2021|
|Articles Live (as of 2/1/22)||22|
|Publishing Cadence||Weekly (Fridays)|
|Monthly Pageviews (last month)||4,927|
History & Status of Jordan Traveler
As you know from my first, six-month recap for this site, I started Jordan Traveler a little differently than my other sites. While I normally start with a 10/10/10 publishing cadence, I just took the Jordan sites on Valerie & Valise and started publishing them once per week on the new site. I managed to carry on at a weekly cadence for about 10 weeks until I started to fall off to bi-weekly for a few more months.
I then took an extended break between late October (just before my last recap) and December; I then came back with biweekly posts. My plan going forward is to increase the frequency up to weekly posts again to see if we can get this site to grow a little faster! (No new content = no new keywords = no new traffic!)
Content Niche Structure & Effectiveness
I started JT with five main categories (Inspiration, Itineraries, Packing, Travel Tips, and Where to Stay), which has since expanded to include a few more categories like Getting Around, Souvenirs, and Travel Tips.
I decided to add these additional categories as the site began to grow and I realized I had not accurately categorized some of the content I originally wrote; I find “Travel Tips” can become a dumping ground for posts on destination niche sites like this, and I try and create better categories for those posts whenever it makes sense.
Here are the charts showing my content breakdown by category and by traffic:
In a change from my last report, Itinerary has grown to become the most powerful category on the site, with Inspiration in a close second. I believe this is in part due to the increased demand for international travel resources; several of my new itineraries have done quite well lately.
Where to Stay has also been a powerful but small category, which is nice for hopefully driving some affiliate income from this site in the future.
Data-Based Progress Report
At 9 months old, Jordan Traveler has done delightfully well, especially for as few articles as I’ve published since starting the site.
I saw a dip in Month 8 (December), as did almost every travel site when the Omicron variant began to wreak havoc on the world. Pleasantly, this site bounced right back last month and looks strong as this month starts too.
After the past three months where I took a break and came back more refreshed, I’ve got some plans for the next three months of Jordan Traveler.
I’m delighted to share that I’ve been working with one of my teammates to have her almost entirely “take over” this site. She wants to learn SEO and other parts of the business, and this site is small but mighty enough that she can learn with real examples and learn with real data. Most readers will never know I’ve made this change and I’ll still have the final oversight of everything that gets published, but I’m excited to experiment with having teammates run sites more fully to see
Aim for Ads
In the past few months, I’ve tested a few ad networks on some of my other sites, and feel quite confident using and recommending SHE Media ads. They have a somewhat flexible threshold of around 10,000 pageviews per month, so that’s my next milestone goal for Jordan Traveler. By my calculations, that will take another 15-20 articles to reach, so my team and I have some work to do in the next few months!
Planning for Year 2
As we approach the one-year mark for this site in May, I’ll probably treat this site a lot like my London site which is just a few months older. (Here’s the one-year report for London On My Mind, if you’re curious.)
Now’s the time when there’s enough traffic to start thinking about community building, email marketing, and other ways for the site to generate revenue. Since my teammate is helping run more of the site, I should – theoretically – have more strategic brain space to come up with great ideas to grow this site and the others too.
Do you have any other questions about this recap for Jordan Traveler? I’m happy to share anything that I forgot to include!