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Case Study: Starting a Blog from Scratch

Case Study: Starting a Blog from Scratch

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A month ago I started a brand new blog.

It’s something that I have been thinking about for years. This particular blog is one that I have been going back and forth about for nearly a year.

I have been blogging on Eternal Expat since May of 2016. It was two months before I moved to Mexico.

Luke and I had just finished six months of backpacking around South East Asia, a trip that we had dreamed about for years and while on that trip, I talked a lot about starting some kind of business that would give me the freedom to be able to do this more.

It took two years of writing on Eternal Expat before I was able to actually able to make any money from it. I had no real idea what I was doing and SEO wasn’t something I thought about until perhaps year three of this website when I realized that it might actually help me get more pageviews.

It was in 2019 that I found my blogging groove and started feeling like I knew what I was doing. And now, in 2023, I feel like it’s finally time to test out whether that’s actually true or not.

My goal with this new website is to make it profitable as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality.

I am aiming to do that in two main ways: affiliate income and advertising income. Everything that I do with this blog focuses on those two goals.

A Spain Travel Blog

I want to be as transparent as possible in this journey. When I have read other blogging case studies in the past, the person tends to keep the site a secret. I guess it’s to avoid anyone trying to steal their idea.

But I have always believed that there is plenty of room for everyone in this industry and I also want you to be able to understand the reason behind the choices I’m making as I move forward.

The Spain Travel Guru is a travel blog that, as you might have guessed from the name, is all about travel in Spain.

The content won’t differ much from what I offer here on Eternal Expat other than the fact that I will be writing entirely about Spain.

This is a big project; Spain is a big country.

I have the help of one of Eternal Expat’s writers, Hannah Cooper, who has extensive experience traveling in Spain and together we are building a solid base of content and will continue to do that in the coming months.

I chose Spain because I love it, I have learned a lot in the trips that I have made there, and because despite being one of the most visited countries in Europe, it is not written about extensively.

Besides Barcelona (which has a lot of niche blogs focusing on it), there are a lot of gaps in the market here that I feel I have the capability of filling. 

The audience is different than Eternal Expat. Where the majority of my readers are American and Canadian with a smattering of European readers, a Spain blog will be mainly British readers with a smattering of American and other European readers. 

But I still feel that I understand SEO enough to be able to make this work. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be seen, but luckily there’s no expiration date to this project.

Every day is a school day as they say and I am very wide open to learning on this journey, not simply trying to plug in what I believe I already know. In this first month, I’ve already learned a lot more about SEO (which I am also applying swiftly to this blog, too!).

man working on a computer with a notepad

What Was My Focus in Month One?

The site is about a month old now and I have had a few main focuses that build on my two main goals. Those focuses have been:

  • Create a lightweight, fast, but attractive website
  • Write SEO-focused content
  • Write affiliate-centric content
  • Get back-links to new content

Of course, it’s going to take months for the SEO content to rank in any way shape or form, but I have never had the opportunity to focus on SEO from the very beginning, so I’m excited to be able to see how much this helps in the growth process.

I am writing posts that focus on “buying keywords” which means that people are coming to Google and searching for things they are ready to buy. For travel that is usually hotels, car rentals, retreats, tours, and train bookings.

And finally, I am going back to basics to get backlinks. I am linking to that website throughout Eternal Expat, I am writing guest posts on other travel bloggers’ websites about Spain (like this one), and I am simply asking blogging friends if they would mind adding a link to one of my posts in their blogs.

How Much Time Am I Spending Per Week?

I would say during the first two weeks of the blog, I was spending about 10 hours per week focusing on The Spain Travel Guru.

In the last two weeks, I have been spending more like 3-5 hours per week.

My intention is to grow this website by working smart, not hard or long hours. I want to get the most for my efforts and that is why I am keeping my focus on affiliates and SEO.

I am not going to be spending any time on social media for this website.

I want to grow this website entirely through search engine traffic because I want this website to be a generator of almost entirely passive income. Much like Eternal Expat has become recently.

In that time, Hannah and I have managed to write nine blog posts, an about me page, set up the home page, and write a guest post for another travel blog.

laptop on a bed with a coffee next to it.

What are My Long-Term Goals?

I am going into this website build with the intention of making it an authority in the Spain travel sphere.

I am starting with specific regions that I know well which at the moment are Andalucia and Madrid. However, I already have plans to return to the country soon to improve my knowledge in other areas.

It’s going to take time to build this website up, but I’m also quite confident that I can turn it profitable without a huge amount of content.

What is My Focus in the Next Two Months

I plan to check back in around month three of this journey to see where we are with content so what will I do between now and then?

  • My goal is to have 20 blog posts written by the end of April and an additional 5-10 more posts written by the end of May.
  • I want to build up to 30 backlinks by the end of May (I currently have 15).
  • I would like to see (mostly out of curiosity) if any of the earlier blog posts begin to rank on Google by the end of Month 3.
  • Set up Google Ads on the site which I assume will earn me all of a few cents per month, but I would like ads to be set up already when pageviews begin to pick up.

The focus will remain small because this is really a building phase of the blog. I know that the income is not going to happen overnight. Blogging is a long game and I need to have patience.

Most of all, I’m excited to test how much I really know about all this stuff and to have the time to be able to dedicate a few hours each week to building something that could result in another stream of income in the long term is a pretty exciting thing.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the site and answering any questions about it along the way.


Monday 3rd of April 2023

This is an interesting case study, Laura.


Saturday 8th of April 2023

@Sol, Thank you so much! I'm so glad you find it interesting. I hope it can help in some way as I talk more about it in the coming months!