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Case Study: From 0 to Mediavine in 12 Months

Case Study: From 0 to Mediavine in 12 Months

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This month marks one year since I bought the domain of my Spain niche site, The Spain Travel Guru.

Six months ago, I promised that I would write a 9-month check in and I did. I just forgot to publish it.

So this blog post will cover everything that has happened with The Spain Travel Guru in the last six months, and boy has it been an exciting journey.

If you are just joining in on this case study, you can read my 3-month case study here and my 6-month case study here to get yourself up to speed.

Why Did I Start a New Blog?

I started the Spain Travel Guru for a few reasons.

I was starting to get a little bit bored with my work. I wasn’t being challenged with Eternal Expat anymore and I knew I needed a new project.

I had been thinking about starting a second website for a while, but I wasn’t exactly sure what the topic should be. It wasn’t until late 2022 when I noticed how much of my Spain content was ranking so quickly on Google that I decided to dig deeper into what my competition in this niche would be.

There are certainly plenty of people writing about Spain out there on the internet, but after a month or so of keyword research, reading other people’s blogs and websites, and considering how well I would be able to write about a country that I didn’t live in, I decided to take the leap.

The second reason why I wanted to start a new blog was to see how much I really knew about blogging. Was the success of Eternal Expat a fluke or did I really understand SEO and affiliate marketing? Could I start from scratch and build a profitable website? Could I create something even bigger and better?

I needed to find out. So The Spain Travel Guru was born in March 2023.

Short Term Goals

When I started my Spain website last year and wrote that first 3-month check up, I had two short term goals for this new website.

I was going to focus all of my energy on growing the website through SEO until I reached 50,000 sessions per month and I was going to create content that focused heavily on affiliate marketing content.

If you’re new to blogging, affiliate marketing is when you recommend something like a hotel, hostel, tour company, or car rental agency. You get a unique link that tracks the person who clicks on those links. If the person purchases something, you receive a small commission at no extra cost to the buyer.

This is a huge method of generating income for bloggers, especially travel bloggers.

So for the last 12 months I have focused all of my energy on writing articles that would reach the largest number of people and were most likely to rank on Google.

For many years, I have used Keysearch and I continue to use them for both of my websites as well as for my YouTube SEO research. It’s affordable at only $17 a month and is very easy to use and understand.

woman sitting on her bed with her laptop on her lap and a coffee in her right hand.

So have I achieved these goals after 12 months?

A very loud yes!

In early January, I reached my goal of 50,000 monthly sessions. As of February 29, 2024, the website is already receiving over 65,000 monthly sessions.

I have been accepted onto Mediavine and will begin showing their ads on The Spain Travel Guru in mid-April.

I am currently under contract with SheMedia, which is also a very reputable ad company that has been paying me quite well for the last few months and my contract with them required a 60-day notice period.

As of February 2024, The Spain Travel Guru is actually out-earning Eternal Expat in affiliate income. I am making more money on tours, hotels, and car rentals through The Spain Travel Guru, which has roughly half of the traffic of Eternal Expat.

That is because I focused on writing buying content. I focused on keywords that people use to search when they are ready to buy. Keywords like “Best tours in Seville” or “renting a car in Malaga” or “best day trips from Bilbao” which all help people find the tours and car rental companies that best suit their trip.

New Short Term Goals

Now that I have met those goals, it’s time to set some new 6-month goals.

  • Reach 100,000 monthly sessions
  • Double my affiliate income

These are lofty goals, but with the growth I have seen in the website in the last 3-4 months, I am confident that with a decent amount of effort and focus, I can reach these goals.

With last years goals, I played it small. This year, I want to make huge, far away, seemingly unreachable goals. I want to dream bigger, so that’s what I’m doing.

notebook on a table with a cup of coffee and a plant in front of it.

Long Term Goals

During the 6-month check in, reaching 50,000 sessions per month was a long term goal. Not only was that not really a long term goal, I have already surpassed it.

I want my long term goals to be more process-based.

Here is what I hope for The Spain Travel Guru in the next 12-18 months:

  • Become the best resource on the internet for independent travel in mainland Spain.

That’s it. That is my pie in the sky goal that I will reference every time I sit down to write an article. Simple, but lofty.

That is how I will ensure that every article that gets published is the best it can possibly be. That is what I will focus on when it comes to future research trips.

Keeping my feet on the ground

For those of you that are already in the blogging-sphere, you’ve no doubt heard about or been affected by the updates that Google made to search results in the second half of 2023.

I know that my luck can change at any time and that perhaps my websites could at some point fall out of favor with Google.

That is why I made my long term goal nothing to do with numbers or stats. I have always and will always put my readers first. Google is part of the blogging game if you want to reach more readers, but my articles aren’t written for Google, they are written for real people who want to plan travels to places they have never been before.

I need to continue to pay close attention to how the industry is changing, but I still refuse to use any social media for the website.

I have, however, started an email list which receives a monthly newsletter about travel to Spain, much like the Mexico newsletter I create for readers of Eternal Expat.

woman sitting at a cafe at her computer with a bench table full of other computers and work equipment.

The Stats after 12 Months of Blogging

As of February 29, 2024, The Spain Travel Guru has:

  • Domain Authority: 27
  • 82 linkbacks
  • 87 published articles
  • 1,100 ranking keywords
  • 65,037 monthly sessions

Just as a comparison, in September 2023, the website was receiving 16,772 monthly sessions. The growth in the last 6 months has been absolutely insane.

This is partly because a lot of the blog posts were not being indexed by Google. I spent a lot of time in October manually indexing about 30 blog posts so that Google knew that they existed. This helped the growth tremendously.

white table with a keyboard on one side, eye glasses and a notebook on the other side.

How Much Time am I Spending per Week?

I promised during the 6-month check up that I would start dedicating at least 10 hours per week to the website. I would say in the last two months, this website has become my main focus and I am spending about 15 hours per week writing, editing, and getting backlinks just to The Spain Travel Guru.

I have also moved almost all of the writer’s who usually write for Eternal Expat over to The Spain Travel Guru so that I could increase the number of article being written on the site per month.

When the site wasn’t earning any money, I was putting my own energy and time into it and now that it is earning income through both ads and affiliates, I am putting basically all of the income straight back into the site to help it reach its potential.

I don’t plan to keep allocating all of the writers time to The Spain Travel Guru. In March, I will start splitting it so that more content is also being published on Eternal Expat. I have no intention of forgetting about this website.

In fact, I have big plans for Eternal Expat in 2024 and thanks to all of the things I have learned while growing The Spain Travel Guru, I feel like I have never been in a better position to build both sites into something big.

What’s Next?

Keep going.

I feel a bubbling sense that The Spain Travel Guru could very easily grow much larger than Eternal Expat in the not-so-distant future.

I am excited to see how far I can take this niche site in the next 12 months.

And of course, I am already plotting how I can replicate this. There’s something about the buzz of starting something new that draws me in. But for now, two websites and a YouTube channel (and soon to be a few tours to Mexico) are enough businesses to run for one woman.