If you’re wondering what this Case Study is all about, please read the introductory post from Week One .
You can browse through all the older installments here .
It’s been a long road, but we’ve finally reached the end of it.
“Suzy” and I met on a Media Trip in the spring of 2009, and over a couple of meals we discussed the challenges of writing for online publications versus traditional print media.
We talked about how travel writers are watching their paying publication opportunities drying up, as more magazines and newspapers go under every month.
We talked about how she feels compelled to accept every trip and writing assignment that comes her way in order to earn an income, and how that leaves her with little time with her family, and no sense of balance in her life.
I told her that it is possible to earn a living from a travel blog, but that it requires time, effort, patience, perseverance, and that you MUST follow a plan and use specific techniques designed to take advantage of the opportunities that the internet can offer, rather than doing what many others do, which is to just “put it out there” and hope that people find it.
We emailed back and forth for a few months, and finally decided that we’d work together to help her build a brand new, niche-focused travel blog, using the steps I would outline for her, that in time would begin to earn her some revenue and eventually allow her to slow down her hectic pace and find the balance she wanted.
The Case Study was born.
I created a Flow Chart  with weekly goals, to serve as a road map for her, and we began in earnest in July.
Over the past six months, Suzy has come a long way, and learned a great deal about how to build, structure, optimize, and monetize a travel blog.
She’s learned that the keys to success are:
- To choose a travel niche  (one she’s passionate about),
- Write keyword-rich content ,
- Use good search engine optimization techniques ,
- Build quality, relevant inbound links ,
- Choose relevant products and advertisers ,
- Take advantage of social networking  to help build an audience, and
- Continually make improvements based on what she learns from her visitor tracking reports .
I’m pleased and proud to say that in the six short months her new travel blog has been in existence, she’s already garnered an impressive number of readers and achieved a Google PageRank of 2, which is quite a feat given that Google still generally “sandboxes” new sites for the first few months.
Her biggest challenge now is finding the time to keep focused on her new travel blog – continuing to add content, identifying and contacting potential direct advertisers, and promoting it through social media efforts. She understands that a critical component of earning revenue is first building an audience, and that takes time and effort.
Suzy also understands that while it can take a year, or even two, before a travel blog builds enough consistent traffic to begin earning any significant sum from Google AdSense or Affiliate Advertising, she can employ some of the advanced blog monetization techniques we covered in Weeks 16 & 17 installments, to escalate the revenue opportunities from her blog. By being more aggressive in signing up direct advertisers  and writing an eBook to sell , she can put in place an income stream that will also grow over time.
The bottom line is that she now has a clear path and a goal. She’s well on her way to dominating her niche and allowing her travel blog to help take off some of the pressure. Hopefully soon she’ll find the balance she’s seeking in life.
Stay tuned! Next week I’ll be interviewing Suzy, and you’ll get to find out who she really is, and what SHE thinks of this whole experience!
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