This is an interview with Kieran Doyle of Tickets Ibiza.
Hey, Kieran. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hello! I run the website Tickets Ibiza. It’s a nightlife information website which mainly helps people find events and tickets for the island of Ibiza in Spain.
My site doesn’t sell tickets directly to events. Instead I’m an affiliate who works with various ticket sellers on the island for everything from day parties, to nightclubs, boat parties, and VIP tables.
The Ibiza blog launched back in 2011, but I’ve been spending much more time on it in the last 5 years, especially after Covid and the recovery of the travel / events industries.
What’s your professional background and how has it helped you with what you do now?
I started my career at Google working in search advertising, and have also worked at music and ticketing startups. So I’ve always been interested in the mix between technology, events, and music.
Since I learned about search marketing at the beginning of my career, it’s something that has helped me launch and grow Tickets Ibiza.
When did you start your first blog? What was it about and how did it go?
I started my first blog in 2010, which was called Tech Beats. It was a site all about dance music, with a focus on events and news in the UK & Europe. We covered various festivals in Europe, but I never made any money from it.
It was great to put into practice some of the things I was learning from my “real” job, but most importantly we had fun going to some of the best festivals and events all over the continent.
How did you come up with the idea for Tickets Ibiza, and what was your long-term vision for the blog?
Ibiza is arguably the most important location in the world for dance music, and so I found myself writing frequently about what was going on there on my old blog.
As a result, I eventually decided that there was enough interest and things to write about for it to have its own website.
I was also just starting to learn about affiliate marketing, and testing the waters as an affiliate via PPC ads for a ticketing company in Ibiza.
The logical step was for me to start a distinct website for all things Ibiza where the focus would be on SEO traffic. And that’s where Tickets Ibiza was born.
Although the Ibiza blog was launched in 2011, I decided to completely rebuild it in 2019 with an improved SEO structure. Sadly, this was just before Covid hit. But happily now the work done during those two long years has been paying off.
Is the niche you picked crowded? How did you make your site stand out?
There have always been various Ibiza nightlife websites, but few who actually provide useful and relevant information. It’s very easy to tell when the author of an article hasn’t actually been to Ibiza, and is instead writing something based on what they’ve found by scouring the internet!
I knew I could write some in-depth articles that provided helpful information about Ibiza, and answer questions that people were already looking for. To make the site stand out I did a lot of keyword research and began to match those keyword searches with my own pieces of content.
Did you have experience with the nightlife in Ibiza before starting the blog?
Yes, I had been going to Ibiza for a few years before I started the site. Although I live in the UK, I’ve been going to Ibiza every year for 15 years now.
To stand out against the competition I think you need to have a real understanding of the market your website exists in.
I used to be the target user of my own website: someone who wanted to know what events and parties were happening in Ibiza – there are hundreds to choose from during the summer! Now I’m (hopefully) fulfilling that search intent with my own site.
What did you research before starting the website?
Understanding the search traffic already out there is crucial if you’re going to build a site based around SEO. When I rebuilt Tickets Ibiza a few years ago I did a lot of research into groups of keywords which ended up being the foundation for the structure of the site.
As for affiliate programs, I was already aware of several opportunities which could eventually help me monetise the site. I’ve also found that even if there isn’t a publicly visible affiliate program for a site, it’s worth reaching out to the business and asking if they would consider an affiliate deal.
How did you get traffic to the site in its first year?
Well, when I first started the site all the way back in 2011, its traffic came from Facebook. Back then it was very easy to build a large audience on that platform and get your fans reading your articles.
However, after I rebuilt the site I decided to completely focus on SEO. As such, my traffic came from very low competition keywords where there was practically no one writing about the topic, so I could rank easily.
A good example of this would be people looking for Ubers in Ibiza. The only place you could find out that Uber did not exist in Ibiza was a very old blog, and the content was out of date. As a result it was able to rank well pretty quickly.
How long did it take you to make your first money from it? And where did the income come from?
My primary source of income from the site has always been ticket affiliate sales.
Since most people reach the site looking for event listings for the various clubs in Ibiza, my effective aim is to help them get that information, and then click out to one of several ticket agents where the tickets are purchased.
How many page views is the site getting now?
The Ibiza clubbing season runs from April – October, so the business is very seasonal. During the peak summer months, the site receives around 400,000 pageviews.
What are your top traffic sources?
The vast majority of the site’s traffic is from SEO (95%+). It’s just me working on the site, so I focus all my attention on SEO.
I’d like to improve the site’s presence across social media but as it stands, I consider the site to be completely SEO driven.
What’s specific about growing an Ibiza blog, compared to targeting other locations?
There’s nowhere else in the world with such a high concentration of electronic music events in the world as there is in Ibiza. As such, lots of people are looking for very generic keywords such as “ibiza events” since they have about 20 or so clubs to browse on any given night in the summer.
Because most people of a certain demographic who go to Ibiza will visit at least one club while they are on the island, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of search traffic related to events and where to buy tickets for those events.
Also read: Optimizing Your Website for Local SEO: A Step-by-Step Tutorial
When did you start your email list and how many subscribers do you have now?
My email list started in 2021 and now has just under 40,000 subscribers.
To be honest it’s an area I would like to spend more time on, since my open rates are very good (over 40%), yet I only send around 1 email to the list every month during the season.
What are the key things you did to grow the email list?
I use a lot of call-outs in my articles to sign up for information about Ibiza’s nightlife without making it too much in the user’s face. I have a generic content block which looks like an ad, with the message being “Get the latest announcements direct to your inbox’.
I do also have a popup which appears after the user’s been on the site for 60 seconds. Those pop ups can be annoying from a user’s perspective but my aim is to only have it show when they’ve been on the site for a while.
How do you decide what new content to create?
All of the content for my Ibiza blog is written with a search keyword in mind.
I don’t consider the website to be a traditional “blog” where I’m writing new posts every week just to keep churning out content. Instead I much prefer to write longer pieces of content where I know there is a considerable amount of search traffic for those terms, so they will pay off in the long term.
As a result, I use keyword volume tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, to decide if it’s worth my time to write something which users will be looking for not just now, but also in years to come.
Do you optimize every article?
Yes. Each year I will revisit my top pages to ensure it’s up-to-date for the coming season. I also make sure that the technical information is correct, for example the event schema which opens up new opportunities to appear in Google’s search results.
Also read: Schema Markup for SEO: What is It and How to Use It
What’s your top performing content, and why do you think it does so well?
I have an article called “Ibiza Opening Parties” which was one of my earliest in-depth guides to bring a lot of traffic to the site.
I wrote the article a few years ago as I saw there was a lot of traffic for keywords such as “ibiza opening” or “when does the ibiza season start”. At the same time, the articles at the top of Google search results didn’t contain very useful information.
As a result, I decided to write a longer, more in-depth guide than anything else already out there.
It’s split into sections based on the sort of questions people ask about the main topic of Ibiza Opening Parties, but also contains ticket links to all the individual Opening Parties that have already been announced for the upcoming season.
As a result, to this day it’s one of the highest traffic pages on the site, but also converts to ticket sales too.
For similar reasons, I have another high traffic article named “Ibiza Boat Parties”. Again, this is both a longer piece of content optimised for SEO, but also contains links to buy tickets for individual events.
How are you currently monetizing the website?
Event ticket sales are where most of the website’s revenue comes from (approximately 85%). The rest of the revenue comes from Mediavine (display ads which I run on most pages), stay22 (for accommodation affiliate bookings), TravelPayouts (for a small amount of accommodation content), and VIP table bookings.
How long did it take you to grow your Ibiza blog to a full-time business?
The website relaunched 5 years ago and I am only now in a place where I could justify it being a full-time business.
I think a 5 year commitment is necessary for any meaningful project, and I hope the site continues to grow as it has been during that time.
What’s different about running the website during the actual Ibiza clubbing season, and the rest of the year?
In the off-season (November – March) I decide which parts of the site need refreshing, and optimising for SEO purposes.
There may be entirely new sections of the site that I want to write for the following season.
One example of this is accommodation articles: I would like to expand in this area, since traffic for accommodation booking really starts in January each year.
Tell us about your Ibiza apps.
I built the Tickets Ibiza iOS & Android apps using a low-code platform called AppGyver.
The apps are a much scaled down version of the website which just contain the event listings rather than any longer form content. The platform was very easy to use and it didn’t take long to recreate the calendar functionality of the site into app-form.
The apps only receive about 10% of the website traffic but the share has definitely increased in the last year.
There’s not much competition for Ibiza event listing apps in the app store, so I’ve found that the app appears high up in the app store search results even for the very generic keyword “ibiza”.
What are your top tips for people who want to build successful affiliate sites?
You absolutely need to have a passion for the niche you’re working in, as it will show in the content that you’re writing. If you know more and have valuable information to share then it’s going to help your website stand out against the competition.
If you’re relying on a single source of traffic like I do with SEO, then it’s also very important to stay on top of the latest recommendations and changes that will affect a channel such as SEO.
Finally, success doesn’t come overnight. As I mentioned above, I think any successful project needs a 5 year commitment to give the business time to establish itself, grow, and monetise.
What’s next for you and Tickets Ibiza? And where can people find you online?
There’s a lot of content I could be writing outside the realm of events, and more to do with accommodation in general, so that’s an area I’d like to give more focus in the next couple of years. I’m also fascinated by what’s going on with AI, and have a couple of ideas for projects that could be relevant to the site… so watch this space!
You can find me on X at @kierandoyle.