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Home Fitness My Blog Turns 15! - Mel's Kitchen Cafe

My Blog Turns 15! – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Fifteen years in the past, after I was younger and stuffed with hope, I began a recipe weblog.

It was referred to as mykitchencafe.blogspot.com

Should you acknowledge the blogspot deal with or both of these unique logos beneath, it means you’ve been round a very long time…and…you in all probability deserve an award.

A number of years after I began My Kitchen Cafe, I swapped out the blogspot deal with for an actual, dwell dot com and it has been Mel’s Kitchen Cafe ever since (with no scarcity of emblem modifications till I lastly employed knowledgeable, ha).

It might be unattainable to explain all of the modifications which have occurred over the past 15 years. Each personally and within the web/running a blog panorama.

Once I first began my weblog, life regarded a bit like this:

Whereas now, “life” has elevated within the variety of people…and in wrinkles. 😉

Some days, it’s exhausting to wrap my mind round the truth that I’ve been sharing recipes on this area for 15 years. THAT’S A LONG TIME!

My children don’t actually bear in mind life earlier than “mother had a weblog.” Generally, neither do I!

Shaggy dog story: when my children have been little, little, I’d spend our days doing child/mother issues and making a concerted effort to not be on the pc. Nevertheless, the minute my children went to mattress, I’d rush to my pc and do all of the running a blog “stuff” on my to-do record. Inevitably, as children do, mine would wander away from bed and into the workplace to seek out me and ask for a drink or need to inform me a random story to delay bedtime or simply sit on my lap for a minute (you already know, as a result of I HADN’T JUST SPENT THE WHOLE ENTIRE DAY WITH THEM). 😉 Throughout this time, a trainer at church advised me that certainly one of my children had introduced to his class: “my mother likes to play video games on her pc each evening after we go to mattress.” I didn’t know whether or not to snigger or really feel mortified (each!). Turns out, all that point, my children thought I used to be hiding within the workplace to play video games once they went to mattress! We had a fast household dialogue about how mother goes into her workplace at bedtime to work on her meals weblog…to not play solitaire till the wee hours of the morning. 😂 However truthfully, I feel they nonetheless advised their mates and lecturers and mates’ dad and mom for years that I used to be a late-evening web gamer.

Picture Progress

My children’ shoe sizes and the variety of animals we have now acquired through the years aren’t the one issues which have modified both. HAVE YOU TAKEN A DIVE INTO THE ARCHIVES TO SEE SOME OF MY OLD PHOTOS?

I imply, my goodness. Speak about earlier than and after development. 🤣

Issues Change however My Motives Haven’t

I might write a complete weblog put up about how, exterior of household life, issues within the running a blog world have modified so drastically over the past 15 years.

Through the years, the net world of meals running a blog has turn into much less easy and extra strategic.

Much less relatable and extra robotic.

Much less carefree and extra calculated.

It’s not all dangerous. It’s simply completely different.

I began my weblog as a solution to share recipes with my mother and sisters who didn’t dwell close to me. I by no means had any intentions of changing into a “full-time” blogger.

The truth is, I used to be utterly freaked out when a number of months after I began placing recipes up on my weblog I acquired a remark from a stranger saying they’d made a recipe and favored it. I assumed for certain that particular person was an web stalker coming after my youngsters.

Turns out, that first weblog reader was a wonderfully good, regular human being who nonetheless follows my weblog in spite of everything these years (hello, Kim!). Hundreds of thousands of readers have adopted!

Years in the past, I did a weblog put up referred to as “That is Why I Blog”, and I might truthfully repost that phrase for phrase as a result of I nonetheless adhere to the identical philosophies I at all times have about running a blog. Should you haven’t learn that put up, please do. It’d provide you with some perception into why I’m the way in which I’m and why I weblog the way in which I weblog.

Whereas running a blog has modified infinitely through the years, my motives haven’t. Similar to after I began placing recipes up on the web late in 2007, my causes I nonetheless accomplish that are the identical: to share my favourite, tried-and-true recipes with the world.

My weblog began out as a pastime.

Now it’s equal components pastime and full-time job!

I by no means would have thought 15 years in the past that my readership of about 5 folks would develop into tens of millions! What an incredible, superior alternative and blessing it has been for me.

Some Enjoyable Stats

For many who like geeky quantity-kind stats, I assumed it could be enjoyable to share a number of particulars/details/numbers that assist give a giant image take a look at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe!

On the Starting (from about 2007-2010):

  • Income/Revenue: $0
  • Blog Visits: 50-1,000 monthly
  • Extra Staff: 0
  • My Time: 10-20 hours/week

The Center Years (2014-ish):

  • Income/Revenue: half-time
  • Blog Visits: 750,000-1,000,000/month
  • Extra Staff: 1 half-time digital assistant (5-10 hours/week)
  • My Time: 30-40 hours/week

Present Years (2022):

  • Income/Revenue: full-time
  • Blog Visits: 3,000,000-4,000,000/month
  • Extra Staff: 1 half-time digital assistant (10-20 hours/week) plus a number of contracted workers to assist with movies/tasks
  • My Time: 20-45 hours/week

A Be aware About Revenue and Income

Issues can get sort of bizarre when folks discuss cash (and heaven is aware of, I don’t need issues to get bizarre between us!), however a number of folks have been curious through the years if my weblog makes cash.

It does! However it didn’t at all times.

For the primary a number of years, I made roughly zero {dollars}.

Round 2010, I began placing show adverts on my web site (first simply alone with Google Adsense after which with an extended since outdated firm, Foodbuzz by way of Federated Media). I bear in mind actually falling over with pleasure after I acquired a examine one explicit month for $125. I couldn’t consider I used to be getting paid that a lot to speak about recipes I cherished!

I later modified advert networks to AdThrive after which switched to Mediavine in 2016 and have been with them ever since.

A VERY simplistic description of how advert networks, like Mediavine, function is that they work straight with advert exchanges and corporations to service and show all of the adverts you see on my web site (they usually work on the advert know-how and gaining new advert clients so I don’t must!).

I’m paid primarily based on a income cut up – that means, I don’t pay Mediavine straight for his or her work servicing adverts, relatively, Mediavine and I cut up the income that comes from the adverts on my web site.

I can select which adverts I would like displayed. Though that system isn’t at all times good, which is why it’s possible you’ll often see a questionable advert, like an alcohol advert, regardless that I’ve alcohol adverts disabled in my advert settings. Please be happy to at all times report these adverts, by the way in which! You are able to do that by clicking on the Mediavine emblem within the decrease proper hand facet of the advert and choosing “report advert” (see screenshot beneath).

target ad with red circle

Through the years as I’ve labored exhausting and visitors has elevated and my advert construction has modified, my weblog has grown to offer a full-time revenue for me and my household.

My revenue comes from: the adverts you see on the weblog, Amazon affiliate hyperlinks (and L’Chef affiliate hyperlinks when Bosch mixers are on sale), and Prepear menu planning subscriptions. I do know adverts will be annoying – and due to that, I solely run about half of the adverts obtainable to me by way of my advert community – however these adverts serve a function to assist pay the prices of working and internet hosting a web site, pay my worker and contractors, and compensate me for my work on the weblog.

My Digital Assistant(s)

I’m blessed in that my sister, Emily, is my digital assistant! She began working with me in 2013 and he or she is a lifesaver. She schedules posts to Fb, solutions emails, works on Prepear menus, does tons of behind the scenes work updating recipes and classes on the weblog, and extra.

Her assist permits me to focus extra on recipe testing, taking all of the images, writing the posts, answering feedback, interacting on Instagram, often taking a nap, and sustaining the genuine voice right here on the weblog.

Emily, Me, My cute mother

And since I’m deep in the midst of this acceptance speech (?? sort of beginning to sound like one! haha), I’d be remiss if I didn’t give an enormous shoutout to my devoted accomplice and greatest buddy. He’s the unpaid assistant round right here.

Brian has been my largest champion for the reason that starting. And because the resident style tester (all these photos on my weblog with one chunk taken out?? Yeah, thank Brian for that effort), he provides the assist, compassion, mind gasoline, and endlessly affected person listening ears that hold me and this weblog placing one foot in entrance of the opposite.

The Numbers Recreation + Blog Guests

2020 was an enormous yr for web visitors. Due to the pandemic shutdowns and improve of at-dwelling cooking, my visits monthly have been at a report excessive that yr – almost 10 million monthly! However issues have progressively slowed down and my visitors is definitely lower than it was a number of years in the past.

The factor is, I hardly ever examine my stats. I can’t actually let you know month-to-month what number of guests I’m getting or whether it is waxing or waning.

The numbers sport will be debilitating (each in visitors and with social media), and I’ve simply chosen to not play it in order that I keep higher targeted on my general intentions. I monitor and examine issues out at times, however I don’t dwell on it.

Nevertheless, I did do a enjoyable little examine for this put up to see the place my guests are checking in from!

United States: 81.38%, Canada: 8.35%, United Kingdom: 2.53%, Australia: 1.35%, South Africa: .56%, New Zealand: .36%, Philippines: .35%, India: .33%, Germany: .29%

The Proper Solution to Blog…Or Not

Many bloggers on this meals area are intensely savvy. They do key phrase analysis and create their recipe posts strictly round what Google desires (with the objective to get excessive up in search outcomes). They community with firms (and one another) and develop digital empires. They publish books and movies and create merchandise.

It’s superb to look at and see. I find it irresistible!

My technique, which ought to come as no shock, is extra of the homebody, naturalistic, woman-subsequent-door method. That means: I don’t community all that a lot, I don’t do key phrase analysis, I don’t do sponsored posts.

I make a recipe. I squeal in delight. I power my household to style it and evaluate it. I make it once more. And sure, once more. After which I put up it for you, as a result of if I don’t, I would like be capable of sleep at evening.

woman reading cookbooks at counter with laptop

That’s to not say I don’t work exhausting at this gig. I do! Running a blog is a ton of labor (definitely extra than simply taking a fairly image of meals and slapping it up on-line!).

I set priorities for sure tasks (like e mail development, and so forth), and I’ve at all times put excessive emphasis on staying updated with search engine optimisation rules and know-how updates, however on the finish of the day, I’m nonetheless an old-fashioned blogger who simply desires an area to share my favourite recipes with the world.

Which implies typically I flip a blind eye to “greatest practices” and do my very own factor. I don’t do that to be ignorant – it’s actually only a survival talent to protect my psychological well being and guarantee I proceed to maintain running a blog.

For me, this area, is about a lot greater than numbers and stats and cash and notoriety. It’s really about human connection and sharing good issues with you.

A Day within the Life

My schedule has shifted and altered through the years. Now that each one of my children are at school full-time (and one has graduated highschool), I attempt to get all my running a blog work (notably) pc work carried out in the course of the day as an alternative of staying up tremendous late to sort out my to-do record.

I don’t set particular “work hours” but it surely naturally finally ends up that about two days every week are spent on the pc facet of running a blog. Writing and publishing weblog posts, answering feedback and emails, coordinating tasks with my sister-VA, and dealing on different techy-stuff.

As soon as I get my children off to highschool, I feed livestock, do scripture research, write in my journal, train, and (typically) bathe, earlier than diving in to weblog work from about 10 a.m. to three:30 p.m. with laundry and different family/farm chores scattered in there.

woman walking miniature donkeys across field
Only a image of me and my two favourite non-people, Harley and Pete, my loveable and cussed mini donkeys.

Moreover, I find yourself spending one other day or two every week bustling across the kitchen to check and {photograph} recipes (I exploit pure gentle, so proper now in the course of the winter, I’ve to get that carried out earlier than Four p.m.).

I often make about 5-6 new recipes every week. Generally only for enjoyable. Generally to check them (once more) and/or take images. I do know, I must get a life and/or various hobbies, however I can’t assist it! I like meals and making new recipes.

Close up view of Greek pasta salad.

My children at all times have Fridays off faculty, so I attempt to match the running a blog work in Monday by way of Thursday; nevertheless, inevitably there’s a night or two that it spills over and I work in my workplace from 8 – 11-ish p.m.

I don’t draw back from saying I earn a living from home or that I’ve a full-time job. However I do contemplate it a severe blessing that my job is that this weblog and that regardless that it requires hours and energy, I’m capable of set my very own hours and schedule.

And doing so permits me the pliability to volunteer in my daughter’s class, do church and group service (proper now I’m serving to at a refugee group, and it’s life-alteringly rewarding), run errands after I must, take a break from all the pieces and assist certainly one of my children or work on a home undertaking, or simply aimlessly waste time on the web looking for watermelon carving knives.

To Sum it All Up

Whereas my focus is totally on actually good recipes, through the years, I’ve additionally shared reward guides and Friday Ideas (was once Snapshot Saturdays!) and glimpses of actual life.

On the finish of the day, I’m a really common, actual human who has quite a lot of highs and quite a lot of lows. And I don’t do a fantastic job of pretending like these issues don’t exist. Normalize actual life. That’s my motto. 🙂

I do not know how lengthy I’ll proceed to weblog. If requested, some days my reply can be “ceaselessly” and different days the reply is extra like “um, ask me tomorrow – I’ll have pulled the plug on the weblog by then.”

The reality is, even with my laid again model, it’s exhausting work. One thing is at all times occurring (or breaking!) behind the scenes and there’s a lot of administration that running a blog requires in addition to the scrumptious photos of meals and model, new recipes.

I get drained and burned out.

However the motive I at all times, at all times find yourself sitting at my pc at midnight NOT enjoying solitaire 😉 is due to you guys.


It’s Due to You

If it weren’t for the actual human connections I’ve made with you through the years, for the feedback you permit and the tales and experiences you share, for the notes that inform me how a recipe has impacted your loved ones or modified somebody’s life for the higher, for the hilarious anecdotes and the heartbreaking life experiences…if it weren’t for that, I’d be lengthy gone.

I inform my household on a regular basis that it’s okay I by no means go away my home as a result of I’ve tens of millions of mates on-line.

And, okay, I do know that sounds utterly bizarre, and if my children stated that again to me, I’d positively get them skilled assist.


It’s additionally true. Thanks for sticking round. For being my digital mates. For making this an area that I need to come again to day after day.

Love your guts. 😘

Additionally, a particular shoutout thanks to all of you who go away feedback/scores/evaluations on recipes after you’ve made them. This makes such an enormous distinction! For me, and for many who scroll by way of feedback to get concepts/variations/ideas when they’re planning to make the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to depart feedback and evaluations and scores!!

What’s to Come

Properly, to begin with, rely on the perfect of the perfect new recipes to proceed popping up right here! I’ve some thrilling new recipes coming your manner. My objective is to get you 4-5 nicely-examined, implausible recipes every month in 2023.

Two cowboy cookies stacked with one cookie broken in half on top.

Moreover, I’m planning:

  • a number of updates to lots of the recipes which were on right here for over a decade (not altering the recipe, per se, simply updating images and recipe notes, and so forth).
  • some extra content material tasks that can possible contain hiring one other assistant to assist with advertising and marketing and growth
  • web site updates and modifications to make the web site smooth, savvy, and much more search engine optimisation-pleasant
  • persevering with with Friday Ideas posts at times
  • and some different issues swirling round in my mind

I get requested on a regular basis if I’m planning on doing a cookbook. I’ve a cookbook began on my pc – some content material, a number of concepts, and so forth. However each time I get near signing a publishing contract or going the self-publishing (or hybrid) route, I can’t in the end commit. It feels annoying and mistaken. I feel my largest hangup is that my first precedence is to proceed to publish a variety of fantastic content material on my weblog, and I don’t assume I can handle a cookbook and the weblog. Moreover, I’m unsure I actually have something to supply the cookbook world that hasn’t already been carried out. So. We’ll see! By no means say by no means!

Something you might be dying to see on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe? Let me know beneath within the feedback! I like getting ideas from you!

The Finish, Lastly

And herein lies one other in depth novel-like put up about nothing all that essential, which can absolutely garner some hate mail from those who “simply need the freaking recipe already so cease blabbering,” however hey, 15 years in, it’s exhausting to alter these lengthy-winded stripes.

OK, BYYEEEE. 😘 Right here’s to the subsequent 15 years!

If in case you have every other questions on running a blog or Mel’s Kitchen Cafe or simply need to inform me about YOURSELF (sure! that’s a superb plan!), go away me a remark beneath!

In case you didn’t clearly hear me earlier within the put up: I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU!

Thanks for your whole heartfelt feedback. They’ve made me snigger and cry. I’m simply so grateful for every of you. For the great people you might be. The efforts you make in your personal lives. The affirmations you’ve allowed me to really feel that this weblog is “greater than only a weblog.” I’m simply very grateful to be right here with all of you.

Thanks for your whole ideas, as nicely! I hold a working record of belongings you want to see on the weblog, and I’ve taken notice of all of them!

To reply a number of questions coming by way of within the feedback:

  • The place do you get concepts for brand spanking new recipes? I’ve so many recipe concepts swirling round in my head, it’s a miracle I ever get to sleep! I’m so anxious to share all of them with you! I discover inspiration from recipes you share with me (I LOVE GETTING NEW RECIPES FROM YOU SO MUCH – thanks for sending them to me!). I additionally get inspiration from a number of recipe magazines and social media. However quite a lot of my recipe inspiration simply comes from me desirous about meals nonstop and determining recipe mashups I need to make.
  • What number of occasions do you make a brand new recipe earlier than posting it? No less than twice, however for baking recipes, often a median of three-Four occasions (with some recipes taking a number of extra testing classes).
  • What number of of your recipes are unique or modified from different sources? There are quite a lot of each! Though I’d submit that there’s in all probability no such factor as a really unique recipe anymore since there are such a lot of recipes “on the market” already. I at all times cite a recipe supply if I’ve used a recipe as inspiration or modified it. However there are some recipes I’ve give you alone from all these concepts swirling round my head (and lots of different recipes from my childhood)!
  • How adventurous are your children in terms of consuming? My children eat all the pieces I make. They don’t at all times love, love sure elements (I’ve a tomato hater and a mushroom hater and a bean hater; they energy by way of it), however they’ll eat it. I’ve two children that like to attempt new issues and can eat something. They’re those at eating places that order one thing uncommon and enjoyable and can dig into sushi with me and Brian. The opposite three go straight for the mac and cheese and hen nuggets. 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m a participant within the Amazon Companies LLC Associates Program, an affiliate promoting program designed to offer a way for me to earn charges by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated websites. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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