I'm feeling marginally despondent today - I'm sure it's just the weather. Which doesn't help the inspiration so I thought I''d do one of those website posts. This one is Cookie and Kate which is pretty successful. Actually very successful. I just checked the stats on it and find that it is the number 26 food blog in the USA, employs 11-50 people and last month had 6.5 million visitors, even if they did, on average only stay for less than a minute. That's some success story. And did I say that her estimated income per year is $1-5 million! Now I have no idea whether that is true or not, but that is what Similar Web says. Mind you I just checked their stats for our own Recipe Tin Eats and found that it had the same numbers for employees and income. Maybe that's a standard response.
So what makes Kathryne Taylor no. 26 food blogger in the US of A?
Cookie by the way is her dog who is now 14 it seems and getting old. I have to say that the photo above which was from a Kitchn interview, shows a young woman who is just so typical of the successful health foodie kind of genre. She is a vegetarian - well in one interview she said she might eat fish a couple of times a year, but is otherwise vegetarian and a fan of whole food.
"I believe in eating whole foods, which are foods that are as close to their source as possible. I’m also an avid supporter of the occasional indulgence, and I laugh with friends over drinks as often as possible.
This blog is all about celebrating good food—real, sustainable food that delights the senses and nourishes the body."
All good stuff, but not particularly original or mind-blowing stuff. We all know that don't we? Even if we don't do the right thing. We know what we should be doing.
She is from Oklahoma but now lives in Kansas City. She began the blog because her job was boring and she needed a more creative outlet that allowed her to use her love of photography and food. Michael Pollan - he of the famous quote "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." was apparently an inspiration for her turning to vegetarianism. Reading her brief About information and various interviews you would assume that she does this all on her own at home and I can well believe that she does indeed work at home, so I was a bit surprised to see those statistics mentioning that there were 11-50 employees. Which is quite a range, so maybe they are just casual part-timers.
She has written a book along the way. I think most successful bloggers do and it seems to be on sale in all the obvious places. I guess since she, at least theoretically, has so many followers then the publishers would have been keen to take her on board. If you have millions of hits on your website that might translate into a few million purchasers of the book.
So what has she got that others don't have?
Honestly you know I don't know. Below is the headline part of her blog.
It's professional looking I guess - a bit like an expensive magazine. As you can see you can search her recipe collection, either with the search button or by clicking on a category. She began this blog way back in 2010 so there must be a lot there, because she posts every few days. I actually clicked on the Favourites button and found that the pictures for the recipes did not load which is a bit of a black mark if she does indeed have employees. If she does I would assume part of their job would be to check on that sort of thing. Of course if it's just her, then it's a lot of work to check on all that stuff. This, by the way, is, I assume, the most favourite recipe on the site - Buckwheat pancakes. Perhaps not quite the most healthy food I could suggest. Surely even buckwheat flour has quite a few calories in it, and maple syrup too.
Below is the front page post and the featured recipe - which is a Creamy avocado dip.
Again it has a very magazine like look and yes the photography and styling is good. But avocado dip? Surely everyone has by now mastered the avocado dip? The ingredients are pretty standard, although she does have some suggestions for how to use the dip in other ways. Still - a bit ho hum these days? The recipes are clear and contain pictures, sometimes a video, and lots of information. Which is good, but also pretty standard.
There are ads. Interestingly, since this is an American blog - at the moment there are ads for the Victorian Corrections Service. So maybe she has people working for her over here.
Difficult to know what more to say about this other than my usual bemusement at how these people come to be so successful. Some of them, I can see, produce something quite unique - and interestingly many of these are the more obscure websites. The big successes tend to be very similar in format - well a huge number of them use WordPress for the software and the basic layout is always the same even if the template they have used varies a bit. And they all mostly have a few words as introduction to one recipe that is featured - often with no background about the recipe, just how to do it. The words are often no better than my own, and I certainly do not hold mine up to be great literature, but it is strange to me that these relatively uniform kind of recipes and relatively uniform and, dare I say, ordinary, recipe ideas - the kind you will find in the supermarket magazines - are so widely praised, followed, indeed loved. Maybe it's an American thing. Or maybe it's just because of the miserable weather, which has put me in a misanthropic mood! Though I did get a walk in today.
Maybe they are just really, really good at marketing.