It’s my One Year Blogaversary!
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started O Taste and See! Looking back to that first post, Bullet Brownies, (I hope) I’ve come a long way, especially when it comes to the pictures. I’m torn between replacing them and leaving them as a reminder. It seems the more I learn, the more I realize I have left to learn.
Today, I’d like to share with you the Top Five Posts from the first year, my biggest struggles and what I’ve learned through them, as well as some thoughts and goals for the next year and beyond.
Let’s start with the Top Five…
Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Bacon – see below for the “big surprise”.
Taco Soup – probably my favorite soup and what we served 200 people at a conference in January.
Authentic Mexican Rice – really…it’s pretty “authentic”.
Pizza Pinwheels – with a special Thanks to Busy Dizzy Hungry for the original post. (Hers are a “healtier” version.) This was the first post to put me over 1,000 page views in a day.
Homemade frozen Biscuits – just sharing a great idea I learned from my FAVORITE magazine…Southern Living.
My biggest struggles:
The most frustrating thing for me has been learning the “language”.
I’ve always been what my family affectionately refers to as a “yacker”. That means I generally enjoy communicating with words…sometimes lots of words. Blogging comes with it’s own vocabulary that I knew NOTHING about. I have a good friend who blogs at Laugh With Us, and she’s been SUPER helpful. I remember very early on asking her a question, which she gladly was answering, when I stopped her in mid-sentence and simply said, “I don’t know what those words mean.” I remember feeling totally illiterate. It reminded me of the month I spent in Japan many years ago, where people all around me were speaking and I had no idea what they were saying.
The second obstacle I’ve had to overcome is the “who cares?” thought.
Meaning, I struggle with posting sometimes because I wonder “who cares?” I mean really, “who cares” what we had for dinner, “who cares” that my family loves this dish, “who cares” if it’s quick and easy and “who cares” what I have to say…who am I anyway? My husband keeps telling me I should post more “thoughtful” stuff but then the “who cares” kicks in…so my Food For Thought pages needs LOTS of work. This one has been the hardest to overcome. I see people who share really personal things and I admire their courage. I’ve learned that I’m a very private person and I don’t really want the whole world knowing I have struggles and plenty of faults. Sure I can post my Epic Fails when it comes to cooking disasters but not in my “real life”.
Time management…..like any social media, a blog can EAT UP your valuable time!
You could literally spend all day, everyday doing something blog related. Reading blog tips, connecting to more social media, figuring out how to get your content to more people, looking at your stats, signing up for paid campaigns, taking pictures, editing photos….and don’t forget trying to write something. This summer I’ve been able to spend more time doing those things but school started yesterday (we homeschool) and I need to be more efficient with my time.
I’ve never been much of a picture taker and I have to be honest, before I started this blog I had NEVER in my life taken a picture of food…mine or anyone else’s. (And quite frankly didn’t understand why anyone would even think to do such a thing) Now, I can’t even imagine how many I’ve taken. I’m pretty sure I have pictures of just about everything I’ve eaten in the last year. But taking pictures of everything isn’t enough, they have to be good pictures, with the right lighting, composition and props. Again, not something I knew anything about. In order to help with picture taking (and plenty of other stuff) my husband signed me up for Food Blogger Pro, a great video series by Pinch of Yum that has lots of great tips for food photography. (You can see more about it by clicking the button on my sidebar) My husband and children gave me a really nice (or at least I think so) DSLR camera for Mother’s Day, noting also that I could, “Use it to take pictures of the family, too”. They were also thoughtful enough to give me a DVD photography class.
My biggest surprise:
The posts I almost don’t publish (but do anyway because I don’t have anything else) which seem to contain the least amount of good content are the ones that get the most views! For example, to date Parmesan Crusted Chicken is my most viewed and shared post with about 14,000 page views and over 19,000 re-pins. It doesn’t have good SEO and all it says is, “When all else fails, smother with cheese and bacon.” I’m not sure what that says about my writing?
Goals for the next year:
Become more fluent in “Blog”.
Thanks to some very patient friends (on-line and real-life) I now speak semi-fluent blog! I know what SEO is and why it’s important, the difference between a “link party” and a “blog hop”, I can “drive traffic” somewhat successfully, I know what HTML code is (although I don’t read it or write it) and I can give you the URL of my blog or any post on it…ALL things I’ve learned in the last year. But I still have a long way to go!
Write and publish posts even if there isn’t anyone “who cares”.
I’d like to get our of my comfort zone and write more “meaningful” content.
Sent aside designated time for blogging.
Write, create, link then walk away.
Learn how to use all the cool stuff on my new camera.
Although I love the “auto” setting I’d like to know how to use all the others and finish watching my photography class DVDs.
Long Term (Lofty) Goals:
Attend a Blog Conference
Make enough money from this blog to pay for attending a Blog Conference
Meet Bjork and Lindsay from Pinch of Yum.
Have something from O Taste and See mentioned /published /recognized /looked at by Southern Living Magazine
Before you go, I’d also like to express my gratitude and appreciation for all those who have been a part of encouraging me through this year. I won’t begin to name everyone, I’m sure I’d leave out some very important people. Just know that if you have read this blog (even one time), given me any sort of advice, written an encouraging comment or answered a question, shared my content through social media, printed off one of my recipes or waited patiently at the dinner table while I finished taking pictures of your food….I am forever grateful!