As I write this, I have a raging sinus infection. I caught a cold a week ago and now my head feels like it’s going to explode. My teeth hurt. Apparently this is all normal and will go away. But right now I’m pretty dang frustrated, if I’m being honest. And I’m being honest, just so you know. But I didn’t want to let this day go by without celebrating, albeit belatedly. As of April 28, 2016, I have kept Eat Within Your Means alive for TWO WHOLE YEARS. This is a big deal.
I think it’s important that you know that historically, I’m a starter, not a finisher. I have started and abandoned more projects in my lifetime than I want to count. I always have some big new idea come into my brain which distracts me from the last big new idea I had. Let’s just say that stick-to-it-ive-ness is not my greatest strength. And yet, even though there were weeks at a time where I didn’t post anything in the last two years, somehow I’m still here, and more excited than ever to keep at this crazy adventure that is slowly becoming my career. I thought it would be nice to recap the brief history of EWYM so far. Join me, won’t you? But be warned, there is some seriously bad photography coming your way. It gets better, thankfully.
Launch day was a big deal because I had been prepping for it for a few months. I had watched nearly every tutorial on Food Blogger Pro between the beginning of January and the launch, and had asked a bajillion questions in the community forum on FBP all through that time. It’s so fun to go back and read those posts, where I didn’t know much of anything. Things are a little different now.
I had no idea what to expect in terms of page view statistics in those early days. I just checked, and I had less than 8,000 page views in the first month that EWYM was live. That feels like SUCH a long time ago. These days, I average about 100,000 per month, which, you know, is a lot more. So, apparently, somewhere in the last two years something went really right. A couple of somethings, actually. But first let’s look at some of the complete and total flops. The photos, that is – the recipes are mostly good. Except for one, and I think it will be painfully obvious to which I am referring.
Adventures in Horrible Food Photography
Dessert guacamole. Really, Beth? Really?
I know, I know. I wanted to be all cool and different and stuff, and this was my first giveaway post, so I thought it should be unique. It’s special, for sure. But not in the good way.
I really can’t look at that picture anymore.
This one is kind of upsetting, because it’s actually a really great salad, but I hadn’t yet learned how to set my white balance correctly before shooting, and that’s probably one of the most important things about food photography. Lesson learned – and now I must schedule some time to reshoot these images. GAH – just look away.
These popsicles are DELICIOUS, but the photos? Not so much. Definitely need an update before summer rolls around.
Ok, that was a horrifying trip down memory lane. Let’s talk about something more positive.
The Home Runs
Bjork Ostrom from Food Blogger Pro likes to talk about food blogging in baseball terms. Basically, the idea that most of your posts will be singles or even strike-outs, but every so often you’ll hit a home run, and that’s how most people will come to know about you. That has absolutely been true for me.
Home Run #1 – How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
I posted this tutorial in June of 2014, and for some reason, it just took off on Pinterest. To this day, it remains my most popular post, having been pinned almost 300,000 times, and coming up on the first page in Google search results for “how to cook spaghetti squash”. Thank you, spaghetti squash. Thank you.
Home Run #2 – Vegetable Bolognese
This recipe gets more comments than any other on EWYM. I am so proud and happy whenever someone tells me that they’ve made it and enjoyed it. This comment came in just this week!
“I made this last night for my non-vegan family and they LOVED it!!! This is such a great recipe and easy to make (with a food processor it takes mere minutes to prep all veggies!) It cooks fast and the texture is amazing! The taste is meaty enough but not bulky like some vegan meats can be. Next time I will add in some celery and green peppers just for fun! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!” – Elena from Montreal
The base of this recipe can be used in place of ground beef in so many different dishes. For right now, I’m calling it Vegetable Meat Substitute, but I need a better name. Maybe Veggie Grounds. Any ideas? By the way, there will be much more to come in regard to this recipe as the year goes on. Stay tuned.
To continue the baseball analogy, these recipes are not quite to home run status yet, but they’re definitely triples!
How to Cook Perfect Quinoa – this one is almost a year old, but just started growing in popularity recently. Google has been giving it a lot of love. Thank you Google!
Highlight of this journey – ONE MILLION VIEWS!
Last September, I thought I was going to a casual housewarming party at my sister’s new house. Words cannot describe the total shock I experienced when I heard the words, “Surprise!” from all of my family and friends, to celebrate hitting 1 MILLION PAGE VIEWS on the blog. My amazingly wonderful husband had been secretly watching my stats to see when the moment would happen, and got everyone together to celebrate. The guests made food from the blog, and Michael had printed comments from the recipes and put them up all over the wall along with a huge congratulations banner. Just thinking about that day makes me smile from ear to ear.
I’m due to hit 2 million in about 5 months, give or take a day. Heads up, my love. Oh wait, I’m sure you already know. 😉
A Big Decision
In the last two years, there have been some major life changes for us. The first one is the addition of Josh into our family. He just turned 1, I can’t believe it. For the first year and a half of the blog’s life, I was working full time in the corporate world. While I was pregnant with Josh it was becoming quite obvious that sustaining the blog along with my job and also trying to be a decent mom was going to be a challenge at best. So we made the decision that I would quit my job to stay home with the kids and really give the blog a go. I was also lucky enough to get a part-time job working for Food Blogger Pro to help me ease the transition from a steady paycheck to working from home. It has been almost a year since I left corporate life, and I rarely miss it (although I do miss my work buddies!).
The challenges of working from home are definitely ever-present, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life right now. Except I wouldn’t mind having a laundry and dishes fairy.
I’m really excited take on Year 3 with purpose and commitment. The last two years have been wonderful, but scattered and inconsistent to say the least. And there have been a few times where I have wondered if I could indeed take the bull by the horns and “go pro”, making my work on this site not only a helpful resource for you, my wonderful readers, but also do it for a living. I know it’s possible, and I have had some encouraging things happen recently that are inspiring me to keep moving forward. Like, I don’t know, my first local tv appearance. 🙂
As excited as I am to take on Year 3 with gusto, it doesn’t mean much if I’m not taking into consideration what YOU want. I always want to put my readers first, because without you I would just be writing for myself. That’s all fine and good, but honestly when you make my recipes and then tell me about how much you like them, it makes me so happy I want to dance around my living room. Sometimes I do. So, rather than make my plans in a vacuum, I would be honored if you would share your feedback and ideas with me. I put together a few questions to help me better understand what you would like from EWYM in the next year. Would you be so kind as to take this survey? I can promise you that your responses will absolutely shape what comes next on this here blog. Thank you in advance!
Click here to take the survey!
None of this matters without you. You read my crazy writing, and some of you even tell me you like it. You make the recipes and share them. You tell me that I am saving your husband’s arteries (seriously, that happened). You encourage me when I share about my struggles to eat within my means. You comment, and you inspire me, and you are here when you could be somewhere else. So thank you, thank you, thank you, for being on this ride with me. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug, or a high five, or a fist bump, or a nod, or a wave – whatever works for you. You are why I do this, and why I’m going to keep doing it for as long as you stick around.
This year is going to kick last year’s butt. Just a heads up.