I've been thinking lately. I've been thinking about programs that supposedly measure our influence, the differences between programs like statcounter that track a website's visitors versus the amount of comments left on a writers blog post. I have been considering who we...okay....I, write for.
In the beginning it was myself I wrote for, with the vague idea that I might be sharing recipes with an anonymous reader I would never know was even reading, I know, it was a little naive.
Then I began to meet people, mostly other food bloggers, and it opened a social circle to me I hadn't given much thought to. Some things are funny that way, kinda like the movie Pay It Forward, you never know sometimes, when you reach out to someone, how many other people you might actually reach.
Being part of a community of people who are working towards the same goal is indispensable. They are a team of people with varying degrees of knowledge who can offer valuable information to others who need it. It is in the sharing of ideas, tips & thoughts that help create a stronger and more knowledgeable group of like minded people working towards the same goal.
As it turns out, there are thousands and thousands of writers and cooks/chefs out there sharing their beautiful and delicious food creations with us. A lot of them are actually that, inspired creations, it was a little intimidating at first for me, as I was only sharing some of the things that I cook here in my kitchen.
Each blogger when starting out either has a niche ready to go or has to find it along the way and then be consistent. Mine is truly as simple as the name of my site, I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen...I am okay with that, I am not a chef, but I am, a darn good cook. I don't have a professional culinary education, but I do pretty well. I don't know everything, lol...and don't pretend to : ) I am open to learning new things and new ways of doing things, I am grateful to the many other food bloggers for their talent and the inspiration I get from them. I learn from them as I go along my path with this blog and attempt to find my way. I am not the most computer literate user either and have had to do extensive research on line on how to do some things others find very simple. I only recently learned I could actually "schedule" a post, instead of writing and posting daily.
It was around that time, in the beginning, while I was researching "how to" blog, that I learned that certain things were important, such as, an...about section. So, I struggled with that idea a bit, and probably still have what I would consider a lame "about" section.
Oh well, ya know what? Really...when I think about it, when I am searching online for a recipe, I RARELY read an about section. I want a recipe, clearly written with obtainable ingredients....and a nice photograph so I know how the finished product should resemble doesn't hurt either. Because of my personal desires in what I like, I still struggle with format. How to write a recipe? Should it be printable in a cute little box? Where should I place my photographs? The questions go on and on, and as I continue to write and post, and receive feedback...I will find the answers, I am confident of that.
Once in a while, back in the day, a site would catch my eye and I saved it in my browsers favorites list. It was when I went back to visit that quite often I would take the time to read someones about section. So, with that said, I do realize that it's important, that it's a section that allows a reader to get to know us a bit better. Does it make or break a food bloggers site? I don't think so, it may to other food bloggers, who want to know so much more about you, and look for it...but for the masses? I just can't say, I will say...that there is some value in it for the readers who visit and re-visit our sites for recipes, or to just read our thoughts, or to pay a visit with someone who they relate to or have developed a connection with. In that respect, what does an "about" section hurt? Nothing and no one : ) It never hurts to make new friends, and it is hard to do that without sharing something about ourselves...
In my blogging travels...I have goofed around with a program called Klout, which I found, for me anyway...was completely useless. Forgive me as I continue to learn, I may be wrong, but so far, I don't think so. I played with it for months...it assigns you a number that measures your influence on readers, your reach....your effectiveness.....among other things. I found that even though I had linked up all of the different social networks I was using, it really seemed to only monitor Twitter. The results? My "number" was directly affected by how often I was tweeting or not tweeting. I did not and do not now believe that it is a true measure of my reach or effectiveness. It is only a direct measure of the number of tweets I send out, and that's not something I am interested in.
What am I interested in? Well, I'm interested in trying to offer quality content to the best of my ability, easy to read content, recipes anyone and everyone can prepare at home & in their own kitchens.
Why do I find StatCounter invaluable?
I truly find that it is a great measure of who and how many people I am reaching. It is a private measuring system that only I can see, but it means so much. I am able to view HOW people come to my site. It differs actually, some are from other food blogging sites I have worked with, and I am grateful, others are from sites where I post my recipes, and I am grateful for that as well, and now the new wave sweeping over the internet...Pinterest.
Many are through search engines...many of my visitors are typing keywords into their computers and finding me! They are visiting my site based on the recipes they are searching for, and are wanting to make. That makes me want to do a happy dance...
When they stay awhile...reading, and maybe even browsing through other recipes of mine, I know I am doing something right. It is the confirmation I need to know that someone out there somewhere has gotten the help they needed to make what it is they were imagining they would put on their table that day. That my friends...is the validation I need to make me smile and to keep me coming back to this site every day, other than the fact that I have been enjoying the heck out of it : D
I value the friendships I have made along my journey, I look forward to the new friendships I have yet to make. I am encouraged by them as well...but secretly, (okay, the secret is out)...I am absolutely thrilled every time I have a brand new visitor stop by to visit and when they come back again to look up another recipe. The joy of computer technology and it's ability still amazes me.
My site is still a baby...my recipes are still being added...if you are reading and need a recipe, or ideas on a recipe or would like to see a specific recipe...let me know. Leave a comment, email me...and I will be happy to help, happy to cook and happy to have met you.
If you are a blogger and even if you're not...and, you have thoughts on any of the programs we work with that help measure how we're doing, let me know. Any sage advice for me? Share that too! I look forward to hearing from you, chatting with you, and appreciate you stopping by and reading this post to the end ; ) And...if you're shy or pressed for time or just don't feel like commenting....well....that's cool too! Ciao for now, and...
: D Till next time we meet, Happy Cookin'