I can hardly believe it, but my blog becomes a teenager today! I guess that’s how every parent feels when their baby becomes a teen, right?  Thanks to my faithful readers for the support and encouragement through the years; it has meant the world to me.

Kalyn's Kitchen is 13 Years Old Today!

Thirteen years ago today I sat down at the computer and started this blog, simply because I had friends who wanted me to share my recipes, and I was tired of sending them by e-mail. When this anniversary rolls around every year, I think about how grateful I am for my brother Rand, who had the simple idea of putting the recipes on a blog. And I know I say this every. single. year. But quite seriously, I had absolutely no idea how life-changing food blogging would end up being for me, and when the blog turned ten I wrote about 10 Ways Blogging Has Enriched My Life.

But when I started the blog I also had no idea how challenging it would be to keep up with the constant changes in blogging and technology. And as the anniversary date approached this year, I’ve been musing over how many things about my blog and food blogging in general have changed. I’m not exactly someone who quickly embraces change (Ha!), and keeping up with all the changes has been a challenge every step of the way. If you’re a long time reader of food blogs you may have noticed some of these changes more than others, but to celebrate 13 years of food blogging I thought it would be fun to do a countdown of 13 Ways Food Blogging has Changed!

I try to keep up with change when it comes and have a positive attitude about it, but I don’t think change is always good! If you have ideas about how blogging or the internet has changed, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And thanks again to everyone reading this for your support of my blog; hearing from readers is one of the biggest things that makes blogging so rewarding, and I never would have made it for 13 years without all the nice feedback I’ve gotten. And now, here are my thoughts about changes on this site and the food blogging universe in the last 13 years!

When I started in 2005, bloggers would participate in blogging events where one blogger (the “host”) would collect links from other bloggers who all wrote a post on the same theme. For three years Kalyn’s Kitchen hosted a weekly blogging event called Weekend Herb Blogging, which actually started as a joke but became very popular. After three years, I transferred the event to another blogger, who continued it on for several more years. The early years were also full of one-off events like this one, which were fun at the time but would probably seem a bit silly to blog readers now.

When I started Kalyn’s Kitchen in 2005 I hadn’t even entered the digital camera age! Eventually I got a point-and-shoot camera and I took a lot of bad photos like this one in the early days of the blog. It didn’t take long before I got a digital DSLR camera, and I’ve upgraded my camera four or five times through the years, usually trading in my old camera at Pictureline, where my niece’s husband works! (Thanks Nick!) Currently I am using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV usually with this lens, which is truly an amazing combination. For quite a few years now I’ve spent time every week updating older photos so they might be good enough to entice you to make the recipe!

When I started blogging, no one imagined taking a photo of every step of the recipe! Early recipes often had only a single photo of the dish, but The Pioneer Woman made process shots into a thing, and now it’s a must for a successful blog. For a few years now I’ve been making my process photos into collages to keep the posts shorter, but I’ve definitely come to realize how helpful the photos are for people who aren’t that experienced at cooking, and for years (and years and years) I’ve been updating older posts to include them.

I’m glad I couldn’t look into the future and see a day when bloggers everywhere would start making videos of their recipes, because that might have scared me away from blogging forever. And there’s no question that I’m never going to fully embrace video in the way some bloggers have, but I do have an ever-growing index of Recipes with Videos on the site, including some slide-show videos and some live-action videos that show how to make the dish.

In the early days of food blogging, I certainly never imagined making a living with the blog! But Kalyn’s Kitchen has now been a corporation for many years and I’m grateful to be able to make a living from something I love to do. Blogging is now ultra-competitive, and most bloggers make money from sponsored recipes where a company pays them to feature a certain product. I made the choice early on not to start down that road, and I’m glad I’ve been able to stick to strictly advertising to monetize my blog. I try hard to be sure the ads don’t distract from the recipe content too much, so please e-mail me if you ever have problems associated with an ad. (And who ever imagined that someday I would be managing two websites, but Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker is still going strong!)

In the early days bloggers used a variety of platforms for hosting and managing their blogs, but through the years WordPress became the preferred platform for food bloggers. For years I was scared to move my site to WordPress, and I’m willing to admit that I should have done it years sooner! But last year I finally switched Kalyn’s Kitchen to WordPress! Purr Design did a beautiful job, and it’s probably one of the best changes I’ve made in the site, but the switch also caused nearly every post to have small formatting errors, just like I suspected it would. Jennette has been great at helping me cope with the challenges of WordPress and create shortcuts to editing. (You may not notice things like extra line spaces or text that should be bold but isn’t, but some errors are bothersome. Let me know if you’re trying to print a recipe and the link goes to the wrong spot, or any other errors like that.) But for the most part I love the improvements that have come with WordPress, especially a greatly improved recipe index!

Social media is the change that I’m sure every one of you have noticed, and it has increased bloggers’ workload more than anything we could have imagined back in 2005. In the early days of blogging, you’d start out your day by visiting the sites of your food blogging friends and leaving comments. Now that’s mostly been replaced by using social media to share content and check in with friends. Some days I’d just like to get off the social media treadmill, but I know it’s here to stay. And I do love the way social media has connected me with friends and family members all over the world, and meeting readers online in a more personal way can also be rewarding.

Facebook is the first social media platform where I was active, and now it’s the one I love to hate, but I will admit that connecting with readers on the Kalyn’s Kitchen Facebook page can definitely be fun. But the pressure of figuring out how to get Facebook to show people your posts and the competition of videos are things that make me question the amount of time I am investing in Facebook. And I can guarantee you won’t ever see me doing live spots on Facebook!

I was an early lover of Pinterest, and my blog has an amazing number of followers there! I’m grateful to my brother Rand who creates the beautiful pins that I link to at the top of my posts, and if I had to pick only one social media platform to be active on, Pinterest would be my favorite by a mile.

There are only so many hours a day I want to spend sitting in front of the computer, so although I do share things on Kalyn’s Kitchen Twitter and Kalyn’s Kitchen Instagram, I’m not nearly as active there as some bloggers are. And social media continues to come up with new platforms all the time, and so far I haven’t felt the urge to sign on to any more of them!

One of the biggest (and maybe best) changes for Kalyn’s Kitchen was when I decided to officially stop focusing solely on The South Beach Diet, and started featuring carb-conscious recipes that were suitable for many types of eating plans. Now there is a great Diet-Type Index on my site (and on Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker too) to help you find recipes that work for your personal way of eating. And anywhere you look for healthy recipes around the web now, you’ll notice an increased emphasis on labeling recipes by diet type.

Back in the early days we certainly never imagined there would come a time when the majority of people would be using the web on their phones or tablets, and the mobile internet has caused lots of challenges for bloggers like me who have lots of content that was created to be viewed on a desktop computer. But time marches on, and I’m always working to do things like making individual photos into collages, compressing photos so they load more quickly, and making sure my sites are mobile-responsive to improve your experience on a mobile device.

And finally, the idea of going back into an old recipe post and updating it to current standards is something that’s become common practice for recipe bloggers over the last few years. For me the switch to WordPress made some of the updating of old recipes feel like a must, but food bloggers all over the web are now updating older favorite recipes with better photos and technological improvements to make them more attractive in the ever-competitive world that is food blogging in 2018. My site has over 2,000 recipes and at least 75% of them are probably not up to current standards, so this is something I’ll be focused on for many years to come!

And that’s my quick little summary of 13 years of food blogging changes; what did I miss?

Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns One
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Two
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Three
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Four
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Five
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Six
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Seven
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Eight
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Nine
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Ten (!)
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Eleven (!!)
Kalyn’s Kitchen Turns Twelve (!!!)

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