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Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn’s Kitchen turns 13 Years Old (And 13 Ways Food Blogging Has Changed!)

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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52 comments on “Kalyn’s Kitchen turns 13 Years Old (And 13 Ways Food Blogging Has Changed!)”

  1. Your blog is still my favorite! I started on the South Beach Diet in 2010 and I’ve transitioned to keto and you always have the best recipes! And I’ve been coming here for recipes that entire time. (My other favorite blogger is Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food if you have time to stop by there). Thanks for still blogging, and for all the delicious recipes!

  2. Belated Happy Blog Anniversary Kalyn! Time sure does fly. Sometimes I miss those early simple days of food blogging. But I love a lot about what’s around now too. I’m addicted to Twitter! I’ll be shocked if blogs still exist in 13 years. But who knows?

    • I am curious to see what the next 13 years will bring. But it seems like more and more people use blogs to find recipes, so I’m optimistic! Fun hearing from you!

  3. Congratulations on hanging in there (or here!) xx

  4. I’m late to the party but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and your recipes. Here’s to many more years of fun in the kitchen! (clink)

  5. Belated congratulations, Kalyn! I’ll admit that I’m a little jealous that you had several more years of blogging before it got crazy. I celebrated 9 years at the end of 2017 and I didn’t quite celebrate on gfe. I wanted to address the changes in blogging but wasn’t sure I could approach it all positively, which you did admirably. I don’t think all of the blogging changes are good. The use of more technology is exhausting to bloggers and takes away from the true and meaningful connections in my opinion. Interestingly enough, I still occasionally do blogger events (like my March Muffin Madness event) and that’s when readers actually come out of the dark, so to speak, and connect. The fact that they show up makes all the difference in the world and keeps me going; that’s for sure!

    Blog on, Kalyn! We need you!

    • Thanks Shirley! I agree with you completely. I recently decided that when it comes to blogging, “I do it my way.” That helped me have a more positive attitude about not keeping up with the CONSTANT CHANGES in technology and ridiculous things some bloggers seem willing to do!

  6. Congratulations and job well done Kaylin.

  7. And I have been thankful to you every day!!

  8. Yours is the best site, and the only one I always look at. I really appreciate the variety of both the types of food and the methods used to cook them. I’ve always found your recipes to be reliably tasty, and your instructions thorough without being tedious. I don’t know exactly when I started following you, but i do know it was a long time ago, and I’m with you for the long haul! Congratulations on 13 years of excellence!

  9. Kalyn, you are at the top of my list when it comes to recipes! I’ve received your emails for years and have saved multiple pages of your delicious dishes to my computer. Thank you for keeping the South Beach Diet posts available; although I am never serious about actually dieting, I just love the method of clean eating and your photography, (where I never see any flaws), is enticing to the max.
    May you continue to do your blog for many more years! Congrats on 13 years of doing what you love. I’ve been a grateful beneficiary.

    • Thanks Linda, so happy you are enjoying the recipes so much. I don’t like to even think about how old I would be in 13 more years, (HA!) but definitely I am planning to continue on for many more years!

  10. Congratulations, Kalyn!  So glad you are still blogging!  

  11. So grateful that you started this blog and have been able to continue. The step-by-step guide is really helpful. Congratulations on your success!

  12. Congratulations Kalyn! Food blogging has certainly changed a tremendous amount, and it is quite a challenge and feat to keep up! Your blog was one of the first I followed before venturing in to food blogging myself – a huge inspiration for sure. Keeping abreast of all the new technical and social media aspects can definitely be a challenge, but it also keeps blogging interesting and always a learning experience. Hope you are well and best wishes for the coming year!

  13. You are so right, I miss the events of those days. My blog also turn 13 the year. And with the GDPR in Europe blogging is no fun anymore. My old platform closes AT the endlich of Max. Where are all the just-for-fun-bloggers?

  14. Your list of 13 changes is spot on. “Back in the olden days” blogging was unsophistacted and just plain fun. I never imagined it would be what it is today. I stopped blogging for two years, but kept my blog up and running because friends and family were accessing the recipes. I started blogging again in early February of this year and I have been overwhelmed with all of the changes that took place in just two years.

    Your blog is one of the first blogs I started reading when I first got in to blogging. I would check your blog regularly to see how you were doing things. It was great knowing that you were here in Utah…a “home girl” that was making it big! Thank you for being so constant and consistent in your blogging. Although I think I have only ever left one comment on your blog, years ago, I have hovered in the background for a long time. You are one of my blogging heroes.

  15. Congratulations Kalyn! It’s hard to believe it’s already been 13 years. With all the changes it sort of makes you wonder what the next 13 years will be like, right? So glad to have connected with you so many years ago. xoxo

    • Thanks Elise! I have been so inspired by you and your absolute quest for excellence on your site! And I am a bit apprehensive about what the next 13 years may bring, but I guess we will adjust, right? I wish we lived closer so we could go out to lunch and talk about old times!

  16. Happy Birthday Kalyn’s Kitchen!!! It is amazing what Kalyn has done over the years to keep so many delicious recipes at our fingertips! I love your blogs and you are definitely my favorite food blogger!
    Congratulations! I hope you are celebrating today!

  17. Congratulations on 13 great years 😉 Many more to come! I do miss the blogging events!

  18. This was so fun to read, see all the “upgrades” and the growth! Congrats Kalyn, your blog is fabulous!

  19. Wow Kalyn congratulations on your 13th blog anniversary. It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished and that you’ve steadily kept your blog going for all this time. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and tips. 

    I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years with two blogs and it’s been challenging but you’re someone to look up to and learn from. Thank you! 

  20. Oh my gosh. Weekend Herb Blogging – what a blast from the past. This was such a thoughtful post, I agree with you on everything!

  21. You are the Gold Standard of food blogging. Please know that you have made such a difference for folks looking for a better way to eat. I have made many KK recipes, and never once had a fail. May you live and blog FOREVER!

  22. Congratulations, Kalyn! I’ve been reading your blog for over a decade, and it’s always a stop when I’m searching for a new recipe. Thanks for everything you’ve done!

  23. Congratulations Kalyn! Many good wishes for the years yet to come in blogging!

  24. Congratulations!  Wonderful to have a teenage son now.. or would it be a daughter? 

    I think you summarized quite well what food blogging, or rather blogging in general has become – it also affects bloggers differently depending on their goals. To me, food blogging is a hobby, so I don’t pay much attention to page views, and in fact I feel quite free because of it.  Keeping up with the pressure of making a site “popular” would kill me… 

    Here’s to many more years of Kalyn’s Kitchen!

  25. Congratulations Kalyn on Lucky 13! I have followed you for many years. I credit you for my expertise on using a slow cooker….I remember asking your advice when I bought my first one…I now have three🤗 I have not got onto the One Pot bandwagon as yet however, I’m certain I will soon.  Thanks for all that you share with your devoted followers 

  26. Congratulations on a baker’s dozen of wonderful blogging years! And hurray for embracing change!

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