My Goals For Casual Kitchen For 2013

Leave it to me to share my 2013 blogging goals in late January, but today I'd like to share with readers my plans for CK for the coming year.

1) Increase income
CK earns a couple hundred bucks a month in a good month. Frankly, I haven't concentrated all that much on maximizing what I earn here. This year, however, I want to grow both readership and revenues, and by year end I'd like to scale up my income at CK to a nice, round $500 a month.

My entire body of work (nearly 900 posts, including well over a hundred recipes) is available completely free to readers. And while CK earns the bulk of its income from advertising (mostly from Google's Adsense program), one thing I've encouraged readers to do in the past several months is to do more of your Amazon shopping via the affiliate links here at CK. Hey, if you're going to purchase something you need at Amazon anyway, why not use the links here to support my writing too--at no incremental cost to you? Over the past few months my Amazon affiliate income has become much more significant, and I thank readers for using this avenue to support my work.

2) More recipes
Last year I wrote about branding, consumerism, the advertising-consumption cycle and dietary philosophy. I also dedicated a ton of pixels to the Your Money Or Your Life series. This blog stepped into a lot of controversial subjects.

This year, I also want to get back to Casual Kitchen's roots: Really easy, really good and really low-cost recipes. Last week's Minestrone Soup was just the first of several new, laughably cheap recipes I'll publish this year. Stay tuned.

3) Post less
Here's my final goal--and yes, you read that right: I want to post less. Uhhh, this month notwithstanding.

Why? Well, first, I'd like to free up a bit more time for other projects. One is an investment guidebook that's been on my back burner for more than a year now--I want to do some serious work on it in 2013 and see if it amounts to anything. I also want to continue learning French: I had the great fortune to spend November of last year studying at an exceptional language school in Montreal, and I'll head back for still more classes later this year... once the temperature rises above zero kelvin up there.

Most importantly, however, I want to keep giving readers better and better quality articles. And after tweaking my writing and publishing schedule here over the years, I've found that my article quality goes way, way up if I do two things: keep a few weeks' worth of articles "in the can" at all times, and stick to a (mostly) once-a-week posting schedule.

I'll still run a bonus post on occasion (like today), but this year I intend to stick to a more predictable, every-single-Tuesday schedule. With luck, I'll keep improving the quality and value of what you read here.

One last thought: I'm considering reducing the number of Friday Links posts I run to perhaps every other week, or a couple of times a month. (I'd love reader feedback on this by the way: what do you think?) In the coming weeks I may skip a Friday links post here and there and see if there's any reaction, either positive or negative, from readers.

Readers, what are YOUR goals in 2013 for YOUR blog? Share them!

How can I support Casual Kitchen?
For those readers interested in supporting Casual Kitchen, the easiest way is to do so is to do all your shopping at via the links on this site. You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.


Anonymous said...

I've never commented before, but I wanted to leave a vote for continuing the Friday Links. If it's a lot of work, by all means, do what you need to do. Friday Links is one of my favorite things on this blog. I usually read at least half of the articles listed. It gives a chance to read things I never would have come across on my own. Thanks for all that you do with this blog - I really enjoy it! -Lindsey

Owlhaven said...

I love the Friday links too-- but I am with you about wanting to post less this year, so do what works for you...

Anonymous said...

Agree with the other comments about Friday links. I look forward to those every week and it's exposed me to a lot new websites. I also really liked the YMYL series.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for continuing with weekly Friday links. They are one of the things I look forward to every week.

Matt @ SpoonMatters said...

Great post, Dan, it is refreshing to hear your thoughts on the year ahead.

Like everyone else I love the Friday links, but I must admit I have a backlog of unread posts in GoogleReader because I often don't set aside enough time to fully enjoy it. Once every two weeks isn't a bad idea, especially if it helps you free up time to work on an investment guidebook. Supporting the site via Amazon links is nice, but I would love to see you publish your own book in the future! And after the great work in the YMOYL series I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Matt again said...

Oh, and I completely forgot to answer with my own goals for 2013! This year I've jumped in with both feet, starting a new blog just two weeks ago and posting a photo a day on my old photography blog.

But for my main blogs, I just want to post regularly and not always have to write the night before each post goes live. I have enough to share with SpoonMatters that I could up my schedule to three times a week, but I don't have the free time to make it happen just yet. In 2013 I'm hoping to become a better and more efficient writer so I can keep up with my various interests without neglecting my home life every evening.

The Calico Cat said...

I have to agree with everyone else, I really like the Friday posts & see/read/learn things in those 6 or 7 links that I otherwise would not know about.

No real goals for me or my blog.

Sally said...

I love the Friday links, too. As others have said, they take me to websites I wouldn't have found on my own. I'm still missing the Top Ten Links of the Week from Cheap, Healthy, Good. (Well, I'm also missing Cheap, Healthy, Good.)

I'm happy to see that you want to get back to the roots of the blog.

figleaf said...

I think the Friday links are nice, but to the tiny extent I can help you advance your income generation your high-quality/low-cost essays (e.g. why "transitional" is better than "organic" both for the planet and our wallets) and especially your laughably cheap recipes are, I think, the key.

Since finding your site I've cooked one of your laughably cheap recipes at least one night a week and sometimes all five nights I cook! And lately I've been quietly urging the high-school students in my life to learn those recipes before heading off to college, and advising their parents to further encourage it.

Parents in my peer group often complain about the rice, canned spaghetti sauce and mac-and-cheese diets that were all our budgets and schedules allegedly permitted us. And your recipes, and philosophy in general, are a wonderful alternative.

I'm saying all this because while I enthusiastically send people to your site I usually qualify it with "he's not writing very much anymore but it's definitely worth it." It's still worth it but I'm looking forward to not having to give that qualification.


Little Old Les said...

The bulk of my sit-and-read time is devoted to newspapers and non-fiction. I'm not a fan of blogs- yours is the only one I read with any regularity. I enjoy your posts because you are an entertaining and informative writer, regardless of topic. I occasionally click/skim through the Friday links if they are of interest to me. I really like that you recommend books for further reading on the subjects you write about, because I usually have questions and want to learn more about topics that interest me. (I clicked through and am reading the tomato book on my kindle right now.) To me, CK is interesting because it isn't just about one topic. Whatever you decide to write about, it will be excellent!

Brittany said...

I am super excited about more recipes! That's what brought me here in the first place, and while I enjoy the more controversial posts, I keep coming back for the hope there will be more awesome recipes.

Also, I love Friday Links! I understand if you need to post them less often to accomplish other things, but know that I (and it looks like most readers) love them, whenever you're able to share them.

Joanne said...

I would LOVE to make more money on the blog this year also...but we'll see. It's a hard thing to predict. :)

I LOVE your Friday links!! Please don't get rid of them!

Anonymous said...

Yet another long time reader, first time commenter coming out of the woodwork to say- Noooo!! Spare the Friday links! I really look forward to them. Thanks to you I've been exposed to tons of thought provoking blogs and articles that I never would have happened on otherwise.

chacha1 said...

I appreciate the Friday Links although I very rarely read all of them, and sometimes none.

I read Casual Kitchen for various reasons, not many of which have to do with la cuisine. :-) I like the tone and the writing style, but the subject matter that most engages me is the more philosophical stuff.

As to my own blog: it's evolving too. I am not setting any goals for mine because I am more interested in A) getting some more fiction finished this year and B) getting more "making things" done.

My blog is completely non-monetized and there is a 70% chance it will grow more navel-gazey for a while. Then it will either fizzle out completely or be taken back to its original purpose with a brutal yank on the reins.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I too love the Friday links and would miss them. That being said, do whatever makes you happy.

Daniel said...

I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughts and comments. I'm grateful.

I'm actually surprised (happily so) by the feedback on Friday Links--the pageview traffic on those posts tends to be quite a bit lower than average, so I assumed they were less popular than they were. [Heh, just goes to show: never make assumptions about what your readers think--instead, ask them!]

Perhaps the pageview stats are lower because people are clicking directly from their feedreaders rather than from the blog itself.

But to those readers with concerns: don't worry! I won't kill off Friday Links, I'm just considering skipping a week here and there.


Matt said...

You are exactly right, I always click the links directly from Google Reader and thus don't click on the Friday links post unless I want to leave a comment. Funny how it may be one of your most popular features but it would show the lowest hits!

Anonymous said...

Great news that you'll be posting more recipes. I am looking forward to trying the slow cooker beef barley stew that you just featured. (more slow cooker recipes, please!) I also recently tried the Groundnut Stew and loved it. I admit that I read this blog for the recipes and cooking commentary and less for the financial info.

I also LOVE Friday links-- I read them throughout the week here and there when I have spare time as a supplement to my regular blogs. I do look forward to them every week and would definitely miss them if you did them less often. Just wanted you to know they're appreciated. =)

Colleen said...

Yah for the Friday blogs although I quess I can live without one every week. I didn't realize until a few weeks ago exactly what they were and now I check them every week...

I have been thinking alot about where I want my blog to go over the next year also. Making some money would be nice but I need to increase readership in order to do that. I am using Adsense also and have earned about 8.00 in the year and a half that my blog has been up...I can only go up from there.
Since I have a food blog I need to concentrate more on that aspect of my writing but most importantly I need to have more pictures. The new camera should help with that one. I have also gone back and started tagging my blogs...