Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reflections and Goals

It's been about 10 months since Greg's Gourmet first launched and it's been an interesting experience.  Yeah, this is gonna be one of those "classic" blog entries, so for pictures of really good food or funny stories, scroll down.  Actually, wait, here's a picture just for good measure:

Egg salad, Fritos, and a scone.  A terrific meal for when you don't feel like doing anything.  Just FYI I didn't eat the scone with it.  It was just for effect

It's funny - when I first launched I had no idea what my goals or plans were.  The basic idea was to just post pictures of what I eat.  That's it.  But then I started to really get interested in it.  Then I got fans.  Then my readership kept going up.  Now I'm thinking up new things to do.  Such as this:

I think what I like most about the site is that it serves as a sort of portfolio for me and definitely creates a solid web presence.  It shows examples of writing, marketing, photography, graphic design (if you noticed the new banner then I may consider buying you lunch), HTML, Flash, and, hey, I have my own shirt!  How many people can say that?  It's also not just the mindless posting of pictures - it's writing and analysis with my moderately witty commentary.  Sometimes instead of writing about food I'll write about food related topics, such as the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush, bad Halloween treats, or Dick's Liquor.  

I've also learned a lot about the food industry in general.  Everything from pricing to portion size to, oh yeah, customer service.  In my opinion, customer service has improved with the evolution of the Internet.  I guess with everyone having a voice, companies pretty much have to listen otherwise they're gonna be in trouble.  But I've also learned that some companies don't care, as evidenced by Vons, who were inducted into the Hall of Shame due to the multiple shelved products that were weeks, if not months, past their "best by" dates (not to mention when they were returned the clerk guy was a jerk).  I actually attached that link in one of those complaint forms on their corporate website.  They didn't click it.  I received the canned garbage of "we're sorrrrrrrry" and that was it.  Meanwhile, that post continues to regularly receive views from Google searches and thus giving Vons plenty of not great publicity. 

If they had actually treated it as an individual issue and, you know, checked out why this person was flaming them online (and why the hell one of their stores is selling a product that's 8 months past its "best by" date)...I would have updated it appropriately.  If they had given me quality service I would have met them halfway.  But no.  That's the kind of junk you still get.  Here's a good idea: Don't make a blogger upset.  

Case in point with Cafe Press.  I created my own shirt (as well as other products) with one of three logos on it.  I personally have two shirts, one of which I can't comfortably wear anymore, which is a pity because those are expensive.  I sent an e-mail to Cafe Press telling them how disappointed I was and you know what they did?  Even though it was after the return period, they still refunded me and didn't even ask for me to send the shirt back.  That's customer service, that's standing behind their company, and that's wanting to keep everyone happy.  They're an Internet-based company, so I'm thinking they're more in touch with how to keep their users happy.  

I've encouraged other people to start blogs or create their own brand of whatever.  It's useful and fun.'s hard.  You see Greg's Gourmet and you may think it's a sinch to keep up and in reality it's not.  The thing is - I can only post so many pictures of hamburgers.  I can only post so many sandwiches or meals that I order over and over again before people get bored and stop reading.  It's boring for the reader and it's also boring for me.  That's part of the reason I've expanded my horizon and have gradually featured seafood.  I guess it's also because I've been so involved with food since launch that I have a new appreciation for it and am willing to try all sorts of new things.  

I still like the idea of starting a vlog.  The thing is - it would need to have some sort of story or purpose.  It can't just be me eating things.  No one except my stalkers will care about that.  

And by the way - any and all reader interaction - I love it.  I love it when people send me restaurant recommendations, pictures of food, and discussions of food in general.  


Reach a million views.  It's harder for a blog to reach those kinds of numbers than a video, but it's possible.  I mean, if the video of the Tourettes Guy yelling at the Wendy's drive-thru can get a million views, then why can't I?

More comments.  It's not uncommon for blogs to receive next to no comments, but that's not a reflection of lack of readership.  It's kind of like those cheesy commercials that are advertising something you don't need and they give you the phone number 96 times in an effort to get you to call.  The idea is that if you see it enough then maybe you'll give in.  Comments are kind of the same way.  I think the longer a blog is around and the more it establishes itself (as well as readership) then the comments will come.  One of my favorite blogs, Basketbawful (the best of the worst of professional basketball), seldom ever received comments during his first year on the net.  Now it's not unusual for him to receive hundreds of comments for one little post.  

Word of mouth.  Whenever someone tells me they showed my blog to someone, that pretty much makes my day.  To know that someone thinks enough of your product or brand to share it with people they know means you're doing something right, and I appreciate everyone who's spread the word.  

Thanks for reading!