Thursday, 4 June 2015 - much improved website

KeefCooks home page
I've been very quiet on the blogging front lately because I've been hard at work building a complete revamp of Now it's done, and I'm very pleased with it. It's a serious redesign with several major objectives.

Firstly, to improve the findability of the recipes, both for people and for search engines. Secondly, to improve the experience for viewers on mobile phones. And thirdly, to increase advertising recipe - because if I'm going to keep on doing these recipes and the accompanying videos, I do need some money coming in!

So I tackled the findability issues by scrapping the 7 or 8 categories that I had - it was becoming very limiting anyway, and replacing that with a whole bunch of other groupings - Cuisine/Origin, Meal Course/Type, Main Ingredient, Cooking Method, Cooking Time, Most Recently Added and Most Viewed. And there's also an old-fashioned search box if you want to do it that way.

That taxonomic structure (yes, an SEO expert actually called it that) will help search engines get to the content much easier, and I've used friendly URLs throughout the site so that the clunky old web addresses like become smart, streamlined and readable, like

KeefCooks rich snippet in Google
Another behind-the-scenes idea I've implemented is structured data markup. You're probably scratching your head, but what it means is you use a schema that relates to recipes. So first of all, you are directly telling the search engine you're talking about a recipe. Then you tell it the recipe name, cuisine, prep time and cooking time (in a rather arcane ISO format), the ingredients and a summary of the method. In Google search results, some of this info appears as a 'rich snippet' along with a small thumbnail that makes your result stand out from the others and be more likely to be clicked on.

As far as revenue goes, there's really only one option at the moment, and that's Google AdWords. I designed the site specifically to fit Google's standard sizes for adverts. I do also have a PayPal Donate button, which has resulted in precisely 1 donation in the 2 years that I've been running this site. Please feel free to donate as much as you like!

KeefCooks printable recipe
Finally, I spent quite a lot of time building the print version of the recipe details page. If you choose to print out a recipe, you get a nice clean layout without any advertising or menu links (you might have noticed that clicking links on paper doesn't work!). What you do get, however, are 2 QR (Quick Response) codes. If you have a barcode scanner app on your smartphone, you can scan the codes - one of them takes you to the original recipe on the website, the other takes you to the video on YouTube.

So that's the new-look website. Hopefully I've made it super-easy and simple to use. And as any good designer will tell you, making something simple is actually a very hard thing to achieve, and after all that graft, I need a beer. So will someone please hurry up and make a PayPal donation!

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