Hey content creator friends, welcome to another episode of Mediavine On Air! Today we’re answering the question: Can you make lightning strike twice?
In other words, once you’ve got one successful website, can you use your expertise to make a second? And third? And fourth?
Karly Campbell of Buns in My Oven and That Low Carb Life and Kristy Still of Mommy Hates Cooking and Air Fryer Fanatics have replicated their success and doubled their fun, and probably stress, with additional websites.
When we originally filmed this episode in winter 2020, we were days away from the pandemic shutdown, making it an especially important time to focus on new revenue streams. But let’s be real: It’s never a bad idea to consider.
Karly and Kristy were amazing — answering all the questions about choosing second site topics, realistic time investment, cross promoting and more.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Redesigning Your Blog — Why you should redesign instead of rebrand and how to pick an ad-friendly theme.
SEO Like A CEO — Each installment of this blog series discusses strategies for improving a website’s search engine optimization.
What is Content Syndication? — Learn how to syndicate in the most beneficial way.
Mediavine’s Second Site Requirements
Theory of Content Episode 47 – The One About Duplicate Content and Keyword Cannibalization
JENNY GUY: Welcome, everybody. Hello, hello, hello. It is Thursday, February 27th, and I’m Jenny Guy. I’m the director of marketing for Mediavine.
And just to talk about a couple of current events, we have a leap year coming up. I don’t know if anybody knows about that one. It’s Saturday the 29th of February.
I actually have a friend who has a birthday on that day. I’d never met anyone who had a birthday– right? It’s weird. She’s very excited because she actually gets to celebrate her birthday this year, so there’s that.
Do you guys– does anyone out there have any plans? Post them in there. And then how is the year going for you guys so far? Has Q1 been a hard hit financially after the crazy boom of Q4?
We’ve heard a lot of comments from our audience that they take Q1 as a time to renew and rebuild and refresh, and potentially take on some of the bigger projects that they don’t have time to do during those crazy busy holidays. And one thing we kept hearing about over and over again on social media and in the Mediavine Facebook group was that people were asking about second sites. And they were wanting to start them, or has anyone had experience with them, and that’s why we’re here today.
I have brought in two amazing Mediavine publishers who are already rocking the socks off of their second sites. And they’re here to share their expertise with you, and they’re here to tell us if it’s really the truth to double your pleasure, double your fun with a second site. So let us meet our guests. Guys, thanks for being here with us today.
Kristy Still. Kristy is a native Oklahoma gal, living in a little slice of country in Oklahoma with her truck driver husband and her two kids. She has turned her intense dislike for all things culinary into a thriving business as a content creator and is now the owner of two sites, Mommy Hates Cooking and Air Fryer Fanatics. Welcome, Kristy. Thanks for being here.
KRISTY STILL: Thank you.
JENNY GUY: And also, Oklahoma– we found out bizarrely when we invited Kristy to be on the live that she and I live 15 minutes away from each other in Oklahoma, which I don’t know– but we’re, like, book club, coffee, wine. We’re so excited. Super excited. Well, thank you for being here with us.
And then our other guest is Karly Campbell. She started her career as a content creator with the incredibly successful site Buns in my Oven. And just to be clear, those buns are of the yeast variety, not the human. She is also the owner of the site That Low Carb Life which she runs with her high school sweetheart husband.
In addition to running to website she’s also a homeschooling mom to two kids. And welcome, Karly. Thanks for being here.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Thank you.
JENNY GUY: All right. We are so– we’ve already got people fired up and ready to ask questions. Everyone, if you have questions for Kristy or Karly and you’re watching, tell us in the comments.
How many sites do you currently have, and are you planning to start another site? What are you most excited to learn about today? Post it in the comments.
All right, let’s do this. Let’s start out with just some baseline talk about your first site. How did you get started in blogging? How did you learn about it? And when did you first start earning with it? And we’d love to hear if you wanted to mention Mediavine and how– what role Mediavine has played in your journey as a content creator. So Kristy, can we start with you?
KRISTY STILL: Sure. I started Mommy Hates Cooking almost 10 years ago now. So it was totally started on a whim and kind of as a joke at the time. My sister was a coupon blogger, and it was the height of couponing at that time. And so she kept pressuring me to start a website. And she said, you should start one that’s cooking, because I could link to you for these coupons for recipes.
And at that time the only thing I could cook was pasta with meat sauce and that was all I could do. And my husband had been telling me I really should like mix it up a little bit. And so I jokingly told my sister, oh, we should call it Mommy Hates Cooking. That’d be hilarious.
And it was totally a joke, and then five minutes later we were like, that’s not a bad idea. And so, I mean, I had it– I think I had the site set up within a day.
JENNY GUY: That’s awesome.
KRISTY STILL: And then I quit my job, my corporate job, a year later and started doing this full time. So really Mediavine completely changed my life as far as making money, because suddenly I didn’t have to do quite as much sponsored posts. I could actually make money on what I was trying to do in the first place. So it came a long way from like the beginning where I was selling ad spots on my site and using ad sense, hoping to make the threshold each month. So–
JENNY GUY: The payout threshold, yeah.
KRISTY STILL: Yeah.
JENNY GUY: What is it– what is the payout? Is it like– is it 40? Is it–
KRISTY STILL: I think it’s $100.
JENNY GUY: $100. Well, I was going to say, when in your journey as a blogger did you start your second site, Kristy?
KRISTY STILL: I actually didn’t start mine until just April, not long ago.
JENNY GUY: Oh, wow. That’s awesome.
KRISTY STILL: It wasn’t too long ago. Yeah.
JENNY GUY: That’s incredible. That’s so great to hear. OK. And then you– so for blogging for 10 years, you’ve seen all of the transitions and the differences. That’s awesome.
KRISTY STILL: Before Pinterest, before Instagram.
JENNY GUY: How did– did you– were there things such as blogs before Pinterest? I don’t know that–
KRISTY STILL: There was. and Facebook was really good back then.
JENNY GUY: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I can’t even imagine. So same question to you, Karly. Tell me a little bit about how you got started in this blogging industry and how you transitioned from– you went from Buns In My Oven to your second site, so tell us all the things.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. So I actually have a pretty similar story to Kristy in that I didn’t cook. I made Hamburger Helper. I didn’t do the pasta meat sauce. I just did the box Hamburger Helper pretty much every night. If I didn’t make that, I made frozen pizza.
But I was really interested in photography and my kids just kind of got to a point where they wouldn’t go for that anymore. So I started taking pictures at dinner. And there’s only so many photos a person needs of their Tombstone Pizza. So I started cooking and putting it on the internet, and that was 10 years ago also. So–
JENNY GUY: That’s awesome.
KARLY CAMPBELL: and there were some people with Pinterest, too, and those were the days.
JENNY GUY: Did you do like some styling of your Tombstone pizzas? Was there some parsley that you stuck on the top to add–
KARLY CAMPBELL: I just made pizza rolls the other night and I sprinkled parsley on them, and my daughter was like, what?
JENNY GUY: It’s classy. It’s super duper classy. OK.
KARLY CAMPBELL: [INAUDIBLE].
JENNY GUY: When did you start your second site in terms of that, and what role did Mediavine play?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. So I started Low Carb Life in March of 2018. I’ve been– I was one of the first– I’ll say the first five people to join Mediavine.
I got a scary phone call from Amber like, hey. We’re doing this thing. Let me have you talk to Eric. And I jumped and I haven’t regretted it ever since. So I don’t I don’t know when Mediavine started. 2015?
JENNY GUY: So yeah, when we started offering– yeah, full service ad management. And you were one of the– your Food Fanatic, which then became one of the first five sites that used Mediavine for full service ad management.
Which is– if I had a way of showing some celebration emojis or things like that, I would put because that’s pretty incredible. And both of you have been with us for a long time now. So you’ve seen our transitions as well, which is really, really exciting.
OK. So we’ve got a couple of questions from our audience. Rebecca Lowe– and we’re going to talk more about this in a little bit, Rebecca, but I totally– I hear your question. She wants to know about how you balance time, and we’re going to talk about a little bit.
And then we’ve also got questions about how to create a less labor intensive site. So we’re going to get into both of those things, so do not worry. Do not worry about that.
So tell me how both of you had– you started with food sites. And they were sites based in how you didn’t love cooking and how you wanted to learn how to cook, and kind of took that journey with your readers. What made you– how did you decide on a second topic? How did you decide what to write about? Let’s start with Karly, please.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. For me, I mean, my first blog is named Buns in my Oven, and then I started doing a low carb diet and putting those recipes on there. And Buns In My Oven, it just doesn’t fit with low carb. Not to mention, low carb people are hard core. And I say that in a nice way. I love them.
JENNY GUY: Sure, sure, sure. They’re committed.
KARLY CAMPBELL: But they don’t want to see brownies and cake. They’re struggling to stick to their diet already, and they don’t want to see sugar. So it just was a necessity, I felt like. And those were always my top performing posts, so that was my topic. I went for it.
JENNY GUY: And so you just– it was basically just you wanted to– did you do research, any kind of research, to determine what it– or, I mean, you really didn’t have to do research, I guess, to know that low carb was a big thing.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. My top 10 posts were consistently my low carb posts on Buns In My Oven. So I just– I saw the opportunity there and I ran with it. And I have no regrets.
I think that it would be– I’m actually getting ready to start a third site that I haven’t been getting tested. So that one will be a little more scary. But yeah, I think if you see a topic that your readers already love, I think that’s a good sign that if you have enough content that you can create a whole second site about it, go for it.
JENNY GUY: OK, Kristy. Same question to you.
KRISTY STILL: I think it was kind of similar. My second site is Air Fryer, and I am obsessed with using the air fryer. And so it got to where I felt like I was almost spamming my readers with air fryer content, and I’m like, well, every– it was the same way. All of my top posts were air fryer.
And so then I decided, well I’m going to start a Facebook page that’s devoted to air fryer so that I can just start sharing the recipes there. And that page took off. And so then after a little while, I’m like, well, if they’re going to be on this Facebook page, I could get them to a whole nother website and build a whole audience around air fryer recipes.
And so that’s what I did. And, I mean, it just– it took off really well. I was shocked.
So I’m the same way, too. I’m thinking about a third site. Not sure if I can balance the third site yet, so I’m trying to wait a little bit and see what happens. But it is really almost easy to do when you already have all of the content on your website anyways.
JENNY GUY: And that actually fits in perfectly with the question from Michelle James, who said, do you move the air fryer posts to your new site? And we want to talk more about how you share the content, but Kristy, let’s just address that one real quick.
KRISTY STILL: So yes, I have almost all of my air fryer content from Mommy Hates Cooking on the Air Fryer Fanatic site. And then I have it syndicated basically, so I’ve linked back to the original one. I didn’t take any of that off of the Mommy Hates Cooking site.
So if I post something on Air Fryer Fanatics, I’ll wait a few weeks and then I’ll post it on Mommy Hates Cooking. And that was something that I learned with Food Fanatic that I could do with writing for Food Fanatics. And that’s helped boost both of my websites, so it’s like they’re feeding off each other now.
JENNY GUY: OK. I love that. And I wanted to ask– I’m going to ask the same question to Karly. Is the content shared between the two sites? But I also wanted to ask, so do you– are they different audiences?
You don’t have people complaining about repetitious content, or you feel like you’re cannibalizing traffic from one site to the other site? So Karly, yeah. I’m going to come back to Kristy on that. And no, Kristy. You’re actually about say something– uh-oh.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Oh, no.
JENNY GUY: Remember, I was telling you before we started that things happen. Yup. Hopefully she’ll come back.
Karly, same– there she is. Karly, same question to you. Kristy, come back. Same question to you, Karly.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah, so I actually don’t syndicate. I know that Food Fanatic does and it worked well for them. I tried it a little bit super briefly, and I just didn’t– I didn’t like the second site outranking me. And I just gave up on it real quick. So I don’t syndicate.
I have maybe two or three times promoted a post and– on Buns In My Oven, and said, hey, I made this recipe and linked out to it. And then I’ve also done– I think it was like salmon patties, and then I shared a recipe for tartar sauce on the same day. And I just kind of married them together like that. But I really don’t syndicate.
JENNY GUY: All right. So two totally different perspectives there and both absolutely valid and seeing success with either one. So how long did it– in terms of time, because that’s– I think that’s going to be the biggest question here. Both of you guys reference time when you’re talking about a third site, and these– a lot of our questions here are dedicated to, how do you balance?
So how long did it actually take to come up with a whole new site, and did you– did you share design ideas? How did it work? And we’ll start with Karly. Will you answer that first please?
KARLY CAMPBELL: So I’m kind of a crazy person when I get an idea. I go for it. So I was actually in the car on my way to meet my husband out of state when I had– I had thought about a second site four years before and people had talked me out of it so many times. But I had the domain name and I just had that idea.
And so I thought all that up on my three hour car ride. I got to where my husband was, and we bought the domain right then and I had it up within a weekend I had content on it within the next couple weeks and it was launched before a month was up.
So it does take time, for sure. The social media, setting all of that up is the worst part, in my opinion. But you know so much more on your second site. It goes a lot smoother.
JENNY GUY: And the same question to you, Kristy. Did you– how did you come up with your theme? Did you decide on logos? How did all that happen in terms of how much– how time consuming was it ?
KRISTY STILL: It really wasn’t that time consuming. For me, I already had– what I was going to address earlier, too, was that it is two different audiences for me, so I don’t feel like they even really notice that there’s content, the same content, on both sites. Because my site now is newer and a lot of that content was buried on my original– on my Mommy Hates Cooking site.
But as far as starting it, I already had my social media setup. So that was I did the Facebook page and I was doing a Pinterest and all that before I ever actually started this site. So I kind of did it backwards this time from what I did previously.
So actually putting the site up was really easy. I did that within a day or two. It was really quick, and it really does go so much smoother when you know what you’re doing the second time around.
JENNY GUY: That is very, very relieving to hear. OK. So I’ve got a bunch of questions here about syndicated content. And so Kristy, Shasta Spivey Walton says, does Google not penalize duplicate content?
Andrea Updike says, what if one already moved the post to the new sites and wants to undo that? Is it too late? And Beth Baumgartner said, if you do syndicate content to the second site, can you copy and paste the entire post, or do you need to change up some of the language for Google to be happy?
So let’s talk about– that’s a lot of things there, and we’re asking about– and Elizabeth Lee Porter also said, oh, I had no idea you could share posts. I would have thought that was duplicate content that would make Google mad. So let’s talk about– let’s talk about Googs here for a minute and what the opinions are.
We’ve already shared the blog post that we talk about syndication and how to do it the right way, and how it’s– it can be very, very beneficial for your site. So Kristy, talk a little bit about the duplicate content question.
KRISTY STILL: So really, I actually just listened to this today, but there’s a Theory of Content– it’s recent, like within the last three maybe that they’ve done– all about that. So it really answers every single one of those questions. And Amber is probably one of the best people to hear explain it, because I will explain it wrong.
But basically, yes. You can syndicate to both. I copy and paste directly from one site to the other.
I do change up sometimes a little bit of it. Like for my Mommy Hates Cooking site, the Ninja Foodi is huge on my website right now for that. But it’s the exact same as using the air fryer, so I’ll use the same content and switch out Ninja Foodi with air fryer whenever I post it on my air fryer site. And then the biggest thing is that you link back to the original post within the new post, and I would wait a few weeks before I do that, too.
JENNY GUY: OK. Awesome.
KRISTY STILL: But it doesn’t make Google mad, according to Amber and Eric. It makes Google perfectly happy as long as you do it right.
JENNY GUY: As long– and so and we want to make sure we do it right. I would love guy– and I have my awesome team if one of my team members could grab the Theory of Content episode. I was listening to it last weekend. I think I actually listened to the same episode, so fair enough.
Do you– OK. So Andrew Eaton just said, what percentage of syndicated content versus original content on your second site? We know Karly’s answer is an extremely low percentage. Kristy?
KRISTY STILL: I update mine– I add new recipes every week. So percentage wise, I’m not sure. It might be half and half, like 50% new.
And now I’ve been doing it opposite where instead of using Mommy Hates Cooking content, I’ve been using the air fryer content on my original blog. So I kind of go back and forth with which one I’m linking first or which one I’m posting on first. But I would say half and half. I do add new recipes, so it’s not just all repeating recipes over and over again.
JENNY GUY: OK. Well, let’s get into this, too. How much content– so give me a ballpark. I’m sure you don’t have an exact number, but how much content, Karly, do you have on your original site, and how much content do you have on your new site? And how often are you posting on each?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I was just looking at these numbers, and I think I’m around 900 recipes on Buns In My Oven, which I’ve been doing it forever. That Low Carb Life, I think, is about 150. And I do two per week on each site, and lately I’ve been trying to push a third on Buns In My Oven, just updating an old post but it’s hit or miss.
JENNY GUY: OK. OK. And then– so yeah. You’ve got all of that content from years and years and years ago that you’re shooting and all that. OK, Kristy. Same question to you.
KRISTY STILL: I do three recipes a week on Mommy Hates Cooking. I actually used to do five years ago, so tons of stuff, too. Some days I even did like two a day. I don’t know what I was thinking a long time ago, but now I only do three.
And that’s good enough. It seems to not make a difference really how many times I post on that site. But I do two a week on the Air Fryer site.
JENNY GUY: OK, and those are different posts. So you’re post–
KRISTY STILL: Yes.
JENNY GUY: –basically you guys are creating five posts a week roughly? That sound– that’s kind of what it sounded like to me.
OK, talk to me a little bit about your editorial calendars. Are you planning them out? How far out in advance are you doing these? Where do you get your inspiration for everything? Because that is a lot of content, you guys. Karly, I’ll start with you.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. I use Google calendars, and I love it. I just have everything color coded between the two sites. And I’m– honestly, I’m well into 2021 for Buns In My Oven. I’m probably into the fall for That Low Carb Life.
That one’s trickier for me, because I don’t do any baking. I’m not very good at that yet with low carb. But yeah. I’m pretty far ahead as far as content ideas.
And most of my ideas for That Low Carb Life are easy, because I take stuff that performs well on Buns In My Oven and I just turn it low carb. And then I do a lot of SEO research. And that–
I don’t really cook for fun anymore. I cook for [INAUDIBLE] and, trying to get back into cooking fun, creative things, but that’s a work in progress.
JENNY GUY: Kristy, I’m going to ask you the same question, but I want to hear a little bit more, Karly, first. Because you said one of our magic buzz words here, SEO. And we’re talking about it all the time. Our CEO Eric is talking in this series SEO like CEO. Theory of Content is all about SEO. So tell me a little bit about what is your SEO method overall and what tools do you use, just real quick.
KARLY CAMPBELL: I use SEMrush, SEMrush I don’t know what it’s called, but–
JENNY GUY: We call it SEMrush.
KARLY CAMPBELL: OK. So I usually just go in there, and I think of an ingredient like chicken. I type it in and then I make a list of everything that I’m interested in that I want to create a recipe for.
So it’s really pretty simple for me. And then that’s honestly how my third site is coming about is because I keep– it’s an air fryer site, Kristy.
JENNY GUY: Ooh.
KRISTY STILL: She’s coming after me.
JENNY GUY: It’s like the West Side Story right now of air fryers. I’m excited. Let’s dance off.
KRISTY STILL: Well, it’s doing well. So a good one to go into.
JENNY GUY: That’s good. OK, Kristy, same question to you. Tell us a little bit about how that works for you. And then I would love to hear a little bit more about your SEO, too, but yeah.
KRISTY STILL: So I usually plan ahead like maybe two to three months. Just to plan– I normally plan out my menu. So I really stick to recipes that I know we will like to eat, because I like to make– whatever I’m making for dinner is usually what’s going on my website. So I try to stick to stuff that people are asking about, but also stuff that we would like to eat, too.
Then as far as SEO goes, I’m in a bunch of groups that all center around Ninja Foodi and air fryer. And I really watch those groups closely to see what people are asking about in them. Because you can get all kinds of ideas, because a lot of those people are– those are the audience– that’s the audience I’m trying to reach.
So they’re asking about, how do you make this in the air fryer, or how do you make this in the Ninja Foodi? And some of it is super basic that you don’t think about. Because in my mind, I’m like, well, I know how to make mashed potatoes in the Ninja Foodie. Well, a lot of people don’t.
And I don’t– you have to really break that down. So now I’ve been doing how to make mashed potatoes and just really simple things. But the watch groups has been one of the best things for me as far as SEO to see what real people are looking for every day.
JENNY GUY: I think that’s a great recommendation for niche sites to find those groups and find where the people are that are the audience that you’re speaking to. It’s fantastic.
OK, Shasta Spivey Walton said, oh my– OMG. I’m not going to say the whole thing. OMG. I am in love with this video. Thank you, and I’ll read that post and listen to that podcast. And Bridgett Brady Raffenberg said, you’re planning and schedule is super impressive, ladies. Heck yeah.
All right, question. How did you tell your existing readers from your first site that you were starting a second site? How did you promote your new site? Do you feel like some of that audience– and we talked a little bit about this, but is it– was there carryover?
Did you tell the people that there were two sites? I know that, Kristy, you have to be because you’re doing some linking back and forth. So we’ll start with Kristy and then go to Karly.
KRISTY STILL: I link to my other site in almost all of my posts, and then I’ve been doing a menu plan on my website for years. And it’s one of the most popular days of the week for me. And so I link to that site in that every week and will tell people, if you’re looking for these recipes, go to this website.
And then I also used my newsletter and pushed it out through that. And then all my social– like with Facebook I link to each other. I’ll share from one page to the other. I still think I have very separate audiences, just based on who’s signed up for what newsletter and all of that stuff. But yeah, I share it all sorts of– in all sorts of ways.
JENNY GUY: That’s really– OK, Karly. Same question to you.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. I did like an initial blog post, like, hey, guess what I did, kind of thing.
Excuse me. And now I have on my low carb category page and Buns In My Oven, I have a pop-up so that people can sign up for my newsletter to That Low Carb Life right there. I don’t really promote Buns In My Oven on That Low Carb Life because they’re just not interested in that.
JENNY GUY: They can’t have buns. I mean, the buns are just really a non-starter for those low carb people. It stinks. Yeah. And it’s a sad life without buns.
So you said and there is some existing cross promotion. So most of you sound like– both of you said you were taking that original site and using that traffic and using that audience to really get that second site launched and started and going. And then the second site is more of that niche site so there’s less cross pollination happening there. Absolutely.
OK. So this is a question everybody is– we just had Beth Baumgartner ask. When did you start monetizing that second site? How long did it take, and how– and she said that another magic question is, how long did it take for your second site to hit the Mediavine threshold so you could put ads on it?
So let’s start with a general monetization question first. How long did it take for you to get from Karly driving in the car for three hours and then starting the second site to actually making money from it? And same question to you. So Karly, we’ll start with you on that one, please.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah, so the week I launched I hit the Mediavine threshold.
JENNY GUY: Wow.
KARLY CAMPBELL: And I’ll caution people that that probably wouldn’t happen if I had had a niche site to start with where I couldn’t push it out. Like if I started with the Low Carb site, I wouldn’t have been able to push out content to Buns In My Oven. But because it was the other way around, all of those Buns In My Oven people were pretty interested in it and I could promote it on Facebook. So it was– I didn’t realize Mediavine’s threshold for a second site was lower. So–
JENNY GUY: It is.
KARLY CAMPBELL: it was actually the second month that I was approved and on there, because I didn’t apply right away. But it was quick.
JENNY GUY: That’s exciting. OK, same question to you, Kristy.
KRISTY STILL: It was quick for me, too. I started this site in April of 2019, but I left it sitting for the whole summer. So I didn’t touch it really again. I put a bunch of stuff on it and left it until August. We just happened to hit summer and I was purposefully taking off for the summer and did not plan that well.
And so anyways, come August, I hit the ground running on it. And I think I had– I was approved by September. So it was within the first month, too. It was really quick.
JENNY GUY: So exciting. And yes, Karly brought up a great point that our requirements are different for the second site. When you already have a site on Mediavine, you just need 10,000 sessions via your Google Analytics in the previous 30 days. We actually just posted in the links for the help guide that will explain all of the basics about second sites and how that works a little bit differently.
Matt Hopper just asked– Matt, we just told you and we also got it right there in the comments. So click on that help article.
So talk to me about– I know you guys talked a little bit about SEO, and you said you don’t cook for fun. Do you use– you said Google calendars. How do you brainstorm for all this?
You said, Kristy, you like to do things that your family likes to eat. Are you looking at different cooking magazines? Are you a Food Network junky? Where is your inspiration coming from other than just– other than just using the SEO tools?
Do you have any different ways? And do you approach content creation for the two sites differently, or do you use the same methodology for both? And I’ll ask you both that question.
KRISTY STILL: I think I use the same for both. I don’t think I really do anything different. I do use key search.
I’ll look up stuff in Google just to see what I– if I were searching it, what I would come up with. And then I feel like most of my inspiration really comes from the Facebook groups I’m in. I really– I think I used to look at Pinterest occasionally. Now I feel like I don’t even use Pinterest as a user very much anymore.
JENNY GUY: Oh.
KRISTY STILL: I find more within these recipe groups, and even family and friends will say, hey, I’m wanting to make this in the air fryer or the whatever, the Foodie. How do you do this? And so then I end up on this long stream of, I’m going to figure out how to do this
JENNY GUY: Fantastic. OK. Same question to you, Karly. Do you approach the content in the same way? Where do you get your inspiration other than just using those SEO tools?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. I definitely approach it the same way. It’s just I tend to put a low carb spin on one. I have a lot of recipes that are basically the same thing, but one of them has been– I’ve cut the carbs down quite a bit, and then the other one is full of sugar.
But I do approach it the same way. I definitely read food magazines. We eat out quite a lot for somebody that cooks for a living. I take inspiration from restaurant menus, for sure, and things that I see online.
I mean, I try not to steal other blogger’s recipes, but we’re there all day long and we see what other people are cooking. And that gets stuck in your head, and you put your own twist on it, I guess.
JENNY GUY: Yeah of– I mean, yeah.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah.
JENNY GUY: No, keep going. Karly, did you have something else?
KARLY CAMPBELL: No. Basically that’s it. That and SEMrush is probably really where I go to brainstorm.
JENNY GUY: So you said Key Search, Kristy, and you use SEMrush. Did you guys take any good classes in those, or how did you learn, just by trial and error? Tell me about how you formed your SEO strategy. I’ll start with you, Karly.
KARLY CAMPBELL: I took the HashtagJeff course.
JENNY GUY: OK.
KARLY CAMPBELL: And i think I’m still in it. I don’t really– I’m really bad at taking courses I’m so excited for the first month and then I’m gone.
So I haven’t checked in there. There’s probably new stuff, but yeah. I really liked that course.
It– my traffic, it– from Low Carb Life is almost exclusively SEO or search traffic. So I like Jeff’s course.
JENNY GUY: Great. Kristy, same to you.
KRISTY STILL: I took the course, too
JENNY GUY: OK
KRISTY STILL: The same one. And then I’ve listened to almost all the Theory of Content podcasts. So really between those two, that’s where I’ve gotten most of my information and most– my sites are both, the bulk of its SEO and Google. So–
JENNY GUY: Awesome. Awesome. So if you had to go back and start either of your sites again– and you’re getting ready to start potentially a third one since both of you are talking about that. We don’t know what Kristy’s third one is yet. She hasn’t confessed what– so I won’t put her on the spot if she doesn’t want to share the inner inside knowledge.
But if you had to start them over again, what might you do differently? Kristy, what would you do?
KRISTY STILL: If I started my main one over again, I would have a whole different name. It would not be mommy related.
JENNY GUY: OK.
KRISTY STILL: I would actually start from the beginning with SEO and not post reviews of, oh, look. I made this for dinner. Have a good night. See you later.
That was the first year or more of every post that I wrote and taking pictures with a flash and overhead and just– oh, it was awful. Right. Yeah.
So this one– the new one that I did, I don’t think I’d do anything different other than I would start it going immediately, not wait three months after I started it to really do anything with it.
JENNY GUY: So why would you not want– follow up question. Why would you not want mommy to be in the title?
KRISTY STILL: I feel like I missed half the audience, really, because whenever– I did a site survey awhile back. And, I mean, a lot of people don’t realize that there’s tons of recipes there. It’s not just for– like, a mommy site for moms to talk–
JENNY GUY: Oh, OK.
KRISTY STILL: or something. So that was where a lot of confusion came in. So I’m like, oh. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.
JENNY GUY: OK, I’m going to– I’m actually going to come back to that survey question because I want to hear more about that, because I think that is a great way to find out what people really think and get feedback and potentially pivot. And also thank you for not rebranding your site.
KRISTY STILL: Well, it was you guys that made me think that one through a little bit more.
JENNY GUY: Phew. Yay. Good to hear that. That’s great, and we’re very glad to hear that you did not rebrand.
OK, Karly. Same question to you. Would you do anything differently starting Buns In My Oven, or–
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. I would– starting Buns In My Oven, the same things Kristy did, that was me. I would definitely know what SEO was. Would have been a nice thing to know. And take better photos and yeah. I would go back and change that.
At Low Carb Life, I’m really happy with it. The only thing I would have done differently was start it sooner. I had the idea for at least a year, maybe two, and everybody talked me out of it. And I listened and I should have just done it.
JENNY GUY: OK. So are you guys on a schedule where you’re updating old content? Are you incorporating that into your content strategy rather than deleting posts going back and updating them, refreshing that photography, working on the writing, incorporating some of that interlinking?
Tell me about your strategy on the refreshing old content, and then we’ll come back to the survey question. Start with, Karly. Yeah. You both are– Karly, Kristy, I just– jump in whenever. We’re informal here.
KARLY CAMPBELL: So I don’t have a super great strategy for it. Definitely stuff that I think could do well for a search term I will update. And then just things that I come across that are terrible, I will– that I think have potential, I’ll update those.
I do a video with probably 95% of my recipes. So even the stuff that gets updated usually has a video. Stuff that I don’t think it’s worth it, I actually print out five recipes about once a week and I have my husband cook them. And then he just comes from the kitchen into the studio where I’m working, and he brings me like step shots.
So he just sits it down in front of my lights, and I take a photo. And then he goes back and finishes cooking while I do computer work. So that works out really well. That’s definitely been the easiest way to update stuff.
JENNY GUY: Fantastic. Same question to you, Kristy.
KRISTY STILL: Yeah. I’m going through and updating everything. I feel like most of what I’m doing right now is updating old stuff. Because it’s all good content that if you go in search and Google, you’ll never find it on my site because it was never optimized.
So it’s kind of painful when you see yourself being beat out basically because you didn’t optimize it, and you’ve had it sitting there for eight or nine years. Like, oh, I did that recipe a long time ago, and it went viral for somebody else. And it’s sitting there hidden on my site. So that’s been like a big thing that I’ve been trying to do regularly.
JENNY GUY: When you see something go viral and then you update it, have you seen good results in SERPs? Like have you seen yourself start ranking and has it gone up when it’s a popular recipe?
KRISTY STILL: I think so. I mean, if I just get it optimized just immediately, at least, showing up. It wasn’t at all, so–
JENNY GUY: All right. I want– we’re going to talk about video in a second, because you guys brought up– Karly brought up video. And I definitely want to address that, but talk to me a little bit about this survey that you did. Karly, have you ever done a survey with your readers?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I did a few years ago, and it was a really good reminder because it was useful. That’s a great idea.
JENNY GUY: So Kristy, tell me a little bit more. I want the deets on this. What survey, what did you do, what did you ask, how did it help?
KRISTY STILL: So I actually had it done– I did one a few years ago. Then I did one again not too long ago. The email course with Matt Mullan, he recommended that, too. I’ve listened to some of his podcasts and things.
And basically, I think he said do one every year at least so that you can get to know your audience that you’re working with. So I went through and just asked questions about, are they male or female, different things to figure out who my target audience was and what they were looking for. So I’d ask, what types of recipes are you looking for?
Are you busy families? Because most of mine are busy families that are trying to get food on the table fast. And then I offered a gift card or something if you did the survey to give people a reason to actually take it in the first place.
JENNY GUY: And did you do it with your email subscribers, or did you do a pop up on your site?
KRISTY STILL: I did email subscribers, and then I posted a link to it on all my social media, too.
JENNY GUY: Fantastic. OK. Karly, same question to you. When did you do your survey? What types of questions did you ask?
KARLY CAMPBELL: It was a couple years ago and similar questions to Kristy, like what kind of content are you looking for? Are you cooking for a family? I think I asked their age, like a rough number. But it was a few years ago, and I don’t remember.
JENNY GUY: So it sounds like maybe it’s time to do another survey and figure out– and Kristy, how did you incorporate what you found out from your survey into your content plan moving forward?
KRISTY STILL: That’s kind of how I figured out– so I eat gluten free, so almost all my recipes are gluten free but you can make them either way. So that’s kind of how I found out that I actually have a lot of gluten free people on my website. So it made me realize that I need to keep cooking that way and keep writing them that way and not switch back to regular recipes or anything like that.
And then it also gave me insight to people wanting air fryer recipes. That was a big kicker for my other site and realizing that I could actually do something with that.
JENNY GUY: That’s awesome. That’s really exciting. OK. All right. I’m going to zero in here on the video, because we know we had the year of video with Mediavine a couple years ago.
Then we had the decade of video. Now we’re in 2020. It’s like a new decade of video. We’re all about the video.
So Beth Baumgartner asks, are you creating videos for your second site? Are you still seeing benefit from video? And Melissa Armstrong asked, does video content work the same as the blog post?
Can you use the same video for both sites? Any downside to using the same video on social? Is Facebook going to hate that, or do you just cross promote from the original video?
So let’s talk all things video. Karly, talk about your video strategies. You said you basically do a video for every recipe. Is it a new video with– so every new recipe and then are you going back? How long have you been doing videos?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I started doing videos in 2016, which is when Facebook loved videos. And that really took Buns In My Oven from a decent amount of money a year blog to wow, this is kind of amazing. So video for me was huge. And I haven’t given it up yet.
JENNY GUY: Good.
KARLY CAMPBELL: I do do a video for pretty well every recipe. If it’s something like a salad dressing, maybe not because who needs that. But I don’t necessarily do it for Facebook anymore.
My Low Carb one’s still do well. My Buns In My Oven ones don’t really do anything on Facebook, but I do them just because I think they have a lot of SEO benefit. And that’s my main focus, so it’s worth it to me to do the video.
It’s when I photograph the recipe I made as well. I think I’ve got my process down. I may as well just shoot the video at the same time.
To answer Melissa’s question, though, about Facebook, sharing the same video on each. I don’t know if Kristy’s done that. I just attempted a few weeks ago uploading one of my old Buns In My Oven low carb recipes, uploading it as new to Low Carb Life. And they did not like it, and they threatened to take away my monetization. So–
KRISTY STILL: Oh, wow.
KARLY CAMPBELL: –don’t do that. Or it may have been something else, but I’m– I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was. So I won’t do that again.
JENNY GUY: And Karly, just quickly before we move over to Kristy. Are you seeing good results in your Mediavine dashboard from video?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yes. For sure. Yeah. Yeah.
JENNY GUY: Good to hear. All right, Kristy. Talk to me about video on your two sites and how you use it. What’s your strategy?
KRISTY STILL: So I never got– well, in 2016, I had videos that did well on Facebook. So then the last year or so it’s been very hard finding motivation, because they really don’t do that well at all there anymore.
So I have done similar videos to each other and just put different– a different end card on it. So I’ve put my Air Fryer instead of my other one. But I’ve mainly focused on uploading them to Mediavine. I really haven’t cared so much about Facebook. So I don’t really know if Facebook would penalize them or not, because my videos just have not done well on Facebook this past year or two. But definitely with Mediavine they do. I don’t do one for every post. I’ve been trying to do like the picture type videos–
JENNY GUY: And site shown videos?
KRISTY STILL: Yeah. At least do something. And I did notice, like one of my top posts, whenever you see it in the recipes at the top of Google, like where they post all the recipes in the carousel. It’s my video that’s coming up. And it was just a picture video. And that’s like the picture that’s pooling into that. And that’s uploaded with Mediavine And then just yesterday, I googled one of my top keywords and then when I click on videos, it’s one of these picture videos that I made for that keyword. And that one was from Mediavine too. So that’s the only place I’ve uploaded those, is with the Mediavine dashboard. But they’re pooling into Google. So they’re obviously helping rank.
JENNY GUY: I definitely don’t think that we can– anybody would say that videos don’t matter, or that videos have gone out of style, or even that Facebook isn’t prioritizing them as much or tossing as much traffic your way because of an algorithm shift there. I think that everybody loves video. And that is definitely something that I don’t believe will change anytime soon. OK, Kristi Hoove just asked, how long does it usually take to shoot the video from start to finish and I’m– This is a little bit off topic, but I want to hear about, since both of you guys have prioritized video and it is part of your content creation strategy. Carly what is your– You said you just kind of incorporate it. You slide it in with your photo shoots and you just kind of make it a part of it? How long does it take? Do you add it yourself? Do you have special software?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah, I actually kind of batch cook. So one day a week I do five videos. And my daughter is my home-schooled daughter, so she’s here during the day with me. She’s my assistant and she preps everything. Measures it out into bowls for me. And then I just do the cooking on the camera. And I take step photos along the way and take finish shots. And we start usually around like 10:00 AM and we’re generally done by 2:00 PM. And that’s five recipes. Sometimes, you know if it’s a slow cooker recipe it might take a little bit longer because it’s still cooking, but like that active hands on time is about four hours. And I do– I do all my editing. I use Adobe Premier, and Photoshop, and all that stuff.
JENNY GUY: Did you teach yourself all of that stuff?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I did. Yeah. It took a little while, but yeah.
JENNY GUY: Well, yeah but– OK, do you have a favorite video or a favorite post that we could pull up and show so people could get a good sampling of your video content?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Um. Gosh. No, I don’t have a favorite. They’re all the same–
JENNY GUY: They’re all the same? OK, so I’m just grab her most recent video and toss it in there. It’s on Buns in My Oven, so grab that. OK. Same question to you, Kristy. Talk to us about how you make video. You said you have used some slide show videos before.
KRISTY STILL: Yes I’ve been doing those more than anything really.
JENNY GUY: OK.
KRISTY STILL: The Hands and Pans videos, those don’t take me very long. I’m usually working by myself. So I do everything by myself. So during the week it usually doesn’t take me long to do the Hands and Pans things.
JENNY GUY: Sure.
KRISTY STILL: I’m just starting the YouTube side of it. So I just started that like in December or January. So those videos take me a whole lot longer to do. And I’ve been doing like four on one day, so like I’ll wait till the weekend when my husband’s here and then we’ll do four in one day, so that he can help me with those. And those do take like almost all day for the YouTube.
JENNY GUY: Right. And that’s you’re featuring yourself and there’s talking, all of that stuff. OK. And do you have–
KRISTY STILL: and usually it’s waiting on the stuff to cook, is part of the problem.
JENNY GUY: Well, of course. I mean– Unfortunately, we have not found a app that will reduce cooking time. Make Water Boil Faster App, that would be great. OK, so the question here and you guys have both talked about this a little. How do you, in batching– it sounds like– how do you manage two workloads? Do you– And do you have a team? You just said Kristy, you work by yourself. So, tell us how you do all of that by yourself and how you really have found tricks, time saving tricks managing the two workloads. And then I want to hear from Karly too.
KRISTY STILL: I used to do batched cooking, kind of like she does, where I would do it throughout the week. So like when we do a YouTube day, I’ll use all the food and I will freeze it and use it throughout the week for dinner so that I don’t have to cook every night. But normally I will do like maybe one or two recipes on the weekend or during the week. And then I try to get it where I’m writing most of the week. So a lot of my cooking happens on the weekend. And then I’ll write throughout the week. But I do have– My kids are both in school right now. So I do have most of the day where I can actually get stuff done non-stop. So that helps. And I didn’t have that years ago.
JENNY GUY: That’s fantastic. And do you– do you have a favorite video that we would show that’s a good example? One that you’re super proud of that we can show?
KRISTY STILL: Not one that I’ve made.
JENNY GUY: OK. Oh so you have outsourced it? OK so you– How did you find people to outsource to?
KRISTY STILL: Well, that was several years ago and there are a bunch of people that do the videos now, but I actually used to have them done back in 2016. And those are some of the best videos that I have. Which I think is just because the person doing it knew what they were doing too. So I’m over here like trying to do it with my own equipment and it just never measured up.
JENNY GUY: Well, but you’re learning and there’s only so many hours in a day to devote to all of the tasks that come with blogging and all of the new things that you have to learn every day. OK, Karly, same question to you. Talk to us a little bit about that.
KARLY CAMPBELL: About batch cooking? I’m sorry.
JENNY GUY: Oh I’m sorry. We’re having– we’re having a lot of conversations all at the same time. Let’s do this one. Do you post videos on both YouTube and Mediavine at the same time? Either of you? Karly, do you?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I don’t. I only do Hands and Pans videos and I’ve heard YouTube doesn’t care about those. So I don’t.
JENNY GUY: OK, so you don’t really worry about YouTube at all?
KARLY CAMPBELL: No, not currently.
JENNY GUY: Totally understood. OK. Same to you, Kristy.
KRISTY STILL: No. I usually do shorter videos on Mediavine The YouTube videos really just takes so long to get uploaded to all these different channels, that I try to just do it through YouTube. But I’ve been using the Mediavine. Like I use Create, the card, so I’ve been just adding my YouTube video in there too.
JENNY GUY: And you can have that, like the title screen, the screen at the end that directs people to YouTube after the video so you’re not necessarily– you can– you can be growing both at the same time and does not have to be an either or situation. All right Karly, this is the question. Managing the two workloads and you were talking about how your husband has just quit his job and he’s working with you now. So what, guys, gave you the confidence to do that? And how did you shift workloads? How were you handling when it was just you and how is it different now?
KARLY CAMPBELL: So handling it when it was just me is honestly, kind of what I’m still doing because we’re in the midst of renovating a house.
JENNY GUY: Right.
KARLY CAMPBELL: And he is redoing the basement entirely himself. So he’s doing about 40 hours a week. So we haven’t really got to experience the whole teamwork thing too much.
JENNY GUY: Fair enough.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah, but he does– he does do re-shoot days. About once a week he cooks for me. And he does my accounting. Thank the Lord, because I’m bad at that. But otherwise, I really kind of treat the blogs– I just do the next task. Like I have a list. Whatever is next on my calendar, that’s what I do. I don’t have a separate day for Buns in My Oven and a separate day for Low Carb Life. I just– the next thing to get done is what I get done.
JENNY GUY: But you are quite a planner in advance. Like you have things going into 2021, so–
KARLY CAMPBELL: I have content ideas. I don’t necessarily have them in shot. I’m still– like tomorrow’s blog post, I’ll probably be writing at 5:00 AM.
JENNY GUY: OK.
KARLY CAMPBELL: I hate to admit that.
JENNY GUY: No, that’s fine.
KARLY CAMPBELL: I have the idea, have the content. I just haven’t written it.
JENNY GUY: OK. And do you guys– you said you use Google Calendar. Do either of you have– are you big wall calendar, people or are you using a system like co-scheduler, or Hootsuite for social sharing? Talk to me about that. Karly?
KARLY CAMPBELL: I just use Google Calendar for my content like what day I’m going to publish each post. I color code it. So, one’s green and one’s red, I think. And that way– and then I change the color once it’s shot. So it goes blue once I got it photographed. That way I can look at the calendar and just know what’s the next recipe I need to work on. But I don’t use any other kind of scheduling tools. I’m trying to get into a sauna to keep myself on task, but I don’t use CoSchedule or anything like that.
JENNY GUY: OK. And do you just do– or do you schedule any of your social calls? Do you use Tailwind or–
KARLY CAMPBELL: I have a Pinterest manager that does Tailwind.
JENNY GUY: Oh great.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. I don’t know anything about Pinterest other than- Pin many things!
JENNY GUY: OK. OK.
KARLY CAMPBELL: So I have somebody that manages that. And then Facebook I schedule myself through Creator Studio once a week. I just do the whole week at a time. I do the same thing for Instagram, and my desktop notifications, and that’s it.
JENNY GUY: How many times a day are you posting on Facebook and Instagram?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Facebook is on the hour. Probably from like 6 AM to about 9 PM, so a lot.
JENNY GUY: Wow.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Yeah. And then Instagram is just once a day.
JENNY GUY: OK. Feed posting, are you doing stories as well?
KARLY CAMPBELL: Sometimes.
JENNY GUY: When you feel inspired. OK, great. OK.
KARLY CAMPBELL: When I found something to say.
JENNY GUY: Fantastic. OK. Same to you, Kristy.
KRISTY STILL: I am very old school. I use Excel spreadsheets.
JENNY GUY: Love it.
KRISTY STILL: And I have been doing that since, you know, 2010. And so, yeah, I keep everything on track and I will go in like the week before and write out everything that I need to do that week and then kind of schedule out which day I’ll have time to do which thing. So I don’t really plan like either, you know, let’s do all this on one day, as far as the sites go. I just do whatever’s next to. And I’m a very like hardcore planner and so I’m pretty good at staying on track with everything.
And then I also use WordPress like editorial calendar to kind of schedule out everything. But other than that, I use Tailwind. I schedule Facebook too for the week. So I do that. I’ll take like a couple hours or something one day a week and do my Facebook for the week. So I try to like kind of block things together. I don’t want to sit there and do Facebook every day. So, anyways, but yeah, that’s kind of how I schedule it out.
JENNY GUY: Awesome. And how often a day are you posting on Facebook?
KRISTY STILL: I post three to four times a day.
JENNY GUY: OK. Fantastic. All right. Well, guys, crazy enough, we are out of time. We have had so many questions and I wanted to ask the final question and give you guys just a second to think about it while I do quick announcements. But I want to say if there is one big piece of advice you could give anyone who’s about to start a second site what would that be? And I will come back to you in a minute for those. But while we’re waiting, guys, we are planning content like crazy for upcoming Teal Talks and then, hard to believe, but we’re also thinking about the Summer of Live already, where we’ll have a live a week for 12 weeks. So we’re planning our big ideas for that. We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming, but what we really want to know is what you want to hear about. If you have burning questions or topic ideas for us, please post them in the comments.
We’d like to hear who you want to hear from and how we can help you level up your business moving forward. Two weeks from today on Thursday, March 12th we’re doing site spring cleaning featuring Lauryn Gray, from Once Coupled. We’re going to talk about the plugins that are cluttering your site and slowing everything down. As you know, at Mediavine we are page speed for livers. And then Thursday, two Thursdays after that, on March 26, guys, we’re talking taxes for everybody who might have waited as well as throwing in some planning tips for next season. Then, just to kind of get you a little bit ahead of the game with CPA, Amy Northward. So we’re very excited about both of those and I’m also so happy to have Karly and Kristy. We’re going to get their pieces of advice. So I’ll start with Karly. One piece of advice for somebody who’s getting ready to start a second site.
KARLY CAMPBELL: Do it. If you see the opportunity, just do it. Like it’s such a minimal investment, I think, money wise. Like 50 bucks for a theme. Most of my hosts allowed me just to add the domain on. I didn’t have to pay extra for hosting. So it wasn’t– it didn’t cost a lot of money. I designed it myself and it was so worth the risk. So if you think you can do it, just do it and what do you have to lose?
JENNY GUY: Yeah. What do you? I mean what do you have to lose? I mean, perfect. And she– this is Karly Campbell of Buns in My Oven and Low Carb Life. Kristy, tell me your one piece of advice.
KRISTY STILL: So, I was going to say the same thing.
JENNY GUY: Oh, she stole your answer.
KRISTY STILL: But, no, I would say just do it and don’t worry about the numbers. Like don’t worry about all that. Just focus on building your audience and you’re going to see it grow fast. So it’s not something to be, you know, constantly, oh it’s nobody’s here. Should I keep doing this? Just keep at it and it’s going to grow. So–
JENNY GUY: Great advice. Kristy Still of Mommy Hates Cooking and Air Fryer Fanatics. Ladies, you have been so much fun to have with us today. Thank you so much. Thank you for watching us. We’ve got a lot of thank yous and that’s very helpful. Thank you guys for watching, and we will see you in a couple of weeks for that spring cleaning. Thanks, ladies.
Subscribe for Updates
Stay up to date with the latest from Mediavine