Shashi Charles Interview: Trellis Case Study

savory spin website on an ipad

We’ve shared about a lot of exciting things in 2020, including our awesome new website, Grow.me, the PSAs and of course — Trellis! In case you aren’t familiar with it, Trellis is the WordPress theme framework Mediavine has created, with speed and revenue optimization as the top priorities.

The core Trellis theme launched back in March, and at the end of October we announced that the Trellis beta was officially open. Almost 300 sites, in pretty much every niche, are now running the Trellis framework.

All of our users across the board have seen improvements in pagespeed and overall performance after switching to Trellis.

Similar to our Publisher Interview series, Content During Covid series and our Growing With Mediavine Traffic Case Study, our Trellis Case Studies also share success stories of how our MVPs started their blogs, plus how Mediavine has helped shape their businesses and lives for the better.

The difference with this series is that it focuses on the transition to Trellis: Site improvements, traffic increases, favorite features and recommendations to other bloggers about whether the switch was worth it.

Join us for our interview with Shashi of Savory Spin, a site all about recipes that are easy-to-make, healthy-ish and tasty. She’s a huge proponent of “a little spice is always nice” and passionately incorporates that motto into her eats and treats.

We’re excited to have Shashi on the blog, so please say hello and learn how Trellis has helped her have a lightweight site with less plugins, more sessions and an increase in income.

Shashi of Savory Spin profile picture

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your everyday life.

Currently, I am in the midst of moving from Athens, GA to Covington, GA (also known as the Hollywood of the South) with my daughter and our two older fur babies. This is our 3rd move in 4 years and I think the dogs are done with my flighty ways.

I am also in the middle of trying to switch up my full-time gig — which, currently, is working as a graphic designer for a small company in Athens. I have been mulling around the thought of taking the plunge and going back to blogging full-time, or getting a more meaningful job in Atlanta.

Lots to think about, which I get to forget when I’m indulging in the things I love —like cooking, puttering around the yard, trading chilies with my neighbors, messing with my dogs, hanging with my daughter and working out.

two dogs laying together on a floor

How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I have been blogging since June of 2013 — which means I’ve had this side hustle for about 7 years. I am incredibly passionate about tasty food as medicine and the blog is my outlet for that.

I actually started my blog because of my daughter. She wanted me to do a book of recipes, but a book seemed so tedious, so I figured I’d start a little online food journal that she could refer to in years to come. Well, God intervened and lead me to Mediavine for my fantastic side hustle with full-time pay!

I joined Food Fanatic in September of 2014, then hopped onto Mediavine in August of 2015.

Hands down, Mediavine has been one of the best things that happened to my blog. The ad revenue is fantastic, but being a publisher with a company that cares so much about its employees and for its publishers, well, that has been such an honor!

Even in the time of ‘rona, when ad spend was plummeting, my earnings didn’t. This was due to a lot of the positive actions Mediavine took and continues to take.

One of those changes for me personally, was being accepted into the beta program for Trellis.

Shashi of Savory Spin and her daughter

How long have you had Trellis?

I have had the Trellis framework since the beginning of July.

I am on the Bamboo theme, which Rachel Johnson (one of Mediavine’s rockstar Engineers) tweaked a bit for me.

Was it difficult to switch to Trellis?

Rachel gave me an over-the-top Concierge experience when it came to getting Trellis on my site, so from my standpoint, switching was easy and sweet. Just like eating a chocolate cupcake! (Please excuse the food pun #badfoodbloggerjokes.)

What would you tell anyone who is moving to Trellis to help them have a smooth transition?

Take advantage of the white glove option Mediavine offers — and work closely with your host. Agathon is my host and they were fantastic in handling a few issues, while also fielding all my off-the-wall questions.

Before Trellis, when I had my site on the Foodie Pro with Feast theme, I was fixed on the need for a fantastic landing page. I thought my landing page was banging, but then I learned that people aren’t coming to my site for the landing page — they’re coming for the GF pancakes, salmon and other foods. (Editor’s Note: Feast is currently working on Trellis-compatible versions of Foodie Pro.)

So, my best advice is to be open to suggestions by experts because they really do help.

What improvement have you seen in your pagespeed with Trellis?

I have seen growth in my GPSI scores from the 70s all the way up to the 90s.

My pages also load a good amount faster.

How has your revenue grown since moving to Trellis?

Since Trellis, my sessions and viewability have increased, which has lead to a nice, consistent rise in revenue.

Each month has been higher than the last since I got accepted into the Trellis beta program.

Do you think Trellis has helped with your SEO? If so, how?

Yes, I think it has. More sessions and increased speed seem to support that, which is a definite benefit of Trellis, from what I learned during some of the Teal Talk and Theory of Content episodes.

What excited you most about being part of the Trellis beta?

I struggled with pagespeed as well as overall design, since the Genesis framework was hard for me to decipher. I was using plugins and pieces of code (not very effectively) to get results that appealed to me, but ultimately slowed things down.

I hoped to get in on the Trellis beta program because of all the reports I read, and was on the verge of giving up to have Feast do a redesign instead.

That’s when I got the Trellis beta acceptance! To say I was excited would be an understatement. I could not wait to get out from under the Genesis framework onto Trellis.

From joining Mediavine to adding Create, Grow and then Grow.me, Mediavine has consistently put out products that have helped my little blog grow — and Trellis is no different!

Would you recommend Trellis to other bloggers? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend Trellis to other bloggers — 200%!

If you are after a lightweight theme that delivers more sessions and viewability, then Trellis is hard to beat!

What is your favorite feature of Trellis?

I love that Trellis is so lightweight and gives my site a much needed speed boost.

Right after the install, my daughter asked me what I did differently, as she noticed that my site was loading faster.

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