The Feedback Thread

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This is your chance to let me know what you think

This blog is at a crossroads.  Over the next month I will be fundamentally redesigning this blog and the content featured on it.  Before I make any of these changes I really wanted to consult those of you who read it to get your opinions.  You all are the reason I keep writing everyday.  When I started this blog I really hoped to one day get up to about two thousand views a month.  This month we quadrupled that number and it is only eight months in.  The growth has been astonishing to me.  It has made me incredibly grateful to all of you.  It also has introduced some new challenges.

My advice to anyone who asks me about starting a blog now is, “buy the url first.”  I have come about this advice the hard way.  My negotiations for tipsfortips.com or any variation of it are over.  My initial offer of $100 was met with a counter offer of $6000.  I have watched enough Pawn Stars to know that not even Chumlee would accept that deal. Unfortunately,  www.tipsfortips.wordpress.com does not quite roll off the tongue.

The other problem is my lack of focus.  While I have managed to stay on track and post six times a week, but the topics are pretty diverse.  This has in turn led to a pretty diverse audience.  While a handful of folks are interested in anything I post on here, most are not.  Each reader has their preference on what they would like to see posted.  Some are interested in only posts about how to make better tips.  Others come by only for the management posts.  Many of you are foodies who enjoy the food related posts most.  Others only drop in for the humor or weird restaurant stories.  Then there are the folks from Kansas City who like the posts with a local flavor.  All the other groups skip over the last batch.

I am interested in all of these topics.  Some posts intended for one group is relevant to others, but very few of the posts are relevant to all of them.  It also leads to many of my posts being less on the initial topic of “tips for improving your tips.”  This is especially true with the multi part series of some topics.  I feel that when I launch into a week long series on leadership that is relevant to managers, I risk alienating all of the other groups.  My concern is that one blog trying to serve so many diverse groups serves none of them very well.

Now that I have framed the issue, here is my thought.  My plan at this point is to break up the blog.  Rather than having one blog with so many topics, I am considering a few blogs with more specific material.  The downside of this is that there is still only one of me writing.  This means that some of these blogs would only be updated once a week.  It would also mean as a reader that you would be able to only be notified when something was posted to the particular blog you were interested in.  If you were interested in two of the blogs (ie server and humorous topics), you would not have to scroll past the topics that don’t interest you (ie management or foodie topics).  There would also be one blog that stays on top of all of the others to allow one spot for anyone who wants to follow all of the posts.

There is the situation as I see it.  In reality though, that is just me trying to understand what you are all wanting.  Before I put any of this into motion, I want to give you the opportunity to tell me what you want.  Let me know what parts are relevant to you.  Would you prefer more focused blogs even if it meant fewer updates?  Are you a facebook fan, but tired of daily updates of posts that are not relevant to your interests?  Are you someone who would rather see every post in the current format?  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what my readers want.  It would be far easier for me to just get the information from you.  The comment thread is open to all of you.  Let me know what you think so I can make this blog better for you.

October Review

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I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween weekend.  It is also the end of the month so I decided to do a quick recap of October around the blog.  This was a huge month for the blog.  It far exceeded my expectation for traffic and hopefully provided so interesting content for those who visited.  I generally don’t post on Sundays, but may begin to take the first Sunday of the month to recap the previous one.  Let me know what you think.

Over the last month I have posted 27 times in 31 days.  That makes it a pretty busy month.  I am not sure I will be able to hold the same pace through the holidays, but I will try to keep my focus on quality rather than quantity.  I have some great topics in mind and some awesome new sources of inspiration.  I am actually very excited about some of the posts coming up.

The ten most viewed posts written in October:

1) 10 Reasons Why Serving Is Not Like Your Job

2) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/9

3) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/16

4) Serving Sober

5) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/23

6) Tipping On To Go Orders

7) Restaurant Etiquette: Quiz Answers

8 ) Thank You!

9) Weird Restaurant Stories 10/2

10) Lobster Facts and Trivia

Of course very few people would have read those without some great bloggers referring them to me.  If you haven’t checked out these fine folks, you absolutely should.

Top five referrers in October:

1) The Only Slightly Cranky Waitress

2) Tony’s Kansas City (natch)

3) Do You Do That At Home?

4) So You Want To Be A Waiter

5) Frothy Girlz

As far as overall traffic numbers this month should finish at just over 6400 views with an average of 210 a day.  These are by no means stats that set the internet ablaze, but I am proud of them.  This blog passed the six-month mark during October.  I remember sitting by the computer just a few months ago hoping to break 200 views in a day for the first time.  Now I average that number which I think is pretty darn cool.  It also gives me excitement for when I can look back at these numbers and chuckle.

I try to say this often, but I do not think it can be said enough.  Thank you so much for reading this blog and being a part of its success.  It does not exist without all of you reading and sharing your feedback.  When I started it, I never imagined it would get to this point.  Your continued support inspires me to keep on typing.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Thank you for visiting and telling others about it.  This can only get bigger with such a tremendous group of readers.

I have a few ideas for November that I think will make for good reading.  I have consulted some very wise folks to gain insight on how to appease some of the more difficult guests we all face.  A few holiday themed posts are also in store.  I am starting to get a much better feel for what you all enjoy reading and sharing.  I will continue to cater to those wishes to the best of my ability.  Tomorrow, I am going to try yet another Monday feature.  I think I have all the kinks figured out and finally have a workable idea.

This would be a great time for you to chime in too.  What do you want more of?  What makes you click the link to come visit?  What have you always wanted to know about, but haven’t felt like researching?  What difficulties do you face at restaurants?  This blog is intended to be a resource for you.  Tell me what I can do to make it a better resource.  The comment section is open for your ideas and I can also always be reached at hospitalityformula@gmail.com.

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