Peer Review #3: Chii’s Sweet Home
This week I will be reviewing my classmate Chii’s website, Chii’s Sweet Home. This website shares “Home-cooked recipes, inspired by Asian cuisine with a touch of Western-Style.” Check out her website if you want to learn some do-able and delicious at-home recipes!
Hi, Chii! First off, I want to say that I like the concept and backstory of your blog! I think it’s awesome that since moving to Canada you’ve stepped out of your “cooking comfort zone” and have combined different cuisine styles with your cultural roots in Vietnam. It’s great that you’ve taken your passion for food and turned it into something that you can share with other food lovers. I see great potential for your website to expand into a business of its own and for you to capitalize on monetizing the content you create.
At first glance at your website homepage, my eyes are immediately drawn to the large background photo of food. This gives readers an idea right off the bat, what your website is about. I also like the colour scheme you have chosen on your homepage and throughout your website; the bright orange adds a pop of colour to the clean and simple aesthetic. The title, tagline, and picture on your homepage present a compelling brand centred around cooking. One thing I would suggest is to consider adding a photo of yourself to either the home page or the About section. Since your website is called “Chii’s Sweet Home”, including some personal photos of yourself would help readers put a face to your name and strengthen your brand’s image. Adding a picture of yourself on the sidebar above the posts calendar or the About page are fitting places.
You might also want to think about creating an Instagram account for “Chii’s Sweet Home” to increase audience engagement. Given that the content of your site is so visual, Instagram would be a great platform to post images of the dishes you make! If you do so, link your Instagram account to the homepage of your website so readers can find it easily.
As for the content of your blog posts, you have done a wonderful job adding a personal touch and an intimate feel. The difference between your website/brand compared to other cooking sites is that it is about YOU and YOUR culture. Taking it a step further from simply posting a recipe, you have done a great job explaining the cultural significance of the dishes, plus adding your connection/ experience with these foods. I encourage you to continue with this business strategy because it is what sets you apart— lots of people can post recipes but no one will have “Chii’s” personal stories and perspective on the food.
At the bottom of each of your blog posts, you have a comment section where readers can leave a reply by giving their name and email. I think this is a great idea to create reader engagement, however, I would suggest adding a public comment section instead. This way, readers aren’t required to give out their email if they don’t want to, and it allows for readers of your website to interact with one another. This allows your readers to connect with each other, strengthening the community of “Chii’s Sweet Home”.
This page of your website does not have any content yet, but the page description suggests that you’re expanding your website to include baking recipes as well. You explain, “Once I am confident with my baking skills, I plan to sell my product on order. The target customers are my friends and anyone who lives in Vancouver, BC.” I think this is a good idea, but I would suggest to first establish yourself and your site with “cooking” before trying to add baking. Once you are ready to expand, I think selling your homemade baked goods would be a great way to increase revenue!
In terms of how you could monetize your content, I have a few ideas in mind! First, you could consider displaying Google AdSense throughout your site. With Google AdSense, you can’t individually choose the ads you want to display; however, you can control the categories and types of ads shown on your site. I recommend curating your add categories relevant to your website content. For example, an appropriate advertisement on your site would be an ad for a Vietnamese restaurant (after readers eat there, they will want to use your recipe and learn to make it at home!), or an ad for an ingredient used in one of your recipes. Another option for monetization is affiliate advertising where a company pays you directly to advertise their product. For example, you could partner with a company that sells a specific ingredient needed to make one of your recipes. Additionally, you might want to monetize your content by following a subscription model. You could offer a monthly subscription to your readers for a price, that would give them access to exclusive content. And finally, you could consider monetizing your content by posting videos to a YouTube channel. On your About page, I read that you started this website as a stepping stone to starting a YouTube channel. I think that is a great next step to expanding your brand and revenue of income.
Overall, I love the concept, content, and design of your website, Chii! As someone who’s looking to try new recipes, I’ll certainly be keeping up with your posts! I think you have a strong business plan for your brand and I’m excited to see where you can take “Chii’s Sweet Home”.
Best of luck, Chii!