Have Your Say! Spice Cauldron News and Mobile Updates

emotions happy sad Update! Polls Results (March 15th): So, I ran a couple of super-quick polls to figure out how to give a better experience and provide more entertainment for you. And. Well, I guess the entertaining bit is that only one reader voted at all!

Whoever you are, I thank you! Seriously, it’s nice to know that not all my site visitors are automated search engine robots. That does happen on some of my other blogs – no visits, no visits, no visits. Then 50 visits! Hurray! Oh, it’s just Googlebot crawling through, figuring out where to rank the site in Search.

Oh, well. Thanks again to – The Decider. I’ll keep on keeping on in the same vein. (By the way, the one vote on Poll One was me, testing. And the other vote on Poll Two was, you guessed it, me testing.)

Hi y’all! I’ve decided to write up a quick update about this blog, about some recent changes I’ve been making and also to let you have your say directly.

I’m all ears. It would be really helpful to find out whether you land on the blog and end up happy and excited. (Maybe not quite as excited as the guy in the picture!) Or whether you find the whole thing frustrating.

And I’ll tell you why. There’s no point running a blog if everybody gets wound up by it and hits the Back button in a seething rage. Surprisingly maybe (especially if that describes you) I actually care about stuff like that. But it’s not so easy to figure out from my website traffic data what’s going on.

Great Job? Or Frustrating Abomination?

As I write this blog post, my data says the average time on site is 41 seconds. Added to that, 87% of you guys are then bouncing right out again. This is where my hair tearing begins, because there are two reasons this could happen – both of them mutually exclusive:

  1. You arrive from Google (or wherever). Scan the page. Find out exactly what you need. Then wander off somewhere, contentedly. ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. You arrive from Google (etc). Scan the page. Keep scanning the page. Scratch your head. Arrrrggghhhh! Can’t find what you need. Thump the Back button. ๐Ÿ˜ก

Shall We See? Yes, Let’s

Okay, then. Here goes with the inaugural Spice Cauldron Readers’ Poll. Yay!

When you get to Spice Cauldron do you find what you need?
  • Yes, I grab the information & go cook dinner! 100%, 1 vote
    1 vote 100%
    1 vote - 100% of all votes
  • No, I need the cooking instructions to be made clearer. 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 1
March 5, 2017 - March 12, 2017
Voting is closed

I’ll keep the Polls open until Sunday 12th March. If you’d like to elaborate, feel free to use the comments below so I get a feel for your general sentiments.

What Have I Done So Far?

computer devices

It’s all about you, mobile. Well, kind of. My current analytics tell me that 60% of you are coming here on your mobile devices – mainly iPhones. That leaves 22% of desktop visitors and 17% finding Spice Cauldron via your tablets.

One of the things I noticed very recently was the user experience (UX) for mobile phone users could be improved. And improved mobile UX is better for those of you on the bigger screens too. It spreads the information out nicely and makes it more readable.

I made the cardinal mistake of only checking my site using one “mobile-friendliness” tool. It looked sweet, but that soon turned sour after I randomly took another look with a different mobile site tester.

It was huge menus, giant ads, humongous walls of text – and tiny postage stamp sized images. Uck. Terrible.

So I’ve been gradually working through the whole site, breaking things up a bit and resizing all the images. It’s still ongoing, so that’s why there’s been gaps in my publishing of new recipes. (I’ve got some lined up, so they’ll be out fairly soon.)

I hope that most (or preferably all) of you mobile users are finding the site a little friendlier. Again, comment below if there are issues, and I’ll try to fix you up.

Speedy Fast Super Blog – Kinda

flying high speed

As an addon for mobile users, I’ve also been up to my elbows in technical stuff on the blog. Speed’s important, right? So I have done a lot of optimization. Hopefully, things are a little faster.

I’ll probably need to re-compress all those new larger images. It’s like carrying a bag of water. I know bigger images are better – but they slow down the site! And faster sites are better.

As with all technical matters, when they meet up with me, they begin toying with me. It’s a bit like spotting a loose thread of wool on your sweater. I’ll just pull it a little, you say to yourself.

Before you know it, all you have left is a sleeve. And you’re standing in a pile of wool.

So you may have noticed that annoying little FOUC – flash of unstyled content – when you click to my blog posts (mainly the blog titles). I’ve been messing with the stylesheet (fonts, sizes, etc) to delay parts of it until you’ve got the top of the page quickly loaded.

It is at the boundary edge of my tech know-how, so bear with me. I’ll figure out how to fix that eventually. (Something to do with conditional critical path CSS, blah, blah, blah … drifts off.)

Time for the SECOND POLL

I’ll be interested in your responses to the First Poll (above) because it’ll help me provide a better experience for you in terms of finding what you need – if that’s been an issue.

You see, I made a decision right at the beginning of this website that it would be more of a “Chatty Chat Chat” kind of blog. Think along the lines of blogs such as Pinch of Yum. (Great site by the way. Beautiful photography and great general recipes.)

The alternative is the “Wham Bam Thank You Plan” sort of recipe site. Just bare facts, in your face – ingredients, numbered instructions, maybe a picture or video. Done! In this category, think AllRecipes.

So here comes the Poll:

What kind of format would you prefer for Spice Cauldron recipes?
  • Just as it is now (chatty chat with recipe described informally) 50%, 1 vote
    1 vote 50%
    1 vote - 50% of all votes
  • Like Pinch of Yum (with recipe card at bottom of post) 50%, 1 vote
    1 vote 50%
    1 vote - 50% of all votes
  • Like AllRecipes (just the plain basics - no yadda!) 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 2
March 5, 2017 - March 12, 2017
Voting is closed

Again, this will stay open until Sunday 12th.

And that’s it! This post has already become longer than I anticipated. But I wanted to share with you what changes I’ve been making in the background to try and make your journey through the site more enjoyable. Especially as I hadn’t known my mobile version was pretty lousy!

I look forward to your comments too. And hope I have the tech savvy to meet your needs. Baby steps I guess. I’ll get there eventually, I always do. ๐Ÿ™‚

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