Another year just went by, faster than we could think and a new year has come in. And it is time to look back at the past year and evaluate the goods and the bads – the goods that we can cherish and take with us into the new year and the bads, that we will want to forget as if a bad dream.
The Tastes of India and I went through a lot of ups and downs in the past year. From a business standpoint, the year was not that great for us but with all of the experiences that we gained, I am sure we will be able to ensure that 2016 is not a repeat of 2015.
We had a concrete business plan for the year 2015 even before we had started the year. Some of the key areas that we had planned to concentrate on were –
1). Social Media Presence
2). Traffic Diversity
3). Improve Engagement
Social Media Presence
We managed to achieve some of those but missed on a lot many goals. Our social media plan was not foolproof and one of the biggest areas of opportunity in the plan was in the channels that we were focusing. I think we focused on one too many channels and couldn’t get the traction required on some of the key channels.
But the good point was that we gained a lot of presence on Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus. Pinterest continues to be our 2nd biggest source of social media traffic and we are planning to focus more of it for 2016.
We had plans on building our presence on YouTube, but it didn’t materialize as expected. We were a little challenged on the resources required because we had to divert the funds that we had planned for video marketing into some other emergencies. Add to it the multiple projects that Dilip was working on, which led to him not being able to concentrate on the back-end work on videos and our problems multiplied.
But YouTube is going to be an area that we will be focusing on in 2016, but we haven’t yet put it on our priority list. So you might see some newer videos on The Tastes of India, but the frequency might not be too high.
Instagram is another area that I will have to focus a little more on. But since we mutually decided that it is not something that we want to channelize our energy into, it has fallen off our priority list.
Traffic was a disaster for the last year. Blame it on some of the poor decisions that we took. But our traffic increased only by about 18% in comparison to 2014, which is extremely poor growth so far as Internet businesses are concerned.
Some of the reasons for this were, the reduced emailing frequency, a reduced posting frequency and a reduced expenditure on ads. We had plans of adding some new sources of traffic but this turned out to be our biggest undoing. Contextual marketing which was one good source of traffic for us dropped off our top lists of traffic. This was what impacted us the most.
But for 2016, we have narrowed down on the focus areas and we are sure we should be able to make up for our loss in the last year.
One of the areas that we wanted to work upon on the amount of engagement that we were seeing on our blog. For whatever reason the number of comments on the blog was not too encouraging and so was the amount of engagement on our social media channels. While our engagement on our social media channels improved by almost 240%, the engagement on the blog continued to be low. This was probably because of a faulty plan and this is something that we will be working on in 2016.
Other Notable Changes
I still haven’t been able to finalize on a good theme for The Tastes of India. I am currently running a slightly customized thesis child theme but am not satisfied with it. I am still looking for a good theme that looks unique as well.
I started another blog in the fashion niche at the Fashion Funda. This was a dream that I had for long and finally I was able to fulfill it the last year. While the posting frequency was not too high, we saw some decent traffic during the Halloween period. We have plans to take the traffic up to about 2000 visits per day by the first half of this year.
One of the plans for the last year was to start our podcast. We started off well with the podcast (you can subscribe to it at iTunes) but somehow lost the traction midway. We couldn’t focus on it because of a lot of the other things that we were doing and hence it got ignored.
But 2016 is going to be the year of our Podcast. We have big plans for the podcast and you should be hearing from us soon on that.
Our revenues took a severe dip in the last year. It was expected with all of the problems that we went through. But we are hoping to build the momentum by the 2nd quarter of this year.
The Favorites from 2015
As I welcome 2016, I felt it made sense to look at some of the best Tastes of India Recipes from 2015 . I am sure you too would like most of these because they were equally liked by a lot of my readers.
Don’t forget to comment below and let me know which of these were your favorites.
Cupcake is my daughter’s favorite recipe and of course mine as well. So if at all I have to tell you how I started making cupcakes at home, then my daughter is the reason for it. She likes it sooo much that I thought why not make this cupcake at home. There started my journey with homemade cakes.
Kele ke Kofte is my all-time favorite recipe. I like it very much because of its creamy texture and soft banana dumplings. So have it along with rice and I am sure you too would become a fan of it.
A complete experiment. I never knew that this raita made with radish would taste that good. I was simply amazed seeing that all in my family liked it very much and it was almost like an unexpected win for me.
I don’t think there is any need to say anything about “Hyderabadi Biryani”. This is not just my favorite but I think most of us like it very much.
This authentic Indian Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is a delicious rice preparation and a meal in itself. Try now….
I know you might be thinking……Kerala Recipe – lot of coconuts and no taste at all. But don’t get scared, it is just a myth. I too used to think the same way, that the recipes which has coconut in it does not taste good. But trust me it tastes real good. Coconut makes the gravy thick and this in turn means that you do not have to use a lot of masala in your recipe. And the usage of coconut oil and coconut in recipes is healthy too.
Ahhhh…Soya chunks, something which my Mother-in-law will always tell me to add in most of the recipes. So soya chunks is like a meal maker for us.
We all know that soya chunks is very good for health. In fact I should say that adding soya chunks to rice increases the taste of any rice recipe. So try it out you are going to love this.
Cheesy Paneer Wrap is something I am very crazy about. And of course the reason behind this is that it uses paneer and cheese which I like the most. So whenever we planned to order something from outside, our default choice was rolls and wraps. I felt I could save some money and eat healthy food at home if I make these at home. I decided to start making rolls at home and it came out really well.
This recipe reminds me of my childhood. My father would always buy me a pack of til ke ladoo, while going to the native place. There used to be an old man standing outside the station carrying some packs of ladoo in the basket. I could never forget him and the taste of those laddoos. In fact I should say that I like any recipe that uses sesame (til) seeds.
I like kaddu ki sabzi, because of its sweet taste. Most of the people don’t prefer a sweet Sabzi but I have always liked sweet chutneys, murabbas and sabzis that has a slightly sweet taste. It tastes very good along with plain paratha.
Last but not the least, because of its sour taste I like this recipe very much, It goes well with plain rice along with some side dish and this can also be served along with dosa.
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