Oftentimes, I’m sitting in the office and someone from our Publisher Services team bursts out laughing on a whim. Come to find out, it’s because they’re looking at one of the funniest sites in our network…and trust me, there are a lot of them! It’s Cake Wrecks – an entire site devoted to “when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.” We sat down with them recently to find out what makes them tick.
What gave you the idea of Cake Wrecks?
The first cake I ever posted on Cake Wrecks, the “cake that started it all,” was actually the inspiration for the whole blog. I friend e-mailed it to me, and a little light bulb went on. I never expected anyone other than a few friends to read it though; Cake Wrecks was supposed to be purely for my “own” amusement. The fact that people soon began finding it and enjoying it and telling their friends about it was simply shocking to me. Good, of course, but shocking!
What is your business model?
Uh… well, to be honest, I don’t think we really have one. The site got so popular that we ran a few ads. Through a lot of research and trial and error, we now work with a lot of great ad providers like Lijit. Everything with Cake Wrecks has been a lot of trial and error, from the site design to the amount of content we post. Mostly I just focus on making the blog as funny and easy to navigate as possible. That’s my only real concern.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Maintaining the daily posting, without a doubt. I set a goal to post every day over two years ago and stuck to it even when John (my husband) was near death in the hospital “on the Cake Wrecks book tour.” Not to toot my own horn, but THAT took serious dedication – and it was one of the worst days of my life. Eventually I started taking some Saturdays off, although about half the time we’ll still post something then, too. Maintaining that pace and consistency has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Like anyone, some days I just don’t feel very funny. Pushing through those times never gets any easier, but the response from the fans makes it worthwhile.
What is the most interesting thing you have learned?
Hmm… well, since I’d never done anything like this before, I’d say most of what I’ve learned has been about the online dynamic. The fact that people online are cruel, and quick to judge, and bore easily. I suppose if you’re cynical you could say ALL people are like that, online or off, but online people can hide behind their screens and say the most outrageous things to you. So I’ve learned that people are surprisingly cruel, and often for no reason. But then again, I’ve also learned that people can be unbelievably kind. When John was in the ER in that hospital, we were stranded in Dallas, Texas for nearly a week. The outpouring of support and offers of help – everything from laundry service to meals – from Cake Wrecks readers was simply staggering. I learned then that a goofy cake blog can actually foster a kind of community. If you’d told me that two years ago, I never would have believed you.
Any recommendations for other publishers?
From the feedback I get from my own readers, I believe that consistent posting and a certain level of transparency – allowing your personality to shine through, no matter what the subject is – are both key. Maintaining your passion is also a must, if only so you don’t burn out and lose the will to blog!
How has Lijit helped you become a better publisher?
To be honest, the Lijit search tool has been a real life-saver for me. The Google search we were using hadn’t worked on Cake Wrecks for almost a year, and we had no way to fix it. Not being about to find old posts that I needed to reference was extremely frustrating. Having such a clean interface now… that works!… is one of those things I’ll never take for granted again.