Written by: Jethro Fitz-Patrick, Publisher Services Manager, 365 Digital
From sushi specials to afternoon tea, from wine tastings to quiz nights, and that’s just in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town! This time around on 365 Publisher Appreciation, we sit down with Marvin Leugering to discuss his all-things-food website, FoodBlog.
Quality and Quantity
FoodBlog is one of those sites that, after a couple minutes of browsing, gives you a sharp pang of FOMO as you realise how much is going on in the city. The sheer amount and variety of food related content is mind-boggling, or mouth-watering. This isn’t overwhelming, however. Instead, the content has been painstakingly curated into an arrangement of drop-down menus, tiles and filters. For example, the ‘Trending Restaurant Specials’ column allows users to easily discover the latest specials based on number of shares. Marvin says FoodBlog was created to “highlight the best specials & events happening in Cape Town; focusing on value and quality.” Starting in Cape Town, FoodBlog has “expanded to showcase the best of Joburg and Durban as well.”
Reminiscent of the Mark Zuckerberg story, FoodBlog originated as a varsity project. “The idea of FoodBlogCT was born during my studies at UCT where we had to write down a concept for an online community on paper.” Recalls Marvin. “Instead of doing that, I taught myself how to install WordPress and publish a live website. While I didn’t get the best grade for this project as I focused on the user experience side with no real strategy outline, people still visited the website to see what I had to say.” 8 years later (and a few re-designs), the website receives nearly 200,000 monthly page views, supporting the marketing of 150+ restaurants, hotels and wine estates in South Africa.
The Year Ahead
Looking ahead, Marvin plans to use all the tools at a digital publisher’s disposal to increase traffic and create value to restaurants and brands, including further development of the featured content space, introducing monthly themes for brand partnerships and providing content packages bundled with social media and newsletter promotion. “At the same time, building our newsletter database as well as improving our search engine rankings are on top of our list to increase relevant traffic coming to our community. We’ve seen an increase of 35% in page views during 2018 vs. 2017, the aim is to match or even improve on that in 2019.” Says Marvin.
FoodBlog is on the up and 365 Digital is happy to be part of the journey. Surely, 2019 is going to be gastronomical!