Mel Gunnell has been sharing her favorite tried-and-true recipes on her food blog, Mel's Kitchen Cafe, since 2008. Many years later, Mel's motives remain the same: to share the best of the best recipes so anyone who visits her website will feel like a rock star in the kitchen. Mel is a real mom cooking for a real family in a real world, which means the recipes she shares are timeless, family-friendly, easy, and most of all, delicious! She currently resides on a 25 acre farm in Idaho with her husband and five kids.
In 2008, living in Utah, Mel Gunnell wanted a way to share recipes online. “This was the early days of blogging,” she says. “Most people I talked to wondered if “blog” was a swear word. I started my blog really as a hobby to share my favorite recipes with my family who lived across the country.” Two years later, Mel got her first blog comment from a stranger, and another two years after that she was getting enough page views that for the first time she started to think about turning her passion into something more.
She signed up for Google AdSense to start earning revenue from ads. “I still remember the day I got my first check for $25,” she recalls. “I thought I’d hit the lottery! Unbelievably, within a year, I started earning enough that the idea of my site becoming a thriving business wasn’t so crazy.” With that in mind, Mel eventually decided to work with a Google Certified Publishing Partner, Mediavine, to manage her ads business on Ad Manager, which in turn allowed her to stay focused on creating amazing content.
Activating the community beyond recipes
“My blog has always been about sharing amazing, tasty recipes with people but to be able to turn that into a successful business is something that still blows my mind,” she says today. ”I’m so grateful! Over the years, I’ve been able to hire a full time virtual assistant and numerous independent contractors to help with the technical side of my site. I don’t think people realize how much the ads they see online help keep my business afloat. The ad revenue truly benefits people and small businesses; without advertising, I wouldn’t be part of the internet.” Outside of recipes, Mel has been able to connect with her 2-million-plus readers in ways that she never imagined. “One of my long-time readers was struggling with an unimaginably difficult situation,” she explains, “and with her permission, I posted about it on my blog. It was incredible to see the community come together to raise $50,000 for this family.”
The ad revenue truly benefits people and small businesses; without advertising, I wouldn’t be part of the internet.
, Founder, Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Currently based out of her 25-acre farm in Idaho, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has grown into a loyal community of foodies who, over the past 13 years, have banded together over so much more than just food. “I’m so proud of this community,” Mel says, “and so grateful and thrilled that my small business has been able to adapt with the changing internet and that I’ve built a career that allows me to fulfill my passions and also be a mom to my five crazy kids. I feel so lucky to do work that I love while continuing to grow my business and support my online community.”