The Future

I am looking toward the future, and I am wondering what my next step in life is. I wonder what pieces of life that are currently in place will remain, and what pieces will not. One of those pieces is this blog. I’m wondering why you’re here. Why do you read my blog? What information do you want?

I know many travelers want to know what restaruants to go to, and where to get food. Frankly, that could easily be done on a simple one page website. Go to these particular health food stores located here, here and here. Or, go to the regular grocery stores you see dotted around the island, and buy real food from the edges of the grocery (be careful in the dairy section and meat section). If you want to know what restaurants to go to, well these days I too seem to be at a loss for places to eat. Many of the places that were safe for me for a while are no longer safe. The poor design of my site makes it difficult for me to go back and remove previously good revies, and previously bad reviews of restaurants on Maui.

One of the major problems with this blog is that it is too specific. The topic is far too narrow. I’m considering starting a new blog based on more interests of mine than just gluten free food on Maui. I’ll be taking some of the old posts with me, but many will be left behind in the archives.

I think what I’m saying here is that I need to know if you all think this blog should remain, or if I should just put it into my bin of failed experiments.

If I do start up a new blog, I will of course link to it from this site so you can find me if you want. I do think I’ll keep tweeting from my gfreemaui account, but if the new blog takes off I may switch names.

So, give me some idea of where you’re all at with this, and I’ll make a decision soon.

2 thoughts on “The Future”

  1. Hi Amanda,

    First, I’m sorry to hear that GF Maui may disappear into the fires of Haleakala. But, I know the dilemma you face.

    One thing that attracts me to your blog is the fact that I connect with your ethic, style of cooking, etc. There are many types of GF cooking out there, and I’m often drawn to what you do…with your emphasis on local to Maui producers and growers.

    Traci makes a strong point about appealing to tourists. That’s obviously a major revenue stream for the island, and a significant population of potential readers. According to a Sep 2010 article in the Maui News, island visitation of tourists was to the tune of 200,000+ people per month through the summer 2010 summer months…on an island with a population of less than 150,000.

    There’s a strong case to be made for gearing your info toward those tourists… restaurant reviews and recommendations, grocery stores, local producers and growers, farmers markets, what to bring (that might not be available locally).

    At No Gluten, No Problem, I’ve been surprised with the overwhelming popularity of my series called the Small Town GF Guide. I focus on smaller locales off the beaten track (Ithaca, NY; Steamboat Springs, CO) that have robust tourism statistics. Unlike larger cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Denver, these small towns don’t get a lot of GF coverage and need an “insider” to get the scoop for the large number of travelers that come to town and seek GF options.

    You are that person for Maui. Rather than seeing your blog as too specific, I think you should see yourself as the authority on that particular topic (GF Maui). For what’s it worth, that localized personalized aspect of a blog is what makes many blogs attractive to readers. It’s not overly generalized. It’s your story, and your place, and people connect with that.

    I think the subtitle of your blog – on a rock in the sea – is also telling, and a potential opportunity. You literally live on a rock in the sea, where you might sometimes be isolated from the wider GF community, and/or face difficulty in getting local GF ingredients or products due to availability issues. While not everyone literally lives on such a rock, many GF people metaphorically do. They live in a part of the country with low levels of GF awareness, and/or low levels of GF product availability. You can also offer valuable lessons for those people…tips for how to make due, or what to mail order, or work arounds and solutions for common challenges.

    So, I think you certainly have some decisions to make. But I do think that GF Maui could have a great future…with perhaps some refocusing and some nominal redesign.

    But most importantly, whatever you decide, you have to be passionate about it. That’s what matters in the end, and that’s what will keep you engaged with the blog.

    Cheers, Pete

  2. I definitely vote to keep it going…. you don’t really need to post daily, just enough to keep it interesting. definitely keep the FB account going…. Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more commonly diagnosed, so if you’re like me, you join every page, blog, and site having to do with gluten intolerance. Recipes are important, too! You may not always see it, and I tend to be a lurker, too, but people are reading.

    And YES, vacationers always need to know where and how they are going to eat when visiting the island. Information needs to be easier to find. I found it difficult to navigate through every post in order to answer the question, Where can I eat?”. I first started reading your blog last year, the second time I went to Maui, after I was diagnosed. I wished I could have found out more info on where to eat from this blog, though; but it seemed to be directed more to the locals point of view…. it would have been most helpful than having to sit in my hotel room with the yellow pages making call after call. I discovered in my quest that many of the luaus actually have food allergy menus…. why not get with some of the local restaurants, hotels, and luaus and offer to post their GF menu items on your blog for a nominal “fee”? They should be happy to oblige, knowing that it will drive more tourists with hard-earned dollars to their businesses. We need to know what foods we can take home with us, too! With the one of the largest industries in Maui being tourism, you must realize that almost any blog you do will have to appeal to tourists even more so than residents…. probably more tourists come through Maui every year than there are residents that live on the island, anyway. It’s not that your blog is too specific (celiacs are looking specifically for info on gluten free foods, restaurants, and products), it’s just not that user-friendly, as you said so, yourself. Perhaps it’s time to try a different format, with links to restaurants, menus, and such, as well as where to shop, etc. (tried your hotlinks in your post, but they are not activated).

    Perhaps the better question is: what do YOU want to be getting from this blog? Are you doing a public service, or do you want it to be a business? If you want it to be a business, there are many more approaches you can use to gain income.

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