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Hi Carolyn. First of all thanks very much for taking the time to talk with us about your site.

If you would, please begin by telling us a little about yourself –
Well my name is Carolyn Smith-Kizer. I am 58 and from Tip of the Thumb, Michigan. I've worked in education most of my life.

I've looked at your site and the first question that came to mind was, are you French?
I am not French, but I participate in reenactments of life during the French and Indian War Ear, 1740-1760, as a colonial habitante. I demonstrate cooking and sewing techniques of the 18th Century, translating recipes, inventories and journals for inspiration.

Where did you get the idea for your site?
My cooking site 18thccuisine.blogspot.com actually followed my reenacting web site – carolynsmith-kizer.com Many of my colleagues in living history had web sites and many were employed at living history sites as food specialists, but no one was food blogging.

Besides your love for food and the colonial period where there any other inspirations for your site?
Another inspiration for me was Obsession with Food and Wine site.

You mentioned another site you operate, can you give us a quick idea of what that is about?
carolynsmith-kizer.com full of information for women reenacting living history during the period 1740-1763--the French and Indian War period.

Are in you involved with any other sites?
Well beside the two I mentioned I am also a web mistress for 18 web sites.

Do you do all the writing yourself?
Absolutely.

Is this your primary job or do you also work elsewhere?
This is my second job—I sew for colonial reenactors first.

What are your goals for the site?
To always strive for authenticity over quantity—my readers depend upon me for facts as well as fun.

How long has your cooking site been live?
Since October 2004.

How long have you used SiteMeter?
Since the beginning of my blogging. I read an article on blogging by Steve Rubel on how technology is revolutionizing media and marketing and he suggested using sitemeter. He also pointed me to a post on becoming a thought leader in my field.

How many people does it require to run your site?
Just myself.

How much time do you spend on your site on average a day?
Sometimes, just seconds checking stats—other days, it seems like 28 hours! Translating and trying to get the food to look good in the photo.

What is the primary difference from when you first started the site to now?
When I first began to blog, my side columns were practically empty, but Sitemeter's stats enabled me to follow back and leave comments on fellow bloggers' sites that led to more visitors to my site and it's been reciprocal ever since.

What do you enjoy most about having a web/site?
It's interesting to see where visitors come from, and great comments, personal emails and questions sometimes make good a very bad day.

What is the biggest challenge you face in running a site like yours?
Having the time to translate all those recipes and still have time to cook and bake and photograph and write sometimes takes a back seat to real life. In the beginning it was very easy to spend 18 hours a day on my two sites—but reality has a way of intervening.

Are you able to generate revenue?
Yes, I have a donation button through paypal, and I have received sales for my husband's woodware from cooking enthusiasts.

To people just getting started what piece of advice would you give them?
Blog about or create a web site about what you love. Fill it with good, documented information and answer every comment and question in a timely manner. You can become an expert at what you do and others will appreciate and use your knowledge—they will also add to your store of knowledge. Never be afraid to give information away—don't start a web site just because you are hoping to make money.

Thank you again Carolyn for spending some time with us. We appreciate your insights and hope that they'll be of interest to all our fellow SiteMeter users.

Best of luck to you and your sites.

Visit Carolyn's site at 18thccuisine.blogspot.com
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