We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and the New Year brings you much happiness and good health! It’s that time of the year to share what you, our Sweet Readers, have made the most popular recipes from the past year. So, here is our Readers’ Choice for The Best Recipes of 2018! And, like last year, I’m also sharing some interesting year-end statistics along with some helpful blogging tips, advice and new helpful apps that will hopefully make your blogging adventure a little easier too.
From juicy pan-seared pork chops to the best chocolate cake from scratch, to poppin pink popcorn and everything else in between, you guys and gals definitely picked some of my faves from this year’s newest recipes!
If you’re looking for a delicious dinner that’s healthy, quick and easy, and on your table in under 15 minutes, then try our Pan-Seared Butterfly Pork Chops. They’re savory, tender, juicy chops seasoned to perfection!
Our Homestyle Chocolate Cake from Scratch is super moist, has rich chocolate flavors, and it looks impressive but is easily decorated with a homemade creamy chocolate frosting and a spoon. It’s an explosion of chocolate decadence for sure and the BEST chocolate cake you may ever make from scratch!
This mouth-watering Sunday Beef Pot Roast is tender and savory, simple to make and comfy, homestyle goodness to the max! Cooked with Butter Gold potatoes (or potato of choice) and some carrots, it’s a complete meal in one pot.
Our Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are soft and chewy, a little cakey, super chocolaty and nutty with hints of cinnamon and pumpkin. If you’re looking for a yummy pumpkin cookie and you’re a chocolate lover, you’re gonna love these cookies!
These yummy little Lemon Meltaway Cookies are buttery, lightly sweet with the perfect lemony tartness. Their name says it all, “Meltaway” and that’s exactly what they do, they simply melt in your mouth!
Our Loaded Oatmeal Cookie Bars are nice and chewy, and full of heart-healthy oats, crunchy walnuts, sweet coconut, and rich, semi-sweet chocolate chips! If you’re craving something sweet, that’s a little healthier than most desserts, go for this one – it’s worth every bite!
This easy and helpful tip on How to Roast Spaghetti Squash has a few simple steps that will have you on your way to a super healthy pasta alternative!
This Catalina Salad Dressing may just become your new favorite dressing. It is sweet and tangy, simply delicious and super easy to make! All you need are some basic ingredients, a blender and about 5 minutes and you’ve got yourself an incredibly tasty, zippy little salad dressing.
A rich and meaty, slightly spicy sauce with tender noodles and gooey cheeses makes our Spicy Spinach Spaghetti Bake really amazing! Cheesy spaghetti dishes are some of the best comfort foods around because they make you feel all nice and warm inside, and they taste delicious too!
If you love sweet & salty treats, then try our Poppin Pink Popcorn. It’s lightly salted and beautifully drizzled with creamy white chocolate and decorated with bright pink sprinkles!
A look back at 2018:
Unfortunately, it has been a difficult year here on My Sweet Mission with lots of changes behind the scenes, which negatively affected our traffic and affiliate earnings. Mainly because we moved our site to https in January (for a more secure site and so it shows the green lock in the address bar) and at the same time we changed our domain from mysweetmission.net to mysweetmission.com. My SSL Cert (https) seemed to cause a lot of problems with my hosting, which was with Godaddy at the time. The problem with Godaddy and https was that I have 2 older domains and the way Godaddy was redirecting them wasn’t favored by Google.
A little word to the wise, if you’re going to start a blog get your .com domain before you publish your first post. It will save you a lot of time, frustration and money!
Because of the redirect problems with Godaddy, I did some research and changed my hosting to BigScoots. And I’m happy to say I love, love, love them! They have been very helpful with technical issues this past year! If you’re looking for a great hosting company please check out BigScoots by clicking here (affiliate link) and they will be more than happy to help you and your blog as well.
Services I started using this year and site changes:
Mailerlite – (affiliate link) I LOVE this email service because it’s easy to use, has great features and their prices are much lower than many others!
Shareaholic Pro (to keep my share counts when I changed over to https)
Migrated to https (as mentioned, better security for our readers)
BigScoots web hosting (affiliate link. As mentioned, they have been awesome!)
Grammarly (free version, which helps me with grammar and spelling)
This section includes affiliate links. WP Recipe Maker Elite version (affiliate link) – This recipe plugin offers so many great features for food bloggers.
WP Recipe Maker is the easy recipe plugin that everyone can use. An easy workflow allows you to add recipes to any post or page with automatic JSON-LD metadata for your recipes. This metadata will improve your SEO and get you more visitors!
An overview of WP Recipe Maker features:
- Compatible with both the Classic Editor and new Gutenberg editor
- Easy workflow to add recipes to any post or page
- Uses schema.org/Recipe JSON-LD metadata optimized for Google Recipe search
- Option to disable metadata per recipe if you want to publish non-food or DIY recipes
- Compatible with Pinterest Rich Pins and a setting to easily opt out
- Recipe ratings in the user comments
- Clean print recipe version for your visitors with optional credit to your website
- Fallback recipe shows up when the plugin is disabled
- Include a recipe video in the template and metadata
- Add photos to any step of the recipe
- Print recipe and jump to recipe shortcodes
- This plugin is fully responsive, your recipes will look good on any device
- Easily change the look and feel to fit your website in the Template Editor
- Structure your ingredients and instructions in groups (e.g. icing and cake batter)
- Full text search for your recipes
- Access your recipes through the WordPress REST API
- Built-in SEO check for your recipe metadata
- Compatible with RTL languages
- Import your recipes from other plugins
WP Recipe Maker Premium
- Use ingredient links for linking to products or other recipes
- Adjustable servings make it easy for your visitors
- Display all nutrition data in a nutrition label
- User Ratings allow visitors to vote without commenting
- Add a mobile-friendly kitchen timer to your recipes
- More Premium templates for a unique recipe template
- Create custom recipe taxonomies like price level, difficulty, …
- Use checkboxes for your ingredients and instructions
Even more add-ons can add the following functionality:
- Integration with a Nutrition API for automatic nutrition facts
- Unit Conversion to reach an international audience with a different unit system
- Have your users send in recipes through the Recipe Submission Form
- Give your visitors the power of Recipe Collections for favorites, meal planning and more
Check it out and start using WP Recipe Maker Elite too!
Added and removed the AMP plugin and AMP for Yoast plugin – I did not like this plugin (my traffic suffered) and since I’ve read it’s not the best plugin for food bloggers. But, please do not go by my experience and ask other bloggers and do your own research before adding or deleting the AMP plugin.
Carrie Hill (a Google expert) worked on my site because of some Google issues. If you need a good Google expert, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you her information.
(This section includes affiliate links) Andrew Wilder from NerdPress, formerly BlogTutor, worked on my SEO and site speed issues, and I signed up for his Sleep Soundly Plan. Andrew and his team are super helpful, he updated and removed any unnecessary plugins and overall did a great job on my site!
The Sleep Soundly Plan includes:
- Nightly Backups
- Daily Security Scanning
- Free Restore & Recovery Assistance
- Cloudproxy Firewall & CDN
- Database Optimization
- WP Rockey Premium Caching
- WP Recipe Maker Elite
Statistics as of December 2018 – Page Views & Unique Visitors:
- 110,000+ – Monthly Page Views
- 70,900+ – Monthly Unique Visitors
Social Media Followers as of December 2018:
Statistics as of December 2017 – Page Views & Unique Visitors:
- 190,000+ – Monthly Page Views
- 125,000+ – Monthly Unique Visitors
Social Media Followers as of December 2017:
You can see a big dip in my pageviews and users from December 2017 to this December 2018. But, I’m sure everything will go back up with a little time. Blogging is difficult but at the same time I really enjoy reading ALL your sweet comments about our recipes and receiving emails from you throughout the year – thank you so much!
Thank you for being a Sweet Reader this past year! You make our lives so much fuller and this food blog a lot of fun! We hope you enjoyed our Readers’ Choice for The Best Recipes of 2018 and some of these popular recipes are some of your favorites too.
If you’re a blogger and have a new app or plugin you like or some blogging advice, please let us know in the comments below. And if you enjoyed these recipes and blogging tips, please consider sharing this post. Thanks, we really appreciate it!
Looking for more delicious homestyle recipes? Then take a look at Savory ~ Sweet ~ Repeat. It’s our delicious eCookbook with 50 tried & true family favorite recipes: 25 savory & 25 sweet. All of them are from this blog and some our family has enjoyed for over 50 years! There are also a few newer family favorites as well. Our eCookbook downloads beautifully and is only $4.99. Plus, it comes with a 100% happiness guarantee. So, get yours today!
Other Readers’ Choice posts you might also enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links, which will add no extra cost to you. Thank you if you make a purchase – it will help support our blog! Please see our disclosure policy.