Sushi Bytes has finally left the nest.
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog before, then you’ll probably recognize it by a different name — Sushi Bytes. A strange name yes, especially for a travel food blog, but it wasn’t always that way.
When I first started this blog in 2009, it was meant to be little more than an add-on to my design portfolio — Web Sushi Design. I wrote random stuff about design, art, sports, food, etc., hence the name Sushi Bytes — sound bytes from Web Sushi Design. You couldn’t even call it actual writing because most of the time, I was just reposting snippets of crap I found on the web. It didn’t have any direction because at the time, it wasn’t something that I intended to take all that seriously. And I didn’t think I ever would.
After flatlining for a full year, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with a reader did I decide to pick it up again in 2011. And pick it up again I did with a passion. I had pretty much figured out at that point that food and travel were the only topics I felt strongly about, so that’s what Sushi Bytes became — a food and (sort of) travel blog. It featured my beautiful wife’s recipes as well as reviews of restaurants in and around Manila, with the occasional travel post thrown in.
Back then, I was posting like mad. If I didn’t write at least 25 posts, I didn’t consider it a good month. For the first year since reviving it, it worked well for us. We got picked up by Yummly, our photos were getting into food porn sites like Food Gawker and Tastespotting, and we were lucky enough to be featured by Bon Appetit and Buzzfeed. Our readership was slowly rising and we were having fun. Looking back, we couldn’t have been happier with how things were going.
Until we hit a wall.
Our readership had plateaued at around 230 unique visitors a day. For a year, it pretty much stayed at that level. It was frustrating to say the least and it forced me to accept a truth about myself that I had always known but refused to acknowledge.
I didn’t know shit about food.
Sure, I could use fancy adjectives and pretty up our blog with my design background, but at the end of the day, I had nothing more than a lay person’s understanding of food. I don’t cook. Ren does all the cooking so all I could do was describe how it tasted to me, which in the grand scheme of things meant little when your knowledge was so limited. Successful food bloggers know their stuff, while some less informed bloggers can get away with it simply because they’re blessed with other things like humor, charisma, or networking skills. I didn’t have any of those. And I’m not saying that to put myself down either. I’m just being honest. Going the way I was, I didn’t feel like I was providing people with any real value, so I knew something had to change.
After our epic trip to Japan last year, I decided to transition Sushi Bytes from a food blog with the occasional travel post to a full-fledged TRAVEL FOOD blog. That turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Because now, I’m writing about things that I actually know about. Things that I experience first-hand and could thus share with others with more confidence and authority. In short, I felt like I was finally providing real value. And thankfully, the internet responded.
Within a year, we went from 7,047 unique visitors in April 2014, to 31,108 in April 2015. That’s almost a five-fold spike in one year!
And the best part of it all, we started receiving more and more comments from people thanking us for providing useful travel information. We were overjoyed and inspired, and grateful. At long last, we were finally getting noticed for our efforts, and it felt really really good.
I knew then that it was time for Sushi Bytes to grow up. “Sushi Bytes” simply did not make sense anymore. It needed its own home and a new identity, something unrelated to Web Sushi Design. We needed a name that we didn’t have to explain, something that instantly reflected the nature of our blog, and us. I threw out names like “Traveleaters” and “Them Gastronauts”, but when Ren said “Will Fly for Food”, I knew right away that was the one. It was perfect.
So after a near sleepless week rebranding and redesigning this blog, updating all our social networking pages, and making sure that we didn’t lose our SEO and page rank with the migration, Ren and I are proud to introduce “Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined”.
To all the people who have visited and commented on Sushi Bytes, thank you so much for your support. We promise to work harder than ever to bring you quality content. Even though this blog is going on 6 years now, it still feels brand new.
In spite of my seedy skid row looks, I’m a big pussy at heart so I’m getting all the feels right now writing this post. On top of being a source of what I hope to be useful information, it’s also our memoir and a digital album of our life together. Ren and I don’t have any kids of our own (aside from our beloved pugs Henry and Mona), so in many ways, this blog is like our baby.
I’m happy to say that she’s all grown up.