The Right Ingredient for
Food and Drink Domains
According to the Wall Street Journal, people have been cutting back on the number of times they dine out, with a commensurate increase in traffic to recipe web sites as more people cook at home. For those domainers with high quality food and drink domains, this presents a significant opportunity. And with Epik | Recipes, you now have a platform with which to build out high quality, high performance food and drink sites that are genuinely useful to site visitors.
The greatest challenge for the owners of great food- and drink-related domain names such as grilled-chicken.com or alcoholic-drinks.com is how to populate them — even the best name is useless without a sizable cache of legitimately acquired recipes. Epik has solved this problem by building a database of over 20,000 recipes, which we plan to grow to more than 100,000 over the coming months. Our recipes database includes food recipes from the widest possible variety of cuisines, from barbeque to vegetarian, from Chinese to Spanish, and everything in between. Our database also includes thousands of mixed drink recipes for those looking for some before dinner cocktails.
With this storehouse, we have ample content to match to almost any recipe-related domain. All you need do is provide the domain name.
More interestingly, all these recipes are saved in a very particular format, one that offers significant benefits to the domain owner and the site visitor.
Taken as a whole, a recipe is an inherently structured data type; it necessarily contains concepts such as ingredients, amounts, steps, and durations. Consequently, recipes are an ideal data type with which to bind semantics and data together in order to create recipes easily readable by both humans and computers.
The mechanisms for doing so are microformats: simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Microformats enable the representation of semantic information within a web page; in simplest terms, the HTML markup now includes the data as well as the meaning of the data. And with this meaning, information can be leveraged in ways never conceived by the author of the data.
Sites built using epik | Recipe are based on a microformat called hRecipe. For example, instead of
hRecipe would encode it as
While the encoding of site data might at first seem like a purely technical matter, in fact, utilizing hRecipe provides significant advantages to the domainer and to end users:
Consider a user looking for a recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls. Any decent recipe site can handle that. But with hRecipe, the site could offer suggestions for other Vietnamese dishes, or other appetizers, or even other recipes that use similar ingredients. And it can easily do so precisely because the concept of Vietnamese as a cuisine, and shrimp as an ingredient, is understood by the site. The ability to offer superior navigation and menu planning suggestions is thus enabled by the microformat in a way not easily possible for a "plaintext" version of the very same recipe.
Currently, epik | Recipe sites monetize through fairly standard ads and soon through systems like Shopzilla that can display, say, a list of cookbooks appropriate to what the user is viewing. But with the semantic encoding of microformats, more interesting monetization avenues open up in a way not possible with plaintext recipes. Consider being able to click an "Order All Ingredients" button that places an order on Safeway.com or AmazonFresh. How? Because the site knows all the ingredients and the amounts necessary to make that dish.
Consider the challenge Google faces. It must scan, try to understand, and classify every web site on the planet. Like any entity, Google appreciates help, and encoding sites with microformats is a huge help to Google. Instead of crawling a site and trying to figure out whether the page contains a recipe, a microformat provides that information to Google "predigested"; Google doesn't have to infer the meaning of the data because the meaning has been directly encoded into the site data. Consequently, Google knows (as opposed to infers) not just that it is a recipe, but that it is a low-cal chicken breast recipe because information like calorie counts are encoded on the page in a standard way. Classification by crawlers becomes both faster and more accurate. Better yet, Google shows its appreciation by ranking and displaying microformatted data preferentially because the data is already semantically encoded; this is all part of Google "Rich Snippets" initiative. And because it has more definitive information to render, it can display search results in a more attractive and useful way.
One of the few things food aficionados love more than cooking is sharing their knowledge of cooking with others. epik | Recipes is designed to encourage the growth of a community and the viral spread of its contents. User can submit their own recipes to the site; these recipes are then automatically encoded into hRecipe. These recipes will be presented not only on the site in question, but will also be syndicated to other related recipe sites.
For example, a submitted recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls might be syndicated to recipe sites for Vietnamese food, Asian foods, and appetizers, among others. This network effect helps increase the desire to participate because a user's contribution is amplified.
Users can comment on and rate recipes as well. And, of course, all this original content creates exactly the sort of site activity and refreshed content that the major search engines prize so highly when calculating page rank.
Building a high quality, high content recipe site can be a daunting challenge. Aside from the usual challenges and costs of site design, implementation and support, there are the two big challenges of legitimately acquiring a large corpus of recipes and using SEO to make your recipe site stand out among dozens of others.
With Epik, all this is taken care of for you. Of course, you get the usual Epik amenities of custom graphics, turnkey hosting, 24x7 tech support, and access to our team of SEO specialists. But with epik | Recipe, you also get access to a huge set of recipes encoded to help increase discoverability and page rank. And, because of our platform approach to development, we are able to offer this for an unprecedentedly low setup fee of $349.
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