Pioneer Woman: Secrets of a Mega Blog Success

Look up Technorati's Top 100 blogs and you won't see many targeted specifically for women. The top site is the amazing Arianna Huffington, but she is a celebrity journalist with tons of inside political connections. Scroll down and you'll find a bunch of technology and Internet related blog sites, mostly produced by guys. These are some of the giants of the blog business. Scroll down a little more and you'll find The Pioneer Woman, at

The Pioneer Woman

The Los Angeles Times did a feature article in today's Food Section on Ree Drummond, the woman behind Pioneer Woman. This former Los Angeles resident released her first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl, on Oct. 27, 2009. Since then, she has published several more recipe books as well as children's stories featuring Charlie the Bassett Hound. Ree Drummond also has her own television series, "The Pioneer Woman" on Food Network.

What makes this site so compelling that it gets an average of 13 million page views each month? How did this country girl blast herself through the glass ceiling of the blog world?

According to the L.A. Times, her blog is "as much about the lookin' as the cookin'".

Photos, Photos , Photos

The main focus of Pioneer Woman is the Food tab, called The Pioneer Woman Cooks. There are tons of recipes listed here. But the big difference is the photos. Almost every page you navigate to has dozens of gorgeous color photos. The photos provide step by step guidance to help you follow the recipe the way it was meant to be followed, by gum. One of her most popular "how-tos" is for cooking a steak. This is a blog where the photos are to be savored, like the food itself, not skimmed or scrolled over until you get to the next tidbit of content. In addition to her cooking sections, Pioneer Woman also includes sections on Homeschooling, Photography, and Home & Garden. As always, there are plenty of photos to go with the articles.  It's like the reader is getting an intimate chronicle of the day to day goings-on at the ranch:  cooking, cleaning, organizing, and shopping.

An Accidental Success Story

Ree Drummond's personal story is as much of a draw as the Food Corner. She is known as "The Accidental Country Girl." Raised in Oklahoma, she fled as soon as she could to attend college in Los Angeles. The big city had an appeal to her, and she never thought she would end up back in Oklahoma. But during a brief trip back home, she met and fell in love with a real cowboy, a cattle rancher she calls "Marlboro Man" in her blog. Think Sex and the City girl gets transported to Little House on the Prairie. She traded in her black pumps for cowboy boots, a family with four homeschooled kids, and a real home on the range that's a 45-minute drive away from the nearest grocery store.

Unconventional Design

The blog design has an unconventionally low-tech, country feel. The friendly style in which Ms. Drummond shares her life invites the reader in - "y'all come in and set for a while, and have a slice of pie while yer here!" The web pages have cute kitschy graphics reminiscent of country diners, and general stores, and county fairs with blue ribbon pigs and pie-eating contests. The site visuals takes you back to a simpler time and place, where neighbors sat on the front porch sipping lemonade and gossiping with each other.

Personal Connection

Ree Drummond writes her blog entries with a warm, friendly, personable tone. Site visitors feel as if they are old friends that just dropped by the ranch for some brunch and coffee. The close-up photos and chatty commentary feel as if you and she are just conversing over the kitchen counter.

She often injects humorous, non-cooking related commentary throughout the blog. "Don't you love my manicure? I just got it done." Then scroll down and it's, "Oh darn, I just broke a nail grating the cheese! There goes the manicure."

Imagine this woman started her blog in 2006 for the same reasons so many other people did - just to share photos and news with relatives. It has blossomed to an audience of roughly 2 million women a month. The Pioneer Woman has snowballed into a huge blogging success, against the odds. Who would have thought it?

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Comments 3 comments

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

Interesting hub. Welcome.

dfelker profile image

dfelker 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks tim-tim!

Clyde 7 years ago

Great blog, Donna! You've found a nitch to match your talents. And I love the photos of Sean.

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