Tastes of Lizzy T

Julie Clark, Founder

Julie's iconic cinnamon bun recipe. Julie's headshot.
A family affair

Julie Clark’s oldest daughter Maddie had always loved writing, photography, and baking. So when Maddie had to complete a midterm creative project in sixth grade, Julie had an idea: what if she brought these three passions together to create a cooking blog?

“I had just recently come across some food websites online and was really enamored with the format,” says Julie. “It was so cool to see regular people like us embracing their creative passions and creating content that reached such a wide audience.”

With some recipe inspiration from Julie, Maddie published a few recipes online and earned high marks from her teacher. But this wasn’t the only positive feedback Maddie received. She also discovered that readers from around the world had discovered her website.

“We were amazed to find that readers from as far away as Asia were finding the blog and commenting on the recipes,” says Julie. “It was that feedback in the beginning from a global audience that made us so excited to get more of her recipes out there.”

With that, Tastes of Lizzy T was born — and since the very beginning, it has been a family-run cooking blog packed with comfort food classics. The name “Lizzy T” cleverly comes from an amalgamation of her children’s middle names and initials.

Julie works on the site with her daughters Maddie and Kinslee and the content of the blog draws from recipes passed down in her family through the generations.

“I don’t necessarily have formal culinary training, but I learned so much cooking alongside my grandmothers,” says Julie. “I grew up in Amish Country, which has had a huge influence on my cooking. So many of our recipes are just classics that have been in the family forever.”

Just a few months into working on the blog, Julie realized this could be more than just a creative outlet to explore with her kids — it could also be a business. So it was time for Julie and her family to figure out ways to turn their popular content into a sustainable business model.

Julie's dinner rolls
Recipe for success

Just a few months after creating the blog, Julie and her family were getting enough feedback and traffic that they could start thinking about putting ads on their site. They started with Google AdSense, which would help them generate the ad revenue needed to continue running the site.

“We were immediately pleased with Google AdSense but wanted to push the bounds of our advertising set up ” says Julie. “It was through communicating with other bloggers that we learned about ad networks.”

The Tastes of Lizzy T ended up joining forces with Raptive, a Google Certified Publishing Partner, who helped manage Julie’s ad strategy – so that she and her family could focus on publishing recipes to their growing audience.

“Ads have been hugely important to our business,” says Julie. “They enable us to do everything.”

“Plus, working with Raptive has been great,” she says. “The manager we work with is fantastic — she’s always bringing new ideas to us and she really listens to us and caters the strategy to our goals and preferences.”

Julie's popular pulled pork recipe.
Creativity comes first

Julie and her family are proud of the sustainable business they’ve built with help from AdSense and Raptive. Most notably, the steady ad revenue enables Julie to focus full-time on her true passions: creating recipes, testing the results, photographing the final product, then publishing it online to her community of home cooks.

“I’ll be honest, my passion isn’t affiliate sales or charting out an ad strategy,” says Julie. “I’m grateful that our ad revenue has freed up more time for me to truly get creative.”

Julie’s children have also been inspired watching their mother turn the blog into a thriving business. Not only has it shown them it’s possible to realize your ambitions and dreams, but it’s also given them a model for satisfying creative careers.

“Each one of my children is creative at their core,” says Julie. “After college, they all hope to start their own businesses. While some of their friends or peers might question their ability to do that, they know it’s possible — because they’ve seen firsthand how our family has been able to turn a passion into a business.”

“Ads have been hugely important to our business. They enable us to do everything.”
Continued ambitions

Julie remembers those early days when just a few comments on the blog could make her day. The goals in those days were modest — but now Julie and her family want to keep thinking big about expanding Tastes of Lizzy T’s education and audience.

“I remember how exciting it was hitting our goal of a million visitors in a month,” says Julie. “I want to keep embracing the challenge of figuring out what our readers enjoy so that we can maintain our existing followers and start finding new ones.”

She’s also eager to take her brand offline and complete a long-held goal of publishing a cookbook. Now that her children are off starting their own adventures and the blog is in a good position, completing this goal feels more possible than ever.

But Julie’s future ambitions for the blog aren’t just about her own desires. Creating a successful business has given her and her family a lot — so it’s time to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate. Julie and her family have helped at soup kitchens, cooked meals for families in need, and are eager to partner with local businesses on other outreach events.

“We’ve been lucky enough to build a really strong online presence,” says Julie. “"So now we’re looking for ways to make an impact and help others both locally and globally.”

About the Publisher

Julie Clark, founder of Tastes of Lizzy T, shares recipes for viewers around the world. Started as a hobby with her daughters in 2013, they began growing their following by sharing their most comforting family recipes. Now that the site has grown to over 2 million viewers a month, it’s a family effort to help create and test recipes for any occasion. When she’s not cooking, Julie loves to relax outdoors in her wildflower garden, travel and spend time with her family and dogs.
Julie Clark with family.