Back before the holidays, I (very anxiously!) posted my very first reader survey here on THIHM. I had so many things I wondered and wanted to know about you (my readers) and me (well, the blog and how I was doing as a blogger!). I was so nervous because I just wasn’t sure if anyone would actually take the time to answer! Well, quite a few of you gave me a few minutes of your time, and honestly…it got me so excited! Just within the first few responses, I suddenly had an audience with thoughts and ideas and suggestions – and you were sharing them with me! Almost instantly, I felt renewed energy for the blog and what I’m doing here because you guys are there and you do like what I’m doing! And as more of you took it, I could feel my confidence rising and the ideas flowing out of me!
You all confirmed some things I was suspecting, validated some thoughts and ideas I already had brewing, called me out on consistency (or lack there of!), and even surprised me with some of the trending responses! This survey was so incredibly useful to me, so a big fat THANK YOU to those of you who took the time to fill it out (and I’m still collecting responses, so if you want to take it, you can do so HERE!). These results really helped me plan upcoming content, as well as shake things up, heading into the new year. Today, I wanted to share the results with you, point out some of the interesting findings, and chat a bit about my plans for THIHM heading into 2015! Here we go!
As surveys go, I asked the typical demographic-type questions to get a better since for who you guys are!
Most of these results didn’t surprise me too much (like almost 100% of you are female :), but there were a few things that did catch my eye. My main surprise here was that such a small percentage of my readership are military spouses, especially since I live in a military community and write about living in military base housing. In fact, being a military family is the underlying premise to my entire blog. But the more I thought about it, I don’t promote this unique aspect of my blog all that much (something I’m hoping to change), I don’t reach out to other military spouse bloggers, or promote myself locally as a usable resource. These results showed me that there is a large chunk of my target audience that I am not reaching. So many military spouses are in need of design ideas and advice, and I can help them. Time to start reaching out more!
Beyond just who you are as people, I was very eager to learn more about you as a THIHM Reader, specifically why you choose to read THIHM, how long you have read THIHM, and on what and how often you check for new posts.
Again, some things surprised me and others were right in line with my expectations. I wasn’t too surprised to see that almost half of my readers read my posts on a mobile device (table or phone) using readers. I read all the blogs I follow on a mobile device too! I am now a bit more sensitive to picture loading time, clicking follow-on links and the lack of comments, because I agree that page load speeds and leaving comments on mobile devices can be a pain! Here are some responses, though, that did give me pause:
- Sponsored Posts – I was shocked to see that most of you don’t mind sponsored posts. I asked this not because I get a ton of sponsorship opportunities or am necessarily expecting more to come down the pike, but because as a blog reader myself of other blogs, it feels as though almost every post out there is sponsored in one way or another (okay, I’m exaggerating, but only a bit). I’m brand new at this and certainly don’t blame a blogger for wanting to promote products or make money, but I’ve specifically stopped following some bloggers because their sponsored content was overtaking their original-for-the-sake-of-just-making-something-lovely content…it has just been feeling a bit too disingenuous to me lately. I’m happy to know you all don’t mind sponsored content, but I do promise that as things (hopefully) grow and improve around here, I will not become over-run with sponsored content and will only promote things I am passionate about or use myself.
- Round-Up Posts – This is another question I asked because as a blogger and Pinterest surfer, I am getting a little inundated with round-up after round-up. But!!! You guys don’t seem to mind them, and the few I have posted recently have gotten a lot of traffic. So…here’s my pledge to you: I will not include round-up posts to act as filler content when I don’t have something else to post. However, I will use the round-up format sporadically to link back to projects I’ve done around the web (like my THIHM Around the Web series) or projects I’ve done in the past that I want to re-visit for some reason or show new readers! Sound good?
- Posting Schedule – One of my biggest surprises of the entire survey was that you guys want to see me post more (at least most of you do)! Many of you left kind and generous comments encouraging me to share more small projects, personal anecdotes and house updates instead of feeling pressured to post large-scale project reveals time after time. This was not only a relief to me (big project reveals can be a ton of work!), but has also encouraged me to think about other types of posts I can offer here on THIHM. Here’s my commitment heading into the New Year: I will have a post for you here on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays. Promise 🙂 My main focus will continue to be home decor, organization, and craft ideas, but I am also going to inject more of our daily life, smaller home updates, personal tips/tricks, and glimpses into our military lifestyle. I have some new series that I’ve wanted to bring to the blog for a while now, and many of you gave me the nod of confidence I needed to start writing them!
- Comments – Let’s talk about comments! Here’s why I asked the question about if/why you leave comments: Largely, I get very few comments on my blog posts. A few of you are dedicated commenters (Thank you!!!!), but overall, my audience is very silent. As a blogger, this can be very discouraging. Another blogger I read, who also doesn’t get a lot of comments, likened it to standing on a stage giving a performance and no one clapping at the end. I think that analogy is spot on. In the spirit of full transparency, I’m not a big commenter either (on the blogs I read). And many of the reasons you all listed are also my reasons: it’s hard on a mobile device, I’m shy, I don’t have much to add, I’m just not a commenter, etc. However, as a blogger whose heart skips a beat every time I receive a comment, I’ve come to realize that comments are indeed wonderful and helpful to receive…and if I read or see something I love, then I should tell the person who made it. I haven’t turned into a huge commenter myself, but I’m actively trying to leave praise when a project really excites me. All that said, I realize that comments can be a double-edged sword, and there are times when I am thankful I don’t get a ton because I’m not sure I could handle the negative comments I’ve seen pervade (and even extinguish!) other blogs. I personally abide by the “If I don’t have something nice to say, I don’t say anything at all” premise. Of course I encourage people to be open and honest, but also ask that criticism be constructive and kind-spirited. So what do you say? Let’s work on leaving comments together. If you see something you love, I’d love to hear it. If you don’t love it so much or have a suggestion for making a project better, I’d love to hear that too (because, you guys have some great ideas!). For my part, I am going to work harder to comment on other blogs and social media channels that I follow and respond to you all when you leave comments or emails!
Last but not least, I asked a few questions about your opinions of what I do here, how well I do it, where I can improve and what you’d like to see more of!
Lucky for me, you guys like and think I do well at the things I really love to do the most: home decor projects, organization projects, and furniture re-dos. While I do want to expand what I do here on THIHM, these three things are my “bread and butter,” so I am thrilled/relieved we are on the same page about doing a lot more of those three things heading into 2015! Besides praising me for what I do well, these few questions also allowed you all to call me out on a few things I knew in my gut to be true, namely my posting consistency, reader connection, and the military lifestyle-side of my blog/life. Over the past year, my posting schedule was all.over.the.place. And I’m sorry for that. With my husband now home and a few new organization systems in place, I am committed to bringing you more regularly scheduled content that you can rely on. Further, I am planning sharing with you all a few more personal things as well as more about what it’s like being a military family. I realize these kinds of posts aren’t for everyone, so they will only be sprinkled lightly among my other project-heavy content.
So what else do I have in store for you in the coming year? I’ve mentioned a lot already, but here are a few things you can look forward to in 2015!
- A new blog design! No more DIY graphics and haphazard html coding for this gal. A new blog, complete with a branding/logo overhaul, is in the works. I.cannot.wait!
- Expanded Etsy shop! In the coming weeks, I will be putting some new organizational materials and supplies in my Etsy shop. I’m really excited to expand this element of my business; I’ll keep you posted as updates are made!
- More consistency! I’ll be here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with fresh content for you – that’s a promise. And when I can’t make that happen, I’ll let you know ahead of time!
- Better photos! Santa brought me a new camera lens, some lights and backdrops, and I’m signed up to take a Photoshop course. Photos are important in the online world, and I’m excited to make mine better!
- Design and organizational services! If you’re a local, I’m planning on launching some small-scale design and organizational services in the coming months. Hopefully this also leads to additional blog content at the client’s discretion. Details to come.
- More of me! I’m ready to share more about me, who I am, what I love, and what it’s like being a military family. If there’s anything you want to know about me, let me know!
- Another move! If you can believe it, it’s almost time to re-locate again, which means another move, another home, and a whole lot of new content.
Phew! Who’s tired? Thanks for letting me re-cap 2014 on Monday and dream about 2015 a bit today! On Friday, it’s back to the home projects with my first reveal of the year. You’re not gonna believe it when I show you, but it’s so good so I have to!
See you then!Posted In Blog Business, North Carolina