the results are in!

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 in Career

Wow guys, I have to say that the first annual BTHR reader survey was a big honkin’ success! Almost 300 of you responded and gave me some amazing feedback. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said it was easy to log in everyday and read what people dislike about me and my blog, but that’s the only way I can get better at this (and other related pursuits). And everyone almost everyone was very polite and constructive, which definitely helped. Thank you to everyone who participated!

The biggest thing I noticed, overwhelmingly, is that you all want different things from a blog. Which makes sense, because, well, you’re all different people! I’d have one response saying they hated Wordless Wednesday posts and the next one would say they want more. One saying they felt like I came off as a bit arrogant and the next saying I was too hard on myself. One saying they skimmed past anything about fitness and another saying they wanted to know more detail about my fitness routines. A handful of people would say they think I’m flaky on my fitness goals (I am, it’s something I struggle with daily) and an equal number of people saying they wish I posted more about my healthy lifestyle struggles. A ton of people said they disliked the meta-ness of blogging about blogging, but then an equal ton said they loved the Behind the Scenes posts and it helped them tremendously in their own blogging pursuits.

You all are a varied bunch! But even with all of that diversity (which I love, by the way) I was able to extrapolate a few items that I saw repeated frequently. Before I get to that, here is a picture of Puppyface and her ladybeard because lots of you said you want more photos of her.

And now, let’s look at some obnoxiously colored charts. I thought it’d be fun to share demographics of you as a group.

Alright, moving onto what I learned and what you’ll see change (and what isn’t) going forward.

Move comments link to the bottom of the post.

I don’t use my blog layout as a reader (cause, you know, I’m writing the thing), so things like this I would have never noticed. And I love making things more user-friendly for you guys. Working on getting it moved soon. I can definitely see why it being at the top would be so annoying. Sorry about that!

More posts about my flops and failures.

I got a lot of comments about how I’m obviously a perfectionist and while that’s great, that’s not all of what people are here to see. You are totally right! I love it when people show all sides of them. I did get a little too focused on having a perfectly polished blog this past year and I think it might be time to take off some of the polish and show you guys that for every one good photo I take, there are 100 that are terrible. More of that to come.

Be a better member of the blog community.

Quite a few folks called me out on not checking out commenter’s blogs, and you are all very, very right. It’s something I always mean to do, but never seem to actually enact. I don’t believe in the “you leave a comment, I leave a comment” mentality, but I know, for a fact, that I am missing out on some rockin’ blogs because of my inability to click. I love the blog world, and honestly, I just did a winter cleaning of my Google Reader (clearing out anyone who I found myself frequently skimming) and would love to fill it up with amazing new-to-me blogs. For now, I’m taking  a page from the Young House Love book of blogging and have the blog set to moderate every single comment. That means, I have to approve each and every comment before it goes up. That gives me the chance to click-through and “spend some time” with each commenter. Thanks for calling me out on this one, friends.

Stop using the cutesy names “Babyface” and “Puppyface”.

I expected a few people to note this and you all exceeded my expectations. Ha!  Sorry kids, this one ain’t gonna happen. This is what I call both of them in real life, so that’s the real me. Annoying cutesy pet names and all. In fact, typing out “Craig” and “Rory” feels so foreign and fake that I kinda never want to do it again. Hopefully the primo content will make you look past the pet name frustration. I is what I is. And sometimes, I is sickeningly immature and cutesy.

Chill out with the self-deprecating stuff.

This one was really eye-opening, because I didn’t think I was all of that self-deprecating! But apparently I am. If quite a few of you picked up on it, I have no doubt you are seeing something I am too close to see. A few people said that I need to cut myself some slack because it is obvious to everyone how hard I work. One person actually said sometimes they feel like they need to defend me to myself. Crazy! I’ll try to keep an eye out for it. A little bit of self-deprecation is a sign of humility. A whole lot is a sign of low self-confidence and that isn’t my bag. And it definitely isn’t the lifestyle I want to promote.

Bring back more lifestyle content.

This is a combination of the answers to two questions, but it seems like a lot of folks want more content about just my general life. Not necessarily lifecasting every single annoying detail of my day, but more commentary and stories about who I am outside of health, fitness, and cooking. I used to do that more frequently, but wasn’t enjoying writing that type of content. However, I do feel like there are ways I can sprinkle a bit more of “me” into BTHR and still love writing. There were a few calls to bring back the Ask Me Anything series (which I loved, but died because I ran out of reader questions, hint hint) and to talk more about my weight loss, beauty products, views on health, long-term life goals and general ramblings. Now rambling, that I can do, my friends!

More recipes, more food and more photography!

I take this as a huge compliment that so many of the responses on the survey urged me to keep working to create even more recipes and take even more photos for the blog. Thanks, guys! Honestly, right now (especially with the winter light) I am maxed out as far as number of recipes per week. I do about five and all of those are created, cooked and photographed during the weekend. But maybe someday in the future I’ll be able to do more.

Bring in more pinch hitters.

I was really amazed at all the requests for guest posts. I struggle with guest posts in my own blog reading, because it can feel very confusing, but I can definitely see how it’d be a great way to get to know new people and new blogs. I have some really awesome blog friends that I’ll be pinging for guest posts this year. I’m excited to share with you guys these people who I adore so much! Which reminds me, in case you missed it, I did a guest post over on Daily Garnish a few weeks ago. Three words: vegan caramel sauce.

Be more spontaneous.

You all know that I plan my posts in advance. I’ve found it’s the only way I can juggle blogging, having a full time job, having a freelance career and being a good wife, but I totally get the call for more spontaneity. To solve this, I’m going to have some planned spontaneity every week (holy oxymoron, Batman). There will be one or two spots each week that I’ll reserve for commentary on health current events or just general ramblings about my life and how I’m feeling.

Keep up having a life.

I found it fascinating that so many people said something like, “I like your blog because you actually have a life outside of blogging.” Ha! Of course I do. Doesn’t everyone? But I definitely understand where this is coming from. There are a lot of people where blogging is all they do. It’s hard to blog interesting content when all you do is blog all day. I promise, I’m not going to become a full-time blogger. Even though it can sometimes come across as like blogging is my world (because I do love it greatly) I promise I have a billion outside pursuits. They may be related, but the definitely aren’t solely focused on BTHR. I even have a fun little lifestyle change announcement coming up soon. Which leads me into…

Tell me your long term goals.

Lots of people said they really liked hearing about my small goal milestones (a week, a month or a year) but wanted to know what my big life plan is, too. Honestly, I have no idea! I’m still figuring it out and as soon as I know, I promise I’ll tell you. A fuzzy, vague picture is starting to form thanks to my love of food, but it hasn’t developed enough to be a solid goal. I tend to think that a lot of people go through this stage of discovery/confusion in their late 20s.

Thank you all so much for your feedback! I love writing a blog and I love that you guys care enough to give me awesome feedback. Thanks for reading. :)

P.S. I’ve contacted the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card. Thanks so much for entering, everyone!

7 Comments

  1. I forgot to take your survey but I wanted to comment and say that I absoltely love your blog. It is by far my favorite blog to read. I love the varied content and the fact that you come off honest and sincere. Also, your photos are beautiful. Keep up the good work!

  2. You make me want to poll my readers in the exact same way, only I’m neither as tech-savvy nor as good with constructive criticism. That said, I don’t think I can forever live in this delusion that everyone loves me, so I may have to start thinking a little bigger. It sounds like you got some amazing feedback on what direction to take your blog in, and I’m really excited to see how things develop!

    Also, I LOL’d at the graphic of your female-to-male readership ratio. Frankly, 2% is probably higher than I’d expect for myself!

  3. I love the fact that you’re willing to work with what some people said and then telling it like it is with the “pet names”. That doesn’t bother me and honestly, if you put “Craig” and “Rory” I’d probably end up getting the two confused! ha

  4. What a great bit of feedback for you. Honestly, none of the stuff that other people are bugged about bug me…so there ya go! I do like your ideas for adjustments, but if I didn’t like your blog I wouldn’t read it! Plus, Babyface and Puppyface are just cute and people should chill. :-) Happy New Year!

  5. I love that you’re able to take criticism as motivation, inspiration, and a challenge to do an even better job – that cannot have been easy! Here’s to looking forward to some more lifestyle content and a bottom-of-the-post comments link, hee hee.

  6. I think it was very brave of you to poll and to be able to say I need to change this and than to also say, you know what this is me in some places. I cant wait to see how you change over the next year but I like the blog for what it is, so I am sure it will only get even better!

  7. I missed your survey, but so glad you got these results. I still consider myself a new reader and you have quickly risen to one of my favorite reads. I’m a busy lady these days caring for 3 kids, 5 puppies, going to school full time at night, having a husband who travels most of the month and training for a 1/2 marathon. The number of blogs I read has dwindled to almost none. I have reserved the few moments I do have for those precious few bloggers who connect with readers via comments, FB or Twitter. It’s just something I think is important. I’m not saying you have to connect with me, but seeing you try to connect with your readers more makes me happy knowing I’m devoting my time in the right place. Happy New Year! Good Luck to us both

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