Reader Survey Feedback: What We’re Changing & What We’re Not (& Why)
Oh boy do I love honest feedback and many of you gave it during the reader survey earlier this month and subsequent comments. I know that all of you didn’t fill it out but there were enough consistencies for us to think/know what you love and what you don’t. You’d think that the numbers tell us (and they do to an extent) but running a blog versus say, owning a store, means that engagement (and perceived value) is equally as important as traffic.
While there will always be a little bit of a sense of “we write what we want to read” (mostly because that’s more fun, and the more fun we have creating posts, the better things usually turn out), we do care so much what you think, what you want, what you love, what you hate…and for anyone who isn’t sure if we listen to feedback, WE PROMISE WE DO. We hear you. When you beg and plead in the comments for us to stop making all the graphics flash, we have a conversation about it and make that call. Simple as that.
We weren’t originally going to dive into the reader survey and parse out our findings with you guys, but someone actually asked recently if we ever shared the results (we hadn’t, obviously) and I thought…yeah, that would be a good idea to talk through what you guys said, what we’re going to change, what you want us to change but maybe we’re just not totally able to yet. Some things were kind of surprising and some things were like “yup, we get it, we feel that too.” This stuff is fascinating.
What We Learned:
This whole category could have been LOOOOONG (I mean, THOUSANDS of you responded and had such useful feedback), but there were some things specifically that made us all go “oh! interesting….reallly?!? interesting” like…
58% of surveyed readers had children, which for me was NOT a surprise, but for my team gave a group gasp. So, we have a follow up to this…do you guys want to see more family-friendly design, or posts related to decorating for children (what ages??). Nursery design? Where do you fall on that?
Since we’re on percentages, 86% of you were open to hearing from a good mix of writers on the site, which is great, because so many at EHD want to talk to you guys. You’re probably already pretty used to hearing from Arlyn and Jess at this point (and were definitely welcoming to Brady and Orlando when they were around), but there are a few others who might pop in to say hello, talk about things that they have a point of view on, show us their homes, etc. We are creating a TEAM page as we speak and I’m excited to introduce you to the entire team, as they are a talented group of people with diverse backgrounds and styles.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that the two most popular posts types were anything about my house and any reveal, but was a little shocked to see that our Budget Room series was the third most liked thing we do on the blog. Question though, did you know we meant the official Budget Room series, or did you mean budget rooms in a generic sense…like more budget content? Either way, consider it done.
The whole topic of Portland and why you guys didn’t seem that interested in general has some clarity now…our pacing was off and the whole thing just took too long. We were blogging as it was happening (and then not blogging everything because the process was a little tricky with being down in LA), and I know we kept giving sneak peeks on the blog and on social, so…I do get it now. Listen, if we could go back, we probably would have done it differently. And actually, if I could go back, there’s no way I would have done both that and mountain house at the same time (both for my sanity and for the blog). Maybe I would have held onto all the posts (process, renovation-heavy, reveals) and then done like…Portland Project month. I’m not sure, but listen, we still have some reveals left to roll out and then you’ll never have to hear about it again.
Which leads to…
You guys want faster, quicker “micro” projects and reveals. (ME TOO). Not surprising, really, but I wanted to bring it up because I want to hear more about this from you. Are you talking like super small things like….refreshing a corner in my living room, picking and putting up curtains, restyling a bookcase, or just rooms in a variety of projects kind of like we used to do when the design side of the business was open? PLEASE TELL ME MORE.
Also, it’s been so hard not to say the word “content” so far because you guys HATE IT. It’s one I do understand a bit…it kind of cheapens the whole editorial process and makes it feel scientific. In the days of print, “content” used to be feature articles, pictorials, columns…but now it’s just a word that means creating something for instant consumption and basically just for that. It feels like things are done “just for content” and that feels gross to you (us, too). I think we all need to refamiliarize ourselves with what “content” means, but also get that it’s just a word for video, articles, Instagram stories….but again, I’d love to hear more from you on this.
And finally, you guys want shorter posts with less fluff (unless it calls for it) and only want one a day. We considered going to multiple posts a day but I’ve held off because I wanted to make sure it felt right and was GOOD, not just a page view grab. For now, we’ve gone up to publishing seven days a week (have you noticed??) and yes, the thought is still there to do maybe two posts a day, but we’re not there yet. So it’s good to know you all are happy happy with the one article a day.
Blog Post Suggestions:
We don’t want to totally spill the beans on all the new things we’re cooking up (mostly because we don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver…another feedback point you guys brought up and is probably my trait that frustrates myself the most in the world), but as soon as we polish some concepts and new column ideas up, we’ll start rolling them out. BUT, because we can’t help but do a little tease, there are some story ideas you collectively seem to be on board with us bringing back to life or just starting fresh, including…
What I Pinned For _____ Inspiration: We did this post last year for the mountain house and you guys seemed so pumped about it (both when we actually posted it, but also tons of you brought it up in blog suggestions, so we’re listening). Plus, they’re so much fun to put together and talk about, frankly…the design team and I Pin like mad women all the time for just about every facet of decorating, so we have SO MUCH TO SAY and show you.
Why ____ Didn’t Work: We’re pretty comfortable with walking through the “whys” for just about everything around here, but tend to lean heavily on talking about what did work and what we ended up choosing, and tons of you talked about wanted to also see the flip of this. What 10 rugs did we consider for a room and why we didn’t choose them, etc. This is less about the renovation process (which don’t worry, we’re not doing away with it even though it feels more specific and we get that that information is probably less useful for a greater amount of you at any given time, just doing a little less this year) and more the thought behind how and why we end up with a certain design at the end of the day.
More quick makeovers, smaller projects, fast reveals: If there was one GIANT takeaway from the reader survey, it was that you guys thought Portland dragged on and on and on…we get it. It did for us, too. Ha. We have several EHDers Makeover Takeovers planned for the first few months of the year (Velinda’s teeny tiny basement kitchen in her rental unit, Jess’s living room and kitchen, Arlyn’s living room and dining room, Emily Bowser’s master bedroom, Sara’s parents’ living room…see…so much fun stuff). Plus, we’re going to be creating so much fun, short, how-to type pieces for social as well so you don’t feel like you’re getting the same stuff on every platform. Please let us know what you’d want me to cover (how to hang a gallery wall? How to “level up” cheap store-bought curtains? Let me know).
Design Mistakes: Here’s a series we all love but just kind of stopped doing because other things took priority last year with blogging about Portland and Mountain, but IT’S BACK. Feel free to request specific topics in the comments so we know what you want to read about.
Craigslist Finds: Oh man are we excited about this one. Remember those Trolling Craiglist posts from like 3-4 years ago? Yup…we’re resurrecting this. Shout out in the comments what cities you want us to make sure to hit!
Videos and ads: Okay, this is the trickiest one of all because it actually affects my bottom line, but that’s not to say that your complaints about all the flashing ads that won’t go away and the autoplay video that pops in and out aren’t heard. When you guys say things like “I used to come here all the time, but now it’s a chore because of all the flashing and annoying ads and I can’t see anything ever,” that REALLY bums me out, but I also have, you know…a staff to support. So, while I can definitely say more on this subject, in an effort to NOT open the door super wide inside our kitchen where we’re making editorial sausage (per your request), it’s a necessary evil without charging subscriptions but I promise I’m looking into ways to make this all less painful for you without taking a huge financial plunge. Honestly, I waffle every day …
Portfolio: It was funny that so many of you were like “we wish there was a place we could go and see all the photos of all your projects” because it’s exactly what we’re rolling out next (this month, actually). We’ve always had a portfolio section (that I had our tech team take down recently because it just wasn’t working and hasn’t been updated in forever and I was kind of embarrassed by it, but even that is different than what we’re doing. If you want to go to one spot to see all the posts from my old Glendale home, the Griffith Park project or Portland, now you’ll be able to. So hang tight, it’s coming, folks.
SO, if you missed our reader survey, it’s not too late (it’s never too late). We will always want to know what you want, what you don’t want and your feedback. We read EVERY comment on every post (even if we don’t reply to all of them) and listen, so…if you have something to add (or want to expand more even if you already took the survey), spill the beans. We’re listening. Xx