I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all those who completed the reader survey I sent out last month. I received 458 responses in total, which definitely exceeded my expectations! Since I know that only a small fraction of readers comment on posts or send email, the survey was the best way for me to understand what you like about “Recovering Shopaholic” and what you’d like to see in the future.
Of course, I will never be able to fully please everyone, but receiving input from a large number of readers will help me in shaping the future of the blog. In today’s post, I will share a summary of the survey responses, complete with some fun charts that were easily generated by the survey program.
If you didn’t get a chance to respond to the survey, feel free to share your thoughts and requests in the comments.
I first asked which post topics you most enjoy on “Recovering Shopaholic.” I wasn’t surprised to learn that the top response was Wardrobe Management. Fully 66% of respondents selected this topic as one of their top three! The second most popular topic was Behavior & Psychology (related to shopping and wardrobe), which surprised me a little bit but in a happy way. I enjoy writing about that topic, so I’m glad that many of you enjoy reading about it as well. Rounding out the top three was Project 333 & Dressing with Less. Many of us are looking to downsize our wardrobes and challenges such as Project 333 can be very beneficial in that regard. I plan to continue challenging myself to dress with less and will share more about that topic in 2015.
The chart below shows the various post topics and the percentage of readers who included them in their top three. I also received a number of comments on the post topic question. Some readers mentioned they really like my accountability posts, as well as the Bridgette Raes styling advice series. Others expressed that it was difficult to select just three favorite topics and shared the other topics they would have selected had they been able to do so. Perhaps I should have allowed for more choices, but I was really trying to see what readers’ favorites were. I likely won’t eliminate any of the blog topics in the coming year, but I will plan to touch on the most popular subjects more often.
Frequency of Posts
Next I asked about the frequency of posts on the blog. Over 70% like the current twice per week posting schedule, while 15% would like me to post three times a week with shorter post lengths. Only 7% preferred once a week posts and 6% selected “other.” For those who selected “other,” some of the suggestions were for more frequent but shorter posts or for just shorter posts in general. However, the majority of the comments recommended that I do whatever works best for me. See the chart below for a visual representation of the post frequency responses.
On Blog Comments
The third question pertained to blog comments, both the posting and the reading of them. Sadly, I didn’t word the responses to this question as well as I could have. I didn’t want to include too many possible choices, but in doing so, I inadvertently excluded the many readers who often read comments but rarely or never make comments themselves. Although the response data for this question isn’t as accurate as it could be, it still offers valuable information.
Approximately half of “Recovering Shopaholic” readers really enjoy the comment feature of the blog. Just over 20% of readers regularly read comments or comment themselves, and 28% sometimes read and/or make comments. The other half of readers aren’t all that interested in comments, with 25% indicating that they rarely comment or read comments and the remaining 25% never engaging with comments at all. The chart below encapsulates this data.
For those who might be worried, I have no intention of closing comments on the blog as other bloggers have done. But due to the sheer volume of comments, I may need to stop responding to each and every one of them as I have been doing since the beginning. I absolutely love interacting with readers and it makes me sad to contemplate scaling back on comments, but in order to create more content and new offerings (plus work more on cultivating a fuller life), I will likely need to do so. I never really expected this blog to become as popular as it has and I’m very grateful to have gained a fairly wide following. I will always do my best to respond to questions and interact with commenters, but if I can’t get to all of the comments, please know that I always read and value your thoughts.
Additional Post Formats and New Offerings
I have been contemplating various new post formats and offerings, so I asked for your input on the possibilities. Over a third of you were not interested in any new offerings, which is understandable given how busy most people are these days and how much information overload many of us are already dealing with. Of those who were interested in new options, video posts were the most popular choice, followed by a message board/forum and books/e-books. A closed Facebook group and audio posts/podcasts rounded out the top five choices for new formats and offerings. Less popular were e-courses, webinars, teleseminars, and consulting services. See the chart below for a bird’s eye view of what readers would like to see from “Recovering Shopaholic” in the future.
A handful of respondents also made additional suggestions, including worksheets (similar to those produced by The Vivienne Files), tools related to wardrobe analysis and management, collaborations with other bloggers, and more pictures and diagrammed examples. All of these suggestions are intriguing and I will definitely give them some consideration.
I have not yet decided which new post formats and/or offerings I will create in the New Year, but it was very helpful to receive your input on this topic. As 2015 gets off to a start, I will share more about my future plans for the blog, but I’m sure that I’ll also make things up as I go along like I have done thus far. I would like to assure those who might be concerned, however, that I will continue to post written content on the blog even if I also opt to include video or audio on occasion. Writing is my primary love and preferred communication medium, so I expect the majority of my content to remain in the written form (with some included photos, too, of course).
New Post Topics
I also requested input on potential new topics that I might want to write about. Many of the topics I mentioned were things I had written about on previous blogs (“Recovering Shopaholic” is actually my fourth blog! You can read some of my previous articles HERE if you’re interested) and which still hold my interest. My intention with asking this fifth question was to see what types of things you might want to read about occasionally, not as a new focus for the blog. I fully intend to keep the focus of the blog as it has been – on shopping, wardrobe management, and personal style – with perhaps periodic diversions onto other subjects.
Of the alternate topics I mentioned, Simplicity/Minimalism was by far the most popular, with Organization not too far behind. Also popular were Life Balance, Time Management/Productivity, Self-Esteem, Goal-Setting and Achievement, and Body Image. I have touched upon many of these subjects in previous blog posts, as they relate strongly to wardrobe management and cultivating a fuller life (my “Full Life Project,” which will be a greater focus in 2015). The chart below shows the popularity of the various topics I may choose to write on occasion next year:
Additional topic suggestions from readers include friendship, hobbies, de-cluttering household items, making a life, finance, capsule wardrobes, and dressing for various body shapes, coloring, personality styles, and activities. These are all great ideas (and there were more, too) and I believe that I will write about at least some of them in the coming months.
Written Reader Feedback
In addition to the five multiple choice questions that were included in the survey, there was also a space for written feedback at the end for those who wanted to give it. Approximately one-third of respondents had some things they wanted to say. Much of this input was praise for me and my blog, which was greatly appreciated. Many of these people indicated that they never comment on the blog but wanted me to know that my writings have been helpful in their lives.
I was also given a lot of kudos for the honesty and the openness of my posts. Many of you stated that my honesty is a breath of fresh air and is in contrast to many other bloggers out there today. You appreciate that my posts come from a place of sharing my journey rather than merely being prescriptive and advice-driven. It seems that many of you are tired of bloggers holding themselves up as experts and people who have everything together in their lives. I feel the same way, which is a big part of why I write the way I do. In addition, it is much easier for me to just be myself here on the blog, even if it is sometimes scary to be so vulnerable in what I write. It is my hope that one day I will be able to be as open and honest in my “real life” as I am with all of you. Sometimes if we act as if, we will become that which we seek to be!
I feel very fortunate that most of the comments I received on the survey were positive and encouraging (the same has been true for the blog in general). There was some constructive criticism, but it was generally given in a respectful manner. I also received some interesting suggestions for future post topics. There are too many to list here, but here’s a small sampling of the wonderful ideas that you gave me:
- Share some of my outfit journal entries with pictures and thoughts
- Have some guest posts from people who are dressing for alternative climates (like cold weather) and life situations (if you’d like to be one of these guest posters, please let me know!)
- How being a more thoughtful shopper has or has not impacted other areas of my life
- How I coordinate my outfits and get different outfits from a few pieces
- 10 things to do instead of shop (replacing shopping with other activities)
- Try some life experiments and write about them (e.g. saying yes to every invite, taking one new class each week for a month)
- Finding a wardrobe suitable to one’s life without spending too much money or over-consuming
- Adult friendships
- How to shape one’s life toward happiness
- Dealing with loneliness, how technology contributes to loneliness
- Relate alternate topics back to why we shop too much and accumulate more than we need
- Dealing with the buy/return cycle
- Perfectionism, especially related to cultivating the perfect wardrobe and obsessing about our clothes
You gave me some excellent food for thought and I look forward to sitting down and writing about many of the topics above.
I originally thought I would end my post on the survey results with a list of plans for how I will be moving forward with the blog. However, I am still in a place of contemplation, with both the blog and my life at large. I definitely plan to continue the blog, but I am not sure yet how I will incorporate all of your excellent feedback.
For now, I just want to express my sincere gratitude to you. For those who took the time to respond to the survey and for all those who faithfully read my blog, I am grateful. I feel very lucky and blessed to have this platform and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. I take this responsibility seriously and always do my best to produce content that will be interesting, meaningful, and helpful. That is what I intend to continue doing in 2015, so stay tuned!
This is not my last post of the year, however. I will be back with my best and worst purchases of the year, as well as my December useful links post (and maybe more). For now, I leave you for a few timely links that you might want to check out in the coming days:
- “Our MORE Simple Big Christmas” – Andie of “Everyday Small Stuff” finds some sneaky ways to make her family’s traditional big Christmas a little simpler. You may also want to check out her post on conquering “kid clutter.”
- My blogger friend Robert Wall (who wrote this guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic” and whose birthday is today!) wrote a very helpful e-book called “Escaping GiftMas: Getting Right-Side-Up About Gifts in an Upside-Down Holiday Culture.”
- “The #1 Reason to Not Give Gifts” – Also from Robert Wall (on his brand new blog), who gives some advice for meaningful gifts that won’t lead others to feel obligated to reciprocate.
- “Your Year in Review: 50 Questions to Help You Reflect, Appreciate and Get Excited for 2015” – I’m sharing this post from “Into Mind” now to allow for lots of time to answer the many thought-provoking questions!
I don’t know how you managed to make a post about survey results interesting, but you did! Kudos to you for taking the time to reflect over the holidays before committing to any new changes. I love some of these ideas and can’t wait to see what you come up with for the new year. Happy Holidays to all!
Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad I managed to make what could be a boring post interesting, as that was the goal 🙂 Best holiday wishes to you, too!
I’m just so excited you got so many responses and have such a following! I think social media type venues should be used as a positive outlet, to build people up instead of trying to knock them down. Your blog and community does just that! I appreciate that you respond to comments, but understand if it gets to be too much. It’s great to have this community and resource, and to know that others have the same struggles. I for one am glad to be a reader and look forward to a whole new year with you, whatever direction you take
I was surprised to get so many responses, too, Paula, but delighted! I agree that this is a very positive community and I’m grateful for that. I’m not going to stop responding to comments, but I will probably need to stop responding to ALL of them. It’s kind of a high-class problem because I got VERY few comments on my first three blogs. The fact that I have trouble responding to all of the comments shows that readers have a lot to say, which is a positive thing. I love that you all respond to each other and I know that will continue to happen. I look forward to the new year, too. Best wishes to you for the holidays and beyond!
Those were some great suggestions for new blog posts! I can’t wait to see what you do with all of this information.
Yes, I loved the suggestions I received, Tonya. What I wrote was just a sampling. I actually have a 2-sided sheet of paper (yes, I still use pen and paper – LOL) with ideas. I probably won’t be able to use them all, but I know I will use quite a few of them. It will be fun to explore some new or alternate topics.
Looks like the vast majority of readers want more the same – congratulations on getting it so right. Although it is interesting to read your responses to all the comments it must be so time and energy consuming to write them, leaving less time to develop the rest of your life, so a good move to reduce them. Maybe you could just do a summary response to the comments when you post your next post.
Yes, I was very happy to see that most people want more of the same, Lynn, but I was also grateful to get some good suggestions. What you wrote about the comments was right on. I have been torn about this issue for a long time, as I do love interacting with readers. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, though. I just have to find a way for moderation there, just like with everything else in life. Moderation is challenging for me, but it’s an opportunity for growth, which I welcome.
I thought the survey was a great idea. I can’t believe how hands on you are with your responses to all the comments. Kudos to you. You know I personally am rooting for a group of some form where we can all share our ideas together.
Keep up the good work! 😀
Thanks, Mo. I think I’ll be able to figure something out for sharing ideas in a more private place. There are pros and cons to the various options, so it will likely be somewhat of a compromise, but hopefully whatever solution I come up with will work well for those who are interested. I love that people have so much to say on these topics!
I think you should do some posts on other fashion items we splurge on besides clothing. What about people who are junkies for buying beauty products and makeup? I may have whittled down my closet, but I still haven’t met a new eyeshadow palette or nail polish color that didn’t tempt me with its opportunities to reinvent myself! And what about accessory junkies? I used to have a gazillion purses and pairs of shoes–and I bet I’m not alone in this. Now I limit myself to having 3 bags per season: a black, a brown tone, and a fashion color. Just an idea for some different approaches to the basic problem of shopaholicism.
Great ideas, Deby! I have touched on some of these things before, especially jewelry, but I know there is a lot more to say. I have definitely struggled with overbuying things besides clothing, including shoes, jewelry, purses, make-up, skin products, and hair products. So I have things to say about those issues, too, even though my main problem as of late has been clothing. I will plan some posts on other types of overshopping for the New Year. Thanks for your input and happy holidays!
Debbie, thank you for the wealth of posts you have offered up over the past few years. I began reading this blog early on in January 2013, but back then I was a lurker, and it took me a while to open up and begin commenting on a regular basis. Your honest and sincere writing draws me in, and leaves me feeling like we just sat down and had a heartfelt chat. I responded to your survey, but in truth I want you to know that I will happily continue reading no matter what topics you write on because I always find something valuable in everything you write. When you began this blog you took a leap of faith by following your heart, by writing what you felt called to write, and we readers lined up. While I greatly admire the fact that you care enough to discover what readers might be interested in reading, I admire even more your ability to write what you need to write, and in the process we are all changed, moved, helped and enriched. In the spirit of my tradition of keeping all things simple and doing less in the December holiday season, instead of responding to this comment, please give time to yourself, take extra time doing what you love to do knowing that I’m a happy reader.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Terra! I had no idea you started reading the blog way back in the very beginning. I’m happy you stopped lurking, as you have contributed so much to our discussions here. I’m glad you are a happy reader and that I have many others, too. I loved getting all of the feedback, as it will help to shape my posts. But as a fellow writer, you know that we have to follow our own muse to a large degree. I will definitely continue to write what I need to write and hope that it will continue to touch and inspire you and others.