A few weeks ago I started an anonymous survey to gather feedback on Wardrobe Oxygen. This data helps me understand what you, the dedicated readers of Wardrobe Oxygen like, dislike, and desire from this site. I do a survey like this almost every year and the responses really help me understand you and better tailor the content to your needs and interests. I always love it when blogs do surveys like this and share the results; it's cool to see who else reads the same blogs I do and how their interests are in alignment or different from my own. I will keep the survey open for additional responses; it's not too late to give me a piece of your mind! Without further ado, the questions and responses fro the 2018 Wardrobe Oxygen Reader Survey!
What Is Your Age?
I am 43, and in general write envisioning my audience is in the age range of 10 years younger to 10 years older. I used to write far more age-general content. However, as I have aged, I've found that I find age-specific content more beneficial to my fashion, beauty, and lifestyle needs. What worked for me at 25 rarely works at 40, and what works at 40 won't necessarily work for someone who is 65. I may miss out on some possible readers, but I feel more authentic with my content.
Come to find out I'm pretty on the mark. 34.13% of you are 35-44, and 26.93% of you are 45-54, encompassing the largest percentage of readers. While there's still a good amount of you who are older and younger, many of you who are in those age ranges commented to say the age difference and age-specific content doesn't bother you. Once I hit 40 I made a focus on over-40 fashion and beauty to differentiate myself from younger bloggers. I didn't want to be compared to a 22-year-old, feeling my content would resonate better with someone who was older. A lot of posts have had Over 40 in the titles for SEO (search engine optimization) so when folks are looking for over-40 content they'll find Wardrobe Oxygen. Also topics like what to wear to a wedding and what serum to use on your face is different for someone 22 or 32 versus someone 42 or 52. More than one of you complained about that term in the title and I understand and appreciate that feedback. I won't be using that term in the title any more, though you may find it in the description, the URL, and the first paragraph to help those who find Wardrobe Oxygen know what they're going to get.
Where Do You Live?
Google Analytics can provide information on visitor demographics, but what I really care about is those who care enough about Wardrobe Oxygen to take the time to fill out a survey. I get plenty of comments and emails saying my content is to US-specific so I wanted to see if I was missing the mark.
International readers, I will continue to find brands that cater to you as well as the US, but based off this survey 85.29% of respondents live in the United States, with 5.88% in Canada, 2% in Australia, less than 1% in the UK and the same number in Germany. All other responses were 3 or fewer individuals.
How Long Have You Been Reading Wardrobe Oxygen?
I've been blogging for 13 years and this blog has gone through a lot of changes. Different names, merging of content, columnists, me having a baby, me changing jobs and then quitting my day job, and many changes to my personal style. I too am a blog reader and know sometimes these changes turn me off from a blog, but with some blogs I don't care because the content transcends such changes.
Well almost 65% of you have been reading for 3-7 years with a little over 16% reading 1-2 years and a little over 13% reading for over 8 years (dang!!! and THANK YOU!!!). For the 6% who are new here, WELCOME! Don't be a stranger, make your voice heard, I want to continue to provide great content for those who have been with me for the long haul, but also those who are new to Wardrobe Oxygen!
How Do You Read Wardrobe Oxygen?
Again, Google Analytics can provide some of this data, but I want to know what method is bringing you, the readers who actually care, to the blog. 50% of you said directly through the blog and after making this question I realize how confusing of a question it is and how this number may be a bit skewed. A lot of you commented you have it bookmarked which was what I meant, and I will be sure to rephrase this for next year's survey! Over 36% of you still use an RSS tool (email, Feedly, the Old Reader, Bloglovin', etc.), almost 26% of you find my new content via Facebook, 23.14% by email subscription, and an unexpected popular fill in the blank answer was Instagram. I say that because I stopped Instagram Stories prompting new blog posts because analytics didn't show you all liked them (you swiped past them and didn't swipe to read) and Instagram isn't one of the top traffic producers for the blog. I'd love to hear in the comments if you use Instagram to know about new blog content, what method do you like. Photos and posts letting you know about a new post? Instagram Stories where you can swipe up to read? Or the latest URL in the bio? Or is there another method I'm not thinking of?
How Often Do You Read Wardrobe Oxygen?
Over 59% of you read Wardrobe Oxygen daily. My traffic is pretty consistent on days I post so I assumed that, but it's good to get confirmation. 33.24% of you read weekly, and many commented that you only read one day a week, or abstain from blogs during the week and catch up on weekends.
Where Did You Learn About or Find Wardrobe Oxygen?
Analytics can only tell you so much, so might as well ask this directly. Who is sending you to me? Who told you about Wardrobe Oxygen? While many of you don't recall, these were the most popular answers:
- Already Pretty
- The Vivienne Files
- cabi (their social media, your Stylist, Facebook groups dedicated to the brand)
- Google search for capsule wardrobes
- My blog post on what to wear to a protest march
- Facebook (an ad, a share by someone or a group you follow, etc.)
- From a friend
What Are Your Favorite Topics on Wardrobe Oxygen?
I know what does the best for traffic, and I can see which posts garner the most comments but that isn't necessarily a true indication of what you all like. With commenting down across the whole blogosphere, I find there's an uptick when my content is either controversial (political, etiquette and dress codes) or more of a discussion (fitness, beauty routines). This question is one of the most important aspects of this reader survey to be sure I am on track and to find ways to improve my content for the year.
By far, outfit posts are the most popular with 74.26%. I figured that, but it's good to get confirmation. Second favorite is capsule wardrobes at 62.73%. Some of you commented that capsule wardrobes are played out and I was worrying about the same. However, I like to believe my capsules are less 30 pieces/a whole season of clothes and more specific to help you start thinking about what you own in a different way. It seems you feel the same way which is cool because I think making these capsules is fun. Third favorite is Ask Allie at over 53%, which is interesting because I've seen a major drop in both comments and clicks on links in this kind of post. Just proof that the analytics I have available don't tell the whole story. I've received comments and feedback on forums and message boards that they don't like my travel posts and don't like my beauty posts as I am not a beauty expert. However, 35.12% of you like travel and 44.50% of you like beauty. Proof that you can't just listen to the loud voices, you need to find ways to hear from all parties.
The fill in the blank was very active on this category, and my “hits and misses” posts were mentioned so often they tied for 4th with travel! Also many mentions about health, fitness, and overall wellness so I will continue to share that from time to time. But just as you voted, the focus will be on fashion – my personal style, capsule wardrobes, and answering style questions!
What are your Least Favorite Topics on Wardrobe Oxygen?
Okay, I mainly asked this question to get a good gauge about politics. Any time I mention a social cause or politics I get comments and emails from people who are angry or disappointed. Many say they will stop reading my blog, but my traffic doesn't change. A lot of those comments from people who have never before commented on my blog, so I don't know if they are one-off people, or long-time readers who truly care and finally came out of lurkdom to share their thoughts.
Over 500 people chose to answer this optional question and 13% chose social causes as their least favorite topic. This question was answered less than any other. Over 50 of you used the comment field for this question to encourage me to continue speaking about politics and social causes. While this will not become a political blog, I will not stop sharing at the same level in which I currently post. I read blogs by people who have very different beliefs and lifestyles from me. It's a reason I love blogging, you get a peek into how others think and live and it helps you understand the world better. I don't expect or even want all of you to think exactly like me, but I do desire all of you to think, to question, to care, and to continue to grow. By exposing yourself to that which is different is the best way to achieve it.
As for the rest of the categories, it's what I expected. Concerts and events are least favorite at 33.01%. I have pretty much stopped sharing those except in my weekend reads or on social media. Second least favorite is blogging behind the scenes (30.13%), but many of you commented that it's not that you hate it, it just isn't interesting to you but you don't mind just scrolling past. Third was beauty at 22.12%, and many of you let me know you don't wear makeup, you only wear natural skincare products, or have very specific skincare needs so these posts aren't relevant. Many of you admitted you clicked on a topic but don't have strong negative feelings about any of them.
How Do You Feel About Sponsored Posts?
This blog is now my full-time job. I was scared to make the leap because I DESPISE blogs that are one big shill. Five ways to reduce stress in the morning, sponsored by a deodorant. The best jeans for a curvy figure, sponsored by a denim brand. I am obsessed with this skincare… that paid for this post and next week I will be obsessed with another skincare that pays for a post. As a blogger, I see so many of my peers who do not let readers know a post is sponsored. I know because I was offered that gig, or I see the trackers on those links. Sponsored posts are often misleading, often unethical, and the last thing I want to do is turn off those of you who have read and supported Wardrobe Oxygen over the years. But sponsored posts are a necessity when you're a professional blogger to be able to focus on content and not have to create side hustles. I've been trying to improve the quality of my content so I can get more money for each sponsored post. By doing this I can reduce the number of sponsored posts, be more selective with the brands I partner with, and have more say with the content and editorial direction. Sometimes I miss the mark, but always I am learning and looking for ways to improve.
Whew. Almost 90% of you said my sponsored posts don't bother you. Many of you used the comments to share your thoughts in more detail and the biggest issue you found was having more than one in a row. And I AGREE. I freaking HATE doing this. Problem is, I don't have say over the posting date. Often, I get two or even three really great opportunities and all of them want them posted on the same exact day. So I have to negotiate different dates, and it's usually them agreeing to the day before or the day after. I try not to have any the week after to balance it out. I wish I had more control over this, but think about your jobs. Clients and departments need everything in place before the end of the fiscal year, the end of the semester, before Memorial Day, the end of the quarter. Same goes for blogging but our due dates are the day of a product or campaign launch, before a shopping holiday, or before the end of a sale or promotion.
My 2018 goal was no more than 4 per month as an average, knowing some months may be more (hello December) and others less. I've shared 12 sponsored posts since the beginning of the year, and with four and a half months complete I'm staying on goal. While I share [Sponsored] in the title of any blog where I was paid to share it, I've now tagged all the posts with ‘Sponsored' and will continue to do so to make it easy to find them.
Some of you commented that the content of the sponsored post bothers you more than it being sponsored. For 2018 I have made the decision to not accept sponsored posts on the blog for food, alcohol, gambling or games, or any item I wouldn't normally write about (there may still be food-related posts on social media). With skincare, I will not do a sponsored post unless I am able to use it for at least six weeks before writing the copy. Like I did with my recent skincare post, I will periodically recap my beauty routine so you can see which of the sponsored beauty products are still be used after the post.
What Social Media Do You Use?
Where Do You Follow Wardrobe Oxygen?
LOLOLOLOL to those who say Facebook is dead. Over 78% of you use the platform. What surprised me was in second place was Instagram with 66.39% of you using the channel. My Instagram following is very low in comparison to my blog traffic and Facebook audience, but I guess I should have connected the two as I gained over 3K in 2017.
As for where you follow me, over 70% of you follow me on Instagram and almost 64% on Facebook. I was chatting with a consulting company I use to help me with WordPress and other behind the scenes admin stuff for my blog. They said my following on Instagram is quite low but my engagement is incredibly high, one of the highest they've seen. And I have you all to thank. I used to get all upset that I had a small following on Instagram (FYI, many brands and PR companies refuse to work with those who don't have X number of Instagram followers and I've found such snobbery even with fellow bloggers who won't associate with those with a smaller following). But I decided to stop focusing on that, and focus on quality. Quality, not quantity when it comes to your wardrobe, your social schedule, and your social media. It always is the smart choice. Your engagement, your DMs and comments are what makes blogging and social media so much fun and it's cool to get to know you all better through these platforms!
Do You Regularly Watch YouTube or Videos?
I ask this every year because the same people who tell me that Facebook is dead say I NEED to get on YouTube. I need to make videos, and regularly. I see bloggers I love do it and they are gaining followers not only on YouTube but other channels. And I know if I did it I'd likely experience the same. But the more time I put into videos the less time I have for blog content. And the blog is my baby. It's what I love myself as a blog reader, the best place I've found to engage with all of you, and the medium I enjoy creating most. I've never been one to post a few photos, write a paragraph, and call it a day. I love to write, I love to do the research, I love to craft the post. Each blog post takes me 4-12 hours to complete. So when I see that over 39% of you chose Rarely for this question and many of you left comments saying you use YouTube for various aspects of life but not for what you get from blogs I don't feel bad that I've not gotten into video. Never say never, I may do it in the future but if I do there will be someone else editing those videos so I can continue to put my focus on blog content and the written word.
Do You Read My Newsletter?
Those people who say Facebook is dead and YouTube is king also say you MUST GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST. And brands have started asking me how large my list is. Thing is, I don't see any return on my newsletter. I had my newsletter in one email platform (MailChimp) and my list got so big it was costing me a ton of money each month. So I switched to ConvertKit but even that started getting pricey. I was spending the time I could be using on two blog posts to write the newsletter so I decided to hire a virtual assistant (VA) to help. I'd email her content in bits, unformatted and she'd make it pretty and send it out. But each newsletter that went out, a dozen people would unsubscribe, only half would even read it, and from that half, only about 5% of you clicked on links. I just didn't see what the value was. So a month ago I let my VA go (if you need a VA let me know, she was amazing!), and stopped the newsletter, replacing it with a blog post on Saturday. I'm saving money, making more money from affiliate links, increased site traffic, and have less stress.
After the results from this survey, I decided to export my email list, find the cheapest way to send the RSS email of my blog posts, and cancel my current newsletter program. While a lot of you stated you love it and look forward to it, an equal amount said you don't and many in the comments shared they like the weekend reads as much or better. I may do a newsletter again in the future, but I just don't think it's the best investment of my money or time right now.
What Other Blogs Do You Read?
I always find this question fascinating. It helps me understand you readers better, and I love it when your favorites are also my favorites. The top 11 blogs read by you folks (there was a tie) are, in alphabetical order:
- Already Pretty
- Girls of a Certain Age (a tie with Girl with Curves)
- Girl With Curves
- Looks Good From the Back
- Putting Me Together
- Style at a Certain Age
- The Vivienne Files
- Une Femme d'un Certain Age
- The Work Edit (FKA Capitol Hill Style)
This is not surprising. Seven of the 11 listed here were on my 2015 reader survey and these blogs all are about topics not drastically different from what is Wardrobe Oxygen. On top of that, I too am a fan and regular reader of most of these blogs! I'm honored to be in such great company.
What Websites Do You Visit?
This was SUCH an interesting mix! And so incredibly varied that it was hard to narrow it down. There were a lot of ties, so below are the top 21 answers in alphabetical order:
- A Cup of Jo (was also a runner up as a top blog)
- Allure (both magazine and website, though the magazine is more popular)
- Apartment Therapy
- Call Your Girlfriend Podcast
- Design Sponge
- Forever 35 Podcast
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin Podcast
- HGTV (website, magazine, and TV channel)
- NYMag and New York Magazine
- The New York Times
- The New Yorker
- NPR (this encompasses radio, website, and many who just entered “NPR podcasts”)
- O Magazine and Oprah.com
- Pop Fashion Podcast
- Real Simple
- This American Life Radio Show and Podcast
No surprise, we all have a lot in common! I read and listen to many of the same things as you! A lot of the one-off responses were of media I never heard of before and many look intriguing. I think this would make for a great discussion in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook where we can all delve deeper into this subject and share one another's faves!
What Do You Wish Was on Wardrobe Oxygen?
This question pretty much said you all wish there was more variety in the blogosphere and hoping Wardrobe Oxygen can provide it You want to see tall women over 40, tall women over a size 10, petite plus sized women, more focus on supportive shoes, narrow shoes, wide shoes, more focus on casual wear, conservative work fashion, business casual fashion, older women looking stylish, postpartum fashion, budget-friendly retailers, a mix of designer and mall brands, cheaper bags, more investment pieces like bags, and the look for less. You want to see more plus sized fashion, and also less plus sized fashion. I've learned I can't be everything to everyone, but I'll address recurring themes in your suggestions:
- Plus sized fashion on a plus sized woman: I know it's frustrating to not see women in larger sizes modeling fashion. I cannot believe it's 2018 and many online retailers feature their plus sized clothing on a size 12, or don't even show a picture and just offer the straight sized model's photo. This year I hope to incorporate some shoots with a plus sized woman who has a different shape so you can see the look on a variety of shapes.
- Blogroll/Suggested Reads: I'm going to bring back my blogroll once I can figure out a way to maintain it and have it easy to read. I will also be using my Weekend Reads posts as a time to feature blogs, websites, and podcasts I enjoy.
- Mention When an Item Comes in Petite and/or Tall: Last year I incorporated plus size options for items I am wearing. This year, I'll add that when an item linked comes in lengths, I will mention it. Thanks for this brilliant suggestion!
- Better Searching: My site can use some improvements in aesthetics and functionality. I will work on this in 2018, making searching for content far easier.
- Cusp-sized Fashion: You are in luck! I am in that weird phase now so you will be seeing more about when you're not quite straight sized and not quite plus.
- Reader Stories/Other Models/Beauty on a Range of Ages and Skintones: I had an idea for 2018 where once a month I'd feature a reader – her style, maybe an outfit she loves, a peek into her personal style, where she shops, etc. I made a form, I requested submissions, I got 3. If you want to submit yours, you can use this link but there's no way I can even start this until I have several submissions under my belt. You also inspired me to do something similar with beauty and skincare so stay tuned. You all have fantastic ideas and I can't wait to incorporate them.
I just want to thank all of you who took the time to provide such amazing feedback. Every single comment I read, and value all, whether you were the only one who stated it or it was a popular opinion. Wardrobe Oxygen is nothing without you. The reason I love to blog and have continued to do so for almost 13 years is because of you, the women (and some men) who read this blog, engage, and make this a true community. I am honored you read here and continue to do so. I will continue to strive to make Wardrobe Oxygen the best it can be for you!