Blog Talk

THE STATE OF THE BLOG

centsational girl, young house love, apartment therapy, design sponge

A few weeks ago, we asked you guys to answer a few questions for us in our very first Reader Survey (if you missed it, check it out here). Seeing as how it was the first time we’d ever done something like that, we weren’t sure how it would go. So we were over the moon when the responses started coming in. Thank you very much, for taking the time to answer our questions and giving us better insight on what you like and what you want more of. Knowing you guys on a more personal level makes blogging even more fun for us, and we hope it’s going to translate into a more enjoyable blog-reading experience for you!

Today, we want to share with you our findings as well as a few changes that are on the way (good ones, we promise!). We like to call this post our “State of the Blog Address” (and thanks to the White House for lending out their State of the Union logo). Let’s start off with our questions and what you had to say…

Question No. 1: Tell us a little about yourself. We asked this question because we wanted to get a general idea of who’s reading. Makes sense, right? We track our numbers using Google Analytics – which gives us insight on how many people come by each day, how long they stay, which city they’re from, and a bunch of other, more technical things. But none of that tells us who you are. Thanks to your oh-so-lovely cooperation, we now have a better understanding of who’s reading. A lot of you are just like us: 20-something-year-old new (or new-ish) homeowners. But the average is by no means the rule! Ages range from 19 to 61. You’re renters, you’re homeowners, and we’ve even got a dorm resident that responded to the questionnaire! (Ah, dorm life was so fun!) You’re from here in Virginia, and you’re on other side of the planet in Australia and everywhere in between. One thing’s for sure, we’re all interested in sprucing up our places (or future places) we live. In a way, it kind of feels like one big happy family, doesn’t it?

7th house on the left

Question No. 2: What would you like to see more of on 7th House? The most common response was, “More of the same.” I guess that means we’re doing something right, right? That makes us feel great! Our aim is to bring you great, relevant content in a very personal, conversational way. A lot of you mentioned wanting to know more about us as people, and we’re really going to work toward making that happen. We’re really grateful that you want to be involved in our lives, and that you were willing to share part of yours in this survey. It only makes sense to continue to develop this budding friendship! : )

Question No. 3: How did you find us? We added this question at the last minute and we’re so glad we did! Most of you said you found us through other blogs (mainly Young House Love) and a mention about our hall bathroom renovation over on Apartment Therapy. Thanks to this question, we even found out about a magazine mention! The majority of the rest of you guys found us via a Google search. Regardless of how you guys found us, we must say, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside that you guys decided to stick around!

7th house on the left

Question No. 4: Out of our regular features, which one(s) do you enjoy the most (or least)? His + Her Favorite things took the cake on this one! We’re really happy to know you all love this feature as much as we love putting it together every month. I originally started this feature on my photography blog way back in the day (though at the time, it was called “Monthly Picks” and it featured my favorite things rather than ours). I had so much fun doing it there, we decided to bring it over to 7th House and make it a duo effort. We thought it would give you guys a little more insight to what we like and how we live. You can definitely tell a lot about a person by what they put in their shopping cart.

A close runner up to His + Her Favorite Things was Reader Renos and a few of you even begged for more! You asked, and we listened. We have some great Reader Renos lined up for the coming weeks, and we can’t wait to share them with you. One kitchen renovation in particular is just going to blow you away!

Not many of you pointed out your least favorite feature, but Etsy Thursday got the least nods. I suppose that counts as the least favorite. These days, we’ve been going Etsy Thursdays less and less. We want to make sure we only put great, high-quality products in the spotlight, and that takes some time. We still want to highlight great pieces from Etsy, but we’ll probably continue on the current trend unless we hear otherwise.

Question No. 5: On average, how many times a week do you stop by 7th House? Your answers were a mixture of “every day”, “a few times a week”, and “whenever you have a new post”. Most of you were even nice enough to mention how you read 7th House. A majority said you come directly to the site. The rest of you read via Google Reader (Yay for Google Reader!) and click over to the blog every once in a while. We also found out that a good number of you tend to read on the go – whether it be on your iPad, smart phone or Nook. It’s so exciting to see all the ways our blog makes it into your everyday lives!

centsational girl, young house love, apartment therapy, design sponge

Question No. 6: What are your top 3 daily blog reads? All-in-all, the top three (actually four) daily blog reads among 7th House readers (besides this blog) were Young House Love, Centsational Girl, and Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge tied for third. I have to say, you guys have great taste! We’re huge fans of these blogs, and it’s humbling to be included with them in your list of daily reads.

Question No. 7: Any advice for us as we are getting ready to hit our 1-year mark? We got a lot of “more of the same”-type answers (which, again, makes us feel really good!), but there were some great constructive remarks here that we’re going to take to heart as well as a few funny tid bits including, “Please don’t have a baby and start blogging all things baby!” Rest assured, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. (Even though I do have a board on Pinterest called “If we had kids…” There’s just too much adorable kid stuff out there!) Even though we’re a “baby blog”, we don’t plan to be a baby blog. ; )

So that’s what you had to say, now for the part where we tell you what we’re going to do. We’ve been putting our heads together, and here are a few things to look forward to in the coming months:

  • A Bona Fide Blogging Schedule. Over the past few months, we’ve been trying to come up with a “groove” – a schedule of sorts that works for our individual schedules and brings you high-quality content on a regular basis, and we think we’ve come up with a solution! Our goal is to bring you three solid, high-quality posts every week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’ll still post giveaways every now and then on Tuesdays (Psst… have you entered in the steam mop giveaway yet?)and sprinkle an Etsy Thursday in here and there. However, if you want to know that when you check our page, you’re going to find new content, a post will be waiting for you right here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday around 9:30ish in the morning (US Eastern time). Yay for schedules! I feel better when things are more organized, don’t you? Also, when a new post is up, we’ll be sure to let you guys know via Twitter and Facebook. Sound like a plan, Stan? Cool. Schedules make the world go around!
  • More Facebook Action. Along with letting you know when a new post is up, we’re going to be spending more time over on our Facebook page. We’ll be sharing links to articles we think you might find interesting, an occasional photo of our daily activities, answering some FAQs, and we might even do a Facebook-only giveaway now and then. So, if you don’t already “like” us on Facebook, head on over!
  • A FULL 7th House Etsy Store. I read an article once about how Apple store employees aren’t allowed to say “unfortunately” because they don’t want to bum out the customers. Instead they are told to say “as it turns out”. So in Apple-esque form… As it turns out, the grand opening of the Etsy store has been delayed due to a what Greg likes to call a PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard) error. Yeah… I spent some time cleaning up my computer, accidentally deleted a bunch of my files, emptied the trash can (twice), then realized I didn’t have a backup. Go me. In the mean time, we’ve added a few more pieces to our “soft opening” that are ready for purchase, including your favorites from the preview a while back. So be sure to stop by and check it out here or just click on the “Store” tab at the top of the page. When the store is “complete complete”, we’ll be sure to make a big blog announcement so you won’t miss it.
  • More free loot! We’ve been doing giveaways here and there to kind of test the waters and see if you like them. Now, because of the reader survey, we know you do! We’re going to try to bring you giveaways more and more often.
  • Mobile friendly reading. As we mentioned, a lot of you read our blog from mobile devices, and we want to make sure that’s a great experience. In the near future, we’re going to take some time to optimize our site for mobile browsers so that you can access 7th House on the go without having to worry about the site looking strange or the text being too small. Don’t worry–we’re not going to lock you into some alternate-reality version of the site that hides half of the content. We just want to make sure that you can hit the site from your smart phone or tablet without inordinate amounts of pinching, zooming, and scrolling.
  • More about us. We tend to be camera shy – well, except for Bentley. He likes to steal the show. Several of you mentioned that you liked our content, but didn’t feel like you didn’t know “us” as well as you’d like. Well, we’ve taken that to heart, and we’re going to do our best to show you more about our everyday lives and who we are as people. In doing so, we hope that we’ll be able to develop a real conversation with you, rather than just words on a web site. We’re excited about sharing our lives and getting to know you!

That’s about all we’re going to uncover for now, but rest assured there’s a lot more coming! Again, thank you all so very much for taking the time to introduce yourselves, and for the kind words about what we’re doing here at 7th House on the Left. We are truly grateful for all of you, and we hope that you’ll continue to keep us company on our journey as first-time homeowners!

Altered State of the Union photo found here. 1st Place ribbon found here.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Christin
    August 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for sharing the outcomes of your survey! I’ve said this before, but I really am impressed with your blog. I can only imagine how much work really goes into it. I love it more everytime I read it. (Can I say again that I LOVED your Christmas in July posts!! It’s nice to know I’m not the only Christmas fanatic out there!) Best of luck to you as you work to reach your goals in the blogging world – know that your fans are pulling for you!

  • Reply
    Rita C
    August 3, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I’m more of a reader than a commenter, but I wanted to say how much I too enjoy your blog. Your sense of style is wonderful and you both sound like you are having a lot of fun doing what you do. Keep up the good work!

    Rita
    (from Arkansas)

    I also loved the Christmas in July posts! Great job!

  • Reply
    Emily
    August 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

    It’s fun to read what you are up to “behind the scenes” of the blog. I’m looking forward to hear more about you two, oh, and Bentley! hehe Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • Reply
    Paula
    August 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I’ve been reading 7HL since last year and I’ve looooved the progress you’ve made in your house and on the blog. Keep up the awesome work guys!!

  • Reply
    LaurenW
    August 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    LOVE your blog!! My favorite home blog on the web!

  • Reply
    Wrenn
    August 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I found your blog today through the Black and Decker giveaway and I’ve spent the last hour or so going through your past posts! I love your style and how you write. Cant wait to read more!

  • Reply
    Jill Lee
    August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Love your blog and excited about future posts. Also very excited to find out what you do with your kitchen! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda
    August 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    My BFF spent a few days giving me music from her computer to mine and then a few days later I added them into my iTunes and when I deleted them (thinking that iTunes put them in their own library). Once I deleted them I pressed play on a few songs in iTunes. AND WAH-LA, they still worked! Yippiee! (so iTunes must of put them in a folder, yes?) then I deleted my trash noticing there was over 500 items in it (EEK!) …. then the songs didn’t work. BUMMER 🙁 I was so sad.

  • Reply
    Centsational Girl
    August 4, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Oh what a thrill! I can’t believe I ended up in such amazing company, truly I’m honored! Most of all I’m happy to have discovered 7th House on the Left, I love home reno blogs, can’t wait to catch up on yours!

    xo
    Kate

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Kate! We were honored to be in amazing company as well and glad you discovered 7th House : ) Thanks for stopping by!

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