1.15.2013

An Outfit + A Lot Of Results

 Sweater & Scarf: Old Navy // Jeans & Booties: Target // Bracelets: Miss Chic

**this post is absolutely obnoxiously long**

You may remember a day or two ago when I got all Big Tymers up in here and asked you to get your poll on. Please tell me a few of you started singing "everybody get your roll on..." after that post. 
Anyhow--thankfully around 760 of you responded and provided some great insight to this whole thing we call blogging. I know several of you asked to hear the results and because I am not a hoarder of poll results, I am here to share them with you today. Let me start by saying, I do think there was a ton of beneficial information given not only in regards to my particular blog, but opinions on blogging in general.

More often than not I think it's time to "shake things up" a bit. 
Life is boring unshaken, amen?
With some of the feedback given, I think there are several things we can shake up when it comes down to it.

First thing I'm talking about--sidebar buttons. 
Out of 760 people asked, only 248 found them to actually be effective.
The remaining 512 people...well, they either can't see them due to the way they read blogs (email, Google reader, bloglovin, etc) or they believe that the only thing they are effective in is cluttering the look of a blog. 

Here is my take on this:
I am not a fan of sidebar buttons. I'm just not. 
I kinda feel like they are a thing of the past. That may sound odd, but when I started blogging two years ago I felt like it was all about the sidebar buttons. These days? I think it is totally acceptable for a blog owner to not even offer the option of having sidebar buttons as a part of their sponsor options. 
I say this because I have personally found in the past that my traffic doesn't come from sidebar buttons--it comes from being organically mentioned in a post, from a giveaway I am participating in, because of an individual or group feature I have on another blog, or whatever other thing may prompt a click inside a post. 
People are reading blogs a multitude of ways these days. 
Don't put all of your eggs in a sidebar button...I think you may be sadly disappointed if you do.

Along with this--several of you find my sidebar to be way too cluttered with buttons, as I have them on both sides. I agree. It is. Whether or not I am going to do something about this at this point in time is up for debate. A debate I will be having with myself as soon as I get done writing this post. 

Here's another thing that surprised me.
As far as social media usage is concerned--the largest percentage went to Facebook.
Instagram right behind that and Twitter last. 
In my mind it went like this: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
Obviously I have no idea what you people like and use. 
This was huge for me because Facebook is the platform that I use the LEAST for this blog. 
While I do think it is very important to meet people where they are at..it is also very important to know which social media platform you enjoy/feel the most comfortable with. Once you know which one that is, learn how to be a master of that platform. It's okay if you don't use Facebook...but make sure whatever you are using, you are using it well. I think Instagram has great potential for bloggers and businesses in general right now, so for me personally--that's where I am placing a lot of my stock currently. 

The next question I was afraid to ask.
It's like one of those things that you don't know if you really want an honest response or not. 
You'd think I asked if it looks like I've gained ten pounds, but no..it was just "do you like the new way I am featuring my sponsors...individually at the bottom of my posts?"
This was scary because it is a new experiment I am trying and well, I really do like it myself.
However, what if the majority of you would've said "no, no, no"?
Well then, I would've been what I like to call screwed. 
And then I would've had to have my graphic designer make a new graphic which would've cost more money which would've made my husband yell at me to stop changing my sponsor options around, and you can see the dramatic/devastating side effects this question could have had.
Thank goodness the winning vote came in at "yes, yes, yes".
I feel like I all owe you a candy bar now. 

Can I explain my new way of doing things?
It's one of those "I'm going to shake things up a bit" type of things. 
So we've covered the fact that I think sidebar buttons alone are pretty much a piece of trash. 
From my personal experience I have seen results from being featured individually (I am now over group features..not saying they aren't beneficial but if you are the 3rd or 4th person mentioned in a group feature post I think the odds are no longer in your favor...just my two cents there) or from being included in a group giveaway. With that being said though, I don't I like stand alone guest posts. I like writing an original post of my own five days a week darn it. When it dawned on me--"what if I could write my own post every single time I blog AND still have a short snippet on another blog or shop at the bottom of my post allowing my readers the choice if they want to continue or not..." well it kinda made sense to me. 
I thank Kelle Hampton for all of the above. 
Blogging is a full-time part-time job. 
I have been fortunate enough to figure out a way to draw a nearly full-time income from this blog. 
I do not blog for money, I just blog wisely. 
My new way of featuring sponsors is the best choice I came up with from a personal content, income producing, effective for the ones sponsoring, standpoint. 
I don't want any of you to be able to ever say "she never writes personal content....it's all sponsor stuff".
Yes, I will have a lot of sponsor features on here. In fact, I will most likely have a sponsor feature at the bottom of nearly every one of my posts. But that just means I will have a whole heck of a lot of personal content on here as well.
Make sense?

(I know that you will not all care for this..I understand)

In regards to this whole sponsor biznass--the topic of actually reading through sponsored features/posts came up. Here's the scoop on what y'all prefer. 

--569 of you said that you will read a sponsor feature IF they draw you in with either a pretty picture or catchy words. This proves how important a single photo (or opening line) can be. Blog owners--do not hesitate to ask for high quality, nice looking photos. Sponsors--be wise when choosing which photos to use on other blogs. 

--300 of you could care less whether it's the blog owner or the person being featured who write the guest post/feature. Right behind that however, 269 of you said you prefer the owner of the blog to do all of the writing. The least picked option was for the person being featured to actually do the writing. 
Your readers trust your voice...use this lesson to you and your sponsors advantage.

And a few other interesting tid-bits to consider:

--The majority of those asked expect to see an email response within a week (working on this--I will be the first to admit that I very easily let my inbox get out of control for a solid month straight...eeek)

--The overwhelming general consensus is that not all of us bloggers always expect a response back from every comment left on a blog...only if we feel that the comment is worthy of a response. 

--When asked for topics that you all would like to see in the future--several of you said budgeting/money, which was a little shocking to me. I'll gladly share with you how to spend your hard earned money ;)
Along with that, a lot of you would like to read about my take on marriage more often, one of you said crafts (ha..sorry but I don't see that happening any time soon), a heck of a lot of you enjoy outfit posts, and the most commonly suggested topic to be shared---blogging advice. Consider your wish granted today. 

This post barely had any pictures.
Barf.
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47 comments:

  1. I tend to agree with you about sidebar buttons. I very rarely click them. I'm more apt to go to someone's daily reads or click on a link they put within a blog post. I think some brainstorming needs to be done on what the next best thing would be for sponsoring.. and once you figure that out I am hopping on your bandwagon ;) Great idea, as always Erin! Also, you are working in up there in those black booties. Love it!

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    1. I definitely used sidebar buttons (early last year) to find A LOT of the blogs I now read. But now that I follow SO MANY, I don't click on them anymore. I mean, how many blogs can I read and keep up with?!
      So... it's kind of a mixed response for me on that one.

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  2. wow, this is such great information about sponsorships and social media!!

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  3. I agree with Sami ... I am still hung up on them "junking up" my blog layout. I am not a big blogger, but little things like that I do find irritating and I wish there was some brilliant other way ... let us know if you figure out something else awesome! :)
    I agree that I hate guest posts, but we "should do them", right? I know that no one reads them, because I don't. :/
    Thanks for doing posts like these!

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  4. wow. we second sandy, some great social media & sponsorship information in this post!
    thanks for sharing!!! also love your polka dot sweater :)

    xo. c & v
    cake & valley

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  5. This was wonderful post Erin...as always, your blogging advise is fresh and correct! I feel the same about Sidebar ads...I keep them on there mainly for "billboard" purposes...but I know that my click throughs for my sponsors are most effective when I feature them individually in a blog post, or when I tweet or facebook links that feature individual posts or products that I really love from that particular sponsor that week!

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  6. I am pretty new to the blog world. I have debated whether or not to have a side bar with buttons. It does tend to clutter the design of the blog. After reading all of your advise and opinions here, I think maybe going with a dedicated page on my blog of my favorite reads is best. If someone is interested then they can go there and I can avoid the chaos of sidebar buttons. Thanks for all your advise on blogging, I read it all and take it all in. You are a great help to all of us who are small. Two Thumbs Up!!

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  7. I love your polka dot shirt and your booties. I want them.
    Thanks for all the blogging advice. I haven't really paid much attention to side bars. But I'm not a pro blogger.

    www.roothless-xo.blogspot.ca

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  8. That scarf looks amazing on you. Seriously. and I think your doing a great job :) :)

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  9. Love that outfit! I would have never paired a pink scarf with the teal sweater, but it's totes adorbs.
    Loved all of the breaking down of your poll, and small advice in between.
    I think you are doing a great job!

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  10. I think your the cutest. Love the sweater! I participated in your questionanire and it was eye opening to see the answers. Some surprised me.

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  11. This is all really great information... making me rethink a few of my methods.

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  12. I absolutely love that you show us all of the information you learn yourself. We are all learning from you learning and growing from you growing. It's lovely I say.

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  13. Thank you for this. I am getting a little annoyed with the amount of buttons I have on my sidebar as well. I agree with a few others in that I rarely ever click them (but hey here I am having bought two spots recently). I really do like your new sponsor options (fewer ad spots). I'm with Sami on this. When you figure out the next best thing with sponsorships please let us know!!

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  14. Love love love this post! Thank you so much for the advice, smart blogger!

    Sponsorship in general is so sticky to me, so I'm very glad to see all of these real "statistics" and ideas. Sidebar buttons in general - yes, they clutter a blog. But I actually do find myself clicking then frequently. Guest posts or feature posts, however, are definitely where the majority of my traffic has come from. People say they don't read them, and maybe those people don't, but I guess some peeps are reading mine! :)

    Thanks again!

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  15. this is so helpful! but i didn't read until after i looked at your adorable outfit. love the colors + style. just stumbled across your blog and having some fun clicking around. look forward to more! :)

    xx fel

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  16. This outfit is adorable!

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/

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  17. goodness! I love your posts so insanely much. so different from the other blogs I read, though I love those too. thank you for sharing your views. I adore them. :) Also, thank you for sharing all your tips on blogging. i have come back time and time again to learn from you. I read this entire post, without even taking a sour straw break. (that's huge.) So, thank you!

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  18. Thanks for posting the results Erin! Being a new blogger, this info is useful! :)

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  19. Love your outfit especially with the matching door. :) Great tips...thanks for sharing! I would definitely love more blogging tips and advice from you!

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  20. I actually click on sidebar ads, but I understand how they are not for everyone. Then again, i purchase ads for my etsy all the time.

    Sar=)

    www.etsy.com/shop/owleyevintage

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  21. "Blogging is a full-time part-time job."
    Love this!

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  22. Thanks for sharing these results Erin! I go back to your other blogging advice post from time to time & this will be another one that I refer back to as well!

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  23. I am one of the few who do enjoy sidebar ads! I like seeing who advertises with who, finding new blogs & shops via ad buttons! But I also have really enjoyed how you do in pos features too. This was all great! You are wonderful! BTW I'm loving your outfit posts lately, they are fun to do, huh? Also after seeing those totally cute boots on your blog last time, I had to buy them!! Love!

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  24. Cool! Thanks for sharing the results!

    ALSO, how do you manage to make jeans + heels look super cute?! ughh i feel like if i ever try to wear heels with skinny jeans i look like a creep. problems, i know.

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  25. I think if the question about Facebook had been worded differently, you'd have yielded different results. I'm on Facebook the most, but not in correlation to my blog. I'm on my personal account a lot, but often neglect the page I have for my blog. And I don't pot blog stuff on my personal page. People I know I have it, but I don't mix the two. Scary!

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  26. look at you, first getting asked to talk at a blog conference and now giving all this valuable information. I too was thinking of doing my sponsors a bit differently, and you just solidified it for me.

    ps you and your boobs will do fabulous at the conference, I just now it.

    pps. hi erins dad!

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  27. Posting your own content before featuring a guest sponsor is a must, I love how you made that change. I also enjoy being featured by the blogger I'm sponsoring verses writing my own piece...it's nice to work with them and suggest certain post links but when the time comes for your feature it's much more exciting to read their words and spins than a dry/flat "here I am" intro. I'd be sad to see buttons go, there's much enjoyment in seeing ones creativity applied to graphics and blog names. Media platforms are so overwhelming/conceited at times, glad you pushed using what's most fitting for personal style. Thanks for sharing the info, oh,so very informing!!

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  28. Thank you for all your insight! you are such a great blogger and appreciate all you have to say!!
    XOXO
    glammedbytarin.blogspot.com

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  29. I know that you are wanting feedback and to evolve for whatever reason but I kinda feel like you are obviously doing things pretty darn great or your blog wouldn't have exploded the way it has in the last year or so. Sometimes I think that too much feedback can be a curse in a way and make you question everything you do, even when you are doing it right. Don't get me wrong, I love tips and ideas to make things better. Heck I look for that all the time, but sometimes too much can make you question everything and almost put you into a frozen state not sure what to do and what not to do. That's what it does to me anyway.

    My blog is nowhere near the league of yours, which I am fine with, because as long as I am happy and proud of what I put on there, I know it's all good. It will grow if it's meant too, as long as I get to write and share and be a part of this community.

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    1. love love love this insight---totally agree--too much feedback/opinions can be a negative thing.

      keep writing on girlfriend and just do your thing. I think that's important for us to all remember..there is no right or wrong way of doing things. We all know what works for us individually, we just gotta keep on keepin on.

      thanks for this perspective..I needed it :) xoxo

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  30. love the sweater and the post!I was curious to know how it all turned out. i'll be waitting to see how you change your sponsors options. i havent had much chance in sponsoring before but i've considered sponsoring with you for a while now =)

    Bea =)
    dailylivingingeneva.blogspot.com

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  31. great post, Erin. it's wonderful that so many people responded to the survey because it was really things I wanted to know. I actually do like sidebar buttons. I will click on them. My reasoning is that if i really really like a blog and another blog is willing to spend hard earned money on them to feature their blog they must be worth a look. but I may be in the minority here, and I don't do it all the time.

    tons of great insight!

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  32. I used to kind of roll my eyes every time that you had a sponsor post, to be honest. But now that I read this and why you do it - IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE and I might actually try to read them more. Especially if you get rid of the sidebar buttons. I think you're doing an awesome job and really have this whole blogging thing down right. And with answering comments, I think it depends on your blog. Since you have so many people who comment everyday, it would be almost impossible for you to respond to every comment. For me, I have a much smaller blog and I might get 2-8 comments on each post. There isn't really a reason for me to not be able to at least say a "thank you for commenting" for each person.

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  33. Wow! This is some great information. I'm still pretty new to blogging and have held back from getting a twitter and facebook page ... But this info definitely has me thinking about adding one more social media outlet to help put my blog out there. Thanks for being so honest and genuine. I shy away from commenting on blogs most of the time (I'm a comment scaredy cat) but this post def deserved a comment :)

    xo

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  34. I love the outfit, and that scarf is too cute!

    I was one of the folks who answered, and I agree about sidebar buttons. I am a big fan of white space to give our eyes a place to "rest" when we are reading :-).

    I'm excited!

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  35. Thanks for sharing the results. Moving on, I adore that sweater!!

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  36. Okay, I want me one of those sweaters! & I love all of the insight you shared, & like someone said above, I am more apt to click on a link in a post than on a sidebar ad & I will read a guest post and more than likely click over to meet them or a sponsor feature or what have you.

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  37. First, I absolutely love that polka dot sweater!

    Second, I really liked the questions you had on that poll. All great things to think about!

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  38. I'm loving your posts on blogging advice! I have a question, and it might be too intrusive, so don't answer if you don't want to, BUT... When you say you are making almost a full-time income through your blog, what are the sources of that money? Obviously you have some coming from sponsors who buy ads and then companies who contact you directly for reviews, etc, but is there an income source beyond that? Adsense maybe? As a blogger, I would love to know what sources to focus on. Thank you, and I can't wait to meet you at Elevate!!

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  39. Loved this "bloggy advice!" Interesting how the polls turned out. Definitely will help me and the way I'll go about sponsors on my blog. Thanks for sharing, love!!! xoxo

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  40. I didn't take the poll bc I love your blog and don't believe you should change a thing.

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  41. I totally have that sweater. It's my favorite:) Just thought you should know! Also, thank you for sharing this feedback.

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  42. When I found your blog {and fell in love} I assumed that everyone on your sidebar was absolutely fabulous, so I went and followed them all. In that case, sidebar buttons do work but yes, they can get out of hand. This is all very insightful!

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  43. Every time you post anything blogging related (tips, this kind of stuff, etc.), I always feel like I have come across a gold mine. You know how Macy's was the first to come up with the brilliant idea to send their own customer's to other stores if they didn't have what they were looking for in the name of customer service, and it worked out awesomely (I am basing this knowledge solely on the movie Miracle on 34th street, just so we are clear)? You are the Macy's of the blog world: sharing helpful information that could potentially help us grow our blogs, but in return, making you look like the awesome benefactress that you are. So, thanks for being brilliant with this blogging stuff. For serious.

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  44. Love this outfit! I would never have thought to add a the pick with that sweater but it looks great!

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I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thanks for stopping by my space and sharing a piece of yourself on this huge ole internet. I meant that in the least creepy way possible. I'm just good at making everything awkward. Anyhow, thank you for your comments. They make me smile :)