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An Outfit + A Lot Of Results

January 15, 2013

By:

Erin Schrader

 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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