Archive for September, 2011
We’ve blabbed on (and on) about ourselves this week, so we wanted to take a moment (as we usually do during these blogiversary weeks) to focus on you… and your feelings. Okay, not so much your feelings. Unless, um, you want to talk about them.
But seriously, you know so much about us, so we’d love to learn a bit about you (and no, this isn’t some not-so-cleverly disguised marketing research survey – it’s just us being nosy and wondering who the heck you fine people are). So just like last year, I’m breaking out our little polling plug-in to let you guys weigh in about yourselves. And just as you have in past years, feel free to expand on any answer in the comment section – or just use it to share something random (favorite food?), link to your blog, or tell us something else about yourself that you think we should know (anyone sporting a soda shirt?).
Darn, our polling plug-in isn’t playing nice right now (aka: it crashed our site four times in a row) so we spontaneously moved the poll party over to Facebook. Here’s that link for ya. Don’t forget after you submit your poll to: 1) scroll up and 2) click the “view results” button at the top of the page (to see where you fall into the mix). It’s so interesting for us to learn more about you guys! Oh and ignore the big ugly ad at the top of the poll, this was one of those ahh-we’re-crashing-and-need-another-quick-alternative kind of decisions.
If you’re not in Facebook or just prefer to sound off in the comments, here are some of the questions (we just won’t have the capability to tally those up like the Facebook poll automatically does):
- how old you are
- your gender
- where you live (state, country, or continent)
- who you live with (better half, kids, pups, imaginary friends?)
- if you own/rent/live in dorms/live with rents, etc
- your idea of a good Saturday afternoon (working on a big reno? a small craft project? watching design shows?)
- what reality show you’d like to be on (Design Star? Project Runway? Amazing Race? Jersey Shore?)
Thanks for playing along!
PS: The collage of photos at the top of this post are some of your gravatars plucked from actual comments on our site (and what a good looking bunch you are). If you’re currently gravatar-less (or don’t know what one is) you can learn more about it here.
UPDATE: Now that it has been a couple of days, a few people suggested that we post the results of the Facebook survey for all to see back here (remember it’s not really a perfect representation of all of our readers because 5,000 people took the poll, but many others commented with their stats instead – and I’m sure a fair amount stayed silent altogether):
- AGE: 63% are twenty-somethings, 29% are thirty-somethings, 4% are forty-somethings, 1% are fifty-plus and 1% are teens
- GENDER: 99% are women, 1% are men (are the guys just being quiz-shy or something?)
- LOCATION: 87% live in the USA, 5% in Canada, 4% in Europe, 2% in Australia, and 1% in Asia
- HOME: 61% own their home, 31% rent, 6% live with parents, and 1% live at school
- OTHER: A majority of readers are married, have pets, and a winning smile (these percentages were off because Facebook tallied it out of total answers to the question, not total respondents)
- FAV AFTERNOON ACTIVITY: In order of popularity (most to least): fun family outing, reading blogs, doing small craft, shopping, working on big makover, watching design shows, decorating for a party, and last but not least: going to open houses.
- REALITY SHOW: In order of popularity (most to least): Amazing Race, Design Star, Top Chef, America’s Next Top Model, American Idol, Jersey Shore, Cops (yes, 166 people would like to be on Cops).
Thanks so much for the fun! It really is great to get to know you all a little more.
We’ve once again solicited questions from you guys on Facebook for our blogiversary extravaganza (of the personal, not decorating, variety). And just like we did in 2009 and 2010, we had fun answering a bunch of ‘em. We crammed as many responses as we could into 20 minutes, so unfortunately not every one of the 80+ questions got answered, but we figured 20 minutes was already pushing the bounds of an acceptable YouTube video length. Haha. Here are a few things that we cover:
- Our favorite and least favorite qualities in each other
- What our neighbors think about the blog
- If the former owners of our house read the blog
- Our weirdest fan interaction
- Who Clara looks more like
- How we deal with negative criticism
- What we wanted to be when we grew up
- What will happen to our blog name when we’re not young anymore
- If we ever fight or spend time apart
- And most importantly: John’s thoughts on the new Twilight movie
And of course there are a bunch of other questions, a Burger cameo, and John cycles through soda shirts just to keep things spicy. Oh but if you’re at work you can still watch it on mute and try to guess what I’m gesturing wildly about (or wait until tonight and watch it with some popcorn and take a swig of soda every time John changes shirts). Our only video-recording rule is that we’re not allowed to re-answer anything so it’s completely unscripted and sort of an all-one-take kind of thing (that we later edit down just to shorten things/take out the “ummmms” so we can squeeze more answers in). We don’t even read the questions until we’re rolling, so we don’t overthink or overplan – but sometimes we over-share. Haha. Who’s surprised.
And just because we’re chatterboxes, this year we tossed in three bonus business-related answers:
Q: How did you get sponsors? Do you solicit advertising? What’s the secret? First we wrote about 200 posts and had been blogging for a while without even thinking about sponsors, just because it was something we loved to do. We actually had no idea there were even people or companies who sponsored blogs, we just thought of it as a fun creative outlet/diary. Then it slowly dawned on us that because we were gaining more traffic and posting every day, maybe some local folks or small online businesses would like to get a button on our sidebar in exchange for a tiny fee. So we tossed up a “wanna advertise with us?” button just to see what would happen. We thought it would be awesome to make a few extra dollars to put towards projects, but definitely didn’t have high hopes. Much to our surprise and amazement, a few small companies and Etsy vendors emailed us to say that they were happy to give it a try. So we just shared our stats and offered people a flat fee for the month and a slightly discounted fee for the quarter.
To this day we actually still use the same system. There are definitely more intricate ways of charging sponsors (like per click, per view, etc) and even more complex ways of calculating rates. But we decided to keep it simple and start with a flat rate that we felt was fair (based on what we saw other sites charging with comparable traffic) and just let the sponsors tell us if it was too high (and if they did, we’d adjust). If it was too low, well, we love a deal – so we figured why not offer one ourselves (after all, we were satisfied with that rate since we were the ones who came up with it). That system seems to be working for everyone, so much so that we haven’t raised our rates in almost two years (despite a great increase in traffic since then).
When it comes to managing sponsorships, we use Google Ad Manager to organize everything. It not only serves the ads to our site, but also helps us keep track of expirations so John can send renewal emails / invoices. So it’s a bit of paperwork on our end, but completely worth the effort since our sponsors are a big part of what makes this blog possible. There’s definitely not a get rich quick aspect to blogging (at least not in our experience), but we’ve seen that by focusing on content first and readers second, the sponsors will gradually fall into place.
Q: Do you have to post a certain amount of times each month for sponsors? Nope, as we mentioned above, they pay a flat fee per month so no traffic or amount of posts are expected or promised. We’ve just posted 1-2 times a day about the same range of stuff for the past few years, so it’s a pace that works for us. Some juicy stuff + some light stuff + some personal stuff = a comfortable mix. Posting in some sort of regular rhythm provides structure and helps keep our creative juices flowing. If we stopped blogging every time we were in a rut or ran into a snafu we worry we might never start again. Gotta keep that momentum up! <– picture me in a bodysuit and legwarmers saying this in a sing-song-y voice a la workout videos from the eighties
Q: Aren’t you scared to have so little job security when your whole family’s income relies on this blog? We’re not gonna lie, it can freak us out if we think about it too much. But we’ve squirreled away the recommended amount of “safety net savings” to fall back on if this ol’ blog suddenly grinds to a halt (which we built up before John came on full time as some sort of “insurance” to quell the nerves). We also have side gigs (like our column for BabyCenter and Do It Yourself magazine along with the book that we’re writing), so that helps us feel semi-diversified.
We also both left advertising on very good terms with former employers/clients, so that’s another road we could explore if we ever needed to (and John still takes on the occasional advertising consulting job on the side, just to keep his toe in the water). In the end I always say that five years ago we had no idea we’d be here doing this, so trying to figure out what we’ll be doing in five more years is probably an exercise in futility. We just do our best to keep chugging along and try not to let the neurotic thoughts creep in!
So there it is, twenty minutes of video evidence confirming that we’re dorks and three bonus bidness questions. What surprised you guys most? Was it the fact that I make up sayings that aren’t really sayings and then collapse into a ball of giggles? Or that John is so into Twilight movies? Will anyone else help me make “I took that baby to the market and carried it home” a real saying? Come on, it’s kind of catchy…
Psst- John’s over on BabyCenter answering one more question about being a stay/work at home dad. It’s actually a post that even surprised me. Check it out here.
As if this morning’s pie charts weren’t enough, we’re back to get all numerical and statistical on you. Each year we like to break down what YHL looks like by the numbers. Some are crazy. Some are surprising. Some are serious. Some are, well, just for fun. We’ve included some of last year’s numbers just for comparison’s sake, but you can also look back at our past by-the-numbers posts for our last three blogiversaries to see how things have changed: 2010, 2009 and 2008.
2,014 – The number of published posts to date on Young House Love (Last year: 1,527)
16 – The number of published posts to date on Young House Life (clearly someone’s gotta pick up the slack over there).
570,314 – The number of total comments left by you fine folks. More than DOUBLE our number last year (258,904) meaning there has been more commenting action in the last 12 months than in our first three years.
38,754 - The number of comment responses we’ve posted, which is more than TRIPLE last year’s total (13,039).
9 – Number of months we’ve lived in our new house
21.5 - Clara’s weight (wonder how long she’ll let us keep sharing that?). Up from 14lbs last year. She’s tall and skinny like… well, a bean (a string bean to be exact).
8.5 - My main man Burger’s weight. Up from a whopping 8lbs last year.
210,460- Most blog hits we’ve received in a single day according to WordPress.com stats – the day our Washington Post feature came out (last year’s top day: 97,024). But yesterday we were just 7K away from topping the Wash Post day!
4,048,011 - Total number of blog hits we received last month (insanity – last year’s stat: 2,144,976).
68,164,565 – Total blog hits to date (nearly double last year’s number: 36,698,957)
4 – Number of times we’ve driven by our old house to check in on it (including once after Hurricane Irene – it was fine!)
1 – Number of times we accidentally turned down our old street when we meant to go to our new house (we’re proud of ourselves since it’s only a mile away).
150 – Total number of mood boards featured in our Mood Board Gallery.
363 – Total number of home photos in our Room Gallery, courtesy of the 32 homes we’ve “crashed” over the years (we’re still planning to add Reader Redesigns from our archives to that group – soon hopefully!).
146- Total number of weekly giveaways that we’ve held since starting them back in November of ’08 (after you guys requested them during our very first blogiversary)
35- Our average number of posts per month
3 – Number of soda-themed shirts I (John) own (I do own non-soda-related shirts, despite the fact that they seem to be the only ones that show up in pictures).
12 – Clara’s current catalog of animal sounds. She can moo like a cow, neigh like a horse, baa like a sheep, maa like a goat, meow like a cat, woof like a dog, hoo like an owl, cheep like a chicken, roar like a lion, quack like a duck, say “ooh-ooh-ahh-ahh” like a monkey, and even imitate a sloth (which according to one of her books says “slowly slowly” – so she slinks around saying that).
2,405- Average number of words written per post (we’re chatty, huh?)
19,204- Average number of words written per week (admittedly, this is kind of insane)
648 - The total number of projects that we link to on our Projects page (and we still have around 50 to add, but haven’t gotten to that part of our to-do list yet. Sorry!)
58: Photos of Clara that we’ve taken for her photo project (52 weekly pictures + 5 monthly + 1 for her birthday card)
230,652 – Number of Pinterest followers (this. is. insane.)
22 - Total number of steps from our bed to our desk (in the last house it was 7, so we no longer risk posting in our sleep anymore).
6:30 – The time tonight that we’ll be participating in a local panel discussion called “Hobby to Business: Making A Living Doing What You Love.” How fitting for blogiversary week, no? More details here (psst- we’re not getting paid for it, just thought it sounded fun).
So there you have it. The stats of the year. Do you guys count things like steps from one room to another or how often you intentionally and unintentionally drive to an old house? Can you picture how cute Clara is when she slinks around the house saying “sloooowly, sloooowly” – seriously it’s amazing. We’ll have to get it on video pronto.