2017 Reader Survey Results + Giveaway Winner

Greetings, friends! Today I’m excited to reveal the results of my reader survey as well as the giveaway winner!

First of all, thanks again to all who took the time to fill out my reader survey! This year there were over 2000 participants. That is crazytown. I’m blown away and humbled. Thank you so much.

I know it was a bit lengthy, but I really do appreciate the input. It will be a big help as I plan my content for the next year and filter through the brand partnerships and opportunities that come through.

I always like to share the results of my reader surveys in case you’re interested, and also to address some of the comments that came up. I truly appreciate everyone keeping their comments kind and constructive. I know it’s crazy that I have to ask that, but trust me, I’ve had some doozies of comments over the years in these surveys, and I find that if I make this request, people really do try to be more helpful than hateful.

Because it’s so long and some of the graphs are hard to see, I’m going to skip over some of the questions, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.

READER SURVEY RESULTS

How long have you been reading my blog?

I’m so pleased to see that almost 70% of you have been hanging around for a few years. That’s quite a compliment.

How did you discover my blog?

The vast majority found me from another blog, which is cool. I’m also excited to see some coming from Pinterest and Google and sticking around.

How do you usually get to my blog?

Email subscribers are definitely the majority on this one! If you aren’t signed up to get my emails, you’re welcome to do that HERE. I have a daily and a weekly option. The daily one is more personal, and I usually write a newsy note along with the link to my latest post.

On what device(s) do you usually read my blog?

I know statistics show people are using mobile devices more and more but this stat still astounds me. I really should pay more attention to how my site looks on mobile! (I still read most blogs on my desktop computer, but I guess I do click over from Facebook on my iPhone sometimes.)

What is your age range?

These results are very similar to last year’s, and if anything, my readership is getting a little older. Well, I guess we all are. Ha! But I do find it fascinating that over 75% of my readers are older than I am. It’s definitely helpful to know this and keep that in mind as I choose clothing and brands to feature.

What is your stage in life?

Clearly most of you are married with kids or grandkids, but certainly not everyone. Also, interesting to me, is that 50% of you work outside the home. Since I share so many casual looks, I’m always a bit surprised by that, but then again, with our average age being around 50 and less than half of us having kids at home, it makes sense that a large majority would work.

Where do you live?

I’m not surprised that the vast majority of you are in the U.S., but I love that so many other countries are represented as well. The internet is pretty cool, isn’t it?

How relevant to you and your shopping habits are the range of price points I offer?

I’m glad to see that the blue section went from 57% in 2016 to 64% in 2017. I will continue to incorporate lower priced pieces and offer similar options, but I also encourage you to consider investing in some higher end pieces because I do believe it’s better to have fewer quality pieces that you love than a bunch of cheaper clothes that aren’t as flattering and don’t feel as good on… but it must always be within the confines of your budget. I would never want to encourage you to spend outside of your means.

This is one reason why I try to share the sales as much as I do, but if those are still too much, don’t rule out local consignment and thrift stores as well as online consignment stores like Tradesy and ThredUp and off-price retailers like TJ Maxx and Saks Off Fifth. Hopefully the information I share about quality brands is helpful as you navigate those retailers.

Where do you shop?

I always find this section interesting. Last year LOFT was #1, and this year Nordstrom is #1, but they’re always in the top two. I do get some people in the results saying I do too much Nordstrom, but others thanked me for introducing them to it and asked to keep it up because it’s so easy to order and return what doesn’t work for them.

I did also have some asking for more LOFT, but honestly, I have a hard time with them. I don’t always love their styles, and they do charge for shipping and returns so it gets costly for me to buy, model, return.

It seems as though a lot of you like shopping for clothes at Target and Kohl’s, and I had some requests for more of that. I really struggle to find clothes I like that fit well at Target and Kohl’s, but I’ll keep trying!

I’m glad to see Bloomingdale’s making an appearance, although it is way down on the list. I did get a few people thanking me for introducing them to it in the comment section of the survey. I have always liked shopping at Bloomies, and while they don’t carry some of the lower priced brands that Nordstrom does, they have a great selection of premium denim and shoes and handbags. I actually think they run better sales than Nordstrom, and their Lloyalist program is better than Nordstrom Rewards. Plus, they have Shoprunner for free 2-day shipping and free returns. All that to say, I’m going to be linking to them more this year and hope to make some more converts.

Which social networks are you most active on?

This one doesn’t surprise me much, as most women ages 45-65 are on Facebook. I really would like to make better use of that platform in 2018. I’m also glad to see that half of you are on Instagram! YAY! Instagram is my favorite. It’s so pretty, and generally drama free. And for those of you who don’t like your friends to see what you’re liking and commenting on with Facebook, you can like and comment on Instagram without the privacy concerns.

If you use Instagram, do you watch Instagram Stories?

Since seeing these results, I’ve been trying to use Instagram Stories more. It really is a fun way to connect, and I love that it doesn’t have to be pretty. I just have a hard time remembering to use it sometimes.

Which of my current topics do you enjoy the most?

I don’t have anything to add to this, but I thought y’all might to see the results. I don’t see myself changing much about my content in the next year. It will be more of the same mish-mosh of all of the above! Maybe some more beauty posts… that is a goal of mine.

Do you enjoy the Fashion Friday Linkup?

I’ve debated laying this to rest for some time, but given these results, I think I’ll keep it for another year. I have had other bloggers thank me for it, and it seems like they find it useful, and it’s a fun way to stay connected with others doing what I’m doing and share the love a bit.

Okay, so now for some of the more long form answers and comments I’d love to address.

I started out trying to respond to all of the comments/questions/suggestions I could, and this post started to get so long that I realized I better cut a bunch out or divide it up into a few posts. I don’t want to beat a dead horse with survey results either, so I think I’m going to share my Instagram and Facebook thoughts and comments and reactions another day this week, and I will use the rest of this post to address those comments related to the blog. It’s still going to be kind of long, but again, I don’t want more than 2 posts of survey results.

So here are some questions I got or general input I’d like to respond to.

General Feedback Comments/Questions

I’m so used to answering every comment that it is really hard for me to pick and choose, but there was so much participation this year that I just have to not answer a lot of them. It pains me, truly. Please know that I read every. single. comment. I also made notes for future post ideas and suggestions I’d like to incorporate, but I just can’t share them all here. This post is long enough!

Q: Are you ever worried about putting your family out there? It’s a crazy world we live in.

A: Yes, I do think about that, but I just figure the weirdo at the grocery store can follow me home as easily as the weirdo on the Internet can find me. I also know hundreds or maybe thousands of people who put themselves and their families out on the internet as I do, and I haven’t heard of anything terribly dreadful happening. There have been a few who had to take down their sites due to stalkers or people harassing them, so I know it can happen, but I think the chances are pretty slim compared to all of the other terrible things that could possibly happen to our family.

C: Delete the negative/nasty comments & let them go. Miserable people take the time to comment that way. Maybe don’t let it go instead say a short prayer for them & then let it go 🙂

A: Haha, I appreciate that. I do delete quite a few, but some I let through because it gives me the opportunity to address some things that I know others are thinking but are too polite to say. And truly, they do not get to me. I have learned a lot in 12 years on the internet, and that is probably the best lesson of all.

Design/Usability Comments/Questions

C: You used to have a link to your favorites on your page- I do not see it anymore,I think you replaced it with Nordstrom Faves and Loft Faves. I would love to see that back!

A: It’s still there! If you click on the SHOP tab, it will take you to that page. I can also put a graphic on the sidebar that links to it. I don’t know why that’s not there anymore, actually. Updating my shop pages is on my agenda this week.

C: I access your blog via my Apple iPad or iPhone. At times I will be reading a particular section, when it decides to jump down to another section, so I will have to scroll back up to resume reading. I have no idea why that happens, but it’s very frustrating.

A: Unfortunately I think this is due to my ads. It happens to me too and it’s annoying, I agree. I feel like that didn’t happen on my old design, so maybe it is something about that switch. I am going to ask my ad network.

C: Less ad infringement. I use the iPhone and find some of the ads to be quite distracting.

A: I had some comments about ads, although not a large percentage based on the overall response. I hate them too. I really try not to allow them to take over my content, but they do contribute a chunk of change to the cost of running of this site and paying for my email service and all the other fees that go into this gig.

That said, they should never cover up content, and you should be able to X out of the ad on the footer on both mobile and desktop. If you find that you can’t X out or one is covering something up, please take a screenshot and email it to me so I can bring it to the attention of my ad network. Thank you!

C: The only thing I can think of here is to possibly add a search feature. I am usually reading from a Kindle Fire and haven’t been able to locate this feature.

A: I do have this feature, but it is harder to find on mobile devices than it is on desktop. If you’re on a computer, you can find it at the very top right, in the menu bar, and again on the sidebar. On a mobile device such as smartphone, iPad, or Kindle, you need to scroll down below the blog posts, and then you will see it along with the category and archive dropdown boxes. Hope that helps!

C: Provide easy access to consecutive postings. Sometimes I read a couple days at once or want to access something from earlier in the week — especially the 25 days feature.

A: There is a link to the previous post and the next post at the end of every post. I don’t know if you’ve seen that or not — but it is the easiest way to read a bunch of consecutive posts.

C: The only technical issue I’ve had is that the link to add a comment is below all the comments. If there’s already 100 comments, it can take a while to scroll past them all to add my comment. Not a big issue, just slightly inconvenient.

A: Interesting feedback, thank you. I can probably have that changed. That makes a lot of sense.

Blog Content Comments/Questions

C: It bothered me when you mentioned the possibility of hiring out someone to respond to your comment section. I hope you don’t do that.

A: Oh my goodness, no, I would NEVER do that. I think I mentioned that I know some other bloggers do, but I wasn’t considering that. The conversation in the comments is my favorite part about running this blog, and they are never a burden. There are other aspects I could possibly hire out, but that is not one of them. And I would never have anyone else write my posts. I will always be the voice behind my blog, comments, and social media sites. I may hire someone to help me build content for Facebook, but I will be the one posting and editing the wording so it’s mine, OR they will say who they are… if it came to that, but I don’t think so. In the past, when I’ve had blog contributors, they always wrote under their own name.

C: I would love to read more beauty posts, if you have the desire and time.

A: I’ll be working on that!

C: Sometimes you’re too wordy.

A: This made me giggle. I actually do edit things down and delete full paragraphs at times, but brevity was never my strong suit!

C: I’d like to see more ways to wear a particular piece in one post. Example 3 or 4 ways to wear a new top you have.

A: I’m definitely going to try to do more of these. I like them too.

C: I’d love to see more options for wearing clothes to work.

A: I definitely got some variation of this comment a lot, so let’s talk about that. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never be very good with the workwear. When I try workwear looks, I usually feel like they’re a miss for one reason or another, and I usually have someone question whether it is even appropriate for the workplace. I may make it look easy, but fashion doesn’t come easily for me, and it has taken me years to get to the point where I feel like some sort of authority on casual wear and dressy looks. I think that is why I explain so much of the process behind my outfits — I definitely give them a lot of thought. Ha!

I will still incorporate an occasional work-friendly look from time to time, but I’m going to focus mostly on what I do best, which is casual looks and date night and church outfits, as well as the occasional special occasion outfit. I do try to incorporate dresses, even though I personally don’t wear them often. I will continue trying to do better with that because I know jeans can get old. I’m also going to experiment with more different styles of denim and different price points this year.

There are so many great blogs out there that do work wear well, so I’m going to leave those looks to them! It’s amazing how freeing it feels to say that. 🙂

C: It’s okay to show your outfits if some of the items have sold out. I know that’s frustrating but we like to see what your wearing and linking to similar items is very helpful and then we have options.

A: Thank you, I appreciate that! I had to get over that because it was really getting stressful to get dressed, feeling like everything I’m wearing has to be for sale. I’m trying to find a good balance.

C: Things are sold out a lot.

A: Yes, I know, and that’s frustrating for me too. (I make more money when things are in stock, lol!) I do my best, trust me!

C: When you buy some new things maybe could do a flat-lay and save your full on review for later. That way some of us who are really interested in the item won’t miss out.

A: This is a good idea! I really struggle with creating flat-lays, though. I would actually love to hire someone to help with those, but they’d have to be local, and pretty available to stop in and put them together when ever I have something — not very practical, lol!

C: In general, I like to see outfits ON you, not flat-lays (they are eye-catching, but not helpful.)

A: LOL! I just share this because it’s funny to me how many conflicting opinions there are out there, and even if I wanted to, I could never please everyone 100% of the time.

C: Less trends, more basics and closet staples.

C: I’d love to see you step out of your comfort zone a bit more, try some trendier items like kimonos and things. A lot of your outfits look the same.

A: I rest my case! HAHA!

Q: Could you do a post on dressing your teen?

A: I’d be happy to, although my girls are not willing participants. I could do a roundup post though. Ironically my older daughter (the 15 y/o) dresses mostly like me. Seriously, pullovers and jeans and booties. Every. Day. Or pajamas, because she does cyber school. We even joke she’s a 40-year-old woman in a 15-year-old body. The 12 y/o is still in kid sizes for the most part. All that to say, I’m not sure how helpful my teen fashion posts would be.

Q: How about some “Don’t Do This” thoughts?

A: I’d like to, but I struggle whenever I try to do that because to find a picture of a good Fashion Don’t, I am usually insulting someone. LOL!!

Q: I would like to see some more outfits for church.

A: I do share all my church outfits in my Instagram Roundups, but I realize our church is very casual compared to some. I hear ya, though. I can work on that. I should probably ramp up my church style a bit anyway. I’ve always been one to dress to go to church no matter what anyone else wears. I feel it’s a matter of reverence and respect, but it’s easy to get lazy and resort to jeans when you know no one cares, lol!

C: I’d love to see you try on a larger variety of trends, not that you need to buy them, but perhaps try some on in a store. I don’t have shopping around me really so if I can see something on a real person it helps me determine if it’s worth ordering or not.

A: I would actually like to do more of this, maybe even a weekly feature. The reason I don’t do them more is, to be honest, I find them incredibly exhausting. I know, I sound like a lazy-butt, but really. Shopping takes it out of me. Ha! That said, it makes so much sense to do that b/c I don’t have to deal with returns and I don’t have to buy stuff I don’t want to keep. So I am going to TRY!!!

C: Perhaps compare 2 outfits and detailing what makes one outfit look less frumpy.

A: I like this idea. It has been suggested before, and I always think, “Oh yeah, I’ll do that!” And then I forget, lol. That might be a good thing to share on Insta Stories.

C: If you ever have suggestions on ways to modify outfits for other body types, like subbing boot cut jeans for skinnies, that would be helpful.

A: I had quite a few people suggest this, and I will try to do more with that. I’m not always confident what does work well on other body types, so that is the main reason I don’t go into that, plus my posts are long enough. Haha! But it is good feedback, and I’ll keep it in mind.

C: I enjoy your posts very much. Recently it seems you’ve used a filter on some of your photos which distorts you somewhat. Maybe that’s only how it shows on my computer, but I don’t think you need any filter like that. You’re beautiful enough on your own. 🙂

A: Bless your heart! Alison definitely goes a little filter crazy on her photos, and I’ve recently experimented some with Lightroom filters because I think some of the effects are cool, notsomuch because I’m trying to hide anything. But I will keep that in mind. I definitely don’t want my pictures to become too heavily edited. That said, I do smooth out some wrinkles and things because, well, I’m kind of  vain. And getting older isn’t for sissies! Ha!

Q: One fashion trend I don’t understand and can’t master is the half or partial tuck. Could you educate us on that trend and continue to discuss fashion trends?

A: I can’t wait for that trend to die a fast and furious death. Ha! Until then, maybe this post will help: How to Front Tuck Your Shirt. Sorry it’s so old, I should update with newer pictures.

Q: Could you do a post on how to tie different kinds of scarves? Thanks!!

A: Start with these posts: 3 Ways to Tie a Blanket Scarf and Another Way To Tie an Oversized Blanket Scarf. I will be doing one soon on tying the typical oblong scarves.

Q: Could you do a post on what to let go of in your closet? When is a style retired? I try to be somewhat in style but sometimes I wonder if something is still stylish? Like the big shoes from several years ago! Or bootcut jeans!

A: I like this idea a lot but not sure how I can implement it in a practical way because the answer to most of those questions is, “It depends…” on so many factors. Like, bootcut jeans aren’t out of style necessarily, but some of them look dated and some don’t, and I’m not sure how to differentiate without seeing the pair in question.

I guess that’s sort of what I try to do in the Fight the Frump posts… definitely something I’ll keep in mind.

Q: Share more plus sizes please. 

A: I would really love to do this, and I know from friends how hard it can be to find stylish, quality plus size clothing. It’s just hard for me to even know what a good recommendation is when I don’t shop in that department, and I feel like it’s a whole other ballgame to shop for plus sizes (same for petites.) But I will try to keep that in mind!

C: Less Nordstrom sale hype – don’t know if I can take another anniversary sale deluge from all of blog land!

A: Haha, I hear ya. I had to answer this because I’ve heard this a couple of times. I really didn’t think I overdid the #NSale this year. Beyond the huge Guide to #NSale post and the followup post with the dressing room pictures, things sold out so fast that I didn’t style a single outfit post with #NSale pieces in the remaining weeks of the sale. It was so ridiculously hot during that time that I remember thinking, “Forget it, no one wants to see fall outfits.” I probably did a post with things that were left towards the end, but it’s a 3 or 4 week sale.

Anyway, I felt the need to put that out there because I felt like I really didn’t push it much this year, but maybe because so many bloggers push it as well, it just is a lot no matter what, and you may not notice one particular blogger backing off. I can’t say I won’t post about it again, that post always does really well for me and is well received by the majority, but I will definitely try to remember how overwhelming it can be and try to balance it with other content. 🙂

C: Not really sure how you get paid for the blog but wonder if you make more according to replies or comments. I am more of a stalker but would be happy to comment if it would be beneficial to you.

A: That is sweet, I appreciate that. Comments and replies don’t really affect my income, although I guess when you post a comment, it refreshes the page, which gives me another page view, which eventually add up, and that helps ad revenue. I hadn’t really thought about that before. (I promise, that is NOT why I reply to so many of your comments!)

The times a comment would really help is when a post is sponsored. Sponsors like to see comments and engagement about their product. But I just like comments anytime! It’s the comments and the feedback from you guys that keeps me going. I would have never stuck with blogging this long if it was just a job. It’s the community and the conversations with you all that I love. So please, comment anytime! (But feel free to lurk if that is more comfortable for you. I don’t mind that either.)

Q: I would appreciate a refresher on how my purchasing can help you make money… I buy from Nordstrom and Old Navy online. If I access by clicking thru a link on your blog but buy something else, (not your featured item), do you make $? I’d like to help you as much as possible but I don’t know how this works. Maybe another little post about how the business side of your blog works?

A: Again, I appreciate that very much. I know that some people are kind of cranky about fashion bloggers making money through affiliate links, so when I hear you guys trying to support my business in this way, it means so much to me. Basically, anytime you make a purchase through one of my links, I get a small commission (usually somewhere between 5 — 10%) on your purchase. This is on whatever you purchase, whether you buy the actual product or not.

For more on how I make money doing this blog as a job, I wrote a post once that answers this question: How Do You Make Money On Your Blog? I haven’t updated it in a while, but it should still be accurate and relevant.

C: You are ALWAYS grammatically correct and clearly put a lot of effort into it. 🙂

A: Bless you, and thank you. I’m a bit of a grammar snob, I will confess. I enjoy that part of the writing process — the editing, etc. You wouldn’t believe how much time I spend editing posts, or maybe you would… ha! You know what’s annoying? My kids will NOT let me edit their school papers. They really should!

C: I finally bought some of the AG jeans you go on about. I’m throwing out all my others! You were absolutely right!!

A: Haha, that made my day! I love it when I made a premium denim convert. And I did get other comments similar to this about jeans, shoes, specific retailers, etc. I’m not out to make everyone go into credit card debt on expensive clothes (lo) but it does make me happy to see people finding the value in better quality products, and hopefully building a wardrobe of pieces they really love that last and look great and work together.

C: I would love to know what might be valuable to you from the feedback/comments.

A: Why, thank you. That’s a thoughtful thing to ask. Honestly, I just enjoy the interaction — whatever it is that you’re thinking about what I shared, etc. is fun to hear.

Okay, I realize this post is ridiculously long, but I hope you find it interesting or at least got some of your questions/comments answered. Before I announce the giveaway winner, I’ll finish with this sweet comment.

C: Thank you for your blog and sharing your life! I am dealing with some big challenges in my life, and some days your blog is really needed to provide me with a much-needed glimpse of happiness and normalcy and family love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

A: I had a couple comments like this one, and I just want to say that I am beyond humbled to think my silly ramblings can bring anyone happiness, but I’m so glad they do! You are so very welcome. xo

IN CONCLUSION

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

Is anyone still here?

I mean, really. You deserve a cupcake . . . gluten-free, of course!

Honestly, I cannot thank you enough for sticking with me to the end . . . all three of you! Ha!

This was fun for me, and hopefully interesting to you too. I am ALWAYS open to questions and ideas constructive comments, so email me anytime or drop a comment on a blog post.

And now, without further ado . . .

THE WINNER OF THE $100 NORDSTROM GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY IS . . .

*** [email protected] ***

I will be emailing you shortly to get your info. CONGRATS!!!!!

And thank you ALL for being here. It truly means so much.

xo