We’re back with the second (and infinitely more ‘wordy’) part of our survey results. This morning we learnt about you and your lives, this afternoon we’re talking about what we all want from AOW and how we can achieve these wondrous targets.
Content and frequency of posts:
So….as you have seen, with most of the of the other questions we got the answers that we kind of expected. This one though blew our minds a little bit. You not only don’t mind ‘our drivel’, but it’s the thing that you most want to see more of. Well dear readers, your wish is our command. Expect more of our drivel coming your way. You don’t know what you’ve let yourselves in for.
And you know what else surprised us a little bit? That “real weddings” came so low down on your list of favourite posts. We always love reading about other people’s weddings; what worked for them, what was special about them, and what we can learn from them. So we will still be posting a small amount of carefully-chosen real weddings, but we will be using a format that we think will appeal more to you lovely lot, and fit in better with what AOW is about.
Overall though, we’re pleased to see that what we’re posting seems to be working for you. We have taken note of your likes and dislikes and will bear it all in mind when lining up our future posts.
Talking of future posts, what was reeeeally interesting in the survey was the subjects that you said you want us to cover in the future. You lot are a diverse and interesting lot, that’s for sure. Check out the graphic below….
You want everything from infidelity to fashion, and from budgets to miscarriages. And we want to cover these things. These are things that all really fit into what we believe AOW should be discussing, so we were chuffed to bits when we saw these things coming up time and time again.
What we would say though, is that some of these things are things that we have no direct experience of ourselves, so can’t always write about from our hearts. And that is where YOU come in. Have you experienced any of these things? Would you be willing to write about them (perhaps anonymously if you’d prefer, as part of the Behind Closed Doors series)? Perhaps you have a question that would work perfectly for Ask AOW about one of these topics (or anything else for that matter)? As much as you might like our drivel, AOW is not all about us, and so please, please, please send us in your submissions – we want to hear from every single one of you, because you all have a story to tell.
You know what else we were chuffed about? Only one person, out of all of you fabulous people who responded, wanted less posts. You were pretty evenly divided between wanting us to carry on posting the same amount, and wanting us to post lots more. We can’t promise lots more at the moment, because the most important thing to us is to keep up the quality of what we’re posting, but we do have plans to make sure that we keep bringing you more of what you want.
The AOW community and our ethos:
What more can we say about this that Ben’s amazing graphic doesn’t? You lot got it bang on. Just…look at those words. It’s everything we try to do here, and it means the world that you lot agree. Favourite quotes? There were so many. We spent far too long trying to whittle these down…
“The modern woman’s place of sanity on the web”
“A little corner of the world where I can be me. Just me!”
“a bookish, slightly dreamy, quirky ethos”
“People powered – every story or article on AOW is always firmly based in how strong women have succeeded – whether it be planning their wedding, overcoming family issues, or powering through health problems, and have kept those they love close around them…AOW shows that you can have the inner strength to tackle these things on your own, but to do it in a positive, life-affirming way”
“going beyond the superficial and into the kind of conversation you want to have with girlfriends you love and respect”
“AOW doesn’t make you feel bad for not being a supermodel bride…AOW makes you feel that doing whatever you ruddy well like and as long as you are happy, it’s legal and no one is being expoited is what will be the most marvellous”
We’ve known since the start that this is a site for you, the readers. We often talk about the interactive nature of the site, about the submissions you write us, and about how this site would be nothing if it weren’t for you, because you’re the bread and butter of what we do.
What we wanted to know though was…is this message getting through? Are our values reflected in yours? Does the “community” aspect of AOW matter as much to you as it does to us?
Building the community
This site is built on you the readers; and that means you need to know more about each other, and build the community further. Many of you were interested in meet-ups, which is great – and we’ll organise some more of Any Other Party ilk, book clubs, coffee mornings, crafty meet-ups, in places that aren’t just London or..er…KL. We do know, however, that not all of you can get to such events, through distance or circumstance. And luckily, meet-ups aren’t the only way for readers to get to know each other better.
Many of you wanted forums or a chat room (and may of you didn’t) – and we’ll look into this, but they do take some serious work to manage and maintain and we don’t want to promise something we can’t deliver. We do want to make it easier for you all to get to know each other, however. How about a series of posts with readers telling us more about themselves…a sort of “Reader Reveal”?. We’re also gathering together a list of readers’ blogs – so many of you have brilliant, witty, fascinating blogs, and we want to share the love! Send us through your blogs and we’ll include them all in our “Required Reading” section.
Many of you suggested a Facebook page and a more interactive comments section. We know our comments function at the moment isn’t the best, and when we re-launch our site (more on that coming soon) we hope to have a re-vamped comments section, that will make it much easier not just to comment but to have discussion threads. To further build community, we will host a Facebook page – and will be seeking ideas from you on what will make it a success. We want it to enhance the blog…not take away from it.
Oh, and if you’re on Twitter and we’re not following you, send us a tweet and we promise to follow back – we can’t promise to say anything insightful or relevant, but we are super interested in what you all have to say, and want to interact with more of you.
We have promised to feed back on everything, the good and the bad. One point raised was that our interaction with some other bloggers and members of the AOW community on Twitter or in the comments can feel cliquey, or excluding of other community members.
Sponsorship and advertising:
The layout and functionality of AOW has been the hot topic between the three of us for a long time. We knew early on in our blogging journey that we wanted a ‘real’ site. We bought the domain names, drew pictures, talked about sub-headings and fonts and colours….and we did this for a ridiculous amount of time. It turns out that when you’ve built something this precious, the thought of changing it is terrifying. What if we break it? What if we break it and we can’t fix it? What if the readers hate what we do? What if….. Gah. It goes on.
We realised that we could avoid breaking the blog and ruining your AOW experience by simply asking you what you’d change. What you’d love to see, what you could do without. And your answers have given us the confidence boost we needed to get the ball rolling on the redesign of AOW.
We are immeasurably delighted that every.single.one of you took the time to give us suggestions on how to improve the blog. Having your ideas in front of us to discuss and dissect and put into action is beyond incredible. It’s like we’re all sat around the kitchen table eating roast chicken and putting the world to rights. Here’s a selection of your awesomeness-
‘Just ease of use, making the whole thing a bit ‘cleaner’ design-wise.’
To summarise, you want it to be easier to search for/find old posts. (Snap!) You’d love a better commenting system (us too!) and you’d like to see the blog have a bit of a freshen-up and reflect what it is we do here at AOW (guess what-yep, we want the same thing!). It’s incredibly exciting for us to know that we’re on the right track, so thank you.
We can’t believe how much time and effort you wonderful people gifted us. All jokes aside, we’re more grateful than we can ever put into words. Making AOW the very best place it can be for you is our aim, so it made sense to involve you in the decisions we’re making. Just so you know, you blew our expectations out of the water. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We’re not saying that when you open up AOW tomorrow morning to perv over AnyOtherPhoto (tis way perv-worthy, by the way) that we’ll be all re-designed and shiny with a fully stocked archive and amazing comment system. These things take time and effort and if you bear with us, we promise to deliver something AMAZING to you, soon. We can’t wait.
All our love,
Clare, Anna and Aisling x