Any Other Survey Results-The Second Part!

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 submissionswe 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”

“thinking woman’s crumpet”

“A little corner of the world where I can be me. Just me!”

“Honest, real and unafraid to talk about what other bloggers shy away from”

“a bookish, slightly dreamy, quirky ethos”

“understands that above everything, weddings are about marriages and people”

“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”

“If you’ve got something to say, here’s where you say it!”

“going beyond the superficial and into the kind of conversation you want to have with girlfriends you love and respect”

“AOW is…less pretty, more nitty gritty!”

“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”

‘A visit to AOW is like snuggling up on the sofa in a big jumper, with your best friend, with a cup of tea in your hand and a cat in your lap. You don’t even have to brush your hair to visit. They probably don’t even mind if you have odd socks on.
“like having a really good friend… Just one that’s a website”

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.

Inclusiveness

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.


There’s a difference, isn’t there, between what we do as people and what we do as bloggers, representative of the blog.  We’ve made such good friends from blogging, and we love to exchange banter and chat with those people, because we consider them our friends.  It serves absolutely no end for us to shy away from building friendships, and to shy away from public displays of friendships with those people.  If we seem to be purporting “in jokes”, then feel free to ask us about them, we’d be honoured to explain them to you!   
 
We are careful to never, ever build friendships on behalf of the blog to the exclusion of other community members.  If any member of the AOW community wants to email, contact or tweet any one of us, we will always respond, and be proud to respond.  Because that is what we’re here for; we’re building a community founded on respect of each others’ views, and on inclusiveness.  Without that, AOW is just a listless bunch of posts. 
  
Sponsorship and advertising:

Over half of you said you’d be interested in reading about AOW-approved suppliers.  This is really, really interesting.  We need the blog to grow…but we need it to do so in a way that isn’t selling out, that isn’t going to make AOW lose what makes it special, that down-to-earthiness, that focus on the real side of people, relationships, life.  We don’t want sponsors to take away from the focus on writing, and on the stories we share.  We want to stay your local independent store and not become your high-street multinational conglomerate. 

So we have to think very, very carefully about introducing sponsors.  And if we do, they need to be ones that we are convinced will make your lives more fulfilling. Not just wedding vendors, because we’re about  more than weddings, but pointing our readers in the direction of book clubs, classes and courses, ethical products, ideas, that will make a real difference to the way that they live their lives.  Anything else makes a mockery of what we’ve built here. 

So we’ll keep you posted on sponsorship and advertising, but we want you to know that we hear your worries, and we have no intention of sacrificing anything that we’ve built here.  There’s a fine balance to strike, and we are determined to do it.              


The site itself:
As well as making the site easier to use, there has been another topic niggling at us for a while. We regularly hear ‘Oh! So you don’t just write about weddings? Huh. Who knew?’ Now we know that this misunderstanding is of our own doing. It’s no bad thing that we’re called AnyOtherWedding – we know that a lot of you have found us via other wedding blogs and it’s testament to your loyalty that you have stuck around to watch us grow. But we also know that we are doing exactly that; growing. We are talking more and more about the things that make us who we are – and not just our marriages or our weddings. We’re talking about being women. Working women, housewives, mothers, students, business owners…you’re all here. And we want that to be reflected in the name of the site. So…watch this space.

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.’

‘Perhaps more visual content’
‘I think if you were to re-design the site (I know this costs a lot of money, but I can honestly say its worth it!) I would really like to see something that reflects all of your personalties!’
‘Love the content, not sure the current header and design is really representative of what AOW is all about’
‘having an easy-to-find archive would really help the newly engaged!’
‘Its design. It could do with being fancied up a bit!’
‘More colour, i’m like a child and colour makes me happy!’
‘Your intros to each posting are EXCELLENT – I adore reading the ‘lead in’ – perhaps rather than having to scroll to the bottom we could get your names at the top eg. ‘XX posted by Aisling/Clare/Anna’
‘Just easier to navigate and find past posts, really, and the being able to reply to other people’s comments.’

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.

In Conclusion…

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

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW
11 interesting thoughts on this

8 Comments

  1. Posted November 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous results! Very impressed with the visuals.. and very interested to read the responses. Surely the biggest change to come is obvious….(I'm guessing?) Hmmm…..AOW….But more than just weddings…..good luck with the changes guys, very exciting!

    Px

  2. Posted November 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh, it's been so exciting to see everyone's reaction to this!

    I cant tell you all just how much time and love and effort went into this post…we are so grateful to both Ben and Frankie for their patience, and to you all for filling in the survey. It's been so helpful to us all to know more about you and what you want. We promise to deliver.

  3. Posted November 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I think I love you all a little bit more… Great posts today, fantastic visuals & here's to the next step…

  4. Posted November 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious for me that my lovely hubby ended up doing some work for this wonderful blog- as he hears about AOW from me alllll the time. Example: Us sitting on beautiful beach in Thailand, me looking at my phone. Ben: What are you reading? Me: Any Other Wedding…

    Working with Anna, Clare and Aisling was every bit as ace as I'd imagined. So pleased the graphics have gone down well! Thank you everyone! I'm a little bit proud today, I have an excellent talented husband AND I'm sure he's become an AOW fan now too…

  5. Posted November 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    PS. My fave statistic is:
    What percentage of AOW readers want to read LESS of Aisling/Clare/Anna's 'drivel'? Um, 0%…… :-)

  6. Posted November 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Loving the results survey post. It takes me back to when I did my dissertation, with this qualitative research analysis, except that your subject is much more interesting, and results are prettier.

    I love your drivel too. I'm surprised by less real weddings, perhap's it because most of us are married already, so not stealing ideas. I used to read RMW for idea stealing, but once married, I was indifferent to the content. However, once married, my love of AOW never waned.

    Look forward to the next step.

    xx

  7. Zan
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Great to see the results – and that they look so pretty! I look at graphs everyday for work. If they all looked like this, I'd definitely be more productive :-)

    I think I'm also a bit in love with whoever made this comment:

    "The modern woman's place of sanity on the web"

  8. Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Zan – I may well be more than just a little bit in love with that person. In fact, with pretty much everyone who answered the survey – you all had so much wonderful stuff to say. It's a surprise that our heads aren't now the size of small countries with all of the nice things you all wrote.

3 Trackbacks

  • By Biba Fever on February 29, 2012 at 12:13 am

    [...] stories, by reading and commenting and supporting each other, you are helping to make AOW the place you want it to be. As well as ‘the hard stuff’, many of you also said that you would love the occasional [...]

  • By How not to coast and associated ramblings. on February 29, 2012 at 9:31 am

    [...] We met some of you.  We did a survey, and discovered who you are, and that you want more of the same, and then some. We can’t do this without you. We need you to send us your submissions.  The world, being [...]

  • By Behind Closed Doors {Pornography} on February 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

    [...] started writing this post when I read the results of the Any Other Wedding survey.  One of the topics that others wanted to hear about is infidelity.  I have a [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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