Reader Survey Results (Part Two)

I’m back today to share the demographics from the reader survey nearly 400 of you took about a month ago.  I shared the blog-related results on Tuesday, in case you missed it.  Again, a big thank you and fist bump to all of you who played along.

I kind of already knew this, but my key demographic is college educated, 25-34 year old women (what’s up with no dudes reading my blog?) who are married and childless, but most are hoping to have children one day.  Holy smokes.  That’s me, you guys.  You’re me and I’m you.  Crazy pants.  No wonder why we get along so well.  But I will say if I was to total up all the readers with kiddos it would probably equal the childless readers, which is totally cool.  Just something I have to throw in so all the mommas don’t get mad at me because I love my momma readers too.  Shoot, you guys know I love all of you like Justin Beiber loves getting tattoos.

two twenty one survey results 1

Furthermore, most of you live in two people, single-family homes of which you own.  And quite a few of you own pets.  I don’t know why the “other” option didn’t show up in the graph.  But some of you do own different pets, like birds, guinea pigs, turtles, sheep, chinchillas, hedgehogs, rats, lizards, chickens, and husbands (you said it, not me).

reader survey results 2

I drew another conclusion from the above results– many of you are like me.  You live in 2 person, single-family homes of which you own.  And a sizable amount of you have a dog or dogs.  Just like yours truly.  This makes sense because I read a fair amount of blogs written by women who are in my life stage/situation.  Does this mean I can’t relate to readers who aren’t in my same, exact situation?  Heck no.  I used to rent an apartment.  I used to be < 25.  I used to be single.  I have friends with kids.  The list goes on.

I really enjoyed geeking out and tabulating the results of the survey and finding out more about all of you.  And again, I appreciate all the awesome comments you left me in the blog-related survey.  You guys are the best.

Don’t forget to enter the $100 Visa gift card giveaway!

Are you surprised by the demographics?
Are you me and I’m you?  (That sounds really deep, no?)

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Reader Survey Results (Part One)

About a month ago I asked you guys to tell me a little about you.  A big thank you to the nearly 400 of you who played along.  I learned a lot from the survey.

Today I’m sharing your responses to the blog-related questions.  I’ll share the results of the demographics on Thursday.  Covering both in one post would have given you a cramp from scrolling so I decided to break it up.  Alright, let’s dive in!

The majority of you have been a reader for less than a year, and most of you don’t have blogs of your own.  Many of you read Two Twenty One from the comfort of your homes.  You guys seem to prefer to read comments rather than leaving comments.  Don’t be afraid to comment.  I’m trying to my very best to set aside time during the week to reply to comments.  I haven’t been the best at that in the past but it’s a new goal of mine I’m working on.  Moving along, you seem to be happy with the frequency of posts, although some of you want more, which is better than asking for less because that’s basically like saying “stop yammering, Chelsea”.

blog results 3

Now on to the open ended questions.

fave blogs

The most frequently listed blogs were:

Young House Love  •  IHeart Organizing  •  Bower Power  •  House of Smiths  •  Centsational Girl

why do you read two twenty one

•  ”I like your approach and that you appear to keep it real. You do real projects on a real budget. Many of your projects I could see myself doing.”

•  ”It’s inspiring! It offers so many great tips and tricks and it’s almost as I feel apart of your life. Creepy? Haha, sorry!”

•  ”I love the clean uncluttered look of your blog, topics and past projects are easy to find and your photography is awesome.”

•  ”I like your style, your easy DIY ideas, and your tone/sense of humor. You’re entertaining to read, and inspire me to create for my own home.”

•  ”It inspires my homemaking and creative juices. Also I am heartened that such a young woman is so intentional about life–homemaking, networking, writing (her writing style is witty and elegant). Many women deny their creative sides and pour themselves into work and agenda-based activities. Through this blog and some others I’ve found through her blogroll I have discovered kindred spirits regardless of age (I am old enough to be Chelsea’s mother…) who can express their passion and activism through their blogs. It’s very inspiring.”

are there more topics youd like to see on 221

•  ”I’m happy with whatever you want to blog about– I think that’s why blogs are so appealing.”

•  ”I always love the way you put spaces together, so more “space reveals”/tips would be great. Photography tips would be wonderful too because your photos are awesome!”

•  ”More of your personal life! You have such a cute little family so we’d love to see more of you and your family along with your house!”

•  ”I’m really interested in DIY home decor. I’d love to see how I can find something at a thrift shop or very inexpensive items at the dollar store and make it into a nice decoration for the home.”

anything else youd like to say

•  ”Just that I admire anyone who can work, take care of a hubby and meet all of the other of life’s demands and still write a blog that is so inspiring and well written.”

•  ”More vlogs! The one you did for Haven was hilarious.”

•  ”You have such a fun blog and I can tell you take the time to thoughtfully craft your posts and readers appreciate that!”

•  ”Your creativity inspires me to improve my own surroundings.”

•  ”Please be my friend.”

That’s it, friends.  Thanks so much for participating in my little experiment.  You were great lab rats.  And I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer the surveys.

I must say thanks to those of you who “get me” and my sense of humor.  It meant a lot to me to read that you enjoy my humor and writing style.  It proves that many of you actually read my blabbering rather than just looking at the photos.  I try my best to write how I talk in real life.  Although I was told at SNAP! conference a few weeks ago by Allison from House of Hepworths that I’m “so much more hilarious in person”.  No, I didn’t pay or bribe her to say that, and no she wasn’t intoxicated when she made that statement.  I think.  So if you don’t like my humor or how I write we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life, which is totally cool.

If you want to see how I talk in real life watch my vlog.  Many readers said the vlog enhanced their reading experience because they could put an actual voice to the words.  Don’t let the vlog make you feel awkward.  I felt awkward enough going through with it to cover your feelings of awkwardness and my own.

Any reactions to the blog survey results?
General statements?

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Blogger Business Cards

Next Wednesday morning, far before my normal waking time, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane, and I don’t know when I’ll be back again.  Just kidding.  I’ll be back on Sunday.

I’m heading to SNAP! conference in Salt Lake City.  It’s a meeting of the creative blogger minds.  There will be squealing (I don’t squeal, remember?), hugging (I’m not really a hugger, but I put that aside at these types of events), and bloggers introducing themselves by their name and blog name (Hi, I’m Chelsea from Two Twenty One).

With blog conferences comes blogger business cards.  Bloggers swap these puppies like nobody’s business.  Showing up to a blog conference without business cards is like showing up to a nudist community fully-clothed.

I changed up my blogger business cards from last year with the help of my awesome blog friend, Erin.  This time around we added all of my social media contact information.  We also added my beautiful mug so people are more likely to remember me.  (I’ll let you know if this tactic works.)  Erin also put my logo on both sides of the card, which is a great idea because no matter what side people look at they see my logo.  It’s all “Two Twenty One, in yo face!”

blogger business cards

If you ever find yourself needing blogger business cards I recommend including the following:
• your name
• name of your blog/blog logo
• blog URL
• your email address
• social media contact information (facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram, google+)
• photo of yourself (optional)
• phone number (optional)
• QR code (optional)

Now this may seem like common sense, but don’t copy other bloggers’ business card designs– especially if they’re in the same niche as you.  I know business cards aren’t copyrighted and all that jazz, but it’s not the best idea to have your business card look like someone else’s.  Set yourselves apart, people.

I liked how my old business cards turned out, so I went back to Vistaprint to have them printed.  I went with premium matte stock again.  It has a good weight to it– no one likes a flimsy business card.  The 250 business cards set me back $33 (that includes shipping), which isn’t too bad.

I’m using my Baffin Bags blogger business card holder again this year.  Because, remember, rubber bands aren’t the classiest method of containing your cards inside your blogger bag

blogger business card holder

And you better believe I’m bringing a binder ring and a hole punch to organize all the other bloggers’ business cards.  People were jealous of this system at Haven.

what to bring to blog conference

Don’t forget to take the Two Twenty One reader survey!

Are you going to SNAP!?
Are your blogger business cards ready to go?
Do you plan on attending a blog conference this year?  You should.  They’re fun.
If you’re not a blogger, do you wonder if us bloggers get wild and crazy at blog conferences?
The answer is yes.

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Two Twenty One Reader Survey

I’ve been wanting to do a reader survey for a long time.  I’m always curious about who reads all this stuff I yammer on about and what they think about all my yammering.  So I created a reader survey for you guys to kindly complete.  Well, it’s actually two surveys because Survey Monkey only allowed me to have ten questions per survey, or I’d have to pay for a pro membership (no thanks, SM).  Survey One mostly pertains to Two Twenty One and blog reading habits, while Survey Two mostly pertains to reader demographics.

The surveys shouldn’t take you too long to complete.  And don’t worry, these are completely anonymous– your names and IP addresses won’t be recorded.

To take the surveys, I recommend right clicking each image below and selecting “open link in new tab” so you won’t have to worry about coming back here to take the second survey after completing the first.  Sorry I’m too cheap to pay $25 for a one-time survey.  I hope you understand.

two twenty one-- survey one

two twenty one-- survey two

I’ll share the results of the survey next week.

Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me about you!

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What to Take to a Blog Conference + Printable Checklist

 

In a few weeks I’m heading to SNAP!, a crafts and home DIY blog conference in Salt Lake City.  I’m pretty excited because I had an amazing time at Haven last year.  Blog conferences are downright fun.  You’re with your people.  They get you, and you get them.  Plus, you learn a lot.

Around this time is when bloggers start to freak out a little about what to take to a blog conference, especially newbies.  Do I take my laptop?  Will I need my DSLR?  What will I wear?!  Rest assured, I’m here to clue you in on what to take to a blog conference.

Now, I’m not an expert because I’ve only been to one conference, but I quickly learned what to bring and what not to bring.  So let’s start with your blogger bag.  It’s the bag you’ll carry with you during the conference.

what to put in your blogger bag

1. Bag
In order to have a blogger bag you’ll need a bag.  A nice sized tote is a good choice.  Feel free to splurge and get a smaller bag to curtail the little stuff you’ll put in the bag.

2. Smartphone
This is kind of a no brainer, but you’ll want your smartphone.  You’re going to want to tweet people and post pics of you and your favorite bloggers on Instagram.  You’re also going to want to use your smartphone to take photos.

3. iPad/tablet
An iPad is great for taking notes in breakout sessions, especially if you prefer typing over writing.

4. Notebook
You’ll want a notebook for notes (obviously), especially if you don’t bring a tablet.  I used my notebook and iPad at Haven last year.

5. Pens
Bring more than one pen.  You’re bound to lose one.  Plus it’s nice to have a couple to lend people who forgot or lost theirs.

6. Business Cards & Holder
You’re at a blog conference to network so it’s kind of silly to show up without business cards.  (Read about mine here.)  And you don’t want to fumble around your bag for your cards when someone asks for one, so invest in a business card holder.  There are plenty on Etsy.

7. Mints
Who wants to have rank breath when they meet their blog idol?  No one.  That’s who.

8. Hand Lotion
Sometimes you hug people, sometimes you shake hands.  Which now reminds me that I should have put hand sanitizer on this list.  Anyway, keep your hands moisturized for all the hand shaking with some lotion.

9. Water Bottle
Wet your whistle.  You’ll be talking a lot.

10. Lip Gloss
Sometimes you hug people, sometimes you kiss people.  Hah.  Just kidding.  Keep your smackers looking pretty and hydrated with some lip gloss.

11. Smartphone Backup Battery
Your phone battery will die.  I promise this will happen to you.  Save yourself a headache and invest in a smartphone backup battery.

optional things to bring

1. DSLR camera
I lugged my DSLR all the way to Haven to not use it.  I took photos with my iPhone or if I was in a photo taken with a DSLR I’d ask the DSLR’s owner if she could email me the pic.  Worked out fine for me.

2. Laptop
I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to bring your laptop.  I didn’t take one to Haven since I had an iPad.  You won’t have time to work on blog posts or edit photos at a blog conference.  Leaving your laptop at home means one less thing you have to drag around the airport with you.

3. Duffel Bag
To put the bodies in.  Just kidding.  There’s typically a fair amount of swag at blog conferences.  If you’re flying, I recommend bringing along a durable duffel bag in your checked bag.  When the conference is over, you can put your dirty clothes in the duffel bag and your swag in your suitcase.  This way you’re able to take your swag home with you.  Trust me, it’s no fun leaving swag behind.  Since you’re only flying one way, the checked duffel bag should only cost you an additional $20-$25 to get it home.  Darn airlines making us pay for checked bags nowadays.

4. Media Kits
Your media kit is a piece of paper that tells all about you and your blog.  Some things you’ll find on a media kit are: type of blog, history of the blog, photo of the author, about the author, statistics, some blog photos, advertising policy, brands the author has worked with, etc.  Media kits come in handy when meeting and talking with brand representatives.

5. Power Strip
If you’re going to have 3+ roommates you may want to consider bringing a power strip so there will be enough outlets to charge all of your electronics.  However, I stayed with two other girls at Haven, and I never used the one I brought because there were enough outlets for the three of us.

6. Roommate Gifts
Some bloggers will bring little gifts for their roommates as a preemptive apology for passing gas or hogging the bathroom mirror.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  It could be a candle, their favorite candy, or some cute stationary.  If this gives you anxiety (will my roommates bring me a gift and I’m the jerk who shows up empty handed?) talk to your roommates about it beforehand and tell them you don’t expect a gift or settle on everyone bringing a bag of dried fruit candy to share.  Or you could take it to the next level and do a white elephant of sorts.

7. E-reader
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time flying or hanging out in airports between flights I recommend bringing your e-reader along.  You won’t need it during the conference.  Unless you’re totally anti-social.  But that won’t happen because you’ll be with your people, remember?

Now, because I’m the nicest person in the world, I created a blog conference packing checklist for you.  Oh, stop it.  You don’t have to tell me how awesome I am.

I added the lines next to the clothing and accessories so you can specifically list which pieces of clothing you want to bring (ex: blue dress, jean jacket, emerald earrings).

Click on the image to download the checklist.

blog conference packing checklist

Do you have to bring everything on the checklist?  No.  Decide what you want to bring based on what you think your needs are.  If you won’t use your laptop, don’t bring it.  But please bring your deodorant.  You’ll definitely need that.

Will I see you at SNAP?
Any blog conference tips for newbies?
Is there something you bring to conference that I left out?

I’m sharing this at the following parties: Home Stories A to ZTatertots and JelloHouse of HepworthsLiz Marie BlogThe Shabby NestPositively SplendidWhipperberryClassy ClutterToday’s Creative BlogUncommon DesignsCraftberry BushDesign, Dining, & DiapersCrafty Scrappy HappySnap Creativity, and Serenity Now.

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This post contains affiliate links.

Let’s Talk Blog (Part Two)

Last week, in celebration of my 2nd blogiversary this week, I opened the floor to you all to ask me any burning questions you may have.  Yesterday I answered some of your blog related questions, and today I’m answering the rest of your blog related questions.  Get excited.

lets talk blog

How did you get noticed and start to grow you blog?
My very first DIY tutorial (thrifty hurricanes) was featured on Apartment Therapy.  This rarely happens.  It’s so rare I hadn’t been featured on Apartment Therapy again, to my knowledge, until recently for my stenciled file cabinet.  My next big project to get noticed was my wine cork candle holders.  I still get a lot of hits on these earlier posts.

I think I get noticed because of my photography.  Think about it.  We’re visual beings.  It’s a lot easier (and faster) to look at a photo and decide whether you like what you see rather than spending time reading a post and deciding whether or not you like it.  Does that make sense?  My advice would be to pull readers in with awesome photography.  Then hit them with great content.

Here’s the deal.  I don’t know of a blogger who was an overnight success.  I’ve never heard of a DIY home blog going from zero to 100,000 pageviews per month in the matter of a couple weeks or months.  Success in blogging takes a lot of time and hard work.  I’ve been blogging for over 2 years.  The ‘big bloggers’ out there (Young House Love, Thrifty Decor Chick, Centsational Girl, etc.) have been blogging for 4+ years, and they started blogging when there were far less DIY bloggers to compete with.  I don’t mean blogging is a competition, but the market is much more saturated with DIY blogs now than it was 4-5 years ago.  Plus, those bloggers have 4+ years of content to lure readers to their blog.  If you want your blog to be successful you need to put in the effort.  Things don’t happen miraculously or overnight.

Everyone seems to say that Pinterest is a huge traffic source, so how do you think you started getting your images pinned on Pinterest?
Pinterest has been amazing for the growth of my blog.  It’s currently my #2 traffic source.  I think I started getting my images pinned on Pinterest by having great photos.  (Are you seeing a trend?  Everything goes back to photography.)  People are far more likely to pin and repin bright, crisp, eye-catching photos.  How many dark, unfocused, and generally bad photos do you see on Pinterest?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t see many– at least from the people I follow.  If you do see a lot of these photos do you click on them to read the post?  I’m going to guess that 95% of the time you skip over them.  On top of having good photos, I try to add text to my images.  This gives Pinterest users a clear indication of what they’ll find when they click on the image.  You can easily add text to photos using free websites like PicMonkey.

how to stencil furniture


how to put lights on christmas tree 1

Where do you find link parties?
I’ve been linking up to the same link parties for 1-2 years.  I couldn’t tell you how I found them because I don’t remember.  Some of them are hosted by bloggers I’m friendly with, and some are hosted by blogs I’ve been reading for a long time.  You can find link parties by seeing where other bloggers link up.  For reference here’s the list of link parties I try to link up to: Home Stories A to ZTatertots and JelloHouse of HepworthsThe Shabby Creek CottageLiz Marie BlogThe Shabby NestPositively SplendidWhipperberryFunky Junk InteriorsClassy ClutterToday’s Creative BlogUncommon Designs, and Serenity Now.  Tip:  Always, always, always link back to the blogs you link up to.  It’s the polite thing to do, and you’re less likely to be featured if you don’t link back.

How many blog posts do you read a day?  Or how many blogs are on your reader?
Depends on the day.  I read my blogger friends’ blogs almost daily.  Sometimes I get behind when I get really busy, but I eventually catch up.  I typically go through blogs on my reader a few times a week.  I have about 150 blogs on my reader, but I bundle them into groups.  I follow a lot of my favorite blogs on Facebook.  If I see the blogger add an interesting post I’ll click through to read it.  I feel like a lot of people use Facebook to keep up with their favorite blogs, especially since you can organize your ‘liked’ pages.

I know you work with children, and I work in education.  I am kind of avoiding telling people at work about my blog because I sort of feel like they might not appreciate my humor, or they’ll think I’m less professional.  Do you ever feel this pressure or have similar worries?  Any tips for filtering yourself but still being you?
I never tell my clients about my blog– mostly because the topic never comes up.  I have co-workers, but I rarely see them so very few of them know about the blog.  I don’t feel pressure or worry because I try to keep it clean on here.  I debated calling my dresser turned TV stand a “crack house dresser” but I decided to go with it because it was funny and mostly true (seriously, this house was uninhabitable, and I’m pretty certain it was a former crack den).  When in doubt, ask a co-worker you’re close with to proof your posts for you.  They’d be able to tell you whether or not you’re being too risque.  I doubt you’ll get fired from your job for referencing a boob light in a blog post, it’s not like you’re performing at Dancers on amateur night.

Do you help out your blog followers with projects they are working on by giving advice?
If you mean help out in terms of answering a specific question on a project I’ve covered on the blog but didn’t answer your specific question then I’m more than happy to help– just comment on the post or shoot me an email.  If you’re talking about helping readers pick out a rug or lamp, the answer is not really.  If I did I’d probably have to charge people.  I’m all about helping people out but time is money.  I’m sure I sound like a huge jerk, but I’m currently running three small businesses– my day job, the blog, and my Etsy shop.  Plus I run Casa de Two Twenty One.  I wouldn’t be the first blogger to charge though, many create mood boards for readers for a fee.  If you want advice on certain projects (what color to paint something, which lamp to buy, etc.) I suggest getting on social media and asking your followers what they think.  People love to give their opinions.

I hope I did a good job answering your blog related questions.  Let me know if you have more questions or if there’s a certain blog topic you’d like me to cover in a future post.

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