Update: For a .pdf of the survey results, click here.
Ok! So, here we go! It’s time to talk about the 2011 APW reader survey. You guys are totally in luck, it turns out. Last year, Jamie of Cactus and Quail designed beautiful info graphics with the data, and as I warned you when I did the survey, she is very very pregnant right now (by which I mean her due date is this week), so she couldn’t design for us this year. But reader Lizzie Rothwell stepped up, who’s another architect and designer (more on her below), so we get to talk about this in serious style.
The funny thing about APW demographics, is they hold STEADY. Once I have about 250 responses on a survey, they never budge. And they didn’t budge much from last year. We are:
Ladies. (Click through on this chart to check out the amazing notes)
Slightly older than the average bride in the US, which I love. Funny enough, since I’m about to turn 31 next week, I’m now older than the average APW reader, which I find boggling.
We are: 16% pre-engaged (so to speak), 42% engaged, 17% of us identify as Newlywed, and 17% of us identify as married (b*tches). Which seems about perfect to me.
As ever, we’re educated, with 55% of us either in, or finished with, graduate school. Which is a whole hell of a lot, y’all (least anyone say we’re not a little pointy-headed around here, achem).
We’re city girls, a lot of us, with 64% of us living in urban areas (again, that is pretty insanely high).
And I’m fascinated with the comparison of APW household incomes to APW wedding budgets. With 69% of the APW readership having a household income over $50,000, we are well over the US household average. But with 58% of APW-ers having wedding budgets of $20,000 or below, we’re under the national average for wedding budgets. And that’s exactly where David and I were when we were wedding planning. It wasn’t that we didn’t have money, it was that we didn’t want to blow it all on one party. And having spent my early twenties actually broke, it made me rage-full every time someone told us our wedding was super budget, or (worse) we were somehow broke, because we were not spending a pile of money on our wedding. Because I knew what broke was like, and we were not that. At all. We were not having a budget wedding, we were having a practical wedding, thank you VERY much. And apparently many of you guys are too. And I love that.
And for those of you who actually are feeling flat broke and throwing that wedding? An extra big high five from me, for rocking it.
Then, there is social media. You guys blog and use twitter, but oh-my-god-whoa, what you really use is Facebook. And since I currently use Twitter to hang out with APW-ers when I’m not blogging, that makes me think I need to get myself to Facebook, because I like hanging out with you.
Now to the meat of the survey: APW content. What you love, what you want more of, and where you’d like to see APW go (hint, you’re not totally sure).
First, number of times a day you’d like posts. The consensus seems to be between one and two times a day, which is perfect. Currently, we focus on getting out one really meaty, discussion focused post a day, and then we fill in from there (with awesome). In the afternoons, we’re likely to post Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress giveaways, weddings and anniversaries, book club stuff, and How-To posts—things that are important to the community around APW, but not necessarily going to trigger 100+ comment discussions. (Because um, no one can handle more than one of those conversations a week…)
Next up: what content you love, and what content you want more of. I limited your selection of what content you loved most to just four picks, so we’re just seeing what you love the very-very-very best here (aka, don’t think things with lower results are unloved parts of APW). And what you love most is not surprising: discussing marriage, wedding graduate posts, advice columns with Alyssa, my writing, and discussions about gender and feminism. It’s excellent to know that you guys like what I like, because it makes me think I can go on trusting myself to produce content that makes us both happy.
What you want to see more of is interesting. Most of you don’t want more wedding graduate posts, which is great. We currently do two wedding graduates a week, and that seems just perfect to me. I want each wedding graduate to have their day in the sun, and I want the posts to feel special, not like, “Oh, it’s today’s wedding. Next!” What you do want more of is marriage discussions, gender and feminism, and well, me. And I’m down with that.
A few commenters mentioned that it seemed like I was doing less writing these days, and they missed me. And this is undoubtedly true, if temporary. You see, for me, the whole point of making blogging a career is the writing. I love business development, I love the blog-o-sphere, but what I love most? Letting words tumble out of me, and having that sort out who I am, and what I think, and how I feel. But right now? Well, I’ve been writing 6,000 words a week on the APW book. And it seems like I have about 5,000-7,000 words that naturally live inside me every week, and after that? I’m tapped out. So, after I finish my rush towards the book deadline, expect me to show up a whole lot more on the APW page, writing it out.
What new features you want! (Funnnnn….)
- 74% of you want a weekly Ask Team Practical advice column for Marriage Questions. Which is excellent, and I’m thrilled to provide. Starting in June (after the book is due, sense a theme?) I will work on making that happen.
- 60% of you want me to bring back my sass section, and that gets more complicated. You see, when I was first writing this blog, it was pretty awesome to make jokes about the absurdity of the wedding industry, for my three other friends that were planning their weddings, and not that many other people. Now, making jokes at the expense of… people who might well read this blog… feels a little…. mean. And in real life, I’m really funny. But I’m not mean. So I’ll continue to struggle with finding a balance there. Because like you, I miss the jokes.
- 50% of you want a resources section. This is a major project which we’ll re-visit in the late summer, but as Alyssa pointed out, “No point doing all that work if they don’t want it.” But you want it, so, rad.
- 48% of you want vintage weddings back, so, DONE!
Then, APW member forums. 18% of you want them, 45% of you are on the fence, and 36% of you don’t want them. Which is great, because, well, there a million APW projects that I’m more interested in working on right now, so I’m thrilled that most of you are on the same side of the fence as I am.
And finally, where APW is going next. The most interesting thing that I learned in the write-in survey responses is that there is literally zero consensus on how people want APW and/or a potential sister site to develop from here. This is sort of a relief to me, because it frees me to trust my instincts, and follow my joy. APW is where it’s at because I’ve consistently made choices just because they made me happy, so I’m going to keep doing that.
Here are my general thoughts on future APW plans:
First, a timeline: My book is due in June (I know, I mentioned that. But it’s what I think about 90% of my waking hours). The remainder of June is slated for things like taking naps, and getting caught up on emails. July is slated for book edits. August is slated for starting all the work on APW that I’ve wanted to do for years, and never had time for (first a full time job, then a book, etc). Then in September, I plan to take a wee vacation, and then come back ready to tackle what’s next.
And what is next? 25% of you wanted APW to stay just like it is. The most frequent comment that I heard was not, “I only care about weddings” but that people didn’t want all the marriage content to be stripped out of APW. So my commitment to you is that I intend to keep APW just as it is, and always has been. It’s a place to talk about sensible weddings and what marriage means, and that is not going to change.
34% of you wanted to break off a marriage site. 40% of you wanted to break out a family site: A place that talks about what our families look like after marriage, with kids, without kids, whatever happens. And I’m with the 40%. I don’t want to break off a million smaller sites, I want one big place where we can talk about everything that happens after the newlywed stage. Because you know how I said that, for me,the reason for this site was all about the writing? Well, a year and a half after our wedding, I have stories to tell that just don’t fit into the APW mold anymore, and I know that many of you do too. I’m never going to stop loving sensible wedding planning, but I want there to be a place for us to continue to grow.
So, come September, I’ll be doing some serious thinking about that. Till then, cheers to each of you. It’s been such a joy having you with me every step of the way over the last three years.
Graphs by Lizzie Rothwell, an architect who describes herself this way: I’m 30 and I live in Boston. I’m trained as an architect and have been working in product development for a couple years at a startup prefab home company. Before that I taught architecture at the University of Michigan for a year and helped run the school’s digital fabrication lab (robots that build stuff for you), and before that I was a grad student there. Also I’m getting married in September to John – a yoga teacher, dancer, Trader Joe’s employee, and part-time literature and writing student (not necessarily in that order).