We're already making changes to the sites based on reader survey feedback

Oh! Look at that! Now it's super easy for Offbeat Home readers to find our archives for Renters, including tons of no-damage decor ideas.
The 2012 Offbeat Empire reader survey has only been up for a couple days, and we're already making changes to the sites based on y'all's feedback:

Offbeat Home

  • We've made it WAY easier to find all our existing posts about relationships, plus renting and no-damage decor (because 43% of you are renters who can't do stuff like paint your walls). We got a lot of feedback from folks who suggested we cover these topics to which we said "Wait, we already are!" and people were like "Oh! I didn't know that tag existed." VOILA!
  • Real Estate Porn: let us never speak of it again. A LOT of you (almost half) aren't into those posts at all. We'll likely cut back to once a month, tops.

Offbeat Bride

  • 22% of y'all don't like the Honeymoon posts, and 21% of Home readers want more travel content… so I think we'll migrate the Honeymoons posts over to Offbeat Home.
  • Despite the WedSites tab that's been built into our header for two years, 19% of you didn't know about our partnership with mywedding, and that there are Offbeat Bride-approved wedding website templates. GASP! We'll have to do a bit more posting about that awesomeness.

Offbeat Mama

  • AM Adorbz: A third of you really aren't into it. Effective immediately, those posts will go from five a week to maybe (maybe) five a month.

Offbeat Empire

  • Apparently y'all would love more staff gossip. Who knew? I added that option to the survey mostly as a joke, but wow. Expect some gossip this week!
  • Lots of you are interested in one-on-one business mentorship. Innnnteresting.

Needless to say, if you haven't taken the survey yet GO TAKE IT! We can't make improvements if we don't hear from you!

  1. This is so interesting!

    I have to say, I'm pretty ambivalent about the real estate porn, but couldn't knock it on the survey because I always love how excited Megan gets about it. Makes it worth scrolling through!

    11 agree
    • "I always love how excited Megan gets about it"

      This is why I responded that the editors are one of the main reasons why I read. The honesty, quirkiness, silliness, and overall positivity that you guys bring in your writing (and commenting) helps make OBE one of the most interesting places on the internet. :)

      9 agree
    • "I always love how excited Megan gets about it"

      In last year's reader survey, someone left the feedback that they really didn't like Megan's style, because she always reads like she's "trying too hard."

      And I'm like, but that's what I love about Megan. She's actually not "trying" at anything… she's just that enthusiastic/emphatic about shit!

      2 agree
        • Exclamation points are why I will never be able to write for a corporate company…

          EVERYTHING IS SO MANY AWESOMES!

          4 agree
    • I was actually shocked that people wanted less real estate porn as they get SO MANY COMMENTS. And I really only do one mayyybe two of a month if *ahem* NO ONE IS SUBMITTING ANYTHING!

      You hear me, Homies! Real estate posts are your punishment for not submitting.

      Just kidding, but I hear you.

      4 agree
      • HA! This cracks me up. Bitches better submit your shit, or else Megan is going to start doing posts about McMansions in Modesto, CA and Vancouver, WA.

        1 agrees
        • Hah! *starts contemplating a guest post to submit*

          3 agree
      • This is the best motivation for submitting posts to OBH I've ever heard. o.o

        5 agree
    • I, for one, like the real estate porn. I really like houses, especially slightly unusual houses.

      Maybe Megan and I should go sit in a corner together and drool over pictures of houses we will never be able to afford short of winning the lottery:)

      13 agree
      • Dude, this sounds ridiculously fun actually.

        1 agrees
        • Shoot, send me an invite to that party. I love the real estate porn. And yes, Megan's commentary is a big part of that.

  2. I think a lot of people have a love/hate for real estate porn because while it's fun to look at awesome homes, we walk away feeling butthurt because we can't afford it. Maybe the same love/hate occurs with honeymoon posts?

    13 agree
    • Excellent point.
      I just posted saying that I like the real estate porn (pretty houses are pretty!), but I agree that looking at those pictures is also sort of frustrating because I will never be able to afford anything that awesome.

      2 agree
    • TRUTH!!!

      And the fact that so many people are renting is kinda a testament to this. Hubs and I are renting. When we will eventually be able to afford a home, it'll be a small, cookie cutter apartment/condo. I love home tours because it's real people like me doing the best they can with the money resources they can.

      Real estate porn is awesome, yet slightly depressing fantasy :(

      2 agree
  3. Ugh yes the real estate porn. I mean I get it, cool houses are cool, but often I find the posts depressing.

    My [laid off] fiance and I currently live in his friend's house with another roommate and can barely afford THAT. I like to dream about the day we get back into our own place and are financially stable but seeing trazillion dollar houses is so far out of the scope of our lives right now that I think "fuck, what are THOSE people doing that they can have that house and why am I failing so hard at this money slash home thing?!"

    You know what would be super awesome? In the same vain as alternative housing, profiling super cheap AND super awesome houses.

    Although those probably don't exist. Because I would so be in one right now.

    7 agree
    • Oh they TOTALLY exist. Have you ever looked at Iowa real estate? I have family in Iowa City, which is a progressive, liberal city with gorgeous crazy-affordable beautiful old homes.

      3 agree
      • These! I want to see these!

        I live in an area that is home to at least 2 of the yearly named "richest counties in America" so I don't predict any would be around here but I would love to know that they exist.

        It's a more realistic (reachable?) dream :)

        Although y'all best believe that once I become a gazillionaire I'm getting a life-size robot butler. Oh, and you're all invited over for a partaay.

        4 agree
          • Oh my, I think I'm moving to Iowa.

            1 agrees
          • Or come to Atlanta! Our Victorian neighborhood (Grant Park) is also one of the quirkier ones, with the houses painted a myriad of colors in addition to having cool architectural features. This 3 and 3 is pretty tame, but it's the best example I could find that's currently for sale and under 300k:

            http://www.atlhomesearch.idxre.com/idx/propertymorephotos.cfm?cid=12842&pid=5063370&bid=49&pt=SFR&actv=0

            Claw foot tub, inset tub, built in bookshelf, beautiful latice thing on the front porch, STAIN GLASS WINDOW in the bathroom, bizarre sunroom bubbles on the back porch. It's a pretty sweet house for $270,000.

        • I own a house in Columbus, Ohio(which is a really cool town!). A lot of my friends here own houses. None of us are what would be considered anywhere near wealthy. Our house isn't a turtle-shaped geothermal powered plant roof house, but it is a nice, weird, solid house. And someday, it may have features such as cat walkways that span the entire house. At that time, I will submit a post about my house.

      • Never ever tell my Iowa-borne-and-bred husband this, since I've vowed that we are never leaving the Pac NW, but Iowa City is actually pretty cool. And, Iowa's state constitution is one of the most liberal in the nation. A right belonging to one, must belong to all. Fuck yeah, equality!

      • Indianapolis is another super-affordable city! There are some gorgeous historic homes in Irvington and Woodruff Place for <200k, some less than 150k!

    • Exactly my thoughts. I see real estate porn and think to myself, "Must be nice to be rolling in money…"

      3 agree
    • I'd love to feature these kinds of houses too. Unfortunately I live in California, so I'm surrounded by muy expensive real estate. That's pretty much the norm for me. But it's not like I won't feature affordable houses. As long as they have things for me to "get excited about" I'll gush all over those puppies. ;)

      • Megan's porn name: Gush Puppies

        18 agree
        • I hate to admit how much that made me laugh.

          1 agrees
  4. I'm actually surprised that only 43% of Homies are renting apartments. From the comments it seems like almost everyone is renting!

  5. I agree about the real estate porn. I ranked it as one of my least favourite. They're cool homes, but just not really relevant to my life, and the article just leaves me wishing it was something I could do. Like more non-damage decor or shopping porn!

    4 agree
  6. I actually like the real estate porn. We're talking about buying a house in a couple years, and while I'm not likely to buy any of the houses posted, I like being reminded that there are things out there that aren't your standard cookie cutter house. Plus I appreciate the sheer weirdness involved.

    I guess it would be neat if it weren't all crazy expensive mansions, but I'm guessing that the delightfully quirky two bedroom condos are a lot harder to track down.

    6 agree
    • I think the real estate porn is maybe just framed wrong.
      Like you, I like seeing homes that are wacky and different. But knowing that a lot of people are like "Boo! I can't have that," I think it might be more successful if it's less about drooling over a million dollar house and more about "what can we learn here?" Maybe the real estate porn should be a montage?

      16 agree
      • I happen to like some of the real estate porn even though I know I'll never own those crazy places for myself. It's fun to dream and it's fun to mock the really unusual ones. But I'm totally down with the idea of changing the tone from "look at this unattainable home" to "how can we bring touches of luxury and creativity into our own homes?". That's more in line with the OBH ethos, too, of contentment and making do.

        3 agree
        • I think I agree with this. I like the really different real estate porn (shoe shaped house, fairy house or tree house). I'm less excited by slightly quirky and expensive.

          3 agree
        • I think a montage approach, rather than everything being from one particular unachievable house, might help. You can include a link to the listing if people want to "see more" but the focus is on the one or two achievable ideas rather than than the whole expensive house.

          Just a thought. Personally, I love ogling unattainable real estate. Been doing it for as long as I've been driving :-)

          3 agree
        • Actually, that reminds me of the way fashion magazines will often recreate a celebrity's outfit using pieces that are all under X amount of dollars. What about taking some of the best/weirdest aspects of the house and tracking down cheap and/or DIY ways that we can recreate it? I think that would help me feel a lot better about the real estate porn posts–instead of, "waaahhh, I can't afford that," it'll be "oh, here's something I can DO to get the vibe I really want in the place I can actually afford."

          11 agree
  7. OMG FASCINATING. The biggitude of these numbers is way interesting. I know it's early results, but neat.

    Also, we all apparently think it's all Real Housewives of Offbeat Empire behind the scenes. Are there secret alliances? Are you all secretly trying to get Ariel kicked off the island? Who shot JR? Will there be cake? Find out next week!

    16 agree
    • I think "more Dootsiebug" needs to be one of the options on the survey, you are always so funny/insightful! :-)

      (And oops I didn't "reply" to your comment at first, commenter fail).

      18 agree
        • Totally working on it, you guys. TOTALLY. :)

          4 agree
    • The biggitude is super interesting! That's a perfect word for it! I will also be interested if the numbers change or shift based on early survey takers vs. later survey takers.

    • I'm interpreting "staff gossip" as "the staff, gossiping" instead of "gossip about staff." And we gossip a LOT, so I'm fine with that.

      Also, it goes without saying that most of our staff gossip is filthy. Like, so filthy that I pasted some here and then erased it.

      14 agree
  8. Also, as someone that works in an industry that mediates with vendors – I would totally appreciate a "shit vendors say" piece… although I'm fully aware how NOT good for business that is so I'll have to keep dreaming here…

    5 agree
  9. So interesting! I always look forward to Empire reader surveys and how much gets shared back with us readers. I think they're a fascinating way to build investment in the the community.

    1 agrees
  10. I LOVE that The Empire actually listens to feedback. I feel like some companies pretend to care about what their users say, but never implement changes based on user feedback. I feel like you guys actually GET it. Awesome job.

    8 agree
    • Yeah, some of my favorite business ideas have come from reader feedback, so I definitely listen!

      That said, there's plenty of reader suggestions that we DON'T take. It's looking like Offbeat Brides are totally over my shoe posts, but you know what? I LOVE DOING SHOE POSTS AND IT'S MY WEBSITE AND SO I WILL BE CONTINUING TO DO THEM. This is all to say, I always listen… but I don't always follow. :)

      8 agree
      • Suggestion: Ariel rents out an entire hotel (might I suggest the Gaylord in DC? it has trees INSIDE) and invites us all for a Offbeat Empire party.

        I'll send out the e-vites.

        4 agree
      • Similar to the first post, I'm rather ambivalent to shoe posts but you're always so into it that I couldn't bear to knock them. XD

        5 agree
      • As I've said elsewhere, being past my wedding, I now read Offbeat Bride as Offbeat Fashion. I don't head that way often enough for the survey to consider me an Offbeat Bride reader, but when I DO read, it is almost entirely to scroll through and find all the shoe posts and the sponsored dress posts.

        If you start doing more fashion on Home, though, I'll probably stop reading Bride entirely. But then you can do even more shoe posts!

      • I suspect shoe posts weren't in my top 3, but I do still love them. And I actually got kudos from *clients* I didn't know even read OB about the one I did.

        Shoe posts are like visiting pinterest without losing an hour.

        1 agrees
  11. Most of this sounds pretty good! And I hope the honeymoon thing works on home, because I live to travel!
    And less AM adorbs is great!!!

    1 agrees
  12. I'm curious, I didn't fill out the survey for Empire – just Families, because I don't read Empire at least once a week – but I do read all the empire posts. Was that me misinterpreting the first survey question & messing up?

    • "Once a week" is my delineation for "regular reader." There's no need to go back and retake the survey — there are very few questions about the Offbeat Empire blog, actually.

  13. The relationships link in this post currently leads me to a 404 page :( That said, when that works, I'm so excited for this – I'm navigating my first properly grown-up relationship, and the posts on here are often lifesavers!

  14. I miss the Monday Montage. I don't mind the AM Adorbz pictures, but I voted against them because I wish that when I clicked on the "see full article" link I got more than just the rest of the picture I've already seen most of. For me it's about making the loading time worth it. So either, there needs to be more pictures behind the cut, or I need to be able to see the entire picture with out a cut.

    I like cute pictures of cute kids. I just don't like the *format* of AM Adorbz

    13 agree
  15. Oh, and I wish there had been a "kind of" option for step-parenting. I am an authority figure for my boyfriend's kids, but I'm not technically a step-parent. I have no legal claim and they don't live with me (even part time). When I watch them we still call it babysitting. However, I've walked them to school, changed diapers, put them in time out, provided comfort from nightmares, and changed wet sheets. So on the survey I said "yes" to are you a blended family, because we are, but I'm not really a step-parent. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but I'm wondering if other label-less caregivers (http://offbeatfamilies.com/2011/05/young-woman-as-step-mom) felt similarly conflicted answering that question.

    1 agrees
    • THIS. It is such a struggle to find information that feels true to me on the web. While I was dating my now hubs, I tired to read as much as possible but didn't find a lot. So much of the step-parenting information is super bitter and is about venting, not about navigating the complexities of being successful in forming/maintaining these relationships. Offbeat Mama/families was fantastic for getting parenting info, but I was lost on the pre-married side of things.

      • Well in our case, we're a "blended family" because we're poly. So I have a certain degree of authority over the children of my boyfriend and his wife (as they do over mine), but there is no legal (or even social) recognition of what that makes me.

  16. Does anyone else want more posts about careers on Offbeat Home? Just me? Okay.

    **TIME TO THINK ABOUT SUBMITTING MY FIRST GUESTPOST**

    8 agree
    • Oh, I am totally there. A part of me wants to do a post on how to be a part-timer and sell it. 'Cause part-timers/contractors get no love.

      • Ooh, that sounds great! I'm a full-timer, but I'd love to hear about other people's work lives!

        1 agrees
      • Sounds great! I recently started a part-time job and my plan was to do writing on my non-working days. But then I get loads of emails and Im always unsure whether to do work emails on my non-days. People might think I'm being rude if I don't reply but Im not being paid on those days. Decisions! Anyway -yes I would love career advice! (I said so on the survey too)

        • Ive definitely seen email signatures that list when people are in the office. I used to only work three days a week but since I didn't get a lot of emails I would just respond at any time. When I go back to work next year I'll be less inclined to respond on off days since I now have a baby and a few other part-time jobs, so I'll likely do the signature thing!

    • I would *love* to see more career stuff. I just got married, we're not doing the baby thing yet, and I'm not into decorating my apartment since we plan on moving soon. But career? My career is pretty much my life right now! And actually I could probably use some good reading on how to take pride in my career, have a major part of my identity taken up by my career… but still have a life! How do I not take work stress home? How do I navigate the waters of making 10x more than my spouse, and not resenting it? (He works fewer hours, and if he hates his job, he can quit, because he's not the bread-winner. Me? I'm stuck). How do I bring stuff up with my boss? What do I do when I'm in that situation where I'm kind of unhappy and want to look for a new job, but really I just want my workplace to shape up? How do I negotiate?

      Yeah, more career stuffs, please!

  17. The Survey didn't ask me about Offbeat Families or the Empire, and now I'm really bummed about that as I do read them too. Does the first page have a question that filters out those sections?

    • Yep. The first page asks you which sites you read at least once a week, which is my delineation for "regular reader."

      • Ah, understood. I usually save up the other two sites after a week or two because they don't seem to update as much.

        1 agrees
        • That impression is an interesting piece of feedback. Offbeat Bride generally has 3-4 posts a day, while Families and Home are set at 3. Interesting that the 1 post a day difference feels that significant!

          1 agrees
          • Wait, really? It always seemed to me like Offbeat Bride had so much more content per day. Apparently not… Hmm.

            2 agree
          • Offbeat Bride's daily editorial calendar looks like this:

            5am PST: Wedding profile
            8am PST: Small article or picture post
            11am PST: Longer Feature article
            4pm PST (a couple days a week): Snack

            Whereas Home/Families looks more like this:
            5am: Clicky link
            8am: Great idea/light article
            11am: Longer Feature article

            1 agrees
          • Just to say I do a similar thing. I read Bride and Home regularly, a couple of posts a day. Then on days when I am having an internet binge I go back through and read a couple of weeks worth of Family and Empire.

            2 agree
          • It's funny, before I saw your response I double-checked the Empire and Families and was like, "Wait a second…" It feels like less -to me- because they're more inclusive. I love catching up with the Empire, but it has a narrow focus and sometimes it's better to sit and read it all at once. Offbeat Families is my favorite of the four blogs, but I feel more like an intruder than I do on Bride. I rarely feel inclined to comment and just reading the posts seems voyeuristic. Most of the posts seemed geared to people who are parents rather than other roles in a family. So that sense of Offbeat Families offers less is likely because I don't perceive myself as your intended audience.

          • Do you feel like less of an intruder with the name change from Offbeat Mama to Offbeat Families? I can tell you from the survey stats that a huge number of offbeatfamilies.com readers are NOT parents: 35% are considering parenthood, and 16% are child-free and not planning to start a family at ALL. So while the site is very much about kids & families, 50% of the readers don't actually have children.

            2 agree
          • The name change has helped, and I think that's helping me spot articles like PANK, "How to Train Your Robot" and posts that reflect on roles other than parenting. As I said before, it strikes me as pretty sparse so that's why I stockpile my Offbeat Families time. I don't mind doing this, but wanted to share in case it was helpful in some way!

            1 agrees
  18. One on one mentoring and other desires for your business awesome: when you are up to date with technology it is almost hard to grasp how far behind many business are, especially small business. As a one person business working under a small business I have many issues. Offbeat empire is extremely helpful in understanding, online perception, the new rules of communication, serving your client base, trying to understand what they want, …..

    1 agrees
  19. Ya i think for me one of the issues with offbeat home is that it seems to be targeted at people with more money than me. I live in a city where young people can't even dream about owning a house (maaaybe a condo) and so renting is going to be it for a long time. But even from there, I'm doing a lot of co-living with other people in various forms, because while my partner can afford a place on the outskirts if i want to live downtown/ better housing its going to be with other people. On the other hand, I feel that people living in poorer or more temporary circumstances are going to be less likely to write in guestposts and send in photos about their lifestyle. But i'm really happy you have the 'renting' section, this will really help out when I want to read home content, but not home content by people in totally different situations.

    • Once the survey is over, I can tell you exactly how much the average Homie makes annually. We have an extremely diverse readership, so I expect a wide disparity.

      • In my city though, it kind of doesn't matter how much you make- buying a house is impossible for anyone young. I'm 33 and not one of my friends owns their house, although probably 1/4 of them at least have kids and most of them have real (ie. not in grad school) jobs. I realize that this is specific to larger cities, but here its not only broke people that can't buy houses, its pretty much everyone.

    • Personally, I love all the cohabiting posts and wish more people would write in. Some of the coolest homes I ever visited were the punk rock style group homes decorated with stolen signs, and painted doors and the like. And every article about "How to live with roommates with out wanting to kill them" totally peeks my interest because some, if not all, of that can be applied to spouses and children as well – an it's stuff we never quite managed to figure out.

      So hey! Offbeat couch surfers, dive dwellers, and group home inhabiters – submit! You are interesting, even to us settled down home owners.

      2 agree
  20. It's funny, I'm by no means a regular reader of offbeat mama/families (liking the rebrand, n the 'life' added to offbeat home) but when I do click and have a scroll the cute pictures of kids with witty captions are my favourite bit! I'll be sorry to see then go

    • Stephanie's still doing one or two a week… :)

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