Friends, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts last month in our big survey. It’s helped us plan out these next few months, as we anticipate major changes on the horizon. If anything, your answers have confirmed many of the things I’ve felt were true, and I agree with much of what you said. You’re awesome!
I also learned this: some of you are crazy opinionated. That’s not bad, of course—I appreciate your sincere feedback and your genuine heart that cares about this site. I’m honored that you want the work we do to work even better.
So here are a few things I’ve learned from the survey, and also through wisdom from others in my life recently about how I’m made and what I’m passionate about—stuff about you guys, about me, and about how I can best play on the Internet to tap into my strengths.
1. I can’t please everyone.
Of course, I already knew this was true. But it was REALLY evident when I read through all your feedback. It was funny, actually, how many of you all prefer different things. One reader would say one thing, followed by another reader saying the exact opposite.
Some of you feel like the posts are too long. Others of you feel like they’re too short.
Some of you felt like the posts are too much about working and running a business from home. Others of you feel like this site doesn’t have much for you, since you work and most of the content isn’t about working.
Some of you think we post too frequently. Others of you wished we posted every day.
Some of you wish we talked more about raising older kids. Others of you wished we wrote more about babies.
Some of you feel like the content has too much a religious bent. Others of you prefer that the writers and I be more open about what we believe.
Some of you wished the site was more just about me and my life. Others of you want me to write about myself less, and just to stick to the broad topic of living simply.
See what I mean? Impossible to please the masses. This discouraged me at first, but it doesn’t now, because I know the direction this site needs to take, and I’m excited about it. Your feedback has validated that—even the totally contradictory feedback. I’m taking it to heart. More on that soon.
2. LOTS of you didn’t know about the other sites.
This completely and utterly blindsided me and the editors of the other sites. Apparently the slider at the top, the links in the navbar, and the latest post links on the other sites aren’t enough to remind you.
No worries at all. In fact, this is good to know, because it validates the direction we’re headed. The readers of the other sites don’t know about Simple Mom, either. This means we don’t share traffic as much as we thought we did. Interesting.
3. Some of you wish we had fewer ads and giveaways.
I get that—I do. Believe me. It’s a continual struggle for us as we are passionate about the benefits behind living simply, and yet this blog is our full-time job and puts food on the table for the kids. I understand that it sometimes looks contradictory to have ads on a site that’s about not having too much stuff.
Here are a few thoughts on that:
• We are picky about our ads.
Kyle spends a lot of every work day declining and approving ads. One of the conditions we gave our ad network when we joined three years ago was that we had to be given control about which ads land on our site. They made a special case for us, when we joined, and handed us the controls to approve and decline.
We turn down a lot of ads that don’t line up with our overall message. Believe me.
• We’re going to have fewer ads and giveaways.
I want you to know—the ads and giveaways tire me, too. So we’re going to have a bit fewer. There will still be some, because that’s how we keep the lights on this site, pay all our writers, and have some left over for us to put gas in the minivan. But yeah… fewer ads and giveaways sound really nice to me, too.
Amazing artwork by Katie Daisy
• Living simply isn’t about having nothing.
I get that lots of people want more of a message about a minimalist lifestyle when they come to a site about living simply. But frankly, we’re not going to talk about that much, because that’s not how we actually live. We’d rather be honest. We’re real men and women around these parts, most of us parents, who live normal lives and are on a journey to make our lives simpler and richer with meaning.
I’m all about not having many toys in the house. But we still buy toys. I’m a big believer in not watching much TV. But we still watch it sometimes. I’d rather have ten items in my closet that fit perfectly than a hundred that fit so-so. But I still buy clothes.
Living simply is about living holistically with your life’s purpose. It’s not a backwards race to see who can survive on the least amount of stuff. At least, that’s what it means here on this site.
4. You guys are amazing.
Really. You are. The far majority of our feedback was positive, and it was a refreshing drink after reading some feedback that—well, wasn’t as much. I loved hearing how some of our words have changed your life for the better. It encouraged me so much to hear that many of you look forward to a new post in your inbox. I loved hearing that many of you who don’t share my faith feel completely welcome here, no matter what you believe (and you ARE—always welcome).
I hear that you’d like more community here, that you love hearing stories from everyday families finding ways to make their families function, and that you want more encouragement about making your life simpler. You got it—we’ll do our best over the coming months to bring you those things.
So thank you, readers. During my book-writing time, and during this survey, Simple Mom’s five year anniversary quietly came and went. FIVE. YEARS. I can hardly believe it. I started this blog around the same time that many other bloggers who I now consider dear friends started theirs. My greatest blessings in blogging has been the people I’ve met—both other bloggers and the readers. You all have made my life so much better. I’m forever grateful.
Soon, I’ll share what this site will look like in the near future. I’m stoked.