What I learned from my first-ever Offbeat Empire reader survey

February 15 |
01-29-08 © by Fort Worth Squatch, used under Creative Commons license.

I got to experience my first Offbeat Empire survey late last year, and IT WAS EXHILARATING. I won't lie: surveys are hard and can say hard things, but I like it…hard.

Let's start with the easy stuff:


  • 97.5% of you are women
  • Most of you are in your mid-twenties
  • 87% of you identify as caucasian
  • Almost 20% of you identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or trans
  • 49% of you work full-time outside the home, 18% are full-time students, 6% are at-home parents, 3% work from home
  • 60% of you have a BA, Master's, or PhD.
  • 64% percent of you live in cities, big and small, 5% are rural

Subcultural Affiliations

We know that most of the Empire's readers are Offbeat Lite: quirky, but not into a subculture. This year 56% of Home readers ticked that box. Other biggies:

  • 52% DIY/crafts obsessive
  • 49% Academia nerd
  • 27% Sci-fi nerd
  • 26% gamer
  • 23% retro
  • 22% hippie
  • 15% steampunk

And just a few from the "Other" category: anarchist, anime, "sort of a quiet, nerdy thing," biker, browncoat, employed in death and dying, feminist, geeky sex kitten, heavily tattooed, lolita, metal, pagan, vegan, vegetarian, addicted to the internet.

Here's what I absorbed from the responses:

  1. I learned a significant number of people were unaware they could submit posts — and wanted to see more! I'm working on making sure at least half the posts a week are guest and advice posts. AHEM reminder: you can write for Offbeat Home!

  2. Looking at the open-form responses, several people talked about tools or supplies they'd bought as a result of reading Home. That was a big A-HA! about how to focus post topics — and how to monetize them for myself. I'd felt weird about shopping posts because I'm NOT much of a shopper and it felt inauthentic, but when I read the survey I realized that even though I almost never buy furniture or decor items, I buy TOOLS! Lots of them! Of course my readers want to, too. That paired well with several calls for more DIY-y posts. (Have you been noticing more DIY posts? NOTICE THEM.)

  3. Y'all want more international content. That's difficult for me to do alone, but I'm working on being more cognizant of those readers — even if that means just throwing a bone of recognition in seasonal posts. The easiest fix? If this category applies to you, get submitting!

  4. I LOVED just reading the responses to the survey. As an offbeat person, I'm used to people not being as interested in the nerderies I'm into — NOT SO HERE. Since starting to read responses in November, I've felt much more like taking risks with content and that's made it easier to feel like I put a good week of content together.

  5. There were several calls for more posts, and more Clicky Links, too. More posts isn't in the cards right now (if we start getting more advertisers, we can do more posts), but I CAN continue filling people's days with entertainment, right? I've been adding a lot more content to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  6. Many readers asked for more essay style posts like this one and this one. I love them, but they are often lower on comments so I'd doubted their usefulness. Now I'm committing to having one navel-gazing post a week from me, Ariel, and guest authors.

  7. People want more recipe posts. Deal!

  8. I knew the email subscription option is popular, but I didn't know HOW popular it was — 25% of readers get each post in their inbox! Reading the survey results made me think of each post I put together more like an email to a friend.

Long story short, I loved reading survey responses and found them immensely helpful in continuing to build this community. Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey — and if you missed it, no worries! Even though the survey only happens once a year, we're always open to feedback.

Oh and PS: If you want to read Ariel's post comparing all three Empire sites results (Which site has the most male readers? What about the oldest readers? Which site is read by the least nerds and the most lesbians?), head on over to the Offbeat Empire blog!

  1. Yay! Survey results! I don't know why but these always interest me.

    The strange thing this time though is I've found myself reading through it thinking "how can I help with this?", trying to decide if I could submit a guest post or something that would give you more of what people want. Which is weird for me. I'm normally pretty passive with blogs. Aside from OBE there's only one I even comment on regularly.

    On that note what does international content mean exactly? More of anything from non-US readers, or posts about issues specific to living abroad, like how to buy a house in Spain or something?

    • I can answer this! "international content" means "content from non-US readers," although we always love living abroad posts, too.

    • Remember its all about self identifying. And if you are proud to be Pagan or Buddhist or Catholic then the Other Interests and Sub-Cultures box is just the place to write it for our beautiful editors to see.

      2 agree
  2. RECIPES! What kind of recipes? Food recipes? Crafty recipes (e.g. glue, paint)?

    THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS, as I have many, many recipes of all kinds of things.

    5 agree
  3. I'm too recent of a reader to be represented in your survey, I would have skewed your age-demographic. I'm 53, so I guess that makes me an old lady around here! (But I'm young at heart. Immature, anyway.)

    1 agrees
  4. I fit in a lot of the alternative categories. I'll see if I can find time to write some posts. I've started writing about pet fostering and rehabilitation, is that something people may be interested in? I can also do some kink/BDSM posts, Brazilian living, university fixes, goth/steampunk/sci-fi lifestyles, corset training, baking/cooking tutorials, and
    DIY wanna-be farmer living. I was going to submit about a room makeover, but my house burnt down and took everything with it! Damn.

    • A: OH NO! I'm glad YOU'RE okay after your housefire.
      B: YES ANY OF THOSE. 🙂

    • Wow, this makes my life sound very boring. But I,personally, as someone who fits into the largest categories listed, would love to see posts about any of those things! Pets! Corset-training! DYI wanna-be farmering! yes!

      And I agree with Cat's part A, so sorry about your house!

      2 agree
  5. Interesting on the international front, Im curious what other international readers want in content on off-beat Home. As a UK reader of Bride and Home I am much more interested in UK bride features than home ones. I think it's perhaps because Home I use a lot for ideas that can be applied anywhere -in Bride I go 'I want an outdoor wedding like that -shame it rains all the time here and the photographer is in Montreal'. Insert little face of jealousy for American sunshine.

    • Whereas I have always been horribly jealous of the awesome indoor venues in the UK…. Lol. The midwest is boring. 🙂

  6. Ah! It's nice seeing the survey results. I might have another read through and see if I can help contribute to anything.

    Also, kudos to anyone who caught the Firefly and Dr. Horrible references in the "Other" category for subcultures!

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