Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Interior Design Inspirations AND Blog Rankings!


PART ONE: This week Megan is back at the Skirted Roundtable! Please join us as we first discuss Interior Design: where we get our inspiration for a new job and how we come up with ideas for a room's design. The three of us weigh in on what steps we take when we start with a new client.


PART TWO: Be sure to listen this week's Blogging discussion. It's all about Blogrankings, the newest way a lot of blogs are finding out how many readers they actually have. We also talk about the pros and cons of Google Analytics and Technorati. Listen as we try to figure out why we care, or in Megan's case, why we don't care how our blog ranks compared to our peers. As always, thank you for stopping by.

27 comments:

Lauren said...

I'm undecided about Blogrankings right now... At first I was feeling a lot of pressure to post more because it is NOT FUN to watch your ranking drop. hahah And really, with all that's going on, the last thing I wanted was more pressure to post!!

But, (I think it's been a week or 2) now I'm a little more comfortable with it & it's not really on my mind as much. I'm still undecided though as it does take my focus a bit off of just blogging to blog to more of a competitive thing (more competitive with myself because I realize that the more I post, the more readers I have.) ... so we'll see

Also I do really like google analytics & just started it about a month ago. It was an eye-opener because I honestly thought I had like only 50-75 people reading a day (thinking of readers in relation to comments) and it's nice to know more people are reading something you put so much time into.

ok, sorry for the book!!

Lauren said...

ok and now on the design inspiration post- really enjoyed this one. I'm totally with you on the fabric as a starting point. I usually know in my head just from initial research- roughly "sofa here, 2 chairs there, bench here, etc" and then I create a fabric plan from there. It usually starts with one inspiration fabric (which like Joni said might end up on a pillow because of cost or because I tend to use lots of solid linens for larger pieces) and from there I build it all out in 1 sitting. I have every pillow, chair, sofa fabric picked out and create a plan from it. Then I go home & pick out the actual pieces for the fabrics to go on. (If I think a client might be the type to want 2 options to choose from, I'll create 2 separate fabric plans & I usually have some choices in each plan because I've found people like to make choices.)

And if there's an item in the room that's staying/ it's not a blank slate, then I take a photo of the item to the fabric store with me & work it from there just as if it were the inspiration fabric.

ok, another book- sorry for the long comments but I just get so chatty after these things- ha!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

What an interesting discussion! I know some people complained about some being too long, but I listen while I'm uploading photos and it passes the time wonderfully for me. Thanks!

I think the Blogrankings thing is kind of fun because we're all friends (I know most of the bloggers on there so far, anyway). You can't take it too seriously. We all have good and bad traffic days and weeks. It's great to see how much traffic everyone's getting in general, tho. Makes me think design blogs are really growing.

I was planning to take a blogcation next week while we're out of town, so I'll probably plunge down to the bottom. Oh, well! :-)

I'm really confused about Google pagerank. Mine was at 6 for a long time. Then suddenly it plunged to 3, even though my traffic was better than ever. I started a new blog (Beach Cottage Love) in May, on a lark, and only update it a few times a week. It gets only 300 or so visitors a day. But guess what pagerank Google gives it? A 3. The same as my main blog. So it's hard for me to take PR seriously if it's saying both are equal in any way.

Thanks again for the conversation!

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Julia - thanks for your comment and for your positive encouragement about the length of the podcasts!

Regarding Google Page rank, my understanding is that it's not based on hits but on the quality of the links to the site. So, while who knows why HoH dropped down - could have been something that their algorithm picked up as suspect even if it's not - but I would suspect that your Beach blog ranks high is it's connection to your main blog plus any others links in. A smaller secondary blog can ride on the coattails of the main blog, in a way. Our skirted rountable blog has a PR of 4 already, even though it's new. But, between our 3 main blogs linking in, and linking frequently, plus all the readers who have so kindly linked to us, it's moved up quickly. My own blog just went from 4 to 5, and was 4 forever, but it could drop back, as it did once before. And you might see HoH pop back up overnight. I think the key is that none of these ranking/tracking systems are perfect. But overall, they give an idea of where things stand.

Linda Merrill said...

Lauren - thanks for listening! Interesting to note that you also start with the fabric. Sounds like a decorator trend!

And, if you're not using a hit counter or tracker, check into Statcounter.com or Sitemeter.com. Both will give you hit by hit info like search terms, etc. On a detail level, it can be very interesting info.

Things That Inspire said...

I have found blogranking to be absolutely fascinating. I do not accept any advertising on my blog, and write my blog as a creative outlet and as a way to share ideas and bounce ideas off like minded people. To me, it was really gratifying to learn that I actually had a decent volume of readers; I historically just looked at my numbers through sitemeter, which is interesting but does not track unique viewers.

Also, I see it as friendly competition, and it is fascinating to see what impacts the numbers. Posting more often seems to help a lot. I went on vacation for the past week, with no internet access, and when I came back my unique visitor number was about half of what it has been over the past few weeks.

I was wondering whether blogranking might be a scary thing for a blog that is advertising, but does not pull in the numbers of some of the other blogs. Even if those numbers are relatively good, how many blogs can pull in the kind of numbers that the top 5 are pulling in? Yes, it is probably the bloggers who are paying attention, but any curious advertiser can see the link on any of the blogs participating, and see what is going on.

Also, wanted to let you know that I asked blogrankings to create a new category for home and design, given that so many of the 'lifestyle' bloggers are home and decor related. They said they will do it, but it hasn't happened yet!

Cristin said...

Great discussions! I am new to the blogging world, so the ranking site is a little intimidating. I try not to focus on the stats, but sometimes they get distracting.

xo,
cristin

Terry said...

It's really nice that y'all explained "the secret of the inspiration fabric." Knowing the secret will not make me a designer. But we're better clients because we know what is going on.

For us as design consumers working with a pro, it was an "inspiration fabric" about color rather than style. Dark reds, blues, greens, oranges on a black background. We took the fabric everywhere, just everywhere. It was the constant in everything we did.

It wasn't what we expected; but we used the inspiration fabric for a bed skirt that continues to make us happy.

Carol Ann said...

Time span of each talking blog should be the time it takes to get each of your points of view explained, I listen while doing floor plans on my laptop, two birds with one stone...
How do I begin designing projects, with my questionnaire for both clients if it is man and woman, it has every question I can think of on it and then some. Then I measure the room, measure pieces that are going to stay, work out the paint color if it is going to stay, take pictures of everything and everywall and then over all pictures for the before pictures, pictures of all the rooms off the room I am working on. Take paint, carpet, flooring, tile and counter top or ganite samples back to my office... I then go back to the design studio or my home office and do the floor plan (while listening to the skirted round table)...lol...then working with the softseating and casegoods they have picked or have discribled work on the space planning, once the space planning is done, I will go through the fabrics picking the base fabrics and area rug, then pull out all the fabrics I would like to use for pillows and maybe a accent chair, ottoman etc. Now I will by scale work on casegoods and what they should look like by the clients questionnaire and the other rooms in the home, the fireplace etc...
Once this is all worked out I will pull in the lamps, artwork and accessories that work...
Now I am ready to do a presentation of the whole room from A to Z...the average time for all of this to happen is 3 to 7 days...
I just think I wrote a book, lol
Oh well, to late, I'm done...

Regards, CAM

PS I do not have a good enough blog to be rated...I do it for fun not a way to get clients so I must admit I do not care to be rated...to much pressure, I am to busy with clients...

Angela in WA said...

Ladies,

Once again a fab post. I too start with fabric! I love fabric and can't imagine not it being an inspiration. I feel like it helps the room take shape. And it is such a relief to hear that all clients are the same expecting you to be a miracle worker with quick answers, and as Linda said come in with a flurry of feathers. I love that visual, it is so true!

Mrs. Blandings said...

A great discussion. Completely agree that Analytics is a terrific resource for all the reasons you mentioned. Blogrankings? I can see the advantage if you are really evaluating the success of your posts, but I fear it would make one focus on gaining numbers instead of pursuing an interest.

Velvet and Linen said...

As a designer, I loved hearing about your design process. I tend to start with pictures. Once I understand the look my client is going for I either start with fabrics or a carpet. Starting with a carpet can be a great way to create a whole color scheme.

It was nice to hear that I'm not the only one who has walked in a home and not known what to do.
I'm actually working on a post about that feeling of anxiety I get when that happens.

Thank you again for your honesty.

xo
Brooke

La Maison Fou said...

Well girls,
Another show down! This one was particularly interesting to me as I like to start with color, then fabrics, accessories, case goods and special pieces. Thanks for the post!
Leslie

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Haha, I enjoyed my spot at #1 on blogrankings for more than a month until all of you top bloggers joined and knocked me down to #10! Then I wanted to leave but decided to stay for now. I have really weird things happening with Technorati lately. I was in the top 10K and now I'm down to 22,000. I have no idea how I could drop that much in a day!

I think all these ranking can drive you crazy! I'm just going to keep on blogging on not get so wrapped up in how many people are reading my blog! I think it will drive me insane if I don't.

Linda Merrill said...

Cindy - thanks for corroborating my opinion about Technorati. The way people fluctuate to widely is incredible. I once went from 44,000 to 90,000 within a one week period. No idea why... Oh well.

vicki archer said...

Thank you girls - a great discussion. I am a fan of Google Analytics for all the reasons that you voiced. Blogger Rankings I have not had time to investigate and probably won't for the simple reason that I am finding it hard enough to keep up with what I am posting now let alone if I started to feel the need to post more! xv

katiedid said...

TIme to check out google analytics! Sounds like some good info there. I have only been able to post a couple of times a week lately...so blogrankings is a bit depressing...but I will hang in for awhile! Especially if they add a new design section.

Thanks for another great podcast! Both of them!

Jeannine said...

Well, I just joined Blogrankings after listening to you chat about it. I don't need to be highly ranked. My motivations are purely selfish...to get more advice about the projects on my blog!

Now, I should say that I have been blogging for many years for my job and have been a diehard Google Analytics user. The day we realized my blog was getting more traffic than my office's website was a great one - for both my confidence and my reputation in the office (people went from thinking it was a fad to trying to take advantage of the opportunity I had created to interact with our audience).

I have one suggestion about the average time on site. A lot of people randomly hop around Blogger using the "random" button. Those visits might not be long.

On top of that, I have never bothered to track down how readers using the RSS feed might affect that average time on site stat. Perhaps the few seconds my blog reader spends retrieving your post is tracked.

Patricia Gray said...

Hi Joni, Megan and Linda
I listened in to your 'Blogrankings' podcast. I agree with Joni that Google Analytics is very comprehensive and I find it like a game of Suduko trying to figure it all out. I find now that I have been blogging for several years that I am getting an equal amount of hits from people searching me through keywords as I am getting from referring sites. I also experimented in seeing if the number of times I post in a week had any reflection on the traffic I got to my Blog and was surprised to find that whether I posted 4 times per week or once every 2 weeks it didn't make a difference to the amount of traffic to my Blog. I was surprised by that and can only put it down to the fact that readers are coming to me by keyword searches??? But in the end I have found that the most important thing for me in Blogging is to enjoy writing my posts and connecting with my readers.
You all are doing a great job...keep it up.
Kindest Regards
Patricia
PS I find that Technorati sucks big time....and maybe that is because I use Windows Live Writer to compose my posts?? Technorati does not show the links that Google Alert shows for my Blog and it has been stuck for the last several months. I found the change in their reporting when Blogger switched to Google.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Hi Joni, Megan and Linda,
Another great Roundtable...loved hearing where you guys start when designing a room for a client. :-)
Susan

Terry said...

I didn't mean (see my post above) that telling folks about the use of inspiration fabric is like a magician explaining his tricks.

But very few folks have worked with pro's. Most folks don't know how valuable a tool the inspiration fabric is; how it simplifies the process; how it's a trick (but not a trick) of the trade. (Checking to make sure you can get the furniture through the door is another non-secret trick.)

So, it's great that y'all talk about it.

The more your clients know about the process, the better clients they well be and the more fun they'll have.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh My! I guess there are advantages to being on the bottom! I know I couldn't handle the pressure of trying to stay on top or even in the top 50, and I sure couldn't handle being in the bottom 1,000, so I think I'll just continue to live in ignorant bliss! Enjoyed listening to both pod casts. Thanks. laurie

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Great post ! I always start with the floor plan and then I want to know how the client wants the room to feel...then I go into the fabrics. As for the blog ranking...I think that was the down fall of rms so I am staying clear of it, for now anyway. Thanks

Material Girls- Emily said...

I loved this roundtable discussion-I can certainly identify! It's so true about clients expecting you to walk in and tell them every single thing you envision for the space. It makes me so nervous! So nice to hear that you all (being the more experienced designers) feel this way too. I always compare a consultation to a pop quiz- you never know what you will be asked on the spot! I have had clients who want as much design advice in an hour that they can get- what they don't realize though is that an entire room can't be designed in an hour no matter how good of a designer you are!! Real design takes time and it's a whole thought process- Oy, please forward this roundtable discussion on to all of my clients!

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

I'm sleeping over in Joni's camp on the universe of rankings. I would love, love, love, love to hit #1 on blogrankings...even if it was just 1 time...not to knock my blog friends down and 'steal their blogebrity crown' (as I joke about), but rather to validate my own self and the effort and passion I do put into Liberty Post. I'd also love to rub some noses in it...namely some male family members who say...'how much money are you making?' I know this does now convert into dollars...but it is a powerful kind of recognition I can use at the dinner table.

LIBERTY POST EDITOR said...

Oh..and I forgot to mention: Your radio show is so informative that I never listen without my notebook and pen in hand. Taking notes...learning....love it!

City Living Girl said...

LOVE your discussion on blog ratings etc & statistics for the design field. My question is about feedblitz vs. email subscribers etc. Is there a certain reader that you prefer to offer your readers and do they interfere with each other?