Readers Survey 2017 Results

The Holly Cooks Readers Survey 2017 results are announced here. I detail what you told me and what I am going to do in response.

Readers Survey 2017 results

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey!

Before we get into the results I want to share some background. I have wanted to carry out a readers survey for about a year now. To be honest I haven’t done one before now because I was worried that a. No one other than my folks would complete it and b. If readers did complete it, I knew it would be filled with negative comments. This is because to me some of things I post are good, but the majority could be much better. I can see faults everywhere. It turns out my worries were a load of rubbish. 36 people completed the survey – this may sound small to you but it feels big to me! The comments readers wrote were kind, generous and useful.

“You keep cooking real and honest, whilst sharing amazing, drool-worthy photos. Good skills!”

“I love the hollycooks website! It really inspires me to make new delicious food, and to experiment with new ingredients or combinations. The photos are a work of art and the instructions are really clear.”

I’ve promised myself I’m going to print out all the lovely comments and put them on the wall behind my (I mean Dave’s) computer. Some of you gave really helpful feedback and there wasn’t one negative comment. So if you have a website that has readers, treat yourself to a readers survey!


You told me
You read Holly Cooks because of the:

  • recipes – 92%
  • you want to support me – 89%
  • snippets of life in Edinburgh – 69%
  • cooking and information tips – 67%

(Readers were able to tick as many answers as applied to them, hence the percentages add up to over 100%.)

My action

  1. I’m glad you like the recipes! It’s great to hear you like the cooking and information tips too. I want to do more of these, because I find them interesting and they offer something different. So I’m pleased that we are mainly on the same page!
  2. I will continue to include snippets of family life. More thoughts on this below.
  3. Thank you for wanting to support me. It means so much.

You told me
You would you like to see more

  • quick recipes – 76%
  • one pot meals – 70%
  • cooking information and tips – 59%
  • healthy recipes – 50%
  • recipes to cook with children – 35%

My action

  1. I have reviewed the list of posts for the coming months to make sure they mostly fit into these categories. I’m still planning to make the occasional pudding and baked item though!
  2. I will create a category and fill it with what I class as healthy recipes. This should make them easier to find.

Most of the questions were completed by everyone who took the survey. Except this next one – only 56% of you completed this question.
You told me 
You would like to see less of the following recipes

  • Meat – 31%
  • Cakes, cookies and biscuits – 25%
  • Special diet foods – 19%

My action

  1. For every reader who wanted to see less cakes, cookies and biscuits for example, there was an equal number of people who wanted more of those posts. It’s tricky to please everyone all of the time! But I’m going to start mixing things up a bit more, rather than, for instance, three posts in a row on chocolate. So if one post isn’t for you, hopefully the next will be.

You told me
Everyone who completed the survey has been cooking for five years or more – the majority for 40 years or more. You are an experienced group of cooks. How to chop an onion is not something you need help with (unless I come up with a revolutionary advance in which case I’ll be sure to let you know!).
My action
I’m going to look at reducing my instruction text just a little so that the recipes are quicker to read.

You told me
50% of you learn about a new post through an email update, 45% through Facebook and 5% through Instagram.
My action
To more consistently post on Facebook and Instagram. I should be doing this anyway, but it’s normally the first thing that slips. This is a helpful reminder of how important it is.

If you currently learn of a new post through Facebook or Instagram and would like to get an email from me when I’ve posted something new, you can sign up here.

You told me
Lots of you use Facebook, about a third Twitter and Pinterest and 15% aren’t on any social media. 8% of you use Google + and Snapchat.
My action
This is similar to my action above. I’m unlikely to start posting onto another social media platform soon. But when I do I will let you know.

You told me
Only one of you said you had never made a Holly Cooks recipe. My heart sang as I read that!
My action
To remember this when it all feels like far too much hard work! It will keep me going. Thank you.


I loved reading all of your comments. There are a few that I want to respond to

‘I would love to see more recipes you can do with kids. Especially ones they can get their hands stuck into! Also, with a little one a couple of months away from weaning, I’d love to hear your thoughts on weaning and maybe some first food recipes.’

Yes, recipes to make with children are on my list. You want them to get their hands stuck in, really? You know that will be messy! This will be tough for me – messy play is my kind of nightmare! I’ll have to see if I can hide the OCD part of me when I create those recipes! Weaning, yep we’ll be there too in about four months. Right I will crack on and get a post sorted.

‘An index page of recipes would be handy – the menu is hard to get through on my phone’

There is an index page, it’s the ‘All Recipes’ page and it’s in that menu which you refer to. Although you are absolutely right, it’s not easy on a phone. I will have a think on how to improve this. Helpful feedback, thank you.

‘as a general rule family life snippets can seem a little smug, especially to people who don’t really know you, or whose own lives are lonely or troubled …. I know you are anything but smug Holly, and that like all of us, your life is not perfect .. but it’s just something to be aware of … it is not a criticism and it applies to all food and lifestyle bloggers. DON’T STOP FAMILY LIFE SNIPPETS though, as they serve to put your own personal stamp on your posts.’

I think you hit on a really good point here. It’s something I think of a lot – the images of ourselves that we/I present online. In a bid to be professional and appealing I try and make everything as beautiful as it can be and a ‘oh Holly’s so perfect perfect’ facade can be the result. What I hide and maybe should be more explicit about is the amount of time that everything takes. I may do four or five iterations of a recipe to get it perfect. A photo shoot will take a good hour at least, sometimes the light is rubbish and I end up having more than one photo shoot for a recipe to get a reasonable shot. Then the subsequent processing of photos takes another hour. But sharing this information isn’t trouble free. If I was a new Mum reading this, I would be thinking what she has two kids, one of whom is 8 weeks old and she is managing all that. That’s crazy. Well let’s be straight here – JP is in nursery three days and week and with his grandparents two days a week. We are really lucky that my folks live near and that he loves his nursery. Baby G is a sleeper – as I type she is snoozing on my chest. If she had a different temperament, no question I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. Lastly on reflection I found maternity leave the first time around tricky. I’m a home bird, really good at hiding myself away and that wasn’t good for my sanity when by default I had so much time at home without any other adults. This blog kept me sane, it was what I needed to survive maternity leave. (It’s such a personal thing what is going to work for you when you have had very little sleep, but for me, it was the blog.) Others would be out there having experiences that I am no doubt missing out on.

I don’t like that ‘I have to print the recipe because I’m so insecure and phone doesn’t stay on while I look/think/find the ingredients’

Isn’t that frustrating, it’s an irritation I share! You’ve encouraged me to google the problem. If you have an android phone this article may help. I’m about to cook a recipe from my phone, I’ve just set my phone so the screen should go off until 30 minutes. I will change it back to 2 minutes when I have finished because I think it will drain the battery otherwise.

This article may help if you have an iPhone, but it looks like you can only extend the awake period to 5 minutes.

‘you don’t tell us any more about the diabetic information – not that I need it but it was always a good bit you don’t see anywhere else’

You are spot on – I don’t talk about it much. This is possibly because I have to spend time thinking about it everyday. I work for JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity and therefore I spend a lot of my working day thinking, talking, writing about it too. So Holly Cooks is my escape. There are some fabulous blogs on type 1 out there with really helpful, thoughtful information. Maybe someday I will change how I feel about this and this will be reflected on Holly Cooks.

Right, that’s it. Thank you for all your kind comments and thoughts. This has been a great process to go through, it’s re-energised me and made the coming year on Holly Cooks far clearer in my head. Special mention to the reader who follows over 600 blogs, your words meant a lot.

reader survey 2017 results

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