If you're feeling the need for change or have been blogging a bit aimlessly, find a bit of direction in the new year by running a reader survey.
When I ran one several years ago, I gained super valuable insight into what my readers want (hint: one person candidly said– I stopped leaving comments when you stopped responding to them. Ouch! But now I respond to my comments, so…).
To be honest– not a lot of people responded. After all, a lot of your readers are silently passing by, so why would they take the time to share with you their thoughts on what their favorite posts are, how often they visit your site or what they wish was different? You're more likely to hear from your blogger comrades, but that won't mean the information lacks value.
How Should I Run My Survey?
I like using a free service, such as Survey Monkey, Kiwi Surveys, or Free Online Surveys. There are dozens of options out there; I've used Survey Monkey in the past, and love how easy the interface is.
Free accounts only give you so many options, so be strategic about what information you're looking for: do you want better insight into demographics? Are you trying to determine what features to cut and which to keep? Or are you just interested in just gleaming their feedback on your site overall?
If you're concerned about participation, consider running a giveaway in conjunction with the survey. Most survey sites give you the option to collect email addresses at the end; based on those addresses, pick a winner for a fun little prize pack. Your readers feel they've gotten something out if it in exchange for a few moments of their precious time. (Note: this isn't mandatory, but a suggestion. I haven't ever run a giveaway in conjunction with a survey, but it seems like a valuable way to kill two birds with one stone.)
What Should I Ask?
This all depends on what you're looking for, but some questions I like to ask are:
- How long have you been reading?
- What are your favorite series?
- What type of posts do you like to see featured?
- What series is your least favorite?
- How often do you like to see new posts?
- How do you feel about advertising on SITE?
- What features would you like to see on the SITE? (Giveaways, Reviews, a Newsletter, Interviews, etc.)
As I mentioned above, tailor these to what you're trying to learn about your readers. If you're looking for demographic information, ask them their age, where they are from, and what they may do for a living. If you're trying to shape your content, focus your questions on the content you create or the content you could be creating. If you're trying to launch a new product, gear the questions towards that– do you buy ebooks? What do you like to pay for them? Do you shop online?
Reader surveys are a quick and valuable way to gain a bit more insight and interaction with your readers. As with comments, emails, or any engagement, it won't provide a full picture of your reader. It'll just provide a little snapshot into the people reading your site.
Survey says? Easy enough.
Have you run a reader survey before? What results did you receive that may have surprised you? (Much like mine with the comment responses!)