Blog Reader Surveys: Why, When, and How

Blogging

With all of my custom design projects, I strongly encourage my clients to conduct a reader survey before the project begins. During our virtual coffee meeting, we chat about the brand audit and their responses to my project questionnaire. Often clients are a little unsure of their readers’ desires and preferences, so I suggest a reader survey. If conducted correctly, it can provide valuable insight into your brand and audience.

Why Conduct a Blog Reader Survey

Using Google Analytics and comments to paint a picture of your audience preferences can only do so much for you. A significant portion of your readers will never comment on your blog. A private, reader survey opens you up to honest communication to your users. They will speak frankly about what they like and don’t like about your brand. As a result, you can take that feedback to improve your content.

When to Conduct a Blog Reader Survey

Release your reader survey when your brand is at a plateau – not just with numbers growth – but more with content generation. You don’t want to conduct a reader survey after you’ve launched a whole new series. You should survey after you’ve run a new feature for a few months. I also strongly recommend that you do a reader survey before you work on your rebrand. In fact, I would survey before you even reach out with a designer. It will help shape your communication.

How to Conduct a Blog Reader Survey

Responses will depend on how well you set up your poll. The approaching I’m sharing with you makes your survey evergreen.  So even after you have “run” the survey, you can still gather feedback from your readers on your site.

  • Create a survey using Google Forms. You will always use the same reader survey questionnaire and form so that you can compile feedback over an extended period.
  • Add a blurb to the end of your regular posts for a month,  encouraging readers to complete the survey.  By keeping the Google Form link always activated, you will be generating feedback continuously and over a longer period.
  • Do not create a dedicated post for your reader survey. It won’t see the same amount of traffic and interest. Instead, use the above mention solution to integrate it into your content.
  • Share it! Make sure you share a link to the survey on social media and in your email marketing campaigns. The more you share it, the more likely you will receive responses.

Writing Survey Questions

With a survey, you are asking your readers for a lot! They are taking time out of their day to give you feedback on your brand. You want to make sure you are mindful of their time. Most questions should be multiple-choice; one or two questions can be open-ended, but no more. Include no more than ten questions.

  • General Information Questions: Remember that you can find a lot of answers to questions about demographics, gender, and age via Google Analytics, so you want to focus your questions on content.
  • Readership Questions concentrate on the habits of your readers. You will receive responses from both new and regular readers. These answers are critical to understanding, so you can compare responses – those who know you for a while and those who don’t.
  • Assessing Future Opportunities: Ask questions related to content that you are interested in exploring. These types of questions are a great way to gauge your readers’ interest in your writing about a certain topic. For example, if you are a fashion blogger who wants to write more about beauty. Ask your readers first!
  • Feedback: The biggest part of the survey is the feedback you’ll receive. Ask for critiques on the content you are already generating.

Sample Reader Questions

I’ve included my list of sample reader questions below. You will need to plug in information to make these relevant to your brand, but it’s a good framework for getting started!

  1. How long have you been a reader of my blog? (new user, 1-3 months, 6-12 months, year, “other”)
  2. How often do you read my blog? (daily, weekly, monthly)
  3. How do you find out about new posts? (email subscriber, RSS feed, social media, “other”)
  4. What are your favorite posts to read? (list blog categories and include an option for “other”)
  5. What are your least favorite posts to read? (list blog categories and include an option for “other”)
  6. What topic would you like to see me write more about? (list blog categories and include an option for “other”)
  7. What areas would you like me to improve on? (open-ended)
  8. What other information would you like to share with me? (open-ended)

These eight base questions are used for my general reader surveys. I will add in two other questions related to future opportunities or site-specific (shop owner, portfolio, etc., ). Here are a few sample questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how beneficial do you find my (affiliate) shop?
  • Would you purchase x if I offered it? (yes, no)
  • Would you be interested in x? (yes, no)

Processing Feedback

Some people will take advantage of the fact that the survey is anonymous, but remember that negative comments can help you, especially if there is some truth to it. I received some feedback about my spelling/grammar issues in my posts. I knew it was a reality – my posts did have those errors.

As a result, I invested in Grammarly and improved my writing process to include more time for editing. I’m continuously working on improving that avenue of my blog. While it does hurt, if there’s truth to it, it’s always an area you can improve.

If something is completely out of left field, then take it with a grain of salt. Use your feedback to process trends and develop patterns. You want to be able to pull out preferences based on the responses as a whole, not what an individual says!

For example, I use to think that my moodboards were popular because I would receive the most comments on those posts. Guess what? My readers didn’t care for those posts. I received several responses that I was able to see the trend.

Remember! Reader surveys are enormous for your blog’s growth. Blogging can be a very solo journey. By opening yourself up to a reader survey, you are gathering feedback to improve!

You might also like Why You Need Blog Business Cards and Want to Have a Successful Blog? Don’t Be a Lifestyle Blogger!

Want more Blogging tips? Check out these posts! If you have a question, leave a comment below!

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