Finally; Our Reader Survey Conclusions

Jim joins Rhodester Stickam video chatIf you’re a blogger, each time you finish writing a post and are about to Publish, you might think to yourself “is anyone actually reading this? Does anyone really care about what I might have to say?

For more than 18 months Jim and I have used this blog to document and share our crazy full-time RVing sabbatical adventure. We are faithful about checking our visitor statistics and click-thru commissions, but we never felt like we had a good handle on you—our visitors: why you come here, and what you like or don’t like about what we publish.

We’ve often wondered what site features or blog topics we should put more time and effort into, and considered what might we scrap altogether.

To put aside any doubts we had about our work, we published our Reader Survey back in November. We used a WordPress plug-in called CForms II. Many thanks to everyone who submitted a survey.

We were intrigued with what we discovered. Among many of the findings, we learned new things like:

Discovery #1: More people read our blog on a weekly basis than daily.

The Conclusion: Many of you are busy and choose to catch up with our posts all at once, perhaps skipping through them until you find a topic that interests you. Perhaps we should also post no more than say, three posts a week so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you do visit.

Discovery #2: You’re into the way we live.

free boondocking on Jerrys Flats, Gold Beach OR

The top 3 blog categories people like to read about on our site are: “Fulltiming,” “Simple Living” and “RV Technology”

The Conclusion: Our core readers are interested in what it’s like to live a simple life in an RV on a fulltime basis while remaining connected. We are happy knowing that we’ve been writing for the things you want to know more about.

Discovery #3: If you subscribe, you don’t visit often. And vice versa.

Instead of subscribing to our blog in an RSS Reader, and perusing posts directly within that – a Reader is like an electronic newspaper of your own, which gathers up all of the latest work by the blogs and websites that you’ve told it to monitor – most of our audience physically comes back to our site each time they want to read it.

The Conclusion: Wow, we get bookmarked and people actually remember to visit at least once a week. This is a huge compliment. Also, while we didn’t ask your ages, this leads us to believe that the majority of our readers might not have the desire or time to get comfortable with how to use RSS feeds. If this is the case, and you want a quick tutorial on how to use a Reader, let us know and we’ll write about it.

Side Note: Of those readers who replied to our survey, that is! Feedburner stats indicate we have had on average 113 subscribers over the past 30 days. Thirty four readers completed our survey.

Discovery #4: You don’t Digg us.

Rene is all atwitter as she tweets like a twit.

Based on your feedback, social networking isn’t something you’re doing. Most of you don’t Twitter, and you definitely don’t spend a lot of time using the social bookmarking toolbars at the conclusion of each of our blog posts either. (In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and share with specified people or groups inside certain online “networks.”)

Discovery #5: Most readers find our monthly expense reports to be useful.

The Conclusion: Our readers are curious about what it costs to live the way we do, and are perhaps comparing our spending against theirs. For the foreseeable future, I guess I’m stuck playing beancounter at the end of each month.

The Conclusion: Again, we think that this is a reflection of our readers’ age bracket. It was good to learn this about them, because as more social networking plug-ins become available for us to add to our site, we know that this probably isn’t something we should spend a lot of time implementing.

FYI: The “share” links now include a “print” and “email to a friend” buttons.

Discovery #6: Our closest friends and family don’t care.

Los Agredanos Sisters all together for first time in three yearsAlmost none of our friends and family filled out the survey. Some readers who comment frequently opted out as well. The most enthusiastic respondents who enjoy our site, are total strangers who never comment.

The Conclusion: Our friends and family know how boring we really are and don’t buy into that road tripping, freewheelin’ hippie image we have on the web.

Overall …

It seems that you are here for the blog itself, not really for the rest of the website, which includes a storefront and a road trip soundtrack page, if you didn’t already know. The number one reason you tune in is to read about what life on the road is really like, and where the best places in this country are for people with like-minded ways of thinking.

Thanks to the generous readers who gave their time to fill out the survey, we are now confident that for the most part, our writing is on the right track. While some things can be omitted or cleaned up (like not talking about politics, according to a few respondents), you have affirmed that our approach is working well.

And if we are way off base or totally full of crap with this analysis, please let us know with a comment below.

12 thoughts on “Finally; Our Reader Survey Conclusions”

  1. Hey!
    I’m reading…
    When I have time and I did not fillout the survey 🙁

    As for your “road tripping, freewheelin’ hippie image ”
    I still think you should be leather trampin’ not rubber trampin’ your way across the country 😉



  2. Interesting that your friends and relatives are not frequent viewers. We find the same thing on our blog. I haven’t been keeping up with you as much as I used to. We’re still in Louisiana (home) and there just doesn’t seem to be the time. We hope to be back on the road headed towards FL next week. Then we’ll be back on our old slow schedule! I can’t wait…

    • Kim, we’ve heard this from other travelers as well, isn’t that funny?

      I know you’re itching to get movin. Keep us posted. BTW, we’re finally making it out to Rodeo, NM next week, thanks to your good feedback on the area. Can’t wait to see it.

  3. as one family member who did fill out your survey, i follow your blog with much interest as i am homebound here in socal for the timebeing. Personally, i think you fit the “road tripping, freewheelin’ hippie image” quite nicely now.

  4. I had the same problem with Susan, tried to fill out the form a few times and it didn’t seem to take. I was filling it out on Mac / Firefox.

    I also agree with her about your political views. We don’t post our political views on our business blog. We are going to separate our work and personal blog sometime this year so that we can keep the politics out.

    But, I feel that when it is an overall personal blog site, you are free to voice your view and opinion.

    I love reading your blog. I check on the RSS feed to your site everyday (multiple times during the day). I just wish that my blog can be as popular as yours one day.

    Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to meet you guys when you get here.

    Love from Texas,

  5. If your politics had been the same as those of the complainers, they more than likely wouldn’t have complained. It’s your blog- say what you want! If someone doesn’t like it, they can start their own.

    I did fill out a survey, but could never get it to complete 🙁

    While, due to our interests, David and I are unlikely to ever hit the road like you guys have, I love reading about your adventures. Keep on truckin’!

  6. Interesting results (sorry, I was one of those lurkers and didn’t fill out your survey).

    Personally, I would love to see you do more on boondocking tips – for example, I recently discovered how critical fresh water conservation in the rig is. I just took a 1 cup sponge/paper towel “bath” today and need to go sneak into a nearby RV park to refill my water cans tonight. A “Best of Boondocking Tips” would be great.

    Also, another article idea might be to teach your readers how to use the online technologies that make following and sharing your blog easier. These aren’t always apparent but do make your readers’ experience a lot more convenient.

    Thanks for sharing your results!

  7. interesting….
    I remember a post from quite awhile ago…mabe a year ago..when you & Jim expressed your view that you felt something very dramatic was going to happen with the economy etc …. I was going to go back and read it today…


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