If 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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost 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.
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.