Results of My First Reader Survey

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As I mentioned when I shared the initial post with the blog survey, in around a decade of blogging, I’ve never once done a survey asking for general feedback from my readers. For the first five years or so, it was because I didn’t even know reader surveys were “a thing,” and for the last five years, I didn’t think hardly anyone would care enough to respond, or, if they did, that they might just have a lot of negative stuff to say.

After successfully kicking myself in the pants and just making myself try it out already, I have firmly determined that I am a needlessly paranoid person.

First, I got 62 responses back, which, quite frankly, is about double of what I was expecting.

Second, there was nary a negative comment in the bunch, though a few of the comments DID make me laugh because they pegged me for the Type-A, list-loving, goal-oriented person that I am (and some readers think that I’m a little crazy about it….which I agree with!).

So, first off, a huge THANK YOU to all of you readers, especially those of you who took the time to fill out a survey. (And for those of you who didn’t but who still might want to, you can just click here.) It was enormously helpful to get feedback (so much of it positive and all of it at least constructive), and it gave me a renewed sense of purpose and excitement going forward. You guys really are the best!

Now onto the results!

1. How long have you been reading this blog?

  • 3-4 years (32%)
  • 1-2 years (21%)
  • Less than a year (21%)
  • 5+ years (16%)
  • I don’t remember (10%)

It pleased me to no end that nearly half of my readers (48%) had been around for so long (three or more years)! It’s always been my goal to make connections with people long-term (rather than just drive a bunch of traffic to the blog that’s never going to return), so I loved that. I also was excited that so many readers were relatively new–I have been trying to grow my readership a bit more lately, so it was fun to see a good mix of both old-timers and relative newbies.

2. What is your gender?

  • 98% female

No surprise there—other than my husband and my dad and some other family members and guy friends I was close to growing up, I knew that my readership was overwhelmingly female.

3. How old are you?

  • 21-29 (37%)
  • 30-39 (34%)
  • 50+ (16%)
  • 40-49 (6%)
  • How impertinent! (5%)
  • 0-20 (2%)

It’s not too surprising that so many of my readers are around my own age, but I LOVED seeing that my 50+ category was as high as it was. One thing I love about being a member of the LDS church is that because of the way the church is organized, you get a lot of opportunities to connect with women of ALL ages. My 50+ readers have almost always been my best commenters (via Facebook, anyway), as well as some of my biggest supporters (because I’m assuming most are people I know in real life). So I loved seeing a bit of diversity in the numbers there!

4. How did you first find the blog?

  • Facebook (32%)
  • From the writer, aka Torrie (27%)
  • I don’t remember (18%)
  • From a comment on another blog (11%)
  • From a link-up on another blog (10%)
  • From Instagram (2%)
  • From Pinterest (0%)
  • From a blog reader, aka Bloglovin’, Feedly, etc. (0%)
  • From a search engine (0%)

This was a particularly valuable question, as I’ve been looking for ways to grow my blog more lately. Obviously, it looks like a lot of people find the blog via Facebook or through me personally, which means that about half of my regular readers are people who know me “in real life.” However, I was particularly interested in how people came to read the blog who WEREN’T in my physical proximity. It was really eye-opening to see that commenting on other blogs and participating in link-ups seem to be my best tools right now to grow the blog. This was interesting to me, as pretty much all of the literature I’ve read has said that Pinterest (and sometimes Instagram) should be my MAIN sources of traffic. As I’m all about organically growing my blog with long-term readers (rather than just with millions of people who click in once and never visit again), I’m fine with my slow-and-steady approach. I’ll still use Pinterest and Instagram for some blog publicity, but I’m not going to expect many readers from those channels.

5. What are your TOP THREE favorite kinds of posts to read?

  • Personal/Life Updates (71%)
  • Books & Reading (58%)
  • Reflections/Thoughts On (47%)
  • Motherhood (32%)
  • Simple Living/Minimalism (27%)
  • Financial/Frugal Living (26%)
  • Home Projects/Renovations (24%)
  • Recipes (24%)
  • Healthy Living/Weight Management (16%)
  • Photography (15%)

Honestly, the results on this one kind of astounded me, simply because many of the personal/life updates (such as my monthly sentence-a-day posts) are actually some of the ones that get the LEAST amount of pageviews. I think in the future, I might break up the category Personal/Life Updates into more distinct categories, just to see if that changes anything. As it appears that over half of you readers know me in real life, I guess it makes sense that you like hearing what’s going on with us. I did LOVE that the second most popular category was books and reading, since that’s the direction I’ve really been trying to move the blog toward these past several months.

6. What are your three LEAST favorite kinds of posts to read?

  • Photography (39%)
  • Healthy Living/Weight Management (35%)
  • Recipes (27%)
  • Books and Reading (23%)
  • Home Projects/Renovation (18%)
  • Financial/Frugal Living (13%)
  • Simple Living/Minimalism (11%)
  • Motherhood (8%)
  • Personal/Life Updates (6%)
  • Reflections/Thoughts On (3%)

Ha ha, I heard you loud and clear on this one! I’d been considering doing more “how to” photography-type posts, but seeing as there seems to be the least amount of interest in that, I’ll save those for special occasions. (However, for those few who indicated that they really WANTED to see more photography posts, check out this post I did on how to take portraits of your kids at home, or this post on five tips to help you take better vacation photos.)

I also was super surprised by the one that came up second, which made me rethink the Health(ier) Habits series I’d been doing (and even the Body After Baby series I did after having Raven). Going forward, I think I’ll make these things less of a series and more just occasional posts that I do every now and then (since trying to be healthy is a bit part of who I am).

As for the recipes, I still am planning to post favorite recipes, but I might change up the format a bit—share my top four meals from the pantry, for example, or my favorite quick dinners that take less than 30 minutes (rather than just always doing a single recipe at a time). I’ve done this on a few posts, like when I shared my top four quick dinners that use up ground beef and other pantry staples, or when I shared four ways of using zucchini besides making it into bread or as a side dish.

7. Approximately what percentage of posts do you read?

  • Pretty much all of ’em, baby–90% or more (44%)
  • A decent majority–66.6 – 89% (34%)
  • Only when a particular post catches your eye—less than 45% (18%)
  • Roughly half-ish– 45 – 66.5% (5%)

It felt pretty good to see that over three-fourths of the respondents read the majority of what I posted (of course, it makes sense that those who read the most would also be the most willing to fill out a survey…). Overall, I’m quite happy with this number.

8. How many book recommendations have you gotten from this blog?

  • 1 – 4 (44%)
  • 5 – 9 (18%)
  • Over 10 (18%)
  • 0 – Who’s got time to read? (15%)
  • 0 – We don’t have similar tastes (5%)
  • 0 – You do book recommendations? (2%)

Can I just say how happy it made my English teacher heart that 80% of you have gotten at least one book recommendation from me? Hallelujah! I sometimes joke that I feel like it’s my personal mission in life to make sure that people are reading good books (and more of them), and by this, I’d say I’m doing all right with that mission! (I also LOVED that 36% of you have gotten five or more recommendations from the blog!) Now, for future surveys, I just need to do a follow-up question that asks if you actually LIKED the books you got from here, ha ha.

9. What do you like most about reading To Love and To Learn? Why do you keep coming back?

As this was an optional short-answer response question, I didn’t get responses from everyone, but probably about two-thirds or more of people who took the survey filled out this question and the next.

By far, the most common responses were because you loved the book recommendations, and you liked keeping up with my family. I also got a fair number of people who said they loved the photography and that they appreciated my writing style, which they found “positive” and “relatable.” You guys, these comments seriously MADE MY WHOLE YEAR. I’ve always striven to be honest yet optimistic, and I’m so glad that that’s coming through. I never wanted to paint a picture of my life as perfect, but I also wanted to portray that I embrace and love life and that there is so much good to appreciate in it. So to receive that validation from you guys meant a LOT.

10. What are some ideas for posts you’d like to see more of in the future?

I seriously can’t believe I’ve never taken advantage of doing a reader survey before because you guys gave me SOOOOO many good ideas!

By far, the most respondents said they wanted more book posts. So, I definitely plan to make sure that I’m at least doing a few of those book lists and such every month!

A surprising number also said that they wanted to see more pictures of our house and what we’ve been doing with each room. I do have plans to keep on doing this, much as I did with our front room, downstairs bathroom, and exterior, but I actually have to DO the work first, ha ha. So this one will be a slow and steady thing.

I was also surprised that quite a few of you wanted a lot more pregnancy posts, such as general pregnancy updates, if I’m doing a maternity capsule wardrobe (like I did a general, non-maternity capsule wardrobe before), and how we’re prepping to have a second kid. I won’t be doing regular pregnancy posts on the blog (like, not weekly or anything, I mean), but I do tend to post more pregnancy-related stuff on my Instagram, if you want to see semi-regular updates there. I will do some more posts about the pregnancy though, including one about my maternity wardrobe!

There were several more pretty specific ones you all suggested for me, but I’ll save those for when I actually turn them into posts!

 

Overall, I was THRILLED with the feedback I got—it was specific, it was positive, and it was overall very helpful. I now have a ton of good ideas up my sleeve for what to do in the future, and I hope you know how much I appreciate you for showing up here time and time again to read about this little life we’ve carved out for ourselves. You really are the best!