Close
Close

Why Running Surveys with Your Readers Rocks

In the last two months I’ve started using Surveys to get in touch with readers more and more.

Those of you who subscribe to the ProBlogger newsletter will know this first hand because late last year you were invited to participate in one – but I’ve also run a couple on my photography blog that have been incredibly useful.

I’ve been running the surveys using SurveyMonkey (it is a little clunky but it is free for smaller surveys and not the most expensive option for larger ones).

I have found running surveys beneficial in a number of ways:

  1. Getting in touch with reader needs – this is the most obvious reason to run a survey, they give you real insight into the needs, problems and challenges of your readers. The information I’ve gleaned from surveys in the last two months have provided me with a massive source of post ideas for the coming months!
  2. Understanding who your reader is – some of the surveys I’ve been running have asked questions that help me not only identify the needs of readers but also have helped me understand what type of readers I have. I’ve asked questions about experience levels, demographics and other things that help me get a picture of what type of person is reading – again this helps shape not only content but many other aspects of a site.
  3. Warm up Your List – up until recently I’d not been sending emails to the ProBlogger newsletter list. Due to time constraints I’d let my email list go cold. Sending out a survey to this ‘cool’ list was one of the best things I’ve ever done – it not only helped me in the above ways – it helped me re-engage with old subscribers in a way that was not about promoting myself or any product but which was all about them, their needs, their challenges and their situation.
  4. Build Anticipation – later this month I’m launching another E-book on DPS. As part of the process of creating anticipation of this E-book among my community I’ve been running a simple survey to get readers engaging with me around some of the topics of the E-book. The survey will not only help me make the E-book better, but in the introduction to the survey we’re letting readers know about the upcoming launch – something that plays an important part in building some good buzz and anticipation of the launch.
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Really good post! Something I do since I started (19 days ago) is a weekly poll, which seems to work really well and is great for getting feedback and getting to know your users. Theres a plug in on WordPress called Poll daddy, which I really like! So far we have had 3 polls and the results have always been interesting and always seem to cause debates, some times even arguements,haha!
    http://www.studentspayless.com

  2. Pascal says:

    Surveys results tells what you should focus on your blog. Finding topics made easy by this.

    Surveys helps to avoid your current avoids and lows.

    Surveys tells your blog advertisers what the readers of this blog want and can their product get welcome?

  3. Sudeep says:

    Good post , everything agreed about taking survey’s.But being a very new blogger hardly any one replies sometimes to those surveys.. very frustrating some times….

  4. Post is great, good timing for me sinc e I am launching a new ebook, never thought of surveys to build buzz.

  5. Fazreen says:

    I find out that only those blogs with many readers will rockin’.

    If the blog only have few readers nobody will do the surveys..

  6. Eric Spears says:

    I’ve started a new survey blog. The easiest format for me was just to post a question & let people respond in the comments section. My surveys are single questions that seem silly but spark thought & conversation. I’m trying to pull people from my regular blog, http://www.daisybrain.wordpress.com over to the survey blog, but haven’t had much success yet.

  7. Calvin says:

    I’m a professional fundraiser for one of the top 100 non-profits in the US, and one of our primary objectives with our donors is to get them to engage with our mission. You need to see your donors as more than just an ATM machine and more as a partner in your mission. In other words, donors want to feel a sense of engagement with your organization.

    I think that this translates well to the online community and polls/surveys allow readers an opportunity to engage with the site, to potentially influence the dialogue, and to build a sense of community.

    Good article, Darren.

    Calvin @ http://www.MakingMoneyOnlineMethods.com

  8. I do want to take surveys. But I’m not sure how many readers you need for taking surveys.

    My blogs has around 250 subscribers, and I’ve just started a newsletter, so not many subscriptions.

    When my newsletter starts to grow, I will use surveys. I think it will please the readers also to see that you care about them!

    Nice post Darren.

  9. Faisal Khan says:

    Survey is indeed a very cool way to engage users, make them feel connected with the website, and for the webmaster to get important feedback about the stuff relevant to the topic of his website. For instance, since Stardeveloper.com is a website that targets web developers, I can run a survey about the topics users will like to see more tutorials on.

    I haven’t checked the website that Darren mentions that he uses for the surveys but IMO, the survey has to be an AJAX implementation to make it easy for the user to cast his vote and to see the results without refreshing existing web page. One question survey like that on Slashdot is much better than 5 minute surveys with 5 questions. The survey shouldn’t ask personal questions. It should be as generic and relevant to the topic of the website/blog as possible. It shouldn’t be forced to the user by a popup that comes from nowhere and asks if I am willing to take part in their multi-question survey about their website like I once got on live.com.

    Good post on a good topic, Darren. Keep them coming.

  10. Yeah, I am totally agree with few point above, survey will help blogger to more communicate and what reader are think about with topic your ask. It is so useful and helpful to improve the topic. I like survey in the blog, i always leave a choices of mine.

  11. Wilson Usman says:

    It’s crazy because I was just going to do this yesterday because I read erica.biz manifesto and that was one of her tips. I just signed up for surveymonkey and I am working on my first survey I really think is going to help me a lot because I am new and I dont really know what kind of audience am I getting too. thanks for this post I think people should really use it if they want to give their readers what they want to learn and read about. It’s simple I think…

  12. Vivek says:

    taking out surveys will totally depend on the popularity of blog. As being a newer blogger the blog will not have so many readers and running out surveys on the blog does not being matter. Knowing the needs of readers is necessary so that you will know what others things about your blog and what are the measures will you take to overcome so that you will gave them a better competition. And finally the niche blogging will also help you in gaining regular readers so that you can easily run out the surveys on your blog and get the most of the benefit

  13. Wilson Usman says:

    So, if I am totally new to blogging should I ever bother creating the survey?

  14. jennifer says:

    I am totally agree with few point above, survey will help blogger to more communicate and what reader are think about with topic your ask.As being a newer blogger the blog will not have so many readers and running out surveys on the blog does not being matter.

  15. Hey Darren:

    I am sure surveys are going to come in handy, but subscription is only in double digits and do not yet have a newsletter.

    I would actually love to learn more about my readers and what they want to know about. Plus it’s a great way to interact with your subscribers.

    I am just going to keep it up and once the subscriber number get to a decent number then I will use surveys to get to know them better!

    Best,
    Tomas

  16. THANK YOU Darren, I forgot in my busy life about how great Problogger is as a resource. I just got inspired to come back and read so many posts and get caught up.

    I have been writing away and this week had post number 1000. I am filled with gratitude for the endless flow of inspiration that comes from some place beyond my noisy mind.

    I write about consciousness and peace, stop by if you are interested in either.

    Joseph
    http://www.explorelifeblog.com

  17. Dan Smith says:

    I’m trying to develop some good surveys for my readers (both of them-LOL!), but it is a little more difficult to come up with good ones than I first thought. This has been a help and I will continue to work on my blog.

  18. That is a great idea Darren. It is so important to know what you readers are looking for so that you can use your blog to help them.

  19. Surveys, polls are a great way to engage with readers and can also be great traffic source, especially if they are combined with prize contests

  20. George says:

    That makes a lot of sense. We are thinking about doing some surveys with our readers. Sounds like SurveyMonkey is a good solution.

  21. Well, this could fit pretty well to my blog, which is about Internet marketing ebooks. Something like, “What would you like to see?” or “Which ebook helped you the most?”

    I’m going to dig into this a little bit more tomorrow, sounds fantastic

  22. Nick says:

    Good post Darren, I’m agree with you. Survey will help blogger to more communicate and identify the needs of readers.

  23. I think surveys are a great idea. I just started out so I don’t have the reader base just yet. Would you recommend putting a link to survey on the blog for anyone to take that is not a subscriber? Or just subscribers? I like the poll idea too that tom from studentspaylesss talk about. Thanks again for another very useful tip.

  24. Randy Mejias says:

    I’ve always liked surveys (making my own and participating in others). It’s definitely a great way to connect with your readers better.

    I plan to start using them once my reader base grows more (hint hint, click my name).

    Not only surveys but any kind of simple interaction has always struck me as a great way to attract more participation.

    I’m not usually one to post comments (until recently), but whenever there was a poll or quick survey I would do it because it was a very fast and easy process. I also like to see results, like how a poll results are adding up.

    As usual, great post!

  25. Poker Pro says:

    I have launched two surveys on my blog.

    The first one was about wallpapers (just 8 small wallpapers on a picture) with the question “which wallpaper do you like most?”.
    The other one was at the end of a blog entry where I wrote a few lines about wordpress and design. I then asked:
    “Should I change the design of my blog” (yes/no).

    Well, up to now it looks like as I will have to change the design ;-)

  26. fat mum slim says:

    I had wanted to do a survey for a few months now, but didn’t know how to go about it. Thanks for the link.

    I created one this morning and have had a great level of participation. More than any comments I usually get. It’s a hit.

    My readers have left great feedback, although I wish I wasn’t so human…. working out how to take on the negative feedback has left me feeling ill. It’s not mean, in any way… but still negative. And then when asking about content half love one topic, the other half hate. Where do I go from there? Continue it and annoy the other half?

    Anyway… a lot to ponder. Definitely a great way to get inside the readers mind. x

  27. Donny Gamble says:

    Running surveys allows you to gain
    positive feedback from your customers
    and also allows you to satisfy the individual
    needs of your audience

  28. Arijit says:

    Ya! Survey is really effective…. I had really got the ideas of my readers through a small survey i took!!

    This really helped me a lot!!

  29. Deb says:

    Big Question not really aligned to this post but hey, where else do we send questions?

    I know you have writers working for you but where on earth do you find time for all the reading that you must have to do to stay up with everything that is going on. Do you have a system? Please share.

  30. Darni says:

    Starting a survey is a good habbit.We need to organize the surveys to figure out the things which we don’t sure.For example,where to put the subscription box.We will not know which is the best place to put it in if we don’t ask our readers.

  31. Simon Bunker says:

    Great post Darren. I am a big fan of surveys and have been using survey monkey for a while now to collect information on various projects. I recently changed the way I run my business off the back of data that I collected via surveys. It can be very valuable.
    Thanks for posting this…

  32. Yep, I recently ran a survey and it was a big success I’m pleased to say. I got 100 responses in under 8 hours which for me would have been unthinkable a while back. It gave me such a huge insight into my readers and the best question I asked was: “why do you read london cyclist blog”.

  33. Hi Darren,

    I’m looking to release an e-book on my website towards the end of this year. I was wondering would you be able to write a post on how you type up an e-book, file conversion and what you use on-line to sell it from?.

    Thanks

    David Edwards

  34. Ed Fry says:

    You meantion that Survey Monkey lacks some functionality; I haven’t used them myself, but I use Google Docs forms which are very good.

    Anyone else used Google Docs?

  35. Nezine says:

    Its a great idea to keep in touch with the readers and relative to them. It also gives an idea about the type of readership which might be useful for future postings.

    If one is new and there are no responses, it can be disappointing.

  36. Phil Simon says:

    I use PollDaddy in WordPress. One of my goals this year on my blog is to understand my readers better.

  37. Surveys are wonderful for getting readers to open up about themselves and to share what they like, love and want more of from your site.

    Last July, I started weekly giveaways on my blog in order to boost my weekly return visitor rate.
    I studied how other bloggers captured participants names & emails and picked a winner, and decided on using Google Forms to create surveys. I lurv surveys!

    When I run a giveaway, I ask my readers to fill out a reasonable list of questions in order to be counted as a participant, 10 questions tops. I want it to feel effortless, since I want them to fill out a survey every week.
    The things I have learned from readers is GOLD, pure GOLD.

    Because I am a food blogger, my readers consist more of home cooks, than of other bloggers. This means I KNOW they don’t use Twitter, and barely understand Facebook. They strongly use RSS and the weekly newsletter to learn what’s new.

    Surveys aren’t just for asking information; you can use them to prompt readers to an action. For example, consistent questions asked at the end of my surveys:

    Did you Subscribe to Simple Daily Recipes’ RSS Feed?
    Yes, No, I’m Already a Happy Subscriber

    Did you Subscribe to Simple Daily Recipes’ Newsletter?
    Yes, No, I’m Already a Happy Subscriber

    Will you Tweet about this giveaway from Simple Daily Recipes? (fill in your Twitter ID) This one helps me build my following list for sure.

    Will you Share this Giveaway on Facebook?
    This question helped me learn readers didn’t use or understand facebook.

    I’ve learned tons more, and I’m sorry I’ve gone on so long. Holler for me, if you have any questions about my experience using Google Forms for surveys or about the format of questions I ask, I’ll be happy to share what I’ve learned.

    Thank you, Problogger!

  38. scheng1 says:

    haha, surveymonkey! That means all those who have taken part in your survey are monkeys!!

  39. Shafar says:

    I think surveys are meant for blogs having large visitors!

  40. Paul Hassing says:

    Hi Darrren, I just did a survey with SurveyBob (after looking at SurveyMonkey).

    Everything you wrote about the process and benefits was true for me too. I reported my experience in a three-part blog post.

    I don’t usually include links in my comments on your blog, but I figured you and your readers might find this one particularly interesting:

    http://mybrc.myobnet.com/2009/12/15/poll-dancing/

    Apologies if not. Best regards, P. :)

  41. I have a question. Is it better to use surveymonkey or Polldaddy with WordPress?

  42. Thanks for the post Darren. Frankly, this is a subject I really need to work on as I do want to achieve a community ‘feel’ with my blog. As always, thanks for your hard work.

  43. Paul Hassing says:

    PS: I’ve naturally put a reciprocal link to your article (Comment 23 on Part 3). :)

  44. Your blog is great! I will subscribe to the ProBlogger newsletter, thank you very much! I try to make my blog successful and interesting, I think your posts will be very helpful! Thanks a lot.

  45. Recently just had a huge survey and it was very successful in getting ideas on what the readers like.

  46. Brian H. says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for the heads up on surveymonkey. I’m going to check them out or use WP’s poll daddy.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  47. I am constantly running surveys with my readers. The best way to know what your readers want and how to give it to them is to ask. This is one of the best and most overlooked marketing task out there.

    I recommend that everyone begin surveying their readers. This will give your more targeted content as well as ideas.

    Great Post!

    Blog Marketing Diva
    http://www.blogmarketingdiva.com

  48. James Brewer says:

    I have never run a survey on my website, maybe I should try it!

  49. very important. Great points, but it can be used in different ways and it can have different motives as well. We once used a exit survey to understand more about our visitors. Worked great, and awesome findings. Made the necessary changes, and result was great.