Have you ever felt lost for ideas on what to write about? Have you been waiting on the sidelines watching other bloggers share fabulous freebies, write gripping posts, and seemingly grow their blog with very little effort (impossible, by the way)?
Well my blogger friend: you are not alone.
Earlier this year I began to feel this overwhelming tension. It was a cross between the responsibility of coming up with topics to write about each week and the hanging question of “what do my readers actually WANT?” While writing is therapeutic for me, it’s my readers who fuel my passion to keep writing. Each time my words connect with someone, it reminds me why I started this whole blogging adventure.
But how was I supposed to know what my readers wanted to read?
I finally did some searching and came across a couple of posts that had great insight. Their answer sounded so simple, but felt so right: ASK THEM. Seems so basic right? And it was. It IS.
So today I’m going to share with you what I learned about running a survey on your blog, including:
- How to create your survey
- What types of questions to ask
- Getting the word out
- How to make the most of your results
Let’s break this down, shall we?
There are several free survey creators you can use like Survey Monkey
or Kwik Surveys
but I settled on Google Forms. It automatically integrates with Google Sheets which makes accessing the data so seamless for me with how much I use Google.
Once you’ve opened a new Google form
, you’ll see a page like the one below. This is where you’ll build your survey, customize colors or theme, and decide what format you’ll use for each question.
I personally wanted my survey to be quick and painless for anyone taking it. I also wanted to get the clearest results. So I aimed for my survey to take no more than 2 minutes and used mostly multiple choice questions.
It’s easier to entice someone to take your survey if they know it will only take a minute or two! I only offered short answer responses for the name and email fields (which I selected to be optional) and then a paragraph response at the end of the survey for the reader to leave any extra comments.
What Questions Should you Ask?
As you begin to build your question list order to get the most out of your questions, it’s important to ask the following:
What problems are you hoping will be solved from the data you gain?
Are you wanting to find new blog post topics? You could give a multiple choice question with 4-5 topics you’ve written about (or are considering writing about) and ask them which one they want to read most.
Looking to sell a new product? As them what type/format/topic they’d be willing to purchase from you. Do they want to receive it in eBook format? Email course? Or would they like to have one-on-one coaching?
Maybe you haven’t sold something yet and are curious if anyone would actually buy from you to begin with. Ask them and find out the answer to the question you’ve been asking for who knows how long!
Be sure to customize your questions for YOUR blog. The questions that worked well for mine or someone else’s survey may make absolutely no sense for yours. So instead of using someone else’s exact questions, make them unique to your audience.
So you’ve finished your survey…now what? Well, it’s time to GET THE WORD OUT! You can write a blog post explaining your survey and post regularly your social media to draw people in while the survey is live. If you have a mailing list, use it! Let them know you could use their help.
Another idea would be to consider offering something free or exclusive to one lucky winner or even to all who fill out your survey. Everyone loves a little something free and it could be as simple as taking an old post and making an awesome PDF file out of it.
Even without offering something free I had a fairly good response to my survey. So it’s definitely not necessary. I appealed to my reader’s softer side and simply asked for them to help a sister out…and many of my readers were happy to help! I let my survey run for three days and I think the shorter time frame made it easy to get people moving.
What to Do with Your Results
When the survey ends you can see lovely pie chart results under the “responses” tab on your form page. You can also switch the survey to ‘closed’ on this tab to stop the survey from being filled out any more.
I took the advice I read on www.successfulblogging.com
and made the effort to reach out and thank every single reader
who chose to leave their name and email. These were personal, short and sweet individual thank yous to which I received many replies. And though it took me some time it was honestly the best part about the survey – truly connecting with some of my readers who I’d never spoken to before.
You could also share the results with your readers! We all have a curious bone in our body and there’s something to be said about being included in the process. So show them what the consensus was and how you plan to put their responses into action.
Reap the Benefits Of Your Blog Survey
Finding out what our readers want doesn’t have to cause a headache. The same goes for testing the waters for new blog topics, community group interest, or even selling something for the first time. We can just ask! Many of our readers are committed to our blog because they like what they see and are willing to share their thoughts.
Running a survey benefits everybody. As the blogger we receive valuable insight into our readers needs and desires. And as the reader, they get to share their voice and are invited into a more intimate circle. Hopefully they are reminded that we couldn’t do this without them and their support!
Have you run a survey on your blog before? What tips and advice would you add?