At the end of last year, I put together a reader survey for you guys to fill out and I was thrilled by the response! And then my world fell apart and I promptly forgot all about it. But since I’m finally feeling a little like myself again, I thought it was time to talk about your answers and what I want this blog to be in the coming year(s).
Here are some of the stats I learned from the survey:
- My readers are full of women. In fact, 100% of the respondents checked the “female” box when filling out my survey, which is not surprising in the least. My blog is definitely geared toward the ladies and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Most of you are in your thirties. Ready for this staggering statistic? 68% of you are in your thirties! I really thought most of my readers were in their twenties, so this was surprising to me, but maybe it shouldn’t be. I started blogging around the time that Twenty-Something Bloggers (remember that community?) came into popularity and I was on the younger side of that demographic, and since (spoiler alert) many of you have been reading my blog since its inception, it makes sense that most of you are in your thirties. 27% of my readers are in their twenties and I have around 5% of readers in their forties.
- No surprise: mostly US readers. Every now and then I check my stats to see where my traffic is coming from and while I have a few international hits, it’s mostly US-based. The majority of you are located in the US, a few in Canada, and just one UK reader (hi!).
- You’ve either been reading my blog for a very long time, or you’re totally new to Stephany Writes. It was so interesting to find out that most of you have been reading this blog for five years or longer (45%). Thank y’all who have been around for the whole journey because, believe me, those early blog posts are cringe-worthy. Thanks for sticking by me as I figured myself out in my twenties. It was also surprising to find out that 23% of you have been reading my blog for a year or less. I don’t feel like I promote my blog as much as I used to and I’d love to know how some of you found this blog in the past year.
- Most of you use a feed reader to get my blog posts. This is how I read blogs myself, so it wasn’t surprising to find out that 46% of you are subscribed to my blog via a feed reader. What was surprising is that 36% of you just come right to my blog to learn about new posts! There are also 14% of you who get my blog posts by email (there’s a signup on my sidebar to get my blog posts by email!)
- Blog posting schedule: just right. The majority of you are happy with my two posts a week schedule, but some of you want to see more blog posts per week.
- What do you guys like to read about? A lot of you enjoy some of my regular series, including “Currently In…,” “Week in the Life,” “TGIF,” and “Five for Friday.” I was really happy to see that people love Week in the Life because that’s one of my favorites series to do every year and I’m glad it resonates with all of you guys, too! You guys also love when I talk about introversion, social anxiety, high sensitivity, personal finance, and singleness.
- Nobody loves book reviews. Ha! I think I should have specified between my monthly book reviews and book reviews when I just talk about one book. But 55% of you said they weren’t your favorite, so you might not be keen on the weekly “What I’m Reading” series I’m starting. Oops. I’m not going to write one-book reviews anymore, so hopefully those were the blog posts you guys didn’t love so much, not the multiple-book reviews.
I also asked you guys what you like about my blog, and you guys were seriously the sweetest. The majority of the responses said that you love my honesty and how I’m not afraid to be vulnerable. You love the authentic and thoughtful nature of my blog posts. And having honest, vulnerable dialogue about the messy parts of our lives is exactly what I wanted to create from this blog. I didn’t want to sugarcoat over the hard parts, but be open and honest about my life.
I also asked for suggestions for how to improve my blog and I got some interesting responses to that question! Some of the suggestions:
- Don’t be afraid to monetize your blog
- Write more blog posts
- Talk more about your dating life
- Write less book posts
- Keep sharing the hard stuff
I loved these suggestions, but there were two in particular that stood out: monetizing and talking about dating. I have thought long and hard about monetization when it comes to my blog and have decided it’s just not for me. It takes a lot of time and effort to search for monetization opportunities and I just don’t feel like it is worth it for me. And I’ve always felt a little icky writing sponsored posts. If the right opportunity comes along, something that feels right and authentic for me and my audience, I would consider it. But as it stands right now, monetizing my blog is not something I’m considering.
Now let’s talk about dating. It’s true – I only make mentions to my dating life, but very rarely provide specifics. For example, in my 2017 wrap-up posts, I talked about how I had been seeing someone for the first couple months of the year, but he was absent from the blog. Why? Because our relationship never evolved from “casually dating” to “boyfriend and girlfriend.” And I just don’t talk about relationships that are in that “casually dating” stage. The first (and only, sigh) guy I’ve ever talked about on my blog in detail is someone I had had the boyfriend/girlfriend talk with. So that’s something that’s not going to change because my blog isn’t about other people. It’s about myself and my life and my journey. Hopefully one day, that journey will include a romantic partner, but until we’re serious, it’s something I will continue to remain quiet about.
What I Want From This Blog
So, what did this reader survey teach me about my blog? Nothing new, actually! Which is good – it means the posts I’m writing on a regular basis resonate with you guys, even the less-serious ones like Five for Friday and TGIF. It helped me to see that talking about introversion, high sensitivity, and social anxiety are topics you guys really want to see more of, and it reminds me to continue writing about these topics and bringing awareness to them. I’m also grateful to see that you guys do like me to talk about singleness and dating, and even though I’m not dating this year, I’m going to try to write about that journey and what it’s like to be consciously single. And, finally, writing more about personal finance and my neverending quest to be a better money manager is going to be a priority this year. I’m not sure how, just yet, but I’m going to figure out what needs to be said.
Another thing that you’ll notice is that I’m going to try to stick to a three-days-a-week posting schedule: Mondays devoted to my current reads, Wednesdays devoted to a personal essay, and Fridays devoted to something fun like “Currently In…” or “Five for Friday.” I’ve been doing the two-days-a-week schedule for years now, so it might take some getting used to, but I’m going to try to make it work. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. A little experimentation didn’t hurt anyone, right?