2017 First Annual Reader Survey

I’ve been thinking about doing a reader survey for over a year and finally stopped being a little scaredy-cat and just did it. I want to thank all the people who responded freely, all my friends that received reminder messages from me, and all of my “insiders” that subscribe to my newsletter and filled out the survey from there. Thank you for taking a few minutes to give me your feedback!

If you haven’t subscribed to my monthly newsletter,  you can be entered into a giveaway if you do it in February! Head over to my #LoveBlog2017 post and scroll to the giveaway at the bottom!

A glance at the results

You spoke and I’m listening!

Most survey respondents are long-time readers (since the blog was This Dust Never Settles) and read about once a month. A few people said they stop by more than that, but there have been several months since last August when I didn’t even post that frequently! On top of that, most respondents said they hear about new posts from Facebook. That doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of Facebook the way I could to promote my blog. I’m not shy or ashamed of telling personal friends and family when there’s new content, but I’d love to focus on those who are interested without bothering those who aren’t.

Women visit more frequently than men, which also doesn’t surprise me because I am surrounded forever and always by lots of women! I only have sisters, I went to a college for women, became a nurse (more women), and joined Mercy Ships (surprise! also filled with women).

When I asked what you’d like to hear more about, this is what you said:

  • “How did you know you guys were ready for marriage?”
  • “Life as a single woman”
  • “I would like more about ship living, like how you made the decision.”
  • “More how-to guides for simple and intentional living, more meaty faith stuff.”
  • “Add some Scripture references to your writing so we can see how your experience matches up with how the Bible discusses those same topics
  • “ME” (Pretty sure this was my husbands response)

These were some of your critiques:

  • “Knowing when to expect new posts would be nice…”
  • “Inject little doses of humor to relax the mind as the reader thinks through the article”
  • “Maybe this is on me, but I wish it was updated regularly. I like a schedule.”
  • “The blog isn’t as funny as you are in person.”
  • “I would love you to post more, however I understand that life is busy and challenging which does not always allow time to post.”
  • “None I love how honest you are in your posts and don’t try to bypass the grittiness of life.”

What am I doing Well?

I was honored with some of the encouragement and positive thoughts I got. At one point I wanted to cry because of the words people were saying to lift me up. Here are a few comments that stood out to me, although they were all meaningful!

  • “I love reading about your life and hearing your perspective. You inspire me and give me hope that my dream to go back to Africa and live their permanently is not for naught.”
  • “Honest, open, real, what marriage looks like”
  • “I love how open and vulnerable you are– it really helps the reader to feel connected. You also have a nice writing style that I appreciate and don’t shy away from topics that may be controversial.”
  • “I love how honest you are and don’t try to bypass the grittiness of life in your posts.”

Wow, you guys are awesome! I got great feedback and insight for how to move forward. Based on the comments and the tendencies I saw through the statistics, I’m laying out some goals for myself and this blog. Once I hit publish, they’ll be in virtual stone and you are invited to hold me to them.

acquire new readers!

My guess is that most of the people who took this survey know me personally or are friends with me IRL. My blog analytics tell me that lots of new folks stop by my blog, but don’t necessarily stick around very long. I’m not sure why that is, but I think I still have to find my people, the ones who connect strongly with what I’m writing. Don’t get me wrong, I know some of you are already connecting! I see you and I’m glad you’ve stuck around with me so far.

One of the best ways I’ve found to get more eyeballs on this site is to post more. When I post, my page views skyrocket. Long gaps in new content mean most people don’t visit. But I also want to try a few new ways of finding my connection people. Quora and Reddit are two ways I’ve been thinking about because it’s easy to find people who are looking for a specific solution. Several people indicated on the survey that they’d love to know when posts will come out. I could use some consistency too and I’m going to commit to a posting schedule and see if it gives me a familiar framework to fill.

[Goal time frames are in brackets]

Goal 1: Search for my people using Quora and Reddit. [now]

Goal 2: Post on a schedule. Aim for 6 posts/month released on Mondays and every other Thursday. [now]

build a community

I’m always down to try a new challenge, routine or habit. I try all sorts of things on my own, but it’s even more fun when you do it as a community. The two ideas I pitched for the future that were most popular were the DIY tutorials and the monthly challenges. Both of those excite me and terrify me! That’s ok; I could use a healthy dose of fear and trying something that I don’t have a guarantee for success.

I have a lot going on in my brain all the time and I can get overwhelmed with my own desire to try harder, do more, and develop this blog into the best it can be. As a result, I try not to strive too hard with social media. I use Instagram casually for personal use, although I did just join my first comment pod! I love Twitter, but I’m not sure who actually sees any of my tweets. I’ve avoided starting a Facebook page like the plague because of how difficult it is for interested readers to actually see updates in their feed. I post on my personal page every once in a while, but since most of you hear about posts through Facebook, I think it’s time I started a Facebook page for Provocative Joy.

Goal 3: Start a Provocative Joy Facebook page as a way for you to keep up with the blog. [March]

Goal 4: Start a monthly challenge that you can all join in with! [March]

be my honest self

I have so many things I want to share with you. Lessons learned, thought processes toward why my husband and I live the way we live, etc. are definitely on board in the coming weeks and months. The survey showed that all the general topics I post about are well-received. Even though everyone had a favorite, there weren’t any topics that got low ratings. That’s great, because now I feel free to continue writing about the things I’m passionate about without second-guessing whether people will read. I’ll stay true to my honest, genuine self and write what comes forth.

It’s possible that I might try to keep a loosely planned schedule for which topics I post on certain days. This would make it easier for people to check the blog on the day that I typically publish the post categories I like. I still need to work through a plan that would accomplish that.

Goal 5: Keep writing honestly and from the heart!

Thank you!

To summarize what I learned from the survey, I need to write more and stay true to myself. I also need to forget about anything holding me back from trying new things and start acting on my crazy ideas. Thank you to those of you that have been reading for two years, to those of you who tell me you enjoy the blog, and to my new readers! I’m really grateful for the growth that happens here in this place.

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