July 7, 2016 Blogging TipsHow to create a reader survey for your blog If you’ve been following Blogging For Keeps for awhile, you know we’re a big fan of reader surveys! While they might sound daunting (yikes! Do I really want to know what people think of my blog?) they’re both informative and incredibly helpful when it comes to planning and brainstorming your new content. (And when we say “incredibly helpful” we aren’t kidding–this strategy has transformed how we approach creating content!) I personally conducted a reader survey several months ago on my blog, The Golden Girl, and I still go back to it each time I sit down to brainstorm. It also helped me narrow the focus of my content so I wasn’t feeling so scattered and all over the place. Seriously–I can’t recommend them enough! On Blogging For Keeps, we use reader surveys to dictate everything we do–and we include links to them in our introductory emails, which gives us a never-ending stream of valuable insight! (We wouldn’t be able to create helpful content for you if not for them!) Okay okay, you get it. Reader surveys are amazing. So, how do you create one? Luckily, it only takes a few minutes! Here’s how to get started. Create a form We love to use Google Forms for this purpose–they make it super easy to set up, and the process is very intuitive. All you have to do to create one is navigate to your Google Drive (note: you must have a gmail address to access this), click “New” and select “form.” (Note: You might have to click “more” before the form option shows up!) Customize and pop in your questions You will then see a window open like the above. You can name your survey, and personalize it how you’d like. If you hover over the color palette icon in the upper right-hand corner, you can customize your color scheme or even upload your own photo for the background. The “settings” icon also allows you to personalize other things–like the thank you message someone gets once your survey is complete. So–what should your questions be? We’d recommend a combination of multiple choice as well as short answer. The multiple choice will give you a great overall perspective of your reader’s opinions, and the multiple choice will give you more concrete detail. Some questions you may want to include: Age and/or location of your reader How long he or she has been following What other social channels they follow you on How often they read your blog When, where, and how they read your blog What content is their favorite Which content is their least favorite What other type of content would they like to see? Any topics in particular? Niche-based questions. For example, if you’re a fashion blogger, it could be helpful to ask where they shop, and how much they typically spend on clothing at one time. (This will help you determine what your audience buys so you can give them more content that is relevant for them.) Want an example? You can see the exact survey I gave my readers here! Embed the form in a blog post, or share the link on social media All done with your survey questions? Great! Now, look for the big “send” button in the upper right hand corner. Click it, and you’ll want to navigate to the two right-hand tabs. The middle tab (with the link icon) is great if you’d like to provide the link to your form on your site, or on a social channel. The far right-hand option (the HTML/embed icon) will allow you to embed the form right in your blog post. You will be able to adjust the width as well as the height–so make sure the width is the same as your blog’s main column! The height is something you’ll have to play around with based on how many questions you want to be visible before the scroll bar! Another really cool place to put your survey call-out would be in your sidebar–this way, it’s always visible to new readers, and you can continue to get helpful insights rolling in! Geek out! The best part of the survey is reading the responses! You can view them two ways–the first is to click on the form in your google drive and then click the “summary” tab. It will show up something like this: The second, is to click the little green box that looks like a spreadsheet to the right of your response summary form. A box will pop up that looks like this: Select “create a new spreadsheet” which will then create a google spreadsheet (similar to MS Excel) of your data. This makes it very easy to sort through and to further analyze and mine your data. What other questions do you have about reader surveys? Have you done one yourself? What was your experience?