What tools do you use regularly to help build your blog?
Productivity tools like Evernote, Trello, or ZenWriter might come to mind.
While these are great tools that may help you to fit more tasks into your day, are you sure you’re working on the right tasks to begin with?
Productivity without strategy won’t get you anywhere.
What if you’re wasting time writing blog posts, ebooks, or creating courses or products your audience isn’t interested in?
If you want your blog to be a success – especially if your time is limited – it’s important to be strategic about what you work on. And one of the best tools to be strategic about growing your blog is reader surveys.
But even if you scour your blog looking for common errors, it’s tough to spot them because it’s impossible to be objective about your own work. It’s hard to take a step back and see your blog the way your audience does.
That’s one reason surveys are such a powerful tool: They can help you to get an objective opinion on your blog, and see it the way your audience does.
A good survey can help you find out what's turning your audience away, or preventing them from subscribing or taking other desired actions.
When designing a survey to improve your blog, you might design a general survey to pinpoint any possible issues, or you might already have an issue in mind you want to fix, such as:
Why is my bounce rate so high?
Why do so few visitors buy my ebook?
Why are so many people unsubscribing from my email newsletter?
It’s easy to guess at the reasons behind problems like this, but without asking your audience, it’s impossible to know for certain.
Suggested Survey Questions:
Would you recommend my blog to a friend? Why or why not?
Do you have any difficulties navigating my blog?
If you could change one thing about my blog, what would it be?
What do you like most about my email newsletter? What do you dislike about it?
Analyze Your Marketing's Effectiveness
Do you know how your most loyal readers found your blog?
Are most of your readers finding your posts via searching on Google, or posts shared by their friends on Facebook? Are your social media efforts actually paying off, or are you wasting your time promoting every post on Twitter?
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts.
If 80% of your marketing efforts aren’t getting any results, you’d probably want to know about it so that you can focus your time on the strategies that are working, right?
By using surveys, you can identify and focus your efforts on the strategies that are really working.
This is a quick survey to implement, but it can have a big impact by saving you lots of time.
Try just setting up a quick, one-question survey asking your audience how they first heard of your blog, and send it to your email list. You might be surprised at the results!
It’s a common problem, especially if you’ve been blogging for a while and feel like you’ve already covered it all.
This is another issue it’s difficult to be objective about. When you’re an expert on a topic, it can be difficult to see it like a beginner. It’s tough to look at your niche with a fresh perspective, which can make it difficult to come up with good blog post ideas.
The more you understand your audience and see from their point of view, the better your blog will be. You’ll be writing about exactly the topics they want to read about.
Surveys can help you figure out exactly what your readers are struggling with, and give you endless ideas for just the content they’re craving.
Suggested Survey Questions:
What is your #1 struggle with [niche-related topic]?
What topics would you like to read more blog posts about?
Why do you subscribe to my email newsletter?
If you and I had a one-on-one coaching session, what questions would you ask me?
What one thing is stopping you from [niche-related goal]?
Create Monetization Strategies That Work
Surveys are also a great way to come up with monetization strategies for your blog that your audience really wants.
You don’t want to invest a lot of time into writing an epic ebook or creating a whole online course, only to find out it isn’t quite what your audience wanted and no one wants to pay for it.
By doing the research ahead of time, you can find out exactly what your audience is willing to pay for. Once you've identified your readers' needs, you’ll know exactly which monetization strategy is the right one for your audience.
Amanda Abella, Millennial Business Coach, recently created a survey to identify her audience’s needs and discover the best monetization strategy for her blog.
“When I was going through a rebrand and surveyed my blog audience earlier this year, I was surprised to find that 80% said their primary concern was learning how to run a business so they could quit their day jobs. It blew me away.”
After she analyzed the survey responses, she went on to write her first book and turn it into an Amazon bestseller!
Amanda advises making your survey as easy to take as possible:
“No big boxes for answers, just multiple choice. The less they have to think about it the more likely they will fill it out. When it came to my book, I actually got on the phone with survey participants and created a safe space for them to talk to me about the issues they were facing.”
For your blog monetization survey, you’ll want to gauge things like:
Which topics your audience is most interested in
What format they prefer (ebook, course, videos, coaching, etc.)
The likelihood they will purchase something
Suggested Survey Questions:
How do you learn best (by reading, by talking one-on-one, by watching videos, etc.)?
How many ebooks have you purchased this year?
Have you ever purchased an online course before? Why or why not?
Don’t Just Guess – Ask Your Audience
Bloggers aren’t mind readers, and we don’t know exactly what our readers want unless we ask. Results from your survey questions can be surprising. Don’t assume you know what your audience wants – ask them!
Amanda encourages her fellow bloggers to “Give your people what they want. We often times try to reinvent the wheel when it's totally not necessary. I was guilty of this for years and it wasn't until I started listening to my audience and giving them what they asked for that things started to shift.”
About KeriLynn Engel
KeriLynn Engel is a copywriter & content marketing strategist. She loves working with B2B & B2C businesses to plan and create high-quality content that attracts and converts their target audience. When not writing, you can find her reading speculative fiction, watching Star Trek, or playing Telemann flute fantasias at a local open mic.