Wednesday, March 23, 2016

And the Survey Says...

My sincerest thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the online survey I posted a few weeks back. Your feedback gave me a great deal to think about as well as a better understanding and clearer picture of the direction Chasing Roots should take in the future.

Survey Monkey presented the results to me anonymously (though on occasion an answer's specifics clued me in to the respondent's identity - I'm looking at you, Mom) and in a way that allowed me to 1) break them down individually to take each response into account and 2) group them together to assess the overarching themes. 

For example...

How did you initially find Chasing Roots?
Almost everyone found Chasing Roots for the first time via Facebook, either because they knew me personally and saw a link on my Facebook page or they were friends/worked with someone who knew me and that person shared a Chasing Roots link. Facebook certainly has its downfalls, but for me it has also had a vast and positive impact on my ability to share what I write!

About how long have you been reading Chasing Roots?
More than 50% of respondents began reading between one and four years ago, while another 40% began reading more than four years ago. Thank you for sticking around!

How do you feel about the frequency of posts on Chasing Roots?
85% of respondents feel the number of posts is just right, while the remaining 15% expressed an interest in more posts. I'm grateful so many of you feel satisfied with the current number of posts, because as much as I wish I could, I don't have time to go back to writing five posts a week.

What kinds of posts do you enjoy reading?
All of the options I gave - posts about 1) adjusting to life in Texas, 2) family and kids, 3) specific projects/endeavors, and 4) Tux - received support from at least 55% of respondents. Quite a few people also wrote in topics about which they enjoy reading, the best one of which was "Hallie's journey". She certainly journeys to the beat of her own drummer, doesn't she?

What kinds of posts would you like to see more frequently?
Sponsorship posts received no support, which didn't surprise me. Most bloggers feel the same way about sponsorship posts as readers do, however these posts - at least for some bloggers - help pay the bills. I have no plans to start including sponsorship posts, especially given the survey responses.

I was surprised to discover that only a couple of respondents wanted more give-away/prize posts - doesn't everyone love a free goodies?! Perhaps you're all too nice to tell me you want to qualify for more give-aways or win more prizes.

Beyond the sponsorship and give-away/prize categories, the responses indicated that balance Chasing Roots has is the balance Chasing Roots should keep.

What can I do to make Chasing Roots better?
A great deal of encouragement and positivity radiated from the comments made in this section of the survey - "whatever you do, keep writing", "stay positive", "follow what inspires you and trust your instincts" - and these kind words buoyed my once-sinking spirits. I received suggestions about seeking out adventure and including more photos in my posts, and have already started making notes on how I can work on both of these areas in the future.

Last but not least, this comment - made in response to the question about what kinds of posts readers would like to see more frequently - touched me deeply: "I'd love to read more about your journey as a mom to two completely different children - not necessarily about them but about you and the evolution of you as a person through their experiences".

This suggestion, made in reference to me as a mom and with regard to my experiences in motherhood, actually applies to my writing as a whole and can be used to explain why I needed to create this survey in the first place. When I write Chasing Roots posts I often get caught up in telling the story. I give the who, what, when, where, and why associated with the activities, experiences, people, but more often than not I forget (or unconsciously choose not) to examine how the story impacted, influenced, and/or changed me. I need to refocus, to dig a little deeper.

Clearly, I have lots of work to do. Thank you for helping me realize it, and for sticking with me as long as you have.

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