Blog Surveys–Let's Hear From YOU!

We’re getting ready to do a video on blog surveys and we want to make sure we’re giving you all the information you need.

So let’s hear it:  What are your questions about doing blog surveys?  Anything, from what software to use to what to ask to how to interpret blog surveys is fair game.

Post your questions here and I promise to answer them.  And, if you want to tell us about experiences you’ve had using blog surveys–successes, problems, funny stories, whatever–we’d love to hear them.

The video will be up on the blog soon, so stay tuned!

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21 thoughts on “Blog Surveys–Let's Hear From YOU!

    • Hi Cheryl,
      Great question! There are a number of different options.

      First, let me make clear what we’re talking about. A blog survey is really a type of poll. You’re not getting systematic data about your customers, you’re hearing from the folks who visit your blog while the poll is up and have enough interest to respond to the poll. So it’s not something you use to profile your customers or create a new product.

      But you can do awesome things with blog polls, to get your readers talking and generate lots of comments. We’ll be putting up a video soon that shows you how.

      These blog polls generally have just 1 question, with 3 or four “closed-ended” options–so they’re quick, easy, fun, and interesting. To do them, you put a little “poll widget” on your blog.

      If you’re using a WordPress blog, they have a survey plugin that is pretty simple. PollDaddy has its own WordPress plugin; PollDaddy is an online survey software company–somewhat like SurveyMonkey and a host of others–that has a specific blog poll widget. A number of other companies have them, as well.

      In our video, we’re going to demo both the WordPress plugin and the PollDaddy widget. So check back for the video!

  1. I know just enough to be dangerous. My blog is fairly random, from hand-dying underpants in celebration of spring (Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties) to why I don’t like the wait staff sitting down next to me to take my order (Restaurant Bonding). The later generated more than 93 comments in two days! I stuck a poll in there really fast: “Do you like it when the wait staff sits down next to you?” (99% against). Didn’t help me sell quilting supplies, but I might have a new career as a restaurant consultant! Help me focus? Thanks!

    • Hi Ami,

      I checked out your blog–and you’re an awesome writer! You should do great. Here are some suggestions:

      First, get your own domain. Think of who your target audience is, think up some domain names, go to godaddy.com to see if they’re available. You’re a good enough wordsmith to come up with a clever domain name. All you need then is cheap hosting–check out Jeff Johnson’s blog (www.undergroundtraininglab.com) for free blog software and tips on cheap hosting (it shouldn’t cost more than about $10/month). Mike Koenigs’ premium-level product, Traffic Geyser, has a beta product that will set up a blog for free, if you want to get into video.

      Second, think about what your target audience is interested in. If it’s primarily quilters, then I’m guessing the demographic is probably 50+ women–but you need to know that for certain (a survey–a REAL survey, not a blog survey–of your customer base will answer that question with certainty).

      For the moment, let’s assume I’m right about that demographic. What are they interested in? It probably runs the gamut, from food to certain aspects of politics to social issues to family life. So all those things can be written about and can serve as topics of blog polls.

      The point is, as long as you can “spin” the blog poll results in a way that will interest your target market–and hopefully in a way that will get them talking, and commenting on your blog–then the topic is useful for you. The thread that holds it all together, that focuses it, is that demographic. So it isn’t a stretch to ask them about what happens when the wait staff sits down next to them in a restaurant, because I’ll bet your customer base eats out at least once/week (another topic for a blog poll, perhaps). . .

      The key is to make the blog poll interesting to your target market and to tie the results back, whenever possible. So you do a blog poll about eating out . . . Can you tie that back to ways quilting/crafting can generate some extra money to help them keep eating out in a tight economy? Can you suggest quilters get together to eat out? You get the idea–so get creative!

      And I TOTALLY want to hear more about the Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties . . .

      Best,
      Jeanne

  2. I’m having trouble with your security code. My husband can’t read it.I access the Internet via adaptive equipment abnd have found problems with many survey software packages. How do I find one accessible to those of us who use adaptive equipment? (Since many of the people I want to answer these surveys use adaptive equipment themselves.) And would you be willing to provide a transcript of your video as being totally blind, I don\’t really need the video unless you describe everything you present. And what do you consider the maximum number of questions to put on a blog survey? And how long before you follow up with another generation of survey questions?

    • Hi Barbara,
      First, I’m not sure what you mean by having trouble with the security code . . . If you could tell me exactly what the problem is, we’ll do our best to fix it ASAP. We certainly don’t want anyone to have trouble accessing the site.

      Second, you raise a great question re: adaptive equipment, one I’ll have to research to find the answer.

      I can provide a transcript of the video, that’s not a problem.

      Blog surveys are generally just one question–they’re quick, fun things to generate interest/spark discussion and comments on a blog. So they’re not “real” surveys, in the traditional sense–but they can be extraordinarily useful for jumpstarting your blog!

      Blog polls can be done frequently. You can put them up weekly, if you want, rotating topics and being creative about the range of topics you’re tapping.

      Thanks so much for great questions!
      Jeanne

    • Hi Fiona,
      Your portraits are lovely! I’m a dog lover, so I especially love the way you captured the animals’ spirits.

      Blogs are part of a broader social media strategy. They give you a chance to interact not only with people who follow your work and have commissioned it, or will commission it, but also with a broader community of people. Once you know who your customer base and target market are, writing blog posts that will interest that audience can generate interest in your art and build your customer base.

      Most importantly, blogs provide a way to have a conversation with your customer base and target market and, through that conversation, to build a bond with them.

      Blog surveys, or blog polls, can play a key role in that broader effort. They’re a wonderful way to get people talking and to generate traffic and interest. And, although they certainly don’t give you systematic data, they can certainly give you some ideas for posts, ways to generate interest, and ideas about your target market that you could test more systematically with broader surveys.

  3. I’m interested in learning how to make our community foundation website more interactive. We’ve considered adding a blog and I can see that surveys might be a way to help identify needs that need to be met in our community. I’d love your comments on effective strategies for nonprofits along this line.

    Should we use blog platforms offered by our hosting service or go straight to WordPress? I guess our webmaster could help us figure out how to integrate them.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Blogs are a great tool for nonprofits–as is social media, more generally. I think that’s particularly true right now, as nonprofits feel the effects of the down economy.

      When you’re thinking about blogs, blog polls, and surveys, it’s important to keep in mind your goals and what these tools can–and can’t–do for you. Blogs and other forms of social media provide an awesome way to interact and to build a bond with all different types of folks. I think they’re a tremendously effective tool for nonprofits: They not only bring the interactive element, they also increase your visibility.

      When it comes to identifying community needs, though, blogs, social media, and blog polls can only give you glimpses–they can’t provide systematic answers. If you can use these tools together with more traditional surveys, though, then you have a powerful combination. You can build the interaction and get ideas of what your community members need in social media and on your blog, then test those ideas through surveys. That’s an awesome combination.

      I would recommend going straight to WordPress. Their blogs are incredibly easy to use, even for a technoidiot like me. You can incorporate video easily with many WordPress themes (and TrafficGeyser has a built-in video player now, if you’re using that tool). Traffic Geyser’s premium level is now putting up blogs for free.

      I’ve given some information here on how to incorporate blog poll widgets into a WordPress theme and we’ll be putting out a video on that soon. For a nonprofit, blog surveys can be a wonderful tool. You can pose questions about community issues, needs, programs you’re running–the gamut. The idea is to generate discussion and “buzz” around your foundation and also to gather impressions that you can test more systematically with surveys. Once the poll widget is on your blog, it’s simple to do blog surveys on a regular basis and talk about the results on your blog.

      Hope this helps!
      Best,
      Jeanne

  4. We have so many artists coming to us with questions on doing what we do (make a living at our art) that we have produced several ebooks on the subject. We are just about ready to go live. Each of us has a “creative” blog for our clients but I do want to keep the marketing side separate from our clients. Is it recommended to have more than one blog? And I can see many reasons why a survey would be helpful to our continued ability to help other artists. Even the little bit you have posted so far has been very helpful-We look forward to the demonstrations! Ironically, although we can help artists eliminate the learning curve in marketing their craft, we have not been able to eliminate that same curve when it comes to getting our advice out electronically! Thanks so much!-Theresa and Steve

    • Hi Theresa,
      How awesome that you have been able to make a living from your art and will now show others how! I think it’s a great idea to have a separate blog for “marketing” and “creativity; at some point, you may find a way to merge the two, but if they work better as separate entities for now, that’s great.

      Surveys can do much to clarify the characteristics of your target market–especially as you begin to market your ebooks on the subject of making a living as an artist.

      We’ll have the video on blog surveys out soon–hopefully, next week. And our product, which gives small business owners a low-cost way to produce good surveys, will hit the market soon.

      Best,
      Jeanne

  5. We’ve psychotherapists who developed a website in 2000 (yikes!) where we’ve been collecting data for a book about family relationships. We’ve recently signed with an agent. We publish a monthly newsletter (800 subscribers) and have been blogging daily at http://www.NourishingRelationships.blogspot.com for the past couple of years. We blog Virtual Book Tours monthly – women authors whose writing would interest our sandwich generation/baby boomer readership. We’re not selling anything, just writing articles, sharing information and trying to build platform for when the book is published.

    All that being said, we’d like to foster more interaction on the blog. Would a blog survey be a vehicle to encourage comments and questions? I should mention that our technological know-how is limited. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Phyllis

    • Hi Phyllis,
      What a cool project!

      I think a blog survey could prove very useful for you. You could think of a series of questions that would get interaction going. The key is to think about who your target audience is and what will interest them. Make a list of their characteristics and their interests and that should give you lots of topics to use for blog polls.

      I’ve put up the first video on how to do blog surveys; a second will come next week, showing you how to use the software.

      You might also think about getting your own domain–it’s really simple to set up a domain and put a WordPress blog on it.

      Good luck!!
      Best,
      Jeanne

  6. I’m interested in what are fun types of survey;s that will bring people to your blog to answer them. I post on my blog (relatively regularly) and we even do giveaways but I’m having trouble getting new people to our blog. I see tons of giveaways on other blogs for random items that get 100s of responses and I think for even cool items we are having trouble getting a lot of responses.

    Please share any wisdom!

    • Hi Jo,

      Your blog looks really cool! Fun surveys can help liven up your blog and help with traffic. (Make sure you’ve done your keyword research, because that will help with blog traffic as well. Check your Google Analytics stats to see what keywords are drawing folks.) You clearly know what your target audience is, so think about what kinds of topics interest them and what kinds of fun things you can do surveys/polls about. These topics don’t have to relate directly to your products, as long as they’re consistently things that interest your target audience. So that gives you a LOT of scope. Brainstorm with some folks in your target audience, ask them to suggest questions on topics you’re interested in–these things will give you clues about things that you can run surveys about. And, once you start doing some surveys on the blog, you’ll begin to get a sense of which surveys draw interest.

      Good luck and keep us posted on how it’s going!

      Best,
      Jeanne

    • Hi Terri,
      You’re right that those basic questions give you a great lens. From there, though, you have to focus.

      The key with surveys is to be specific–in your goals, in the questions you ask, in the analysis, in the way you APPLY the data to get results.

      How do you make those general questions–the who, what, when, where, how–specific? By knowing what your goals are for the survey–what you need it to tell you. So, if it’s a product creation survey, the “what” will include things like what kind of content do they want; the “who” will show you what kinds of people are most likely to buy the product; the “where” will show you where to price the product; and–best of all–if you do the survey well, the “how” will show you exactly how to create a product that will sell.

      So, whether it’s a product creation survey, a customer profile survey, a satisfaction survey, or whatever, you can use those questions to guide you in getting the specific answers you need.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Jeanne

    • Hi Judi,
      It looks as if your blog is hosted on blogspot . . . It looks as if they have a feature right in the software that will let you add a poll; I found this information you might want to check out:

      http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2007/06/polls-page-element.html

      You might also want to consider setting up a WordPress blog on your own domain. It’s actually very simple to do and you can import your posts from your blogspot blog into your new WordPress blog. If you’re a Traffic Geyser customer, you can get free software there to set up a blog and the Traffic Geyser plugin will let you send information to social bookmarking sites automatically, each time you create a post. If you want to know more, go to http://www.TrafficGeyser.com/free.

      If you aren’t a Traffic Geyser customer, check out Jeff Johnson’s blog (http://www.undergroundtraininglab.com/). You can find lots of free information on setting up a blog and free installation software for Word Press.

      If you go that route, you can use either the Word Press plugin for surveys or the Poll Daddy plugin. We’re about to release a video that shows you exactly how to do it, so stay tuned!
      Best,
      Jeanne

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