How to Create a Reader Survey & Know Your Readers

How to create a reader survey and learn about your audience. Free download with pro tips and sample questions.Diving into the blogging world over the last few months has been eye-opening. I learn something new every day There is an endless stream of details and decisions. To pop-up or not pop-up? Discus or Commentluv? Single opt-in or double?

If you know what those things refer to, you are definitely a blogger!

But in the constant drive to have the trendiest fonts, the slickest landing pages and the pinnable-est images, we often lose focus on the key ingredient in the secret sauce of blogging success: the audience. Those faithful readers who take the time to read our words.

The mom in the carpool line looking for a little encouragement while she tries to figure out what’s for dinner.

The young woman wondering if God really has a place in her life and if He cares about what she wears.

The 50-is-the-new-30 go-getter searching for something new and inspiring to fill the empty hours that come with the empty nest.

These ladies are looking for a place to engage, a place that understands them and is reaching out to meet their needs. And if you can understand that need and meet it in a genuine, meaningful way, you’ll have loyal readers for life.

One way to learn more about your audience is by asking them a few questions in a survey. These five tips will help you create a killer survey to pick their collective brain.

1. Use a form-based survey

Just asking a list of questions on your site or in your newsletter may get you a lot of information, but you’ll pull your hair out trying to get a handle on trends from all.the.words.  Survey Monkey and Google Forms are two popular tools for creating surveys that are friendly for both the survey taker and creator.

2. Incentivize your readers to take your survey

Everybody loves getting stuff and survey takers are no different. It doesn’t have to be much, but offering an incentive to take the survey, such as an exclusive printable, a discount code to your online store or a randomly-selected giveaway will get people excited about taking your survey.

3. Make it Short and Easy

A good reader survey should have eight questions or less … definitely no more than 10. Most of the questions should be “closed-ended”, such as multiple choice, rating or ranking, or check boxes. This type of question is quick to answer and easy to analyze.

Open-ended questions are useful, and one or two in a survey can provide a lot of information. But it is time-consuming to categorize them so you can draw some conclusions.


4. Be respectful of the information you receive

Remember that your readers have not posted this information publicly, so don’t quote anything they say in the survey without getting permission. Also, if you ask for their email address (you’ll need it if you are incentivizing with a giveaway) be clear if you are planning to add them to your newsletter list. Or better yet, include a checkbox for them to give you permission to add them to your list.

5. Share the results with your audience

Once you have received all of the responses, then the fun begins! People who have completed the survey will be curious about the results, so keep them informed with the changes you plan to make as a result of their input.

Brittany at Equipping Godly Women used Survey Monkey for her Reader Survey and shared the results with her readers using the graphs provided by Survey Monkey. She learned a lot about her audience, including some things that were unexpected. She now has a resource rich with blog post ideas and insight into ways she can serve her audience.

At the end of the day, people just want to feel heard. Listening through a survey is just one way to meet that need in your readers.

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Survey Monkey has all the details about creating surveys here:   Surveys 101 


How do you listen to your audience?  If you’ve done a great survey of your audience, share what you learned!

16 thoughts on “How to Create a Reader Survey & Know Your Readers”

  1. One thing I would add–be careful to choose the RIGHT giveaway incentive if you offer one. Offering something too big (like an ipad) not related to your niche (like a gift card) is a great way to get survey answers from people who don’t even read your blog, and whose answers you don’t need to analyze.

    • That is great advice,Brittany. You want meaningful responses, not junk. Another thing you could do if you collect email addresses with your survey is bounce those off your subscriber list and analyze those results separately. Thanks for stopping by. Your survey was awesome!!

  2. This is good advice. A survey is not something I’ve considered doing yet but it sounds like a great way to get feedback and know what your readers want. Thanks for sharing these tips! Visiting from the #RaRaLinkUp

  3. Christa, I believe a survey is an excellent way to keep your readers engaged…especially after you been blogging awhile. Hopefully, the information you receive will remind you to focus your writing on your readers and not yourself. I did a survey a couple years ago and was reminded that even though a select few wanted my old cheesecake recipes, the majority of my audience visit my site for spiritual food. Thank you for sharing these ideas.Have a fantastic weekend and God bless.

  4. Thanks for sharing the do’s and don’ts guide, Christa. I always find something helpful when I visit. I haven’t done a survey in over a year because my first one didn’t receive many responses. You’ve inspired me!

  5. Great tips… And timely, too, as I’m already brainstorming my end of year survey. Thanks for always being real and relevant! Last year’s survey uncovered some stuff I hadn’t considered writing about and sparked the series that kicks off today! XOXO

  6. Great tips. I’ve used Survey Monkey but I’d like to try out Google Docs sometime. I loved reading the surveys because people really opened up about their struggles and it really made me feel more connected to my readers.

  7. This is so true! I love knowing what my readers have in mind about what they see in my blog. That’s why I made it easier for them. I use a pop-up wordpress survey tool that makes it easier for them to choose and click the answers they want and/or type in their own comments. I value both negative and positive comments. They make my blog better!


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