Variety is the spice of life: Reader survey results are live

I’ve wanted to do a survey of my blog readers for many months and finally pulled the trigger last week. While only about 20 percent of daily visitors to A Lady Goes West actually answered the survey, I got quite a bit of information out of those who did. I absolutely loved reading your responses and was mostly happy with the feedback.

To every single person who took the time to answer the questions, I truly appreciate it. While this blog may be a two-minute read for your day, it’s certainly a big deal to me, so I took everything you said to heart. Thank you!

The best compliments I received? You love my writing style. You appreciate that my posts are grammatically correct and never have typos. (I’m sure glad you notice.)

You also love my mixture of food, fitness and lifestyle. Many successful bloggers urge you to pick one singular focus and stick to it, so you can grow a niche audience, write a book and make it big. But I’ve stood strong with the plan to cover a range of topics, and your comments certainly affirmed that’s the right choice for A Lady Goes West. In fact, more than half of those who responded are even interested in reading more about my clothing, fashion and beauty routine, which are topics I rarely touch. How about that. 

But what else did I learn while doing this survey? You sure can’t please everyone. Let’s get to some results …

A few things I learned about my readers 

How long have you been reading the blog

The majority of those who responded have been around for the past year, but about a fifth of you have been here for the long haul. Thank you! 

Some of you are obsessed with Les Mills group fitness and want to see more posts about it. Some of you have never taken a Les Mills class and couldn’t care less about that particular type of fitness. I usually write two Les Mills posts-per-quarter, and a ton of people have found out about my blog because of my writing and affiliations with Les Mills as a long-time instructor, so there’s no way I would give up ever mentioning it. But I do understand that it’s a very specific audience who will get a lot out of those posts. (Shout-out to all of my fellow Tribe Members!)

Some of you want to know more about what I do every single day from hour to hour. Some of you would like less personal information and more tips that you can use in your own life. I am definitely not as open as I once was about my emotions when I first started this blog shortly after moving to California, (I used to really put it all out there!) but I do know that I’ll always continue to bring a personal side into what I write, because a blog without someone behind it is just plain boring. This particular issue is something I struggle with, because I like to keep things very positive around here, whether or not I’m having a bad day. But overall, I do give a pretty detailed run-down of my life most of the time and will increase that here and there. (Speaking of life, I can’t wait to spend time in Florida for Thanksgiving starting today. I see a lot of hanging out with my parents, wine, relaxing and cheesecake in my near future!)

How often do you read survey question

Almost all of those who responded are here on the blog multiple times a week catching up, which is just awesome.

It was definitely a theme that the “What I Ate Wednesday” posts and workout posts are a hit, so those will continue. And you asked for more fitness tips as well, so expect that topic to be a main-stay.

Funny enough, you know what many of you specifically want? More pictures of my dog, Rudy. True story: I had a ton of requests for more Rudy pictures. Well, that’s something I’ll definitely agree to. 

Reader survey agesThe majority of readers who responded fall into the 21-39 category, but there are also a lot of people in their 40s reading as well.

Some good feedback from the survey 

Let’s take a look at some of the comments pulled straight from the open-ended questions …

Seems like we have a few things in common, although I am quite a bit older! I also teach group fitness classes and I am also a personal trainer. I enjoy reading your posts about fitness, and I have used some of your workout routines in my classes and with clients.

The variety of posts, and I think we would probably be friends in real life, as we are both crazy about our dogs, and other things. Your posts are very relatable.

WIAW, weekend recaps (fun to see restaurants and your outfits and…honestly, Dave is easy on the eyes), Rudy.

Casual catch-ups, that I feel like I am your old buddy, even though we’ve never met. Also love your advice on growing your blog/brand and EASY recipes that can be made in a snap.

I like your down-to-earth personality and I like seeing what you eat, it’s great inspiration. Even though the focus is on fitness and health, it’s always nice to see some posts about your personal life.

I like that the blog is realistic, that you eat dessert and drink wine as well as work out and have a healthy diet most of the time.

Your blog has the most consistent, yet fresh, reading experience among all the blogs I follow. Your focus on a healthy life is inspiring, especially your honesty about good days and not so good days. And no typos! You are a great writer and it’s been fun for me to read through your older posts to catch up.

Just to know that someone else out there goes through the same things I go through. To know I’m not alone.

As an older person reading A Lady Goes West, I hope to stay a little younger! Thank you, Ashley!

I truly love your blog Ashley! When I first started reading your blog I started working out regularly and your posts on fitness and healthy eating kept me motivated ever since. I also really enjoy your friday favorites and the fun details you share about your life and weekend activities. I live in Germany but studied abroad in California so I also really enjoy your posts on life in San Francisco.

These are just some of the positive comments that made me so very happy when reading the survey results. But then of course, not everything was rose-colored and cheery.

Some bad feedback from the survey 

Some of the ads are a bit obtrusive. I feel like they are a bit distracting and could be more subtle.

My rebuttal: If you think my ads are annoying, you must hate visiting a lot of other blogs. Yes, I do have ads, but at least I don’t use center-screen pop-ups, in-text advertising links or in-picture video ads like so many monetizing bloggers are using these days. I really do try to keep the reading experience easy, and I don’t plan to feature any additional ads any time soon.

Please allow full reading on Feedly! So disappointed that you make readers click to view full post.

My rebuttal: I had no idea this was happening, because I don’t use Feedly. I’ve adjusted some backend settings and am hoping that it will fix this issue. Thanks for sharing this, and I’m sorry it has been an annoyance. Please email me if you ever have any other feedback like this as far as readability and functionality is concerned.

I feel everything lately is sponsored. Not sure there are any honest opinions anymore.

My rebuttal: I write no less than 20 posts-a-month and about three of those are sponsored, so I wouldn’t really consider that everything. Even if a post is sponsored, I spend a ton of time writing my own thoughts and attempting to give useful information in addition to sharing about a product. Sponsored posts are how I make money off my blog and am able to spend time writing so many posts. I’ve said no to a ton of sponsored campaigns for brands that didn’t align with healthy living, and I stand by all of the posts I’ve written to date. To all of my readers who support the companies that work with me, I cannot thank you enough. You know I’m not here telling you to buy diet pills — the brands I work with are good brands, and I would never let them tell me what to write. End rant.

As I said, overall, the feedback was incredibly positive. And it did confirm to me that my readers want a variety of topics, and that’s a good thing. As the title of this post suggests — variety is the spice of life. This world would be a very boring place if we were all interested in exactly the same things. That being said, I will continue to share posts in the fitness, food and fun realm, and I know that at least some of you are enjoying each part. And to be honest, I like writing about different things every single day.

What are people interested in reading? Check out these #blog #survey results ... Click To Tweet

Once again, to those of you who read my blog and to those of you who answered my survey, I thank you. I really, really do. And if you ever have a request for a post, feel free to email me (aladygoeswest@gmail.com) and let me know. For instance, I’ve been getting a ton of requests about more information on Orangetheory Fitness, and that’s where yesterday’s post came from. Now, please, go off and have a fabulous day!

Questions of the day

What’s your favorite thing about reading blogs?

Have you found out any surprising feedback lately in your life?

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44 Comments

  1. I struggle with blogging when life isn’t going great because I hate being fake. Yet some things I just don’t wanna put out there, even know I know I’d get a ton of support. The weird thing is I’m more worried about being judged by people I know (my family) than other bloggers! Isn’t that weird??

    1. Hi Andrea! Totally not weird at ALL. Sometimes I think my readers know more about my life than some of my friends hahaha! But I don’t want to be fake either, so it’s good you avoid that. And we should only ever put out there what we’re comfortable sharing, there’s nothing wrong with that. Hope you have a good day!

  2. I think a blog would be so boring if there was no personal stuff in it, fitness and healthy eating is great but if I don’t like you or find you interesting as a person, then I could care less what workouts you do. And I second that there needs to be more Rudy pics! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Marielle! I totally agree! Love getting to know the people behind the posts, that’s for sure. Rudy says hi!! πŸ™‚ Hope you have a fabulous day, lady!

  3. I did fill out the survey and I just want to say again that I am so happy that I found your blog. Like someone else said I feel like if we met in real life we could be friends. Your blog motivates me and is written in a way that I want to come back every morning to see what is new. Thank you for that!

  4. I really enjoy just seeing another point of view, another lifestyle, it is always so fun to see what a corporate career lifestyle is like versus a fitness instructor or versus a mom! Being young it really helps me to aspire for the future and what I want mine to look like!

  5. Shame on me for not completing the survey! But I identify as a Les Mills person who found your blog when I was considering doing the BodyAttack training. Since then, I’ve been an almost daily reader. My group fitness manager just sent all of her instructors your post on growing our classes, and she said that she was a daily reader, too.

    I, also, have your blog on my Feedly page but thought it was intentional that we had access your website through the link. Much to my surprise this morning when I saw your entire post on the page! Thank you for doing that!

    1. Of course, Bea! So glad you found my blog, because I’ve enjoyed connecting with you! πŸ™‚ !!! Thanks for passing along my post to your GFM!

  6. Ashley, I didn’t take the survey, or know about it actually, but I also LOVE your writing style! πŸ™‚ You are easy to relate to and keep your posts informative and engaging. Keep it up and I need to pop in more often! πŸ™‚

  7. Awwww… I’m one of the positive comments! That makes me feel cool, ha!

    But seriously, I’ve loved reading your blog ever since spotting your comment on my girl Julie’s Peanut Butter Fingers. It’s been a blast!

    Thanks for keeping on top of what your readers want most. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jessica! YAY! Thank you for reading! And how cool that you wrote one of those positive comments. LOVE IT! Hope you had a fabulous day, my friend!

  8. Long time reader and your blog is by far one of my favorites to visit each day!! I love the variety of content and that you really do seem like a friend. Sometimes I go to mention something from your blog to my husband and I start by saying “so my friend said….”

    The reason I keep coming back is because of the content, similarities of our lifestyles, your approach to healthy living but still enjoying treats on the weekend and how well you interact with your readers. I’ll keep coming back as long as you keep writing!!

    Safe travels to Florida and enjoy lots of family time πŸ™‚

    1. You are the BEST, Catherine! I LOVE your comments, and your feedback. Remember when you told me to hide all the previous post links for Faves or WIAW? It’s helpful! And that’s too funny you’ve told your husband something I’ve said. We are friends. TOTALLY works. πŸ™‚ Have a great night, lady!

  9. It’s always great to get feedback! I was just thinking that I need to do another reader survey towards the end of the year. It was fun to read this post and see a recap of the opinions of others πŸ˜‰ Oh, and I’ll never say no to more Rudy pics!

    1. I took your survey back when you did one before the rebrand! It’s so important to get some feedback, and I’m glad I finally did one. πŸ™‚

  10. What a great idea to survey your readers – I’m a new blogger and self-admittedly, a new reader to your site but so far so good. I really appreciate how you shared both the positive and negatives of the review, and being openly transparent with readers. I definitely feel like you are very relatable and I think that is so important in the blogging world. I say, keep on doin what you’re doin, Lady! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. I really appreciate it! Isn’t the blogging world a good one? Hope you had a great day!

  11. Well, I guess I only really read one blog and this is it. I just love sitting here in the mornings eating my breakfast and reading your posts – it just makes me happy! I hate it when there are some mornings when I don’t have time to actually sit down and eat and read at the same time. You are so brave to ask for feedback – sometimes I think people can be so cruel on social media. I am glad you had so many positive responses! Sometimes it’s hard to hear negative/constructive feedback. Although, it can also be a tremendous help in improving!

    1. Hi Melissa! What’s that saying “haters gonna hate” hahah! So true! I’m surprised and glad more things were so positive. And I’m with you, I like my morning routine too. πŸ™‚ LOVE that you and I have become friends through this blog thing.

    1. Hi Dani! We are supposed to video ourselves in group fitness too, and it’s super eye-opening. Feedback is important in all careers. Hope all is well, lady!

  12. Hey Ashley, I didn’t see the survey post until results were already posted (was crazy busy with work last week) but I loved reading the feedback. It’s so hard to please everyone so just keep on doing what you enjoy. If a post doesn’t resonate with someone, they can skip it and check back the next day. For me personally, I like the Les Mills posts and studio reviews (even though I’m not in the USA I still like reading them) and general fitness content. Those are my faves — and yes Rudy is such a sweetie!! ;-)) xx

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