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2016 Reader Survey Results: The Good, The Bad, And What I Plan To Do About It

This post was born 17 Aug, 2016 No comments
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Three things ran through my mind when making my Annual Reader Survey live last month:

1.) Am I delusional for thinking people actually (and continuously) read the ramblings on this blog?

2.) Should I really have added a section asking what people dislike about my site?

3. ) and why wouldn’t I add a dislike section? It’s not like people ever write mean comments to strangers they don’t know over the internet.

What didn’t run through my mind was the possibility of hundreds (342 to be exact!) of readers taking the time to fill out the survey with well thought-out, constructive comments.

I know I joke and kid around a lot on this site (often at my own expense) but I want to sincerely say thank you. I appreciate each and every one of you. I have thoroughly read all of your comments and have taken them to heart. I promise to use this feedback to make this site and its contents more valuable (and enjoyable!) to you all.

Now to the results and the future of I’m Not A Tourist, I Swear!

Climbing the Acatenango Volcano - Towards the beginning of the hike as we trudged through farmland

The Stats

First off, who are my readers (i.e. YOU!)?

85.2% of you are female which I find refreshing since I’m always “one of the guys” in my non-Internet life and have longed to be part of a girl group where I could use the word #squadgoals in a conversation.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic from the survey is that I have readers from every single age group which is both a blessing and a challenge. Hopefully I’ll be able to rise to that challenge and continue producing content that’s enjoyable for all audiences.

Age group breakdown:

  • 0-17: 7.4%
  • 18-24: 22.2%
  • 25-34: 37%
  • 35-44: 3.7%
  • 45-54: 18.5%
  • 55-64: 7.4%
  • 65+: 3.7%

When it comes to social media, the majority of you are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I’ll go into more detail on this later in the post as there were a lot of comments about my rather inactive social media presence!

Your #1 favorite kind of travel experience:

  • Total culture immersion and experiencing the way locals live: 66.7%
  • Visiting popular historical sites and museums: 11.1%
  • Other: 11.1%
  • Culinary experiences with local cuisine: 7.4%
  • Going on action-packed adventures: 3.7%

Your travel preference:

  • Prefer visiting large, cosmopolitan cities: 59.3%
  • Prefer visiting smaller towns and villages: 14.8%
  • Other: 11.1%
  • Prefer the beach: 7.4%
  • Prefer the mountains: 7.4%

The kinds of posts you would most like to see on this site:

  • Ones highlighting unusual and little-known destinations: 66.7%
  • Storytelling-style posts on the local people: 22.2%
  • City guides and itineraries: 7.4%
  • “How to pack” guides: 3.7%

I couldn’t be happier with these responses. The whole point of this website is to inspire people to get off-the-beaten path in order to better connect with and learn from the local people living in whichever country they’re visiting. Your answers above prove that I’m writing for the right audience and I hope to continue to provide more stories and continue highlighting off-the-beaten path destinations.

Furthermore, 7.4% of you said you’ve traveled somewhere because you read about it on this site while 85.2% said you hadn’t yet, but you plan to in the near future.

This is incredible and I’m so glad this site is helping to inspire you to tavel to new places!

Peneda-Geres National Park

The Bad (and What I’m Doing About it)

Guys, I was amazed at how good the bad was!

I know that makes no sense but like I mentioned earlier, the constructive criticism was well-received and not one single person crossed over into actual meanness. Does this mean we’re all getting older and maturing?

God I hope not.

Anyway, here are the biggest complaints I came across along with my plan on how to combat these problems in the future.

1. On My Posting Schedule

What you said: “I check your site regularly but never know when you’re going to post something new.” “I used to check in a few times a week but never saw anything new so now I only really read your posts when I see them pop up on your Facebook page”. “Nothing too negative but I wish you would post more often.”

How I plan to combat this: Confession. I am (and have been) very self-aware when it comes to my posting problem. I HATE it when two weeks go by and I haven’t published anything new and apparently so do you as the majority of complaints were about my inconsistent posting.

I have excuses of course.

Ones like oh I’ve just been so busy.

My muses went on strike again.

My paid freelance jobs got in the way.

Or my personal favorite – but there was a Gilmore Girls marathon on TV.

So in the name of accountability, here I am, putting it in writing (see what I did there?):

I promise to adhere to a new posting schedule where I will publish one new post every Thursday at 2pm EST. Why only one per week? Well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this but my posts are loooooong; averaging about 3000 words. And that’s just a regular storytelling post. My off-the-beaten-path city guides? They clock in around 5000.

Why so long? Well, I want to provide value to you guys. There’s nothing I hate more than falling for click-bait titles like “25 Things to do in London” only to have the post give one line on each item. Where’s the information? The background on the activity? The places to do said activity? Where’s their personal story? Did this writer even visit London? Hell, I could have just looked this up on Lonely Planet and written the same post myself.

I prefer weaving personal anecdotes into my guides while highlighting cultural customs you should experience (and where to experience them) to help you get to know the place you’re traveling to better. By only posting once a week, I can continue to give you guys the value you deserve rather than writing crap content in the name of churning out constant (yet useless) posts. And who knows? My mind may feel frisky one week and decide to throw in an additional post!

My heart is racing as my commitment-phobia kicks in but I’m going to try my best to follow this new schedule (which starts on Aug 25). If you don’t trust me or don’t want to worry about checking the site every Thursday, you can have my stories delivered straight to your inbox via one of two options:

  • Receive my entire post in email format the minute I hit publish by signing up here.

Renting a jeep on Fraser Island Australia - A travel destination for every month

2. On My Live Social Media Updates

What you said: “I follow you on Facebook but you rarely post live updates. I don’t know what you’re doing or where you are and only read about it on your site later. Often weeks after you were there.” “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you post on Instagram. Do you have an account?”

How I plan to combat this: Oh the amount of comments on my poor social media presence is lengthy! I hate admitting this but I’m not a big fan of social media. Mainly because I hate constantly being on my phone when I travel. I prefer cutting myself off and immersing myself in a new place sans iPhone. Reading this back to myself I realize its actually quite ridiculous considering I run an online business where I make a living sharing my experiences on the internet.

It’s a catch-22 really. I don’t enjoy posting (just ask my friends – my personal timeline is empty save for the plethora of comments and travel quotes my mom tags me in) however I love connecting with my readers and many of you contact me through social media. Plus I do love sharing my adventures. I just wish I didn’t have to share them on 1001 different medias.

But because this site is for you, I’m going to make a concerted effort to connect more on social media starting with the social platforms my survey revealed the majority of you use:

  • Facebook – If I had to pick just one platform to be on it would be Facebook. Maybe I’m sentimental because I entered college the first year Facebook launched (back when it was only open to those with a university email address) which makes me an “original”. I promise to be more active on the FB, posting real-time travel updates at least once per day. If you aren’t already, you can follow my page here.
  • Instagram – ok everyone loves Instagram. Me included. However, I’m an observer. I love scrolling through photos everyday but I’m crap at posting. I promise to work on this and up my Instagram presence with photos and live travel updates. I also love Snapchat so I have a feeling there are tons of Instagram stories in my future. You can follow me @notouristiswear.

Climbing the Acatenango Volcano - sitting around the campfire at sunset

3. On Wish Lists

What you said: “I thinks it’s great you write about non-touristy things to do. A short, quick resource list guide to places would be helpful.”

How I plan to combat this: I love this comment because it gave me a wonderful idea for a new page – an off-the-beaten-path resource guide broken down by city. I’ll include short culture experiences to try, unusual things to do, and lesser known activities to partake in. It’ll be an organized, quick read but I’ll make sure to link to long detailed posts so you can pick and choose what interests you. I’m working on a template for this now and it probably won’t be ready to launch until the end of the year. I’ll keep you updated so please do send along any suggestions for what you’d like to see on the new page.

The Good

This last section is dedicated to the things you like about this site and is a chance for me to personally thank you. I also had a few ideas for improvement and I hope to continue writing the types of things you want to read.

1. On Stories

What you said: “I love your writing style.” “Your stories are real and I love reading about the people you meet.” “I love how you seek out locals to get your information on where to go and what to do.”

How I plan to build on this: I have so many stories I’ve been hesitant to share on this site – mainly because they seem quite random and don’t really have much of a point. But after receiving so many comments on my interactions with the people I’ve met during my travels, I’ve decided to start a new writing series entitled “Run-ins With Locals.” Each month, I’ll write one or two anecdotal stories about interesting interactions with locals I’ve come across. Trust me – I have LOTS to tell. This will be fun for me as long-form storytelling is my favorite method of writing. Besides, I really think blogs should have more storytelling components.

2. On City Guides

What you said: “I like that you are real in your observations.” “I like that you actually went to these places.” “I appreciate your raw honesty and detailed information.” “Your lists are comprehensive.”

How I plan to build on this: I touched on this earlier but I’ll reiterate as I thinks it’s important – I will continue to be extremely detailed in my city guides in order to provide you the best source possible outside of a legit guidebook.

I have a strict policy on only writing about places I have personally been to and I will continue to adhere to this rule. In the extremely rare instance where I mention a place I have not been, I always (and will continue to) disclose the fact that I did not go there. There have been one or two instances in the past where I was recommended a place by a local but did not have time to make it there and I included it in a post with that disclaimer as an option for ya’ll.

Well that wraps up this year’s Reader Survey!

Thanks again for all of your input. It was extremely helpful and I’m excited to see what the future holds for I’m Not A Tourist, I Swear! I hope you like these upcoming tweaks and changes.

Even though the survey is now closed, I welcome your feedback anytime so drop me an email (kristen@imnotatouristiswear.com) or comment below to let me know what you think!

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