A month ago I set up a reader survey through Google Forms. My readers are not commenters. They are emailers. They tweet well. They text me in the night. They write sweet facebook messages and tell their friends. They nudge me on the street and tell me what they thought. That’s very nice, but it can make a girl confused about what’s working and what’s not.
The survey itself was a delightfully successful project for me. It affirmed things that some part of me knew, but a large part of me had never quite accepted. Things I like about ED (writing longer pieces, dallying over tiny aspects of life that preoccupy me, keeping the design simple, updating here and there when I have something to say) the respondents also liked!
While this may be obvious to you,”oh your readers like what you write?” It’s not. If there’s one thing the blog professionals are always encouraging new bloggers to realize, it’s that their unique voice is the most important thing about them. As I know personally, writers have a tough time accepting that and imitation and emulation dangerously abound. (Hence the remarkable habit of great writers to avoid their peer’s work altogether.)
This one was really helpful: majority of my readers use an rss reader to follow ED! Using an rss reader (like googlereader, which will tell you when a blog has updated) is perfect for ED because I update so randomly. I hate the idea of readers checking every day and being disappointed. I have developed (totally unfair) click-disappointment vendettas against bloggers who I love and check obsessively even though I know they probably haven’t posted.
talking about design! As you can see, majority liked the simple design, which is great. I like the simple design too. However, we aren’t total purists: people want larger photos and a bio on the side. I think of the side-column bio and photo as a back-of-the-book necessity. When I’m reading a book, I flip to the back to examine the author’s photo at least 10 times. It’s how I relate to them, listen to their voice, interpret my ideas. There are formal critical approaches to reading that are deeply against this type of thing. I don’t care. It’s human nature, why fight our natural urge to relate? Of course it’s the same with blogs. Why are blogs so successful? Because we love love love to learn about each other. And we feel welcomed when the author introduces themselves right away.
And larger photos, well, welcome to 2012, right? Photos are getting larger and better all the time. I’m all for it. I love to see photos on the blogs I read, so of course I would want the same for things at ED.
Joe is guiding changes around here and I’ve got a mental love-list that I hope we can execute; but I was ready to get things officially switched. So…welcome to my redesign! And thanks for your help.