Survey Says

Are you at all curious about the habits of the garden blogger readers on the web? As you may have seen, I conducted a brief, completely non-scientific survey of garden bloggers’ habits, or at least some of their habits, related to blogging and reading blogs.

As promised, I'm sharing the results, which you can use as you wish. (See note above about non-scientific survey.)

69 people answered the survey questions as of Tuesday evening. I don’t know anything about who these people are other than they visited this May Dreams Gardens blog sometime between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday evening.

Here are the questions and results...

When you read a garden blog, what are you looking for?

(I allowed for more than one answer, so the percentages won’t add up to 100 %.)

By far, most people are looking for stories about other gardeners and gardens, a whopping 95.7% of us. Only 13% of the 69 who responded are looking for basic gardening information, and 24.7% are looking for advanced gardening information.

What else are people looking for? 8% of the respondents listed other topics including pictures; a day-by day visit with fellow gardeners; good writing, humor, personality; the philosophy of gardening; and advanced gardening info and images of other gardens, particularly ornamental gardens in cold climates and news about the gardening world.

How often do you read garden blogs?

39.1 % of us read garden blogs once a day, and 40.6% read garden blogs several times a day. 17.4% read them a few times a week, one respondent reads them once a week and one respondent reads them “other”.

What other kinds of blogs do you read?

Again, I allowed for more than one answer, so the percentages won’t add up to 100%.

41.3% read blogs about writing and blogging (to improve their own writing and blogging?)
20.6% read political blogs.
19.1% read “mom” blogs, nearly as many as read political blogs.
76.2% read many other kinds of blogs including well written blogs, no matter the subject; “place” blogs; geneaology/professional/family blogs; food blogs; artist’s blogs; design/decorating/house blogs; koi/pond blogs; travel blogs; and a blog of a specific author/geek.

What tools do you use to keep track of blogs you like to read?

19.1% use Google Reader
17.7 % use Bloglines
4.4% use Voices at Garden Web
35.5% just check blogs they like occasionally (We need to help these people with better methods if they are reading more than a few blogs a day!)
23.5% use some other method to track blogs they like to read including bookmarks (4); favorites list (3); just check the same blogs every day; Blogroll; Safari RSS.

What software do you use for your blog?

63.5% use Blogger
12.7% use WordPress
7.9% use TypePad
15.9% use something else such as LiveJournal, iBlog, iWeb or they don’t have a blog. (4 respondents did not have their own blog).

That’s it. Five easy questions. Feel free to use this information as you wish, discuss as you wish, discard as you wish. I had fun with the survey and might do another one some other time. If I do, are there any questions you think I should ask?


  1. Hmmm. No Moveable Type users at all.

    Also surprised at the number who read "writing and blogging" blogs. Not sure I know what these are. (if they would help my writing I need them). I am not surprised though at the number of other kinds of blogs people read. Gardeners have a lot of other interests.

    The answer to the first question confirms what I always expected. Most all garden blog visitors are looking for shared experiences and not for factual information.

    A good question for a future survey might be something along the line of, "why did you come here?" or "what brought you here?" I am glad you did this. It is interesting.

  2. Regarding Bill's comment that this survey confirms that "most . . . visitors are looking for shared experiences and not for factual information":

    The survey results are interesting but not necessarily representative of garden-blog readers as a whole. Probably only regular readers of May Dreams took the time to fill out the survey, and regular readers are likely to be people who favor "personality" blogs like Carol's over advice blogs.

    I position Digging as a personality garden-blog too, but that doesn't keep people from reading it for gardening advice. Looking over the search terms that have led many recent visitors to my blog, I find people looking for how-tos on building a stone patio (thanks to a recent post about constructing my own, I get a *lot* of hits on this) and on planting and taking care of various plants I happen to have posted about.

    Before generalizing from any survey, we need to remember that the results all depend on who was surveyed. One-time-only readers are not likely to be represented here, though they may make up a large percentage of a blogger's readers.

  3. Bill... It is interesting info, but keep in mind, it is far from scientific. There was one person who commented they were in the processing of moving away from Movable Type.

    Pam... I agree with your commments. The only thing we know about the people who answered the questions is they visited my blog. I also look at search terms used to get here and see quite a few "how to" or garden related question searches. I'm not sure if they get the answers they were looking for, but hope they enjoyed the visit.

  4. you are right, it is mostly about your regular readers. people who were looking for "how to" or just information in general would arrive at a relevant post via a search engine and likely miss the survey altogether or decide against participating. so the results are skewed against that type reader.

    my statistics always show about 70% of the viewers to be first time visitors. and more come via google or another search engine that from anywhere else. so maybe that does mean that a lot of them are actually looking for help.

  5. Yes, I get many vistors via google who are looking for info, ironically most often on sempervivum, which I only casually mentioned as one of my least favorite plants!

    I also get a lot of visitors via the name of my blog and they are definitely not looking for gardening info, which would also be true for those who come via the lyrics I quoted once for the song "Signs."


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