Can I kick off this post by saying how awesome you guys are?

I was so intimidated by the idea of running a reader survey — so much so that it’s taken me four years to put one together! — but I’ve been incredibly touched by the number and quality of your responses.

I told Dave that was expecting to have around 100 survey takers, secretly hoping for more like 300. I was overwhelmed, then, to receive over 500 detailed and thoughtful responses, and they were so much fun to read through! I’m eager and inspired to start making some changes.

As you took time out of your day to share your thoughts with me, I’d like to do the same for you. In this post, I’ll be sharing the survey results and explaining how I’ll be using your feedback to improve the site.

Let’s get started!

Lauren with her backpack

Who You Are

78% of you are women. This was a bit of a surprise, as I receive an equal amount of comments/emails from guys and girls!

44% of you are aged between 25 and 34. 23% are under 24 and 33% are over 35. I had 8 responders who were over 65.

Next, I asked where’s home for you and was excited to receive responses from unexpected places, such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Ecuador. The most heavily represented countries, though, were the United States with 30% and the United Kingdom with 25% — no big surprises there! Going further down the list, Australia came in at 8%, Canada at 8%, and 5% of you are nomadic!

When it comes to travel style, 47% of you confessed to being budget travellers, while only 15% have taken a luxury trip in the past few years.

Let’s talk about travel companions! 53% of you have recently taken a solo trip, 57% of have travelled as part of a couple, and 59% have opted to hit the road with friends. 43% have travelled independently over the past couple of years, and 15% have recently travelled as part of a tour group.

When it comes to the length of your trips, 13% of you have taken a long-term trip lasting for over a year, 7% are nomadic, and 4% of you haven’t travelled at all.

I’ve been struggling with my anxiety recently, so I asked how many of you were also sufferers. I was surprised to see that 34% of you have an anxiety disorder, a much higher number than I was expecting.

Working in the Maldives: surprisingly easy!

On Never Ending Footsteps 

I kicked off this section by asking if you remembered how you first came across Never Ending Footsteps. 35% of you found me through Googling something random and 30% discovered me through another travel blog. On the lower-but-heartwarming end of the spectrum, 5% found me through a friend’s recommendations, 8 responders know me in real life (hi!), and 5 of you even found the site through buying How Not to Travel the World first.

Next, I asked how long you’ve been reading the site for. 44% of you have been following along with my misadventures for two or three years, 34% have been doing so for a full year, and 20% found me within the past few months. Shout out to the 5% who have been reading from the very first post!

When it comes to keeping up with new posts, 44% find out about new posts through social media, 43% are subscribed by email, 37% head on over here directly to see if anything new has been posted, and 15% are subscribed via RSS.

I asked what type of posts you enjoy most on Never Ending Footsteps. A whopping 86% of you love when I write narratives about a specific place, 66% love giggling at my incidents, 60% of you are a fan of my monthly summaries, and 59% of you prefer to read detailed destination guides.

Now it’s time for the posts you enjoy least! Posts about writing came on top here, gaining 35% of the vote. 30% of you enjoy my non-travel musings least and 22% voted for posts about travel blogging.

58% of you are currently subscribed to my newsletter. When it comes to your favourite part, 32% voted for personal stories I don’t share here, 13% are subcribed for advice and insights into working from anywhere, and 11% confessed they enjoy my income reports most. This was a surprise for me, as I’d assumed many subscribers were nosey about how much money I make as a travel blogger!

Lauren in London

The Good and the Bad Bits

On to the part that made me most nervous! I asked you to share what you like most about Never Ending Footsteps and what you like least/think I could improve on.

Let’s start with the good.

I was overjoyed to read so much positive feedback about the site! The vast majority commented on how personal my writing is, how relatable you find me, and how much you appreciate my unwavering honesty. Awwww! After spending the first year of my blogging career trying to act as if I was a travel expert who never did anything wrong, it means the world to learn that embracing my mishaps and sharing the reality of my life on the road is something you guys love to read about.

You love that I don’t pretend to be an expert. A lot of you shared that one of the reasons why I’m so relatable is because I don’t try to act as if I’m a travel expert. You love that I’m honest when I screw up, you like that I write about the good and the bad times, and you’re happy that I don’t talk down to you.

You love that I don’t have my travels sponsored by anyone. Many of you commented on how enjoyable it is to read a site that isn’t filled with press trips and sponsored hotel stays. You love that I travel exactly how non-bloggers do — that I go to the places that interest me most, that I can share the positives and negatives of an experience, and that because I pay for everything myself, there’s never any question about whether my opinion has been swayed.

You love that I share my travel costs. I received a lot of comments thanking me for sharing a detailed account of my travel expenses. I was thrilled to learn that you find it super-helpful for planning your budget for upcoming trips.

The quality of my writing and photography. I was particularly surprised by the latter, as I’ve always believed myself to be a mediocre photographer! I was flattered by the many comments praising the quality of the site.

My honesty about my anxiety. So many of you confessed that even though you don’t personally suffer from anxiety, you appreciate that I’m vulnerable about my struggles, as it makes me seem more human.

Lauren loves her macbook pro

And on to the bad!

To be honest — and as many of you told me in your responses! — I can be too hard on myself at times, so all but around five responses were things I was already beating myself up about. The most common request was to post more frequently, to write less about my book and my anxiety, and (awww) to stop being so down on myself.

I value your feedback, so here are the changes I’m going to be making.

A Proper Posting Schedule

I’m going to be publishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from now on, dropping back to two days a week if I’ve got too much stuff going on. I’ve never had a fixed posting schedule on Never Ending Footsteps so I’m excited to see how it works out.

And if I skip a few weeks, know that I’m likely struggling with anxiety and taking some time off for myself. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself right now.

A Wider Variety of Topics

I’ve shied away from writing anything vaguely resource-y in the past because I wasn’t sure anyone would care about my recommendations. Y’know, I’m kind of disastrous — would anyone trust that I knew what I was talking about? As it turns out, you would!

You’ve given me tons of suggestions for future post ideas and topics you want me to cover in the future. You want to know how I find my cheap flights, how travel has affected my friendships, an update on my packing list, how I choose where to visit next, how I deal with visas, how I prepare for an upcoming trip, and there were even lots of requests for me to write more about food!

I’ll be tackling all of these topics over the coming months, transforming this site into both a practical resource and a place full of incidents.

Detailed Information on How You Can Do the Same Trip

Something a lot of you requested was an information box at the end of each post detailing how to get to a certain place, how much things cost there, recommendations for restaurants, and anything else that will help you follow along in my footsteps. I’ll be adding this to every relevant post in the future!

More Photo Essays

I’ve shied away from photo essays in recent years, because they’ve always felt like a bit of a cop out — I guess because they’re so easy for me to put together and don’t require much writing, I thought it was lazy to publish them.

I was surprised, then, to have so many of you requesting that I share more of my travel photos! From now on, I’ll be posting a few photo essays every month.

A Chronological-Ish Blog Structure

Most people confessed they prefer to read a travel blog that’s written chronologically so they can follow along with a trip.

From now on, I’m going to start writing chronologically about my 2015 travels on Mondays and Wednesdays, reserving Friday as a chance to flashback or flashforward to some of my favourite travel experiences.

Less Complaining

This hurt to hear, even though I was expecting it. You’re over hearing about my recent breakdown, there have been too many posts about anxiety, and sometimes it feels like all I ever focus on are the negatives in my life.

I can’t deny doing this. It’s been a tough couple of years for me, but I’m on the track to recovery and feeling stronger than ever. Never Ending Footsteps will have a much more positive focus going forwards.

A Better Newsletter

My newsletter has been all over the place since I launched: I’ve been trying to do too much. Many of you commented to say it’s too long, there are too many details, and you don’t care about half of the things I write about.

I’m going to relaunch the newsletter next year with a tighter focus and less information on the business side of things.

 

I can’t thank you enough for all of your helpful feedback! It means the world to hear that so many of you love what I’m doing and that I, to quote one answer, “could write about how HD TVs work and I’d read it”. I hope the changes I’m about to make will improve your experience as a reader!

See you on Wednesday, when I’ll be kicking off with an exciting post about the great colour definition on the 1080p Samsung UN55J6300 display!

Maybe.

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