5 Insights from the State of the Blogging Universe Survey

Over the last few weeks we’ve been conducting the State of the Blogging Universe survey in an effort to get a better understanding of people opinions and use of blogs and how they’ve changed over the last 2 years. Well, the results are in and I spent some time analyzing the data.

Here are 5 noteworthy insights from the survey.

1) People are reading more blogs and reading them more frequently.

51% of respondands said the number of blogs they read has gone up compared with 21% who said it went down. 44% of respondants said they read blogs somewhat or much more frequently than 2 years ago compared with 21% who said they read blogs somewhat or much less frequently Additionally 53% said reading blogs has become more important over the last 2 years compared with 28% who said it’s become less important.

blog survey, blogs read

2) People read blogs in a wide variety of ways.

When asked about the primary way they read blog posts, 26% said in an RSS reader, 23% said by visiting the blog when they think of it, 20% click links in Twitter, 16% by email, 5% click links in Facebook, and 10% said “other.” What’s striking is how evenly distributed the numbers are. No one method got more than 26%. That shows how important it is to distribute blog posts in a multitude of channels and give people as many subscribe options as possible.

blog survey, subscribe options

3) People want insight.

Of all the factors we asked about, that a blog be informative/insightful was considered most important. 82% indicated it’s important or very important that a blog be informative/insightful. 61% consider the connection developed with the author to be important or very important. Funny or entertaining was important or very important to 47%. Friendships and interactions with other readers was rated important or very important by only 26%

blog survey, insightful posts important

4) Blogs have grown in marketing clout.

Of those respondants that write blogs, 44% indicated blogging is a very or extremely important communication/marketing tool. 48% said blogging has become somewhat or much more important over the last 2 years compared with 15% who said somewhat or much less important.

blog-survey, important communications

5) Company blogs influence purchases.

31% of respondants said they had started reading a blog published by a company and then later decided to purchase products or services from that company. 63% said reading a company’s blog made them somewhat or much more likely to purchase from that company.

blog-survey, influence purchases

Before we draw any conclusions, note that this was an online survey. The sample was not randomly selected and therefore the results are not scientific.

With that caveat, the survey results support the conclusion that over the last couple of years blogging has become fully embraced as mainstream. Blogs are an important source of information and insight for individuals. And because they build trust and influence purchasing decisions, blogging has become an important part of the communications and marketing strategy for organizations.

What are your thoughts on the survey?  How have your opinions and habits regarding blogs change over the last couple of years?

11) Blog Tip #4: Lead Your Niche <– State of the Blogging Universe Series

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

20 Responses to “5 Insights from the State of the Blogging Universe Survey”

  1. Well done Paul. Thanks for conducting the survey and sharing the results. I appreciate your commitment and leadership in this space.
    Have a VERY Merry and Joyful Christmas.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Wow, thanks for doing this Paul! I was surprised at first with the stat about 5% of people checking out blogs through Facebook and that email was higher then that. But, then when I thought about it I realized most people like to stay in Facebook (or check it via mobile) and are used to either hitting like or leaving short comments. They aren't there to read blog posts.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Adam, that's probably true. It could also be somewhat biased by the make-up of our readership here on Christian Web Trends. We have 20,000 subscribers to our weekly blog email and 1,800 people who follow us on Facebook, so that could be why more people responded indicating they read blogs by email rather than Facebook. But regardless of the numbers, it's main take-away is still that people have a variety of preferences for subscribing, so if you want to keep as many people coming back as possible, it's important to offer as many subscribe options as possible.

      • Agreed. Another thing I'm learning is to make sure all of those options are easy to find. Makes sense, but sometimes easy to forget.

        • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

          Yeah, me too. I want to make the subscription options more prominent here on Christian Web Trends.

  3. The data is helpful for those of us who blog. Thansk for sharing and have a Happy Holidays. –
    Vicky Hunt, Twitter: childofonegod Blog- http://www.reason2believehim.com/reason2believehi

  4. I found the statistics showing RSS feeds as the primary way people read blogs to be an awakening experience. I honestly didn't think RSS feeds were used by anybody.

    I suppose this is a great example that just because "I don't do something," doesn't mean that others aren't as well.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      James, I think that is an important principle we all need to keep in mind. These days people's media consumption habits vary greatly from person to person. There are a lot of things I don't do, tools I don't use, etc. but if my readers do, then it's good for me to support them.

  5. Thanks for the great insights. As I depend on the blog more these days, your survey is timely and significant. Please keep up the good work as you help us to come out with the best. God's blessing on you and the team this Christmas season.

  6. I think you need to look at this information seriously. The implication is that blogging is an important item in the life of the church and its communication of its mission. I would like to challenge that. First of all, how many total responses were these statistics based? And more importantly, what portion of the total church (even if limit to North America)? I suspect these questions and responses are "blogging to the choir". I think the real data would show blogging is having little or no influence on the total mission of the church.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      This is not a scientifically administered poll, so I suspect there may be some "blogging to the choir." However, wouldn't you agree that it's the people who are engaged in reading and writing blogs that are in the best position to see it's impact?

  7. This information is a thought provoking one. Prior to this survey I thought blogging is on the decrease. We will make effective use of this data is repositioning our site.

    • It seems to me it's impossible to say definitely that blogging is on the decrease or not. Blog content is crucial.

  8. Have you considered the Empower Network for your blog?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Nope, I'm not familiar with it and have not seen a lot of benefits to other blogging networks in the past.

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