Firstly, I just wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who filled out my Reader Survey last week. I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of responses, and the honest and detailed answers I received. I’m really excited to use this feedback to help improve my blog, and it’s honestly so great to know what you all enjoy reading, and what you want to see more of.
If for some reason you missed out on the survey, that’s okay! I decided to leave the survey open for anyone who wants to give me feedback. Your answers will go straight to my inbox.
Now, for those of you who are curious, here are your answers to all of my questions!
How old are you?
Well it’s safe to say that most of my readers are between 18 and 34 years old. As a twenty-four year old myself, it really doesn’t surprise me that most of my readers are in my age range. That said, I was happy to see that there’s a decent amount of readers who are 55+. I’m so glad my stories and adventures can entertain all ages!
Where are you from?
I knew before I started this survey that most of you are from the USA. What I wasn’t expecting was just how many awesome readers I have from all over the world! Adventures Around Asia has readers from Romania, Argentina, Malaysia, Ghana, Indonesia, China, Austria, and South Africa, just to name a few.
Are you an expat?
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this question. I was pleasantly surprised to see that over half of you used to/ are/ want to be expats. For those of you who want to be expats, are you interested in hearing more about how to make that happen?
I also loved hearing where you all are currently located. I have readers in Vienna, Kenya, Germany, China, Costa Rica, and even “nowhere” (you go, nomads!).
What best describes your travel style?
Well, as you can see I have exactly zero readers who travel in luxury. I guess that means no comped 5-star hotels for me…. darn.
To be honest, I was expecting most of you to fall in the backpacker range. Since I meet so many “super budget backpackers” on the road, I was surprised there are so few of you on this site. I guess most of them are reading the plethora of budget conscious SE Asia travel blogs.
If I were to categorize myself, I’d say I’m a “budget backpacker” because I stay in hostel dorms and take cheap transportation, but I have no problem splurging on things I really want to do like river tracing and getting my scuba certification.
It is great to know that many of you are not on a tight budget when you travel. I don’t think of myself as a “backpacker blogger” anyway, so now I feel much more free to stay wherever I want, spend a bit more money and write about my experiences. I promise I won’t bore you all with “how to do XYZ as cheap as humanly possible” posts.
How do you feel about travel in Asia?
I was extremely curious to see the answer to this question. I’ve really been wondering how many of you are super interested in China as opposed to other places in Asia. I also know that backpacking SE Asia is hugely popular, so I was definitely wondering how many of you are obsessed with traveling there. After checking out these results, I’d say that there are so many SE Asia backpacker travel blogs that most of those people are probably reading elsewhere.
Honestly, the results you gave me were the best I could have hoped for! Most of you are interested in pretty much anywhere in Asia, meaning no matter where I go you’ll be happy. You guys rock! I’m also kind of glad more of you aren’t obsessed with China. Living in China is a huge part of my life, but I don’t want to only write about China. There are so many other interesting places in Asia!
Also, literally NONE of you have zero interest in Asia. I guess that makes sense.
Do you plan on visiting China anytime soon?
I was kind of surprised by how many people have traveled in China recently. Why didn’t you visit me??
It’s also clear to see that only a very small portion of you actually want to live in China, so I’ll lay off on those “how to get a job teaching abroad in China” posts I was thinking about writing. If you are interested in being an expat in China, I do teach abroad and expat lifestyle consulting for only $15 an hour, if you want to have a little Skype chat with me!
How long have you been reading?
This one was all over the board! Firstly, I was so excited to see how many people have been following my blog since the beginning. Apparently it’s more than just my parents! THREE YEARS guys, that’s insane!
A little less than one year ago, I did a complete redesign of my blog and switched from a crappy study abroad blog to a real, somewhat professional travel blog. It was then that I really put a ton of effort into promoting myself. I switched to a self-hosted blog, created a new design, developed my social media channels, and joined blogging forums and Facebook groups. Because of this, I’m really not surprised that over 40% of you started reading then.
Finally, to all the newbies: WELCOME!!!
When do you check Adventures Around Asia?
At first I got really excited about this statistic. Then I realized that the people who read every new post are also the ones who are most likely to check out a post about a reader survey… Regardless, you are all awesome.
How do you find my new posts?
WHOAH! Gotta love Facebook, right? I had no idea that’s where most of you were finding me. This definitely shows me that I should put even more effort into promoting my posts on Facebook than I already do.
I’m also surprised by how many of you bookmark my site. I feel honored that you actually go out of your way to check my blog for new posts.
The funny thing about Pinterest is I actually get a TON of traffic from there. I’m super obsessed with Pinterest, and I actually even use it to plan my trips. I guess Pinterest is one of those sites you use to find specific information, rather than a place to easily follow a blog.
Where do you follow me?
Again, Facebook is where it’s at. I love Facebook, and it’s so fun to have so many of you interacting on my Facebook page. With almost 1,000 of you, it’s a happening place!
For those of you who enjoy reading my blog, be sure to check me out on some of my other social media profiles (especially you “none” people). I have a lot of fun with all of them, and they’re a bit more up to date than my actual blog. If you want to know what I’m up to in real-time, definitely hit me up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I love to read about…
Again, you guys are amazing! I was so happy to see that almost 80% of you love reading about my life in China. In addition, over 70% of you enjoy my personal and crazy stories. I really love writing these kinds of posts, and I’ve definitely been making an effort to get more personal. I want you to see me as a human being and someone you want to be friends with, rather than just a travel resource.
I think I’ve sort of been gearing towards a travel lifestyle blog rather than a strict “travel blog”, so it’s great to see you all backing me up on this idea. I love that your favorite posts are the ones I like writing the most. That’s the best thing I could’ve hoped for!
I wish you’d write more about…
Again, you guys love the personal posts and crazy stories. I’ll be sure to write more of them now that I know how much you all love reading them! I also want to get around to traveling in some new, off the beaten path places, so this survey has definitely given me the little kick I need to go somewhere really cool!
I also really love talking about food, so I’ll be sure to find a way to incorporate more foodporn into my posts. Whether it’s cooking classes or me blabbing about all the awesome things I ate, I’ll find a way to sneak in my food obsession.
I wish you’d write less about…
At first glance I wondered why I had so many “other” answers. That’s crazy! Then I realized that I didn’t give you an N/A option, so a ton of you were choosing other and writing “nothing”. So basically a ton of you think that there’s nothing I should write less of. You rock!
Also, literally none of you think I should write less about my life in China. That makes me feel good. I guess my life is interesting?
I’ll definitely take your suggestions about teach abroad and china hacks into consideration though. I still plan to address both of these things, but maybe not as much as I would have otherwise. Overall, I love knowing what you like to read because my goal is to make you happy!
You’d be interested in:
So… I guess I need to write a book?
For the past two years I’ve been wanting to write a book about my life in China with personal and funny stories, but I honestly haven’t had the time or motivation. Maybe I can get around to making that happen in the next few years!
It’s also great to know that so many of you would be interested in a China travel guide. To be honest, the China Lonely Planet book is not that great. I’ve had so many gripes with them in the past, especially since a lot of the information is out of date and I’ve been screwed over multiple times by trusting their advice. I promise I can make you all a much better, much smaller version that is helpful and too the point. Have you seen the Lonely Planet China book??? You might as well carry around a brick.
As for half-day food tours, those are definitely happening wherever I end up. I would also love to lead cheap backpacker tours around China someday. I’m glad to see that so many of you are interested!!
The final section of my reader survey was an area for open-ended responses.
While most of you couldn’t think of anything you wanted to tell me, I did get a few amazing responses from you all. These comments ranged from phrases of encouragement to extremely thoughtful messages. Every time I feel bad about myself or this blog, I’m just going to go back and re-read all of these to make me feel better! Here are some of my favorites:
“Thank you for sharing your experiences in China! I am moving to China in August with AYC and would love to meet up with you if possible one weekend. I don’t really know what to expect but I am really excited to learn and make my own experiences! :)”
That’s so exciting! Moving all the way to China is a big deal. I’d love to meet up if we can! I honestly would love to meet up with any of my readers. If you come to China let me know!
“When is our wedding taking place and where? I need to RSVP with my friends and family yo”
I think I have a secret admirer!
“I sort of know you through friends of friends, but I really enjoy your blog. It’s VERY relatable and makes me think that I’d be capable of traveling by myself. Congrats on a great blog!”
YES! This one almost made me cry a little. The thought that I could help make someone feel like they are capable of traveling solo is mind-blowing to me. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I used to be the girl who was afraid of staying in fancy Korean hostel by herself. Now look at me!
“I remember meeting you at a hostel in South Korea. I have been following your blog ever since then. I enjoy hearing about your unique expat experience.”
This one is crazy to me! I remember meeting up with you guys in Korea…. you know, back when I was afraid to stay at a hostel by myself. You all made me feel so much more comfortable, and it was so great to have other travelers to talk to! I honestly cannot believe you are still reading my blog after all this time. I hope you had a great experience studying in Korea!
No one is perfect…
I was actually happy to see some real constructive criticism in the survey. Two people stepped forward to give me some helpful advice.
“I think the design of the blog is a little… Boring… Just too common.. Maybe add a newer, fancier theme… And maybe more photos”
Honestly, thank you for giving me the push I needed to redesign my blog. A few days before the survey one of my friends who’s done some graphic design work told me he hates how my blog looks (ouch). Thankfully, he’s a nice person who wants to help me make it look better. In the next few weeks I’m going to purchase a fully customizable theme as an upgrade from the freebie one I’m using now. Then my friend is going to help me make it beautiful! Get excited guys, this blog is getting a MAKEOVER!!!
UPDATE 6/9: This blog finally got the makeover it deserves! What do you think? Love it or hate it?
“I love reading your blog because it’s so genuine. so real. so honest. And very useful and relatable :) However, sometimes I feel you have many complaints. China life and traveling in general will bring about crazy circumstances, but don’t let it rile you up too much! I enjoyed the latest posts on things you LOVE about China and I think a balance between criticism and gratitude will serve readers well”
This one is definitely good to know. I think sometimes I equate “personal posts” with opening up about my struggles. I don’t want my blog to be 100% happy fluff about how amaaaazing my life is. But I can definitely see how publishing posts about my “quarter life crisis” and crappy love life so close together could be a bit of a downer. I’m actually a happy person 95% of the time, I promise!
Speaking of my quarter life crisis….
I HAVE A JOB!!!
It feels like it was just yesterday that I was having a meltdown about my future. It’s funny how things can change so quickly. Honestly, a lot of the advice you gave me really helped me make a decision about what I want to do next year, so thank you!!
Where am I working next year? As a special gift to my newsletter subscribers, I’m going to announce my new job and where I’m moving in my next newsletter tomorrow evening. If you’re not already getting my bi-monthly newsletter, be sure to sign up here. I promise, no spam! Just awesome travel info and life updates.
Can any of you guess where I’m moving or what my job will be? I’m super curious!!