|Image courtesy Stock.Xchng / Lusi|
It’s been more than a week since our 400th blog post, (today’s post is #404, if you’re keeping count…), and responses to our survey have slowed to a tiny trickle.
First, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that responded to the survey! We were overwhelmed (in a good way) by the response rate, and we sincerely appreciate all of your comments, compliments, and suggestions. We’re taking your input to heart, and incorporating it into a forthcoming blog redesign here at No Gluten, No Problem. Everything that you love about NGNP will stick around, but hopefully – if we do our job right – it’ll be even better. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the aggregated results of the survey. They’re an interesting (and valuable) window into the demographics of the No Gluten, No Problem readership. Now, before I get to the actual results, let me say that I’m sure these results have some inherent bias. I’m neither a statistician nor a professional survey designer, which undoubtedly influenced how we collected the info. There’s also the inherent bias in the fact that the survey will reflect the demographics and opinions only of those folks who are inclined to complete such surveys. If you don’t like to take surveys, you won’t take ours, and that will skew the data. That’s not good or bad. It just is.
But without further ado, here’s what we learned:
Sex. A full 95% of survey respondents were women. Wow! I didn’t necessarily see that one coming. I know that there are more female GF bloggers than male, and that statistically more women than men are celiac/GF. But 95%? Fellas, I know you’re out there! And I know some of you read this blog. Do I need to do more blogging about beer and pizza and other “guy topics?” (I feel like I’m pushing the upper limit on the frequency of pizza posts already…) Again, not good or bad. But interesting.
Age. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 72. Most spanned their late 20s through their early 60s, and were pretty evenly distributed in between.
What’s important to you? I asked what types of content are most important to you, rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not important at all, and 5 being very important.
96% of you rated Recipes a 4 or 5, indicating it’s a cornerstone of our blogging.
80% rated our Commentary / GF Journalism a 4 or 5. This was great validation for me, since those posts are time-consuming to thoroughly research and write.
Restaurant Reviews came in as a perfect sort of mellow bell curve. From 1 to 5, your responses were 14, 20, 28, 20, and 17 (percents rounded to the nearest whole number). I was surprised by both the relatively even distribution, and the symmetry of the results.
72% rated Personal Stories a 4 or 5. I often try to strike a balance between the personal and the professional in my blog posts, and I’ll continue to do that.
Lastly, Giveaways / Coupons were similar to the restaurant reviews. Responses were distributed across the spectrum, although it did tend toward the “important” side of the scale a bit. Not to worry…we’ll keep doing periodic giveaways.
Product Reviews. When asked if you preferred to read reviews of only “specialty” gluten-free products, or all products, including naturally gluten-free products, an even 86% of you said “review ’em all!” This is the exact opposite of my expectation. I had been talking to Kelli in recent weeks about focusing on only reviewing specialty GF food products, since I questioned the value of reviewing naturally GF products. Apparently, I was wrong! (We’ll continue to review a wide range of GF products, and will continue our Versus posts that pit company against company in the same food category…)
Restaurant Reviews. This was another one that surprised me. As I wrote in last week’s 400th blog post, I’d been considering abandoning restaurant reviews, since I questioned the value of reviewing restaurants that weren’t near most of our readers. But you have convinced me otherwise. 60% of you said you’re interested in reading reviews of “all restaurants,” while “local, independent restaurants” and “national or major regional restaurant chains” also garnered significant votes. (Hence, we’ll continue to review restaurants, and will continue our Small Town GF Guides, though our restaurant reviews will take on a new perspective that will make our experiences at a particular restaurant applicable to readers all over. Hopefully.)
Frequency. When asked how frequently you expect us to blog with new content, 25% said “once per week,” 11% said “twice per week,” and “less than once per week” and “three times per week” both returned negligible votes. The vast majority of you – 57% – said “I don’t care, as long as the content’s good!” What a great thing to hear! I’ve never said so publicly (until right now), but I personally strive for 2 to 3 new blog posts per week. There are weeks, though, when I don’t meet that self-imposed quota for a variety of reasons. Your responses tell me that I shouldn’t fret when that happens. Whew! Sigh of relief.
As you may have noticed in recent months, I’ve started including a section at the end of each recipe that goes something like, “This recipe is: gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.,” where I list major allergens and other significant dietary considerations. This is in recognition of the fact that we’re all bound together by being gluten-free, but that many of us have additional dietary considerations, and I wanted it to be easier for you to identify if a particular recipe was suitable for you at a glance, without scanning the full list of ingredients. But I wanted to know more specifically what dietary considerations are most prevalent. Ordered by prevalence (response rate as a percent of all survey respondents), here they are:
Gluten-free = 100%
Dairy-free (lactose / casein) = 25%
Refined-sugar-free = 21%
Corn-free = 9%
Egg-free = 7%
Diabetic (carb counting) = 7%
Vegan = 5%
Nut-free (peanuts / tree nuts) = 2%
Other responses also included soy-free, wheat-free, and vegetarian, among a handful of others.
The results were interesting. The dairy-free contingent was significant, but I honestly expected the number to be even higher. The very low numbers for vegan and egg-free also surprised me. I expected those numbers to be somewhat higher, given how frequently I’m contacted about recipe substitutions to meet those needs. According to at least one source I read, the prevalence of nut-free folks here at No Gluten, No Problem is roughly twice the national average.
Again, these numbers aren’t good or bad. They are simply a portrait of a community. And though we are constantly striving to be inclusive on this blog, such numbers can help us be even more mindful about the recipes we post, and how we respond to questions about substitutions.
A Final Word
Finally, I asked what we’re doing well, and what we can do better. You gave us tons of great responses to both questions, which we’ll be taking into consideration as we work on a blog redesign. Among other things, expect some new organization that will make it easier for you to locate (in one place) recipes, product reviews, restaurant reviews, Versus posts, Small Town GF Guides, etc. That’s all coming down the pipeline in the foreseeable future.
For now, let me say thank you again. And no, I didn’t forget about the cookbook giveaway. The winner of a copy of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes (chosen at random), is…Sarah! (Since there were multiple Sarahs, and the winning Sarah only submitted her first name, I’ll be emailing you to notify you!)