Apologies for the delay in presenting the results for the DesiPundit Reader Survey. We kept the survey running a little longer than we anticipated to get a better representative sample and we were pleased to around 350 responses. Without much ado, I would like to present the results (with brief observations) below for every question we polled. This is going to be long so I suggest you get a coffee or something. Note that all numbers are in percentages:
First, we asked readers questions pertaining to accessing DesiPundit. We were pleased to note that at least half of them (46%) visited everyday and another significant number (32%) visited several times a week (I assume, they stay offline during the weekends.) It was also interesting to note that for 3% of the respondents, this was their first visit. I hope they keep coming back.
Considering we have never advertised or indulged in any form of direct publicity, our primary referral points have been links and banners on other websites and blogs. Our request for link love in the early days paid off and as in the true nature of the web, word gets around through word of mouth (13% came from offline recommendations.) If you want to thank us for linking to your blog, please link back to us or use our banners for your blog sidebars. We get traffic from Google and other search engine searches too so that number (7%) might be misleading. Hopefully we can manage to convert them to regular readers.
Regarding accessing DesiPundit, I was surprised to note that an overwhelming majority come down to the website with RSS feed and email subscribers a distant second (note: we have around 1500 RSS subscribers and 50 email subscribers.) So, our investment in the website design seems to have paid off :)
This set of questions dealt with specific usage and reader feedback on links. Thankfully and much to our designer’s relief, a vast majority of our readers were satisfied or were neutral about the overall look of the website. There were some grumblings (in the text feedback/suggestion question) about the colors and gaudy design but then, design opinions are subjective. However, we appreciate those negative comments as well and will keep them in mind next time we change our look.
The perennial complaint other than the one about not linking to new blogs enough, is the declining quality of links on DesiPundit. While understanding that there is some validity to the complaint, only a small percentage (14%) were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the quality of links. I just hope in coming months, they find more links that are to their liking.
Similarly with the question of quantity, while most are either neutral or satisfied with the current frequency, a small portion of the readers felt that not all contributors were linking enough. Over the past few months, three contributors have left and four new contributors have been added (not counting Indic ones and Vikram N being the resident cartoonist.) I hope you have noticed the steady rise in number of posts linked.
Coming back to the question of variety of links on DesiPundit, I pointed you toward Thejo’s innovative tool to track outbound DesiPundit links. I guess, the majority of our readers were already ahead on the curve and were satisfied with the variety we offer. For the naysayers, we understand you need more new blogs featured so please tip us off whenever you come across a new blog or post that we haven’t featured. I’m sure others like you would appreciate reading it. Our contributors too are always on the lookout for new and upcoming blogs.
Other Sections on DesiPundit
When we redesigned DesiPundit, we introduced few new sections that we hoped our readers would like. The Second Chance and Photos section were two of those. Unfortunately, they lie neglected at the bottom of the page and hence are rarely visited by our readers. Our energies are focused entirely on the primary content – the links. The DesiPundit Photo section is basically a Group on Flickr administered by Akshay Mahajan and contains India-related photos.
The Second Chance section was supposed to give some posts well, a second chance and list the top-clicked links on DesiPundit. We recently started a podcast headed up by the IndiCast team to talk about those links. However, it hasn’t gone beyond the first episode. This is exactly the moment you wish you could administer DesiPundit on a full-time basis.
We received a ton of feedback on streamlining our Archives section which present is a list of categories with number of posts mentioned in parenthesis along with a listing by month. We had hoped a basic Site Search located (on the left) would suffice but I guess, the readers need more and we’ll definitely look into that.
Initially DesiPundit was started as an English link blog but to live up to its tag line of showcasing the best of the Indian blogosphere, we felt the need to include Indic blogs. Indic blogs are growing at an exponential rate and right now, Hindi and Tamil are one of the most vibrant blog communities online. Don’t let the numbers above fool you because those are relative. And although compared to English, blog readership in Indic language are still low, the only way for them is up. And DesiPundit believes in supporting them.
Not surprisingly, a vast majority of DesiPundit’s readership is young. With almost 88% in the 18-34 age demographic (see that, advertisers!), we better stay tuned to their needs. Of course, don’t count out the 35+ crowd either (we have a few 65+ readers too.) So be respectful, punks! :) And why are more men reading DesiPundit than women? I thought with the linking of large number of personal posts, it might be the opposite (women hate political discussions on blogs, I was told.)
Also, the readership is a highly educated lot with 95% having at least some college education. A whopping 53% have postgraduate level (shouldn’t you be working on your thesis? What? you are done? Ok, I guess I should be getting done too.) Similarly, a large number of readers are professionals or work in the management sector. Students account for 21% and there are a few homemakers, retirees, and unemployed. Don’t worry, we love you all.
Suggestions and Feedback
Finally, we offered a text box for suggestions, feedback, rants, ravings, anything that you might like to tell us that the survey didn’t cover. We received more than hundred responses. A large number of them had no complaints and instead took the opportunity to tell us how much they loved us. But then we also received plenty of fruitful and interesting suggestions that we never would have thought of. To protect the privacy of the respondents, I am presenting the feedback in general theme format instead of using their exact words:
- is variable and constantly changing
- need more variety of opinions
- include contrarian views
- ignore ‘email fwd’ jokes on blogs
- skewed participation by contributors
- update more frequently
- update less frequently
- provide weekly summary of links
- fix feeds problems; need English feeds only.
- need more videos, pictures, other India-related general information.
- handle ‘Archives’ and ‘Categories’ pages better
- revive ‘Second Chance’ section
- update ‘Speak Up’ section
- implement chat Widget or Readers Discussion Section
- organize front page based on Categories instead of one generic list
- change design colors
- focus on new and upcoming blogs
- more diversity in terms of ideologies, belief systems, etc.
- focus more on literature and humanities (travel, books, culture)
- link also to minorities’ and left-leaning blogs
- harness large readership to mobilize support for charitable causes
- tap into regional language MSM to promote Indic blogs
- make topical (Independence Day, festivals) link collections on those days
- Rating posts (star ratings?)
- Customized search engine
- Database of Indian blogs
- Guest Contributors
- Generating (some) in-house content
- Organize contests
We hear ya! And I promise to implement some if not all changes in the next few week. Some are easier to fix than others and some well, may require a design overall.
Lastly, we understand that this survey is not scientific and may not necessarily represent the typical DesiPundit reader. Not everyone who reads DesiPundit has filled this survey and the sample is by no means random. You don’t have to wait for the next survey and please feel free to write to us anytime. I can be reached directly at patrix [at] desipundit [dot] com.
This has been a fun exercise and we loved to hear from y’all. Thank you for your time.