Interpreting the Results of the SitePoint Reader Survey, Part 2: Content

Matthew Magain
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In Part 1 of my analysis of the results from our reader survey, I revealed how your improvement suggestions were distributed, but some of the categories were a bit vague. For example “content suggestion” covered everything from more blog posts about singletons in PHP to more interviews with leading designers.

In this post I’ll explore in further detail your requests for us to cover specific types of content in our articles and blogs. It is, after all, this category into which the overwhelming majority of your suggestions fell.

Here’s the breakdown of the content that you want to read more of:

A breakdown of content improvement suggestions for sitepoint.com

As you can see, the three biggest requests, aside from the “other” category, were for more of the samebusiness, development, and design-related content (in that order). That “business” category is pretty evenly split between requests for content that targets freelancers and entrepreneurs.

A few other suggestions that were high up on people’s wishlists:

  • You’re after more multi-part tutorials that start from the very beginning and hold your hand through to delivering a complete solution. These obviously take time for authors to plan and create, but in the mean time I’ll be announcing an exciting initiative (this week, in fact!) that should help fill this void.
  • Our front page has a lot going on, and many people visiting the site for the first time don’t know where to start. While a complete site redesign is something that will take time to get right, we’ll be looking at a couple of options for improving this particular aspect of our front page immediately.
  • You want more interviews with successful designers, developers and business folks, case studies of their sites/businesses, and insights into the thought processes that went through their head when building their site/app/empire.
  • More industry news, more advanced tutorials, product reviews, more international content (i.e. content about designers that aren’t from the USA or Australia) and an “Ask SitePoint” section were also popular requests.

None of this is falling on deaf ears. In fact, many of the suggestions you submitted were already part of our plans for the site, but this survey has given each of these tasks a different weighting, which will influence our priorities.

A word on the number of requests for “user generated content”, though. What follows are some suggestions taken directly from the survey (typos and all):

More authors — maybe let users send in articles and (after reviewing it) putting it online.

I’d like to see online tutorials developed not necessarily by your regular writers but by people who demonstrate their mastery of a topic in the forums.

Maybe you already do this but I think it might be cool to have open submissions for articles or guest posts on blogs. The forums are a great way to interact with the community but it would be cool to have a shot at getting an article published on SitePoint.

While we take great pride in the high calibre of our author team (for blogs and articles as well as for our books), every single one of them started out in the same way: by submitting an article for consideration. Basically what I’m saying is this is how it happens already — if you have an idea for an article, all you have to do is submit it. It lands in my inbox, I review it. If it has potential but needs some work, I’ll work with you to get it up to scratch, then a member of our professional editing team will dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and Voila! You’re a published author. (Of course, we have other articles that we actively commission, but basically that’s the process.)

So what are you waiting for? User-generated content is what keeps the SitePoint community learning…

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