The PHP Channel’s Survey Results and 2016 Plans
On the last day of 2015, we published a survey asking you, the readers, for an opinion about the PHP channel. It was a pretty open survey with mostly freeform answers allowed, so you could tell us literally anything. All in all, we collected 78 responses so far (the survey will remain open indefinitely, in case someone wants to give us more feedback).
On the average satisfaction scale, we scored 7.42 out of 10, and that’s without excluding the potential trolls who voted 1. That’s a very good result, but we’re determined to improve it further.
Of the people who provided written feedback, most desired either more in-depth and advanced content and / or more posts per month. Some complained about a lot of “useless product placement” which, I assume, means ads since we don’t do sponsored posts often.
Now, we’d love to publish more often – we’ve got the queue for it. Heck, our authors are working around the clock to produce awesome stuff. But we have a limited budget, and we have to make this budget work with the amount of content coming in – remember, every post we publish is paid! So ads are a necessity – we use them to pay our authors for the hard work they put in.
Regarding more content and more advanced topics – I read you loud and clear. We’ll start commissioning more of such content in the future – we’ll do our best to publish full “from scratch” guides that cover a topic well, and we’ll try to tackle some advanced, specific topics. Additionally, based on another reader’s feedback, we’ll start including lists for further reading at the bottom of the posts – for those enthralled by the topic.
If you have other suggestions, please drop them in the comments below!
When it came to the newsletter, it turned out most people either weren’t interested in subscribing to it, or weren’t aware of its existence – mostly the latter.
This is something we intend to rectify. Step one will be reminders that the newsletter exists at the top of posts which get mentioned in each edition. Step two will be including interesting non-SitePoint resources in the newsletter, even links to appealing open source projects in the spirit of Sourcehunt. Step three will be more elaborate and article-like newsletter editorials, in order to make the newsletter more appealing to a broader audience.
If you have any other suggestions for improving it, please do let us know – what we want most is for the newsletter to be useful to you, not just another thing you automatically archive.
When it came to satisfaction with our author pool, we also scored very well:
There weren’t any specific repeated complaints, but one answer did mention we should let authors be more personal with their posts – let them develop humor and opinions rather than writing impersonal and very techy posts like we do now. We’ve actually moved away from personal posts on purpose in the past year in order to make our posts sound more professional, but I’m wondering if more of you think we should let authors express their personal experiences and opinions more, or keep it “cold and pro”.
One area that does seem problematic is reader retention:
Obviously, it’s in every publication’s best interest to have readers go to other posts. We try to rely on your desire to learn and on matching the topic you’re reading with similar material published before. Admittedly, this needs some work. We’ll keep chugging along and, in the coming months, we’ll be intensifying our efforts (non invasively) to produce relevant and up to date recommendations for alternative and followup content.
By far, the most desired post on the channel seems to be in depth tutorials:
Second place goes to introductory tutorials, which makes sense – new technologies need to be introduced before being presented in-depth. Versus posts, where we compare or benchmark tools, frameworks and IDEs against one another seem to be almost completely undesired, and in light of these findings we’ll be dramatically altering the ratio of published posts to reflect your wishes.
On social media, most people seem to be unfazed and don’t care about it at all:
The few that do, though, think we could do better. The one repeated complaint was that we don’t tweet often enough – we tend to tweet once (in order to not appear spammy) and people seem to miss that tweet in their busy timelines. We’ll work on that and try to post more often.
Finally, regarding recommending SitePoint to other people, we’re somewhere in the middle, leaning towards the positive side:
Solving all the above should automatically take care of this issue – at least we hope so.
In the final free-form question, the major desires were:
- article thumbnails (we’ll try and make this happen)
- more demos and practical examples (planned)
- more PHP 7 (planned)
I’d like to wholeheartedly thank everyone who took the time to participate in this survey. Every single contribution is valuable, and we’ll use each answer as a learning experience. It is our aim to make SitePoint the best possible resource for you, and I hope we can live up to your expectations in 2016. Onward and upward!