Warning: Here be meta. We're hoping this will generate a wide-ranging discussion, but if you only come here for the footbaw, we'll hit you over the head with it when our season preview kicks off tomorrow.
Our first ever reader survey was a smashing success. 553 of you took five minutes out of your day (congrats to our random t-shirt winners Lucys Daddy Is A Buckeye, mr.green and @onefranco) to tell us what we're doing well, what we could be doing better, and that you want free beer and nudity. We're still working on a way to deliver suds via browser, but until then, we thought it would be worthwhile to dive into some of the other feedback we received.
But first, the raw numbers:
- 17 or younger: 1%
- 18-26: 24%
- 27-34: 37%
- 35-49: 28%
- 50-65: 9%
- 65 or older: 1%
No surprises here. Over half of our readers are between the ages 18-34, which is what you'd expect to find with a site that focuses on college athletics. Also, a shoutout to the half dozen of you drawing Social Security benefits!
Our audience is also 95% male, which was a bit higher than we expected (other, less-accurate numbers led us to believe it would be about 90% male). Clearly, this is not the place to come to meet your future wife.
VISITORS TYPICALLY ARRIVE TO 11W VIA:
- Twitter: 25%
- Facebook: 8%
- Google+: 6%
- Typing "elevenwarriors.com" into browser: 35%
- Browser bookmarks: 61%
- Browser home page: 5%
- Other: 16%
I'm not going to lie. Reading the survey results was a nice ego shot. I'm proud of what we've been able to build here and our hard work is paying off. It's humbling to find out that so many of you have the site bookmarked and that more than a few of you even have 11W set as your browser home page.
The social network numbers are not unexpected given our strategy on that front. After seeing Friendster, then MySpace and finally Facebook all rise to the top, we have an idea of how that game plays out1 and decided a while ago to devote most of our resources to building our brand on Twitter -- which we believe is a transformative technology -- instead of Facebook, essentially yet another social network.
HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR AN 11W ACCOUNT:
- Yes: 47%
- No: 50%
- No, I have not and never will: 3%
It would be a circus (in a good way) if we could somehow get everyone involved commenting and creating blog posts, but this is just the 1% rule at play. To those of you hesitant to provide your email address, I can tell you that we hate spam as much as you do. We will never sell your email address or provide it to a 3rd party. Heck, we've never even used the email addresses ourselves outside of contacting a contest winner.
WHERE ARE YOU:
- Ohio: 47%
- Originally from Ohio, but now an expat: 44%
- No Ohio ties: 10%
I've always thought blogs trend towards expats -- at least compared to the Columbus Dispatch or other local media outlets -- but without seeing their data, it's just a theory.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOU DO EVERY DAY:
- Student in Ohio, but not at Ohio State: 2%
- Student at Ohio State: 5%
- Student somewhere else: 5%
- Employed full-time: 76%
- Employed part-time: 2%
- Unemployed: 5%
- Retired: 2%
First, big-ups to you hard working folks. The 11W unemployment rate is well below the national rate and that means you all love America as much as we do.
The other number that jumps out here is the 5% of our readers that are Ohio State students. We'd love to improve this metric and have some plans to do just that, but if you have any ideas, we'd love to hear them.
Things you'd like to see more of
We asked you what you'd like to see more of and this is what you had to say.
More recruiting stories. Perhaps a recruiting database.
We heard this a lot and have plans to ramp up our recruiting coverage. We also have a project in the works that will address the second request (as well as other data points), but that's so massively awesome that there's still quite a bit of work to do. You're going to love it when you see it.
Write-ups about the enemies (stadiums, cities/campus highlights, historical data, interviews with other bloggers).
We will be adding an opposing blogger/Twitter superstar interrogation to our fall calendar and will continue to improve our coverage of this aspect of the site.
More than a few of you requested more rumors on the site. I'm not going to lie, I enjoy reading them as much as the next guy, but rumors just aren't our thing. Perhaps it's because we're a blog and we go out of our way to be careful about what we run, but it's an approach that works for us. The upside is that we rarely break incorrect news and that's something we're proud of2.
Maybe if it's even possible more interviews with current players kind of like how the interviews with recruits are conducted.
We'd love to do this, but once kids are signed and in the program, we're at the mercy of OSU with regards to pulling an interview with a player. If you're not SI or ESPN, you're only going to get players made available to group media after practice or games. Once the bowl has been played, you can kind of talk to seniors outside of scheduled events with the team, but getting the interview is not always easy. This may change a bit with Fickell and Emig at the top, but we'll have to wait and see.
More Buckshots. I like seeing new football news, even if it doesn't directly pertain to OSU.
We love Buckshots as well. We're always trying to balance fresh content with making sure readers can see what we put up for the day (before they roll off the seven shown on the front page).
Ohio State photos..maybe a photo of the day or photo section.
We put in for a photo pass this season, so cross your fingers for us. I will say that we've had to work for incremental access to the program, so it's not a guarantee, but we have a better shot this year than we did last year.
More features covering in-depth Xs and Os.
We heard this a lot, but unfortunately, there is only one Ross Fulton (that we're aware of, at least), and he doesn't even post on Along the Olentangy enough for our liking. If you have similar skills, hit us up. We have a spot for you.
Popularity ratings (thumbs up or down) and contribution points issued based off of popular votes.
One of the many projects on our books is a userpoints system. It's not only a great idea for reader participation, but it will also help suppress shoddy comments. We're also looking to revamp the comments so they auto-refresh, are easier to navigate, provide reply notifications, etc.
More 11 Dubcasts on a regular basis.
The Dubcast has been operating on its summer schedule but will be back soon for weekly episodes throughout the football and basketball seasons.
Maybe a mailbag?
Again, we're flattered that you value our opinions on all things Buckeye and may look into this.
Make an 11W calendar.
Another fantastic idea. And another idea that's been in our book for a few. There's not enough time to get to everything we want to, but this is up there on the list.
I would love to see pics and/or bios of the 11W writing staff. My husband has often expressed the same.
Interesting. Writer bios exist on our About page, though we don't do a good enough job publicizing them. We'll look into adding profile pics.
Have contests other than ""Friday Caption"" or ""Final Score Challenge."" Have people post their best/funniest pictures on a certain topic. Microsoft Paint and Photo Shop are encouraged.
We like this idea a lot. Photoshop contests have been in the back of our minds for a while, but I guess we've been waiting on our audience to grow to the point where we'd have enough entries. Maybe it's already feasible?
I don't know how possible it would be, but it would be nice to see coverage of some fringe sports. For example, I had no idea how good the mens volleyball team was until their run this past spring.
This is definitely something we need to get better at. It may be difficult to do during football season when our ed calendar is packed, but it's something we may be able to explore during hoops season.
I would like more term explanations - ie The Villain who I now know is ET. It took me awhile to figure that one out.
Our Terminology page is woefully out of date, but at least "The Villain" is represented. We'll work towards keeping this fresh.
One thing I would enjoy seeing is a roundtable discussion amongst the writers on various topics in the Buckeye universe. I think it would be interesting for everyone to huddle up and throw in their two cents worth, and we all know there's plenty to talk about these days.
Great idea. Look for a weekly roundtable during football season.
Things You'd Like to See Less Of
And now, for the counter shots to our collective ego.
Occasionally, 11W and the posters can beat a subject to death...beyond death....to a point where readers are more transfixed by the beating than the original subject matter. I understand you follow the interest of the readers and if they want to beat, you let them beat. When I see it, I just move on and wait for the next post.
I can understand this point of view. Some of our coverage of "The Troubles" from this spring were hard to read, but at the same time, they resonated with a lot of other readers. We promise to keep an eye on oversaturating a topic and hope that you'll help keep us in check moving forward.
No. the site is a pretty good balance of opinion and actual OSU news. If 11w is an accurate representation of OSU fans than you all are much more rational than I thought. As a rule, I hate the type of person who comments on blog posts but your commenters are fairly rational.
Coming from a Michigan fan, this is high praise.
Bash on Bruce Hooley.
Thanks for taking part in our survey, Bruce.
Note: This reader also requested more humor fore the previous question.
I come to reddit before I come here, so the miscellany links are redundant. But thanks for educated the masses. :)
Guilty. We do love us some Reddit.
The recruiting stuff drags on a bit.
Which just goes to show you can't please everyone.
I skip some of the Skull Sessions because of the paragraph+ of gibberish that precedes any interesting information. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, I guess.
Personally, I'd probably prefer some of our Skully intros to be shorter, but I'm not sure this is a problem in a general sense.
Filter out all the political related comments.
I think we're already doing a pretty good job of keeping politics off the site, but if you see something political, speak up. Shoot me an email and I'll address it. I have zero tolerance for any political talk on this site.
Maybe stop hating on Kirk Herbstreit so much. He's an analyst, just doing his job. We shouldn't expect him or want him to be the OSU version of Lou Holtz. I disagree with his dropping of OSU in the polls and think he went a little overboard on his criticism of Terrelle Pryor (even with all that's come out, putting him in the same boat as Maurice Clarett was a little much), but don't think he has suddenly turned against Ohio State because of it. He's still a pretty darn good announcer in my book, at least certainly better than many of the alternatives.
Again, I can understand why some might feel this way. I do feel satisfied that negative Herbie articles have been backed up with plenty of facts.
Profanity. I'm at work - NSFW is not a good thing for me. it means I can't see the site. it's also classless and makes the site seem lame, like it's being run by drunk college students. I expect it in the comments but not in the articles.
I think we do a pretty good job of largely avoiding profanity, but I can't promise we'll stay 100% away from it. We're a blog, after all3.
Typos. They hurt my brain. I understand editorial staff is limited but a solid proof is a must. Mistakes happen but as the #1 OSU site in my mind, I want it to be the #1 standard for content as well.
They hurt our brains as well. We do our best to prevent typos, but as long as we're all working day jobs, these will slip through from time to time.
If You Ran 11W, What Would You Do to Make it Better?
After sifting through the various "fire myself and re-hire you guys" comments, here's what some of you said you'd do to make 11W better.
Promote more blogs to the front page to encourage better commenter participation. The QB breakdown that PJFry was doing during the season were great, glad they got frontpaged, more members of the community here need to do that, I think they would if more got promoted.
We're all for this, but the content has to be excellent.
It could be a bit more graphically appealing.
We heard this a couple of times and although we're overdue for a redesign, we also think simple works. We've flirted before with moving to a magazine theme and that may yet happen, but if it comes down to devoting our time towards writing killer content and providing valuable data or tweaking the site design, we're going to focus on the former. I do expect we'll modify the navigation once we start adding rosters and statistics.
Make an iPhone/iPad/Android app.
This may just be me being stubborn, but I'm in no hurry to build and support apps for multiple mobile platforms at this point in time. If you see anything from us on this front, it may just be a mobile theme for the site instead of a full-blown app. Don't hate us for this. We're taking clues from the master -- same site no matter what you're using to view it.
Bring back the links to other Buckeye sites.
When we migrated to our new platform in August of last year, these links were one of the early casualties. However, they've been at the bottom of our right sidebar for at least nine months now.
Join SB Nation.
We've been approached a couple of times in the past and although their offers were more than generous and we really like what SB Nation has going for them, we feel it's in our best interests to remain indie.
Keep it free.
We will. One of our goals is to prove that the free model can work. If we continue to grow at the rate we're going, we'll prove that you don't need a paid subscription service to survive.
If you took part in the survey, thanks again! Whether you did or did not, if you'd like to keep this discussion going in the comments section, we're all ears.
- 1 You can only ask people to migrate their networks and fill out their favorite books, movies, music, etc. before it gets old. That and the fact that parents and teachers eventually show up, ruining the fun for everyone.
- 2 I can remember a certain other site reporting that Jamel Turner had passed away and there was that hilarious time when a self-proclaimed uber-"insider" from another site bagged on our report of Tressel admitting fault hours before his March presser. That was funny. The second thing, not the first.
- 3 Consider SB Nation. They allow profanity, just not in the headlines. In fact, one of their largest college football blogs can curse with the best of them.