On PlannersWeb.com, we cover a wide range of issues from public participation and engagement to principles of zoning and land use. We recently conducted a survey to learn more about where our readers come from and what they’re most interested in hearing about. Special thanks to those of you who took the time to participate, and to Dan Rosenblum, our student intern, who helped with the survey.
We want to share some of the survey results (as of October 28th) with you. Of the 152 responses we received as of that date, 84% told us they are currently PlannersWeb.com members; 9% are not members; and 7% are not sure (note: if you're not sure about your membership status, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Where do our readers come from?
Almost all of our readers come from the U.S. and Canada, though we do have some in Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and a few other countries. As the graphic below shows, our readers come from many different kinds of communities. That’s one of the challenges we face -- providing articles and information that will be of value to citizen and professional planners working in a diverse range of communities. We've tried to pay special attention to meeting the interests of readers in smaller cities, towns, and suburbs -- too often ignored by coverage focusing just on what’s happening in large cities.
What issues are most important to our readers?
We asked readers how interested they were in reading about various topics on PlannersWeb.com:
Nearly 75% of those responding to our survey also offered specific suggestions for topics we might consider covering in response to an open-ended question we also posed. Those responses are already providing us with useful insights for possible articles to work on for the coming year.
How well do we connect with our readers via email and social media?
As many of you know, the most important way we connect with our readers outside of the web site itself is via periodic email updates. These updates provide very brief summaries of new content posted on PlannersWeb.com (with links to the new content), as well as other useful information. As you can see from the survey results below, most of those responding said they receive and read our email updates. [You don't have to be a PlannersWeb member to receive our free email updates; sign up to receive them]
But we also learned that far fewer people were aware of our presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. All three of these social media platforms provide ways by which you can easily keep up-to-date on new PlannersWeb.com content, and engage in conversations with both me (as Editor) and our writers.
We've focused most of our attention on LinkedIn, since we view our LinkedIn group page as a great place to engage in discussions about new articles posted on PlannersWeb.com. Many of our authors also use our LinkedIn page and respond to reader follow-up questions about their articles. What’s more, our LinkedIn page provides an easy way for our readers to post questions or initiate discussions on topics they’re most interested in.
As always -- thank you for the constructive and positive feedback that keeps us motivated to help communities grow and prosper through good planning!
Wayne Senville, Editor
p.s., we also appreciate the many positive comments we received in our survey, such as:
“We're a very small community, growing rapidly, with a commercial district serving a community 10 times our size. Staff are part-time and resources are scarce. PlannersWeb has been an awesome tool for our Commissioners to utilize, and has greatly improved the work of the Commissioners. Thank you so much!” -- planner from Colorado
... and we also value the good suggestions we received for ways of making our website better for our users!