Survey Says…

We polled our readers to see what everyone thinks of our posts and now we reveal what the survey says (and what we plan to do).

Quick background

This is post 4,304. Seriously. We started this website back in 2008 with Queen Natasha the Evil, Rusty the Rooster, Miss Kiska, Kodiak (The Big Galoot), and Qannik (Q-Tip). Miss Cheoah (the Cheesewhiz) joined soon after to bring us to a canine pack of six.

Before the website, we posted stories on other sites about Nikita, our very first Siberian Husky, who joined a pair of awesome dogs—Ginger (a kind of Chow) and Cocoa (more or less a Corgi).

In other words, we’ve told a lot of stories. Sometimes, we feel like we are repeating ourselves (we are) and can bore our readers (we do sometimes—some of you told us so). Like most people in 2020, our lives are quite routine. We walk twice a day for a total of about five miles a day. During the day, the dogs sleep sprawled in various places as human work happens. And, for a total change, at night the dogs sleep sprawled in different various places as human sleep happens.

That doesn’t create endless new stories. The fact that The Herd has reduced from six dogs to four doesn’t help.

Over time, the Herd will get smaller. As we humans have grown older, we want to ultimately get the pack down to two. We can’t imagine life without canines underfoot, but we could deal with a few less trip hazards. (Don’t worry. No one is going anywhere. We mean simply as nature takes her course over the coming years).

So, the question we face is simple—How do we keep the stories fresh and entertaining in light of changes? We didn’t have the answer so we thought we would ask.

What did we learn?

We received several hundred responses to our survey and some general trends came out:

Photos and stories are equally important—We purposely worded the answers to force a weighting between stories or photos. Your answers showed the split—50.3% of you preferred stories to photos and 49.7% preferred photos to stories (and lots of you complained you didn’t want to choose).

Frequency matters—This one was clear—70% of you preferred more frequent but shorter stories versus 30% who preferred longer stories posted less often. Still, in the comments, several made the point they enjoy an occasional longer story.

Some human time is cool—This one surprised us. Only 8.8% of you wanted the posts to be strictly about the dogs. Most of you said you wanted the posts to be mostly about the dogs, but it was okay if our stories were mixed. Nearly 40% of you, though, said it was fine if we fully merged the human stories Hu-Dad tells with the dogs.

It’s not all about the website—We asked how often you visit the website (78% said daily), but your comments were enlightening. Many of you emphasized that you often read the newsletter, visit a social media account, or get our posts via an RSS reader like Feedly (Hu-Dad uses that too!) instead of visiting the website every day.

So now what?

Before doing the survey, our plan was to reduce (again) the number of posts a week we did so they could be a little longer and less repetitive. But your answers challenged us to try a different approach. We are going to kick-off an experiment over the next several weeks:

Daily single photo, short story posts you can read without visiting the website—If you saw our Thanksgiving post yesterday, you will have seen an example. In fact, we did that as a test to see how it appeared everywhere. For those of you who visit us via social media, read us on an RSS reader like Feedly, or receive our newsletter, you will be able to read the entire story without visiting the website. The only exception is Twitter because of the short form nature of posts there. Note the post will still appear in its entirety on our website and will still take comments there.

Long form story when appropriate—Sometimes, we have something really funny that happens and requires a longer story. We will post it on the blog and notify through the other channels (much like what happens today).

Interactive fun on the website—We recognize the pitfalls of social media (Facebook, for example, shows our posts to less than 10% of our subscribers), so we do still want to entice you to our website some. We will experiment with different formats but our thoughts are things like “Caption this” where we post a photo and you supply the caption.

Monday Musings—Hu-Dad has started a Monday Musings column on his website (you know, the far less popular one not about us). This post will often not be about the dogs, but will include a “gratuitous dog photo.” We recognize not all of our readers are interested in his books, but they are what keeps us in kibble. Consider this advertising you can ignore if you wish.

What do you think?

We will do another survey in the early part of next year to get your feedback and thoughts. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback today or at any other time. Just drop us a comment below.

And, yes, a dog photo

You didn’t think we would do a whole blog post with a photo, did you? Frankie Suave wants to make sure you are clear.

Any questions?
Any questions?

12 Comments

  1. HokiePack on November 28, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for sharing the results. As an owner of 5 rescue sibes myself I understand downsizing. Time, trip hazards etc – I must admit I was hoping for another female to join the herd! Our pack ebbs & flows based on SSR needs. Thanks for all you do to highlight what wonderful dogs Sibes are ! Do you still have the sibe rec vehicle ?

  2. JoCindy on November 27, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for this and every post!
    We do recognize the tremendous amount of work that is put into letting us in on the Herd’s life! Whatever the future holds for the posts is just fine with us. Be well.

  3. tammy j on November 27, 2020 at 11:34 am

    whatever makes it easier for you Hu Dad!
    I am totally content with this site just the way it is.
    I question the person (s) who talked about their boredom.
    seriously?!!!
    there is NOTHING boring about your incredible photography
    and your amazing wit. you see things through your sibe’s eyes.
    let the bored people go rent an action/senseless movie.
    keep doing what you do best and relax!
    and enjoy your weekend! XO

  4. chris on November 27, 2020 at 11:15 am

    I understand the natural downsizing but what a shame. You are so good at what you do with rescuing, it is sad to think of the dogs that will be missed because they did not get rescued into a great family like yours. Anything you post is great each day.

    • Zoe on November 27, 2020 at 6:38 pm

      It will be sad to see you downsize but whoever said it was boring was wrong!! You are never boring

  5. Belinda Hulen on November 27, 2020 at 10:23 am

    So enjoy all forms of your postings..Keep up the great work. Happy Holidays from our husky home to yours. Belinda Hulen

  6. Lori & Izzy Bear on November 27, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Love everything about the Thundering Herd! Whatever you offer to this fan will be a true delight!!

  7. Padma Bending on November 27, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Thanks for letting us know the results. I enjoy that morning smile from your posts.

  8. Mary on November 27, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Thank you for keeping us posted. I have been a follower for several year. I have also wondered why the herd had not increased yet. I totally understand downsizing, my two are a handful. Thank you for all the hints and tricks “Green Beans” you have given us over time. Look forward to seeing more from the herd.

  9. Billie Borron on November 27, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Thank you for letting us know the results. You answered the one question I really had, will you be adding to the pack. I’ve been a long time subscriber and have enjoyed your post and the pack. I’ve laughed and cried. I appreciate the work you put into this blog. Thanks to you and the herd.

  10. Jean Burkhardt on November 27, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Hu-Dad-I so enjoy each and every post of the pack and of course many days start off with a laugh-especially from the Little Prince and Roscoe. Of course I am NOT forgetting Frankie Suave and Landon! I know how difficult it must be to get those perfect shots and then the stories. I too thank you with all my heart for making my days enjoyable!!

  11. Beverly Elliott on November 27, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for “taking the pulse” of the Herd fans. To be quite “Frank” (wink to Frankie Suave), though, I have always thought that you already had the perfect format. Please keep up the great work! I, for one, always look forward to anything related to your mischievous, beautiful Sibes! Again, thank you!

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