In an effort to better focus Pacific Northwest and Beyond, I recently sent out a survey to this blog’s email list to gauge interest in its topics. The results were pretty much what I expected, and I’ll get to them in a moment. THANK YOU if you took the time to respond.

Yes, I am still here and still committed to writing Pacific Northwest and Beyond. Like everyone else, I was stuck at home due to COVID-19 distancing, events and trips were canceled, and I watched current events unfold — the combination left me not feeling much like writing about travel, even though I still have many posts yet to write. And I rediscovered some joy in writing elsewhere about other subjects.

When you have a blog and like to write about a variety of different subjects, it can be very tempting to lose focus and start writing about anything and everything on that blog. Even though PNW & Beyond has gone through a number of incarnations before it became the blog it is now, I always intended on writing a local blog and a travel blog. But then the temptation creeps in to post a recipe, or write a political opinion piece, or write about your frustrations with meditation… and, suddenly, your blog isn’t really about its original subject any longer.

So, I’m trying to clean up Pacific Northwest and Beyond a bit; I’ll be moving my “portfolio” off-site. I’ve already relocated recipes. Answers to the survey were helpful, and I plan to make some changes in response to them. However, you can’t please everyone — posts about things like outdoor gear and outdoor gear reviews got responses of generally around 3-5 indicating low to moderate interest, but I find that people often read such posts on this blog, so I’ll keep writing them, but try to do so with less frequency. And I’ll keep occasionally posting sponsored posts on this subject if and when they come in as funds from that help me to support the costs of running this blog.

Here’s what I found:

  • The “big” subjects of this blog generated the most interest: 85% of respondents were interested in travel destinations and travel tips and resources. Likewise with “places to go and things to do in the PNW” and local events. Both of those areas generated the most 10s, indicating the strongest areas of interest.
  • People expressed less interest in travel stories or opinion.
  • People expressed moderate ranges on interest in online events, however; I had only started posting those because, well…COVID.
  • 85% or more of respondents had moderate to high interest in outdoor activities — but not so much in outdoor gear or reviews. Interestingly, PNW routes didn’t get that high of a score, either — though routes directly intersect with the “things to do in the PNW” category.
  • Posts about foreign language study and photography generated the least interest. Trivia quizzes: low to moderate.
  • And, I was surprised that 75% of respondents or more were interested in “Vintage-Seattle” type posts.

Not many respondents left comments, but the ones who did expressed that they wanted to read about camping and about all of the wonderful things to do in NW Washington State.

Here’s what my plan is going forward:

  • I plan to get this blog back to focusing on travel, the PNW, and events. I’ll be relocating foreign language posts and write elsewhere about photography if I ever get inspired to actually write more about photography.
  • I’ll keep writing “Vintage Seattle,” type posts when the mood inspires.
  • I’ll keep writing about outdoor activities and, from time to time, write reviews of gear, travel apps, and the like. But I’ll try to keep less emphasis on gear reviews.

I’m not sure what my camping plans (if any) will look like this Summer. So far, everything’s been in flux, but I’ve been one of the fortunate ones who was able to apply for refunds for all of my canceled travel plans (though some of them have yet to materialize in my account.) But, after I pick myself back up and get out on the trail again, and after I make some changes to this website, I plan to return to writing this blog, hopefully, refreshed.

And if you like to write about travel, you can also consider submitting a post.

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