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Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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2014 CleanTechnica Reader Survey Results

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March 17th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
 
I finally got around to scrolling through all the answers in our recent reader survey. I knew I was setting myself up for trouble by including completely open-ended questions — it takes a lot longer to go through all of them. However, I knew that would also be more helpful. I’m happy I did that this year. Below are some of the findings from the survey.

Why You Read CleanTechnica

Regarding the 1st question regarding why you read CleanTechnica, descriptors commonly used included: comprehensive, inspiring, insightful, informative, fun, uplifting, up to date, credible, cutting edge, international. A huge thank you for that overwhelmingly uplifting response! :D

A lot of people also noted that they followed CleanTechnica specifically for solar or electric vehicle news. “Essential news about electric vehicles,” one person said. However, many seemed to be interested in the broad spectrum of cleantech, green, or renewable energy news that we covered. One kind respondent called it the “best blog on energy” as a whole. Thank you! Another commented, “Clean energy #1 issue. Clean Technica #1 informer.” Honored and greatly appreciative of that. We obviously think this matter is of utmost importance. And we’re very happy that so many people feel the same way and feel that CleanTechnica is the go-to site for this subject.

A number of people also noted that they followed CleanTechnica for investment-related reasons. I think that side of things is something we’re going to focus on a bit more, so I’m glad to hear that.

And here’s a big one for which I have many people to thank: many respondents noted how much they enjoyed and gained from the reader comments under articles. I do, too!

I also loved this comment, which I think captures the spirit of CleanTechnica well: “Watching advance of Clean Tech is greatest show on earth!”

What Could Be Better?

Of course, it wasn’t all fun and celebration. I was also keen to get feedback on what we could do better.

While a great number of the responses to what you would change about the site were “nothing,” we also got plenty of useful feedback. Though, it was much more varied than the positive feedback. One fairly common responses seemed to regard the structure of our email newsletters, in which clicking the first title takes you further down the email to a brief summary, where you again have to click the headline to get to the actual article. I’m not sure how we can fix that, but I assume it can be done, so I am passing it on to our back-room tech guys.

A small number of respondents also noted occasional bias on our part. Noted.

A small number of respondents also requested that we have more international stories, not be so US focused. That is, of course, counter to the notes of thanks (mentioned in section above) for our international coverage. But I think it’s just a further sign that people appreciate geographically broader coverage. Noted.

A few commenters requested fewer “pie in the sky” articles, while a few others requested a greater number of in-depth articles. Noted & noted.

Simpler/cleaner/faster pages was also a repeated request. Noted. And trying to make that so as much as possible.

Otherwise, we didn’t get many (any?) other repeat requests. Shocking. But I am taking the many individual requests into account and trying to make some adjustments where it’s possible and makes sense.

Here were a few one-off ideas that I think were particularly interesting and I would like to pursue:

  • Guest clean energy report from an environmental reporter from a different country each week especially the small ones that rarely get a mention.
  • I would like to hear some longer podcast interviews with experts in their field about 20-40mins.

If you don’t see us move forward on these soon, feel free to prod me! (My to-do list is insanely long and never gets completed, so prodding is sometimes a must to make something happen.)

And here was one funny one: “Do not stand next to the BMW i3 all the time. Have your photo taken with every EV you can find.” Thanks :D Yes, that is in the plans, but in the meantime, maybe I will try using that photo less. :D

And one more funny one: “I like the format. Please do not make it all ‘tablet friendly’ or more graphically heavy. Text is good for those of us who know how to read.”

Charts!

Here are answers to some other key questions that I think may interest writers:

What cleantech topics most interest you?

cleantech industries

Solar
90.68%
Electric Vehicles
73.29%
Energy Storage
70.81%
Energy Efficiency
60.25%
Wind
54.04%
EV Charging
45.34%
Smart Grid
40.37%
Water Purification & Desalination
37.27%
Water Energy (Hydro, Tidal, Wave)
35.40%
Mass Transit (Including Trains)
33.54%
Waste to Energy
32.30%
Architecture
31.06%
Recycling
30.43%
Biofuels
29.19%
Geothermal
29.19%
Bicycling
24.22%
Other
19.88%

Which type of stories most interest you?

type of stories

Scientific Research
68.99%
Consumer Technology (Cars, Bikes, Solar Panels, Smartphone Apps, etc.)
68.35%
Specific Project News
57.59%
Policy & Politics
55.70%
Markets & Economy
48.73%
Manufacturing Processes
33.54%
Stocks & Investment
27.22%
Other
 9.49%

Do you work in a cleantech industry?

work in cleantech industry

Yes
28.83%
No
71.17%

If you work in a cleantech industry or industries, which one(s)?

cleantech jobs

Solar
54.72%
Energy Efficiency
35.85%
Other
32.08%
Biofuel
18.87%
Energy Storage
18.87%
Waste to Energy
18.87%
Recycling
16.98%
Water Purification & Desalination
15.09%
Electric Vehicle
15.09%
Smart Grid
15.09%
Mass Transit (Including Trains)
13.21%
Bicycle
13.21%
Water Energy
13.21%
Wind
11.32%
Architecture
7.55%
Geothermal
7.55%

How long have you been reading CleanTechnica?

how long reading CleanTechnica

Less than 1 year
25.31%
~1 year
17.90%
~2 years
28.40%
~3 years
15.43%
~4 years
4.94%
~5 years
2.47%
~6 years
1.85%
Sorry, my memory betrays me
3.7%

Thanks to those of you who chimed in! Greatly appreciate it.

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Matthew

    Hey Zach,
    Why should we care so much about clean tech? How about a story : 25 years after the Exxon Valdez? I just saw a story on Yahoo on this. How many years after Chernobyle, what does it look like? The reason Germany is so adamant about turning off their nuclear is because the radioactive cloud floated over their country. That is a powerfully motivating event. What would it be like if a nuclear power company near you melted down, or even not near you like Germany.
    So many people don’t know or understand why we push for renewables. I push for them because they are synergistic. They make a profit and they solve multiple problems. Local tax revenue, jobs, clean air, water, land, energy independance, we don’t have to destroy entire mountains that have been there for thousands of years.
    What is it like to have a large solar array on your home and be able to make a profit from it? I would love a story like that?
    Why is it that Americans are ok with a government sponsered monoploy as a Utility company but they don’t want regular people to be able to get a larger piece of the pie? Why are people ok with the top 1% owning 95% of the wealth? These new technologies are leveling the playing field for everyone; but they don’t want you to know that because it will threaten their risidual incomes. Right!

  • Matthew

    Hey Zach,
    It sounds like there are quite a few people who enjoy the technology side of this site. I am one of them of course. And at the same time I would like to challenge you to think about expanding the audience that comes here on a daily basis. In other words there is a core group of people who love this stuff; and there others who would like to see the site expand some. Think about the average newspaper, how many sections does it have? Sports, News, Money, entertainment, etc. There are many sections in order to appeal to abroader audience. One of the things I would like to see, and this will also expand your following, would be more than just the technology, though tech can still play a central role. What about the editorials, or what if pieces? What if every new home in the US was required to have solar, what would that look like? What if every home in the World was required to have an Atmospheric Water Generator and capture water from their roof and stored for use? How about a reader poll, what is the number one thing you think we should do to combat Climate change? How about a weekly or monthly section that highlights the dumbest things we hear and see out there from those who hate and deny the science? And most importantly, I want to know what I can do to help! All this Tech is awesome, but how can I make a difference? And what would that look like to me. Reading about all this is fun, but at the end of the day I want to participate, I want to be in the fold. And I know I am not alone in this desire.
    Your buddy and fan,
    Matthew

  • andereandre

    I am a bit disappointed that you didn’t mention my request to bring back the comment counter (like the previous design had).

    • A Real Libertarian

      Agreed.

      And can you get a date on these articles that isn’t in the URL?

  • dbr2

    I missed the survey, but I appreciate what you do…

  • jonesey

    Here’s something that happened after the survey went out: Can you fix the RSS feed so that it shows the whole article? It was working fine until about a month ago. Now it shows only a couple of lines of text. Reading via an RSS reader (e.g. Vienna for Mac) is cleaner and faster because a lot of the extraneous API junk does not load.

  • A Real Libertarian

    “And one more funny one: ‘I like the format. Please do not make it all ‘tablet friendly’ or more graphically heavy. Text is good for those of us who know how to read.’ ”

    Although charts are awesome.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks. Yes, people seem to love charts (and I also do). No intention to cut use of charts, and will probably even increase. :D

      • A Real Libertarian

        The best thing I can think of is to cut out the Repost.us api.

        That’s what’s causing the freezing and making cut-and-pasting so difficult.

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