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22 Why Reasons People Go Online: Which is Your Blog Connecting With?

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of July 2009 Other Income Streams 0 Comments

This afternoon I came across the results of an interesting study called the Ruder Finn Intent Index which I think makes useful reading for bloggers.

In essence it surveys those going online on the reasons that they go online. Here’s a screen grab of the results (although it’s well worth visiting the site because this chart is dynamic and you can drill down further by clicking on different areas of it).


Overall they classify people’s reasons for going online into 7 broad categories:

  • Learn
  • Have Fun
  • Socialize
  • Express Yourself
  • Advocate
  • Do Business
  • Shop

Interestingly the order they’re listed above is the order from highest to lowest that they found people go online for.

Within the categories ‘pass time’ was the most responded to result with 100% of people saying that they go online for this reason.

You can also look at the results based upon gender and age. For example

  • Men go online to do business, be informed of news and be entertained more than women
  • Women are more likely to go online to socialize and express themselves than men)
  • Youth go online more for socializing, advocating and self expression than seniors
  • Both Youth and Seniors are going online to have fun

Other highly rated areas (80% of responses or more) included:

  • Educate Self (96%)
  • Connect with Others (92%)
  • Research (89%)
  • Share (86%)
  • Be Entertained (82%)

As I read through the categories and sub categories I realized that this list of reasons for people to go online is gold for bloggers looking to improve their blog (or particularly for those starting out and wanting to choose a topic that has every chance of being successful).

I’m constantly talking about how a blog needs to be useful or needs to be fulfilling a need that a potential reader has. Here’s 20+ such needs that people have that a blog can help fulfill. Which one is your blog positioned to connect with.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanks for sharing this information. It made my day! My blog is educational for new entrepreneurs. You are right, a good blog has a huge potential because it provides necessary information for a user – information on topics they may want to educate themself or doing research for others.

    I will check that site to dig in a bit further.

    Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/startupbooster/

  2. I hope people see my interview blog/podcast as a way to have fun and to learn. But I am always concerned that because my interviews cover a wide range of topics I may be too scattershot. Still in order to get compelling interview subjects I am willing to sacrifice some specificity in the service of creating the most entertaining/enlightening blog I can create.

  3. I see The Casual Observer fitting mostly into learn (educate self, keep informed) and have fun (be entertained).

    Interesting study.

  4. Hi Darren,

    This is great stuff you are showing, the numbers will never lie, and they tell us something.

    I really think that this chart or findings will help us as marketers online to understand more about the online users, and how we can position ourselves to ride on the wave.

  5. Priceless information – thanks for sharing.

    Should be able to use to determine whether you need to stlye and write specifically for men, woman, old and young.


  6. Interesting post Darren. Interesting 28% compare prices online. I guess this will continue to rise.

  7. Thank you for sharing Darren. It is interesting to see the way they broke down the sub-categories. I’m definitely going to go over there and check it out more in depth. The blog network that I am building will focus on educate self, connect with others and entertain.

    Do you think that a blog should focus soley on one area?


  8. Well, at first glance it definitely looks like the key to making money online is to find a way to directly connect the biggest reason to go online (to learn) with the smallest (to shop). Do that and you’re good to go.

    That’s pretty much what you pointed out at the end of your post. A good blog does precisely this, by drawing people in with useful content and then bringing products and services to their attention. It’s a tried and true model that many of us fail to effectively follow.

    I’d like to say that my online voice is built around this framework, but that’s for my visitors/readers to decide.

    Excellent, thought provoking post! Eric

  9. As a marketing person, I would like to see more people online to shop.

  10. Interesting. I am for fun.

  11. I like that learning is the most popular segment. I think it bodes well for society, and says a lot about us. Also, it is what my blog is going for.

  12. I think so my website first reason is to educate and let my readers learn more from me .. I assume that’ why they come to it ..
    What surprises me is business or money is pretty low in this category .. wohhh ..
    Thanks for this read …

  13. I’m in for all those reasons except shop. But I agree with the first two reasons. I go online to learn and definitely have fun.

  14. Nice find Darren.

    I think my blog is positioned to connect with people who go online to be entertained and to be educated. I will be working more towards those who want to be educated so that there is a nice balance between the entertainment and learning posts.

  15. Great spot, thanks for sharing. If you look at the list, it’s also a great one for understanding how/why the social web has taken charge online :-)

  16. I’m guessing learn/have fun side, because I try to be helpful however I usually come off as sarcastic

  17. Good info.

    My blog revolves around one idea – Business EduTainment
    This is what symbolizes, justifies, explains every thing that I write


  18. Very interesting stuff here! I would say people come online to our blog to educate themselves about saving money and making money online. They can also “shop” on our site, but many of the things we post are totally free, so I guess you could say they come on our site to shop for free too, lol!

  19. Many of my sites more often then not try to either entertain people or to inform and educate.

    I don’t have many other kinds of sites and I’m fine with that.

    PS: Your titles a little off… (22 Why Reasons People)??

  20. I am looking for the learners on my blog that hope to become earners. Anyone really interested in succeeding needs first to be interested in learning.

  21. This along with recent Google Analytics data for my blog validates the traffic that my self-help posts are getting. Good data. Thanks


  22. This is a truly fabulous post. Very informative, practical, factual (stats-based) and immediately usable. I like and appreciate most all of what you post on this blog, but this is one of the best articlae I’ve read here.

    As for my blog, I explicitly intended it to meet the ‘educate self’ and ‘pass time’ categories – looks like I picked the right niches.

    Thanks again for such useful info!

  23. Very interesting chart. I guess as a blogger I’m right in the middle of the learn/have fun/socalise audience. A good place to be!

  24. Good post. This showed me that my blog has a good hybrid appeal. My posts are sometimes educational, sometimes opinionated, but mostly lighthearted and fun. Hopefully my assessment of broad appeal is true with my readers!


  25. you’re title’s a little off grammatically, but there are also way more than 22 reasons. it’s more like 500 reasons in this survey!

  26. Hey Darren,

    What a fabulous resource. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    I see that there is a demand to watch video. This is what I suspected and good news for me and other bloggers like yourself who are using video media to share their expertise and knowledge.

    Surprisingly, I still don’t see that many bloggers using video as a means to share their message with their readers. Not sure of the reasons why…. any thoughts???

  27. Thanks for sharing! Not surprising that men look for news and girls and women just yak yak yak :)

  28. I wonder how many people are specifically looking to purchase information products.

  29. Interesting Post.

    It’s important for any company to know that the customers they are going after are also looking to use their service. It’s even more important to know who your customers are. This survey can help you figure which segments your business should be going after.

    Thanks for the information.

  30. Very useful information in this post. I never even thought to look for a study like that. That is why I read this blog, to find great information like this. Thanks.

  31. This is fabulous information and a great chart. All can be used in training and better understanding the scope and needs of the ever-changing marketplace. I train people on how to write content-filled timely blogs that play a key role in sales and visibility.
    Thanks for the information and insights Darren.


  32. Wow! What a fantastic resource!

    There is a wealth of information in this index but it would be fantastic to have similar break-downs of particular niche or keyword information. Imagine if keyword analytic tools allowed you to learn more about why people are searching particular keywords.

    Did someone who searched the word, “landscape gardening” want to know how to introduce a water feature to their garden or did they want to find a local landscaper to hire or maybe they wanted to find out where to order fresh lawn seed or tropical trees or did they want to find environmental ways to minimize gardening water consumption? One very popular keyword phrase could have had a thousand different, more specific needs.

    If there is a resource that could drill-down THAT kind of information it would be an incredible (and valuable) tool for bloggers. Meanwhile, Ruder-Finn’s Intent Index is a tasty sauce to get started with. :-D

  33. My blog tries to do a little bit of everything. I try to offer variety to my blog readers.

  34. Hi Darren, this is a great source of information. Shows a lot of potential to find a bloggign niche. Great info, thank you.

  35. Darren,

    Thank you so much for this outreach! Someone on Yahoo Answers referred me here and now I will be referring everyone I know! It has completely changed how I blog. I am only on Day 3 but feel so much more focused! As a Realtor and mother of 2 I’ve decided to focus my blog in this area.

    My List Blog is called Smooth Move -7 tips to help your kids adjust to a move and can be found at http://www.allaboutrealestate.com/blog/smooth-move-7-tips-to-help-your-kids-adjust-to-a-move.html


  36. Perfect resource for bloggers and website owners alike. I’m sitting here thinking about the chart and how I can make my blogs even better by filling these needs. The wheels are turning…

  37. Darren,

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Intuition made a great deal of this information suspect, but now we have some empirical evidence for our beliefs.

    Certainly shows us the sweet spot of the Internet.

  38. This is neat! And I though I should stop blogging about my homework and other school work thinking that they’re not that valuable to web surfers.

  39. Not surprised to see learning and having fun on the top of the list. I use my blog for business and to socialize. Using the internet for business is pretty low on the list, but that should increase within a few years with people finding new ways to make money.

  40. People are no authorities on themselves.

  41. Thanks Darren. I’d love a high res version of this so I can use it as a wallpaper to remind myself of the sweet spots.

  42. Interesting stuff. I’ll definitely have to get visit the site and drill down.

    I would have to say I fit into the “Learn , Have Fun”
    categories. As for my blog, I think the name says it all :)

  43. It’s great to see that “learn” was at the top of the list. I’m trying to teach about entrepreneurship, blogging and lifestyle design. That’s great to see that people are still looking to improve themselves and their lives.

    Thanks for this, Darren.

  44. My blog is all about self-help and improvement. I think I found a great niche since people will always want to better themselves.

    I give great advice as well so it works out well! I’m glad I can help people out there.

  45. Learning is my # 1 reason for going online so I would have to agree with study. Its nice to know so one knows how to target blog post’s.

  46. Blog is the source of Informations related your interest.

  47. My blog is more going to “Connect with Others” as most of the readers in my blog shares their experiences with relevant topic of my articles. I’m really happy to see this happens in my blog, this means that people is actually like to read what I shared as well.


  48. Thanks, Darren. This is priceless information. I was thinking, if one were to fullfil a need, as you say, and be useful, one could have a niche blog that could cater to more than one of these “categories.” In other words, the blog could fill the need to provide both fun and help others socialize. Or provide learning and socialization (through for instance forums). I’m just saying it doesn’t have to be limiting. I know that one blog shouldn’t go in too many directions, but it needn’t be completely limiting either. Just a thought, bc I have a particular blog in mind that I want to produce soon, and it falls into two of the categories! I’m hoping that is not branching out too much. I guess I’m going with my instincts…

    krissy knox :)
    follow me on twitter:

  49. LEARNING will always be the key. People just want to learn how to do things, how to get somewhere or general information on a certain topic. The quickest method is with words, not video. That’s why video will never completely take over.

  50. I blog for teaching purposes to tech fellows to earn online.

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