Big Lead Sports Bar

12/29/2009

SURVEY SAYS...



Thank you to the timeless Richard Dawson for the introduction, but a bigger thanks go out to the literally hundreds of readers that took the time to answer the recent Mondesi's House survey. Your feedback was invaluable.

First off, let me belatedly announce the prize winners randomly selected from the readers who submitted a response:

Michael V. of Greensburg, PA won the Jack Lambert signed photo

Penguins Stanley Cup photos were won by the following readers: John S. of Harwick, PA; Greg N. of Canonsburg; John D. of West Grove, PA; Regis R. of Lewisberry, PA; and Ed H. of Morgantown, PA.

Now let's get down to business, specifically what was suggested in the survey, and how it will shape the site in the future. I'll break these down into sub-topics to make this a little easier to navigate.

AUDIENCE DIVIDERS:

The most polarizing topic among the responders was clearly a runaway: Pitt, Penn State, and to a lesser extent, West Virginia coverage. Pitt fans want less Penn State coverage and more Pitt coverage. Penn State fans want more Penn State and less Pitt. And West Virginia fans, they're just looking for anything.

For me, there's really no right answer, because someone's always going to be upset. But I now have a much clearer view of just how many Penn State supporters read the site beyond my all-time favorite, Adam the Penn State Fan. In the future, there is one thing I can promise: Pitt will continue to be thoroughly covered. They're the only one of the three schools located in Pittsburgh, and I have much more knowledge about their programs than Penn State or WVU. So no change there. But to offer a compromise, I pledge to do a better job of covering PSU and WVU, to at least give those fans an opportunity for discussion if they wish.

The second most-mentioned subject that I cover is the Pirates. They have really managed to split the readers in half, as I had a lot of people pushing for more coverage and and equal amount asking for less or no coverage.

Now, I realize how bad the Pirates are and how perennially hopeless their situation appears to be, but I just can't ignore them altogether. I will continue to give updates on transactions, Hot Stove stuff, and commentary during the season. That being said, the losing does tend to get tedious, and I always try to keep a feel of what you will be interested in. A meaningless Pirates-Reds series in front of an empty stadium does not make very compelling conversation. So let's just file this under the "to be determined" column as the season plays out.

NEEDS MORE:

Another item on the wish list was a request for more Penguin coverage. I acknowledge that this is one of my areas where I have some room to grow, especially during football season. To cover every local college football, college basketball, and Penguin game in the same depth as each Steeler game would be virtually impossible for the one-man band that I am. But I have some ideas that I am going to experiment with in this department very soon. So stay tuned on that.

A lot of you seem to be nostalgic, and want to see more features like "Know Your Elders", or things along those lines where old-school players and teams are discussed. I'll try my best, but that's more of a timing issue. When I'm trying to do news and features simultaneously, there's always the chance of one of them getting ignored. I'll have to pick my spots for features like these, but they will return.

I received tons of requests to do more interviews. I've only done a handful of these in the 3+ years I've been running the site, including a grand total of zero in 2009, I'm genuinely embarrassed to say. Keep in mind that I have no press credentials, so I'm not going to get anything out of the locker rooms. But I'll see what I can line up from other avenues that will be relevant and interesting.

I also received a lot of requests to do more "field trips", which are incredibly enjoyable. By my count, I've done only seven of these, and they take a ton of time, between attending the event, cropping the zillions of photos I take, and writing a recap. That being said, they are incredibly enjoyable, and I hope to do more in 2010.

NEEDS LESS:

I heard from some readers that have tired of the Terrible Towel around the globe photos (there have been a lot of them), and I can understand that. I also heard from enough people that like them to make me consider keeping the feature, but done on an occasional basis as opposed to the more regular basis that it had for most of 2009. So they will stay, but will be condensed into fewer posts.

NEW STUFF:

There were a lot of suggestions for new features. I'd like to implement a handy calendar of upcoming local games, to keep people posted as to what coming up and when/where it will be on. So I'll be at work on that.

There are lots of other ideas that were floated to me, but I'll go the route of gradual rollout and try out some of these as the year moves along.

SITE DESIGN:

I admit, I am not an expert in the field of web design. I had several requests to upgrade the look, colors, graphics, etc., but this is not my forte. 2009 was the first year that I changed anything at all with the site's look, and even that was a chore. I will try some tinkering here and there, and if anyone has any specific suggestions to what is needed, feel free to voice them.

TWITTER:

Twitter took a while to grow on me, and I'm still not as into it as other blogs seem to be. But if you haven't yet signed up to follow MH, twitter.com/mondesishouse is the address.

To date, my Twitter page hasn't been much more than a feed of new MH stories, but I've been getting better about passing on relevant links and things I think would interest you on a daily basis.

ADVERTISING/PROMOTIONS:

MH contests were often named on the "needs more" list, and to have more contests, we'll need more sponsors. We had a few great sponsors help out in 2009, including Nemacolin Woodlands resort, Champion Sports, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, No Fear energy drinks, and some local t-shirt vendors. But I'd like to make this a regular feature, and really work more local businesses into the mix. So if any of you out there have an interest, email me at mondesishouse@gmail.com and we can discuss some ideas. There is a belief that web advertising is a tremendously expensive undertaking, and truthfully, it's not nearly as intimidating as it appears.

IN CONCLUSION...

If I had to narrow down the responses, a great percentage of the readers just want more. More posts, more depth, more of everything. My biggest enemy has always been time, and that's not going to change. But I will take a look at how I spend that time to make your experience more enjoyable.

On my end, I'd like more of you, too. If you have an interesting link, a tip, a thought-provoking email, a suggestion, a photo, I encourage you to drop me a line. I enjoyed the increased commenting in 2009, because I love a great sports debate and you (collectively) are usually very reasonable with each other. So if you ever want to add your two cents, by all means join in the fun.

MH is a lot of work, but it's definitely a labor of love. It's the perfect creative vehicle to combine my passion for Pittsburgh and my enjoyment of writing. I thank all of you who read the site, passed it along to friends/family, and contributed in 2009, and I hope to exceed your expectations next year and beyond. To all of you, have a happy and healthy 2010!

12 comments:

The Taxidermist said...

The people who hate Pittsburgh Pirates coverage are probably the same people that would have hated Penguins coverage 5-6 years ago. Then as soon as the Pirates get a winning season in 2058 they will be on the bandwagon.

Me, I watch all the Pirates games, because I'm a glutton for punishment.

Adam said...

I never actually sent an email, so I guess my opinion was never really heard...

But personally, I'm relatively pleased with the Penn State coverage on this site. It might be nice to get a game recap every once in awhile, or a mention of the basketball and volleyball teams, but I no longer feel as if Don treats Penn State like the enemy, but more like the big brother you never quite got along with. So I appreciate that.

I would also never ask for LESS Pitt coverage, just more Penn State.

As for Pirates, I imagine the same people who want less coverage are the same ones who are ignorant enough to play the "Penn State isn't in Pittsburgh" card, which really just screams hypocrisy. The Pirates are the Major League baseball team in this city and they suck. Whoopdeedoo. That doesn't mean you stop caring.

BURGH08 said...

You never have to send an email to figure out what you are thinking Adam.

I see Penn State less as the 'big brother' and more like the cousin with the drinking problem that is spoken about when you need to fill time.

Seriously though, it's a blog run by one person with his own interests. I can appreciate wanting to reach out to more that read the site, but if I wanted to read more coverage of something like Robert Morris basketball, I would read a blog/recap from a site that has a genuine interest in it.

In other words, the status quo is more than fine by me here.

Justin said...

Penn St. is no way, shape or form Pitt's "big brother." Get over yourself.

NickDawg said...

Like Burgh08 said, Penn St, if anything at all, is like Pitts drunken redneck cousin in the county and is filler for most people on this blog

Adam said...

When was the last time Pitt won 10 football games?

Justin said...

And Pitt winning 10 games is relevant to...what, exactly?

Adam said...

Little brother status sir.

Happy New Year. Enjoy our bowl game.

Justin said...

What an asinine argument. "Pitt hasn't won 10 games in a while, so they're our little brother." The shear stupidity of that argument is mind-blowing. Oh, and I won't be enjoying your game, I'd rather watch hockey, thanks.

Adam said...

Hey, see if you can toss any more classy personal insults my way!

In any event, when a team, such as Penn State, has won many more games over a period of 25+ years, the program that won less, such as Pitt, is that programs little brother.

Not to mention the fact that Penn State's athletic department at large makes Pitt's look silly.

Justin said...

Stop writing stupid things and I won't point out your stupidity. Seems pretty self evident. But it look s like you actually believe what you're writing there, so it might be wishful thinking for everyone.

BURGH08 said...

I think it's safe to say that the blog here has it's official 'little brother', and he is the last to know.

Happy New Year Adam, and keep coming back.