7 Most Common Mistakes You Have to Avoid Creating a Survey

Learn from the mistakes of others, they say. No matter how you collect feedback or what tools you use – making any of the mistakes described below will prevent you from achieving maximal results and might even skew them. As a world-leading company providing survey software, we prepared a list of the 7 most common mistakes you have to avoid creating a survey.

Most common mistakes you have to avoid when creating a surveys

Mistake #1: Too many questions in one survey

Your respondents are not machines. They’re humans, they don’t want to waste half of their day answering irrelevant questions. Make your survey as concise as possible.

Mistake: The survey contains questions that are not actually useful or is far too long.

Hint: If you’re not able to figure out what you’ll do with answers received, then the question is probably useless. Here are three hints:

  • Get rid of questions that aren’t essential.
  • Divide long survey into a few shorter surveys. You can show them when your visitor returns.
  • Utilize skip logic, to ask in context, making sure that only relevant questions appear to your respondent.


Mistake #2: Bad choice of question type – single choice vs. multiple choice question

What’s the difference between single choice and multiple-choice question? Make sure you know the answer to that question before using them. In simple words, answers to a single choice question are radio buttons, whereas multiple choice answers are checkboxes.

Mistake: Confusing multiple choice question with a single choice question.

Hint: Here’s how to distinguish multiple choice question from single choice.

Single choice questions are those where the participant can only pick a single answer. Many options, yet only one to choose. With Survicate you can ask your visitors to leave additional comments to single-choice answers as well.

Multiple Choice is a simple, closed-ended question type that lets respondents select one or multiple answers from a defined list of choices.


Mistake #3: Using too many open-ended questions

The choice between open-ended and closed-ended questions is never binary – sometimes we simply can’t do without descriptive answers. Still, keep in mind that asking too many questions that require custom answers can exhaust your respondents’ patience and time. Wherever possible, opt for closed-ended questions to make it easier and faster for your respondents to answer.

Another argument?

Think about all the potential answers you could collect from mobile and tablet users, who have limited typing abilities on their devices. They might answer one or two questions on their small screens, but expecting them to fill out more would be, well, wishful thinking.

Mistake: Asking too many open-ended questions where closed-ended, easy-to-answer questions could be asked instead.

Hint: Similarly to the action plan presented above for Mistake #2, use open-ended follow-up questions to hear the “how’s & why’s” behind specific answers to closed-ended questions. Personalize your follow-up questions and ask your satisfied clients different questions than those who’ve given you poor customer satisfaction scores.


Mistake #4: Skipping the introduction

Regardless of the audience type, introduction to survey plays a key role in persuading your visitors to complete your survey. According to our analysis based on thousands of surveys of our user’s correct introduction is one of the most important factors that help lift engagement and completion rates.

Mistake: Not adding an introduction to your survey questions – without providing the reason for the survey your respondents may feel uncomfortable or even suspicious.

Hint: Use simple, clear language to briefly explain the purpose of the survey. You may also include the following information:

  • The goal of the surveyor what you’re trying to find out
  • How you’ll be using the responses to make a difference
  • The expected time to complete the survey


Mistake #5: Too many choices

Ever heard of the so-called “choice paradox”? It’s all those people you tend to see at the store, who stare blankly at a shelf full of white rice, unable to decide which brand to choose.

Providing respondents with a variety of choices for a particular question is generally a good idea, but too many choices can confuse your visitors and only complicate things. The same goes for your post-survey analysis.

Mistake: Survey question has too many answers, making it difficult for the respondent to make a choice.

Hint: It’s important not to add too many answers to your survey. It’s always a good idea to make use of an “Other, please specify” choice.


Mistake #6: Leading questions

Leading questions in social research methods is a question that suggests the respondent to answer in line with the intended or unintended suggestion of the person designing the survey.

Mistake: Questions are worded in a way that’ll sway the reader to one side of the argument

Hint: Try to use neutral wording creating survey question.

Example: ” As a customer, please rate your level of satisfaction with our software “

Don’t suggest anything to your respondents, don’t use non-neutral wording like “How good is our software”


Mistake #7: Question addressed to everyone

It’s tempting to get as many answers as possible. However, you should also make sure that the respondents to your survey are relevant. A simple example: asking all visitors leaving an eCommerce website why they didn’t buy doesn’t make much sense because people who actually bought something will see this survey as well. It will make you look unprofessional and visitors will be confused.

Similarly, not personalizing your questions contextually can come at a high cost – coming as obtrusive. With personalized surveys, you can ask questions that relate to specific steps of your leads’ buyer’s journey. Think – inviting web visitors to demo calls if you’d noticed them on the pricing page, or asking your blog readers about their content preferences.

Mistake: Surveying all visitors of your website, instead of creating segments of relevant respondents.

Hint: Create engaging and personalized surveys by building custom visitors segments. Reach your targeted audience by targeting based on the criteria of your choice.

Final thoughts

By avoiding these 7 common survey mistakes, collected data will be more accurate. Creating clear questions and having an understandable and complete set of answer choices leads to valuable feedback.

All in all, a well-designed survey strategy lets you kill two birds with one stone. Not only are your answers highly relevant;  you can also use surveys to target relevant web visitors with the right CTAs. All in an unobtrusive, natural manner, which strictly relates to your leads’ motivations. Now, who wouldn’t want a piece of that cake?


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Daniel Korczyński

Technology enthusiast. Passionate about photography and film.

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