Website Survey: 8 Best Practices For The Better Results

Businesses succeed when they put the needs of their users and customers first, and the best way to discover these needs is to utilize surveys. So you’re wondering how to run a website survey well? You’re in the right place. Here’s a list of the best website survey practices. They will help you get the most of your survey.

website survey practices

8 website survey best practices

1. Start with defining a goal of running your website survey

To effectively survey your users, you first need to decide what the purpose of your survey is. The great thing about a survey is that you can ask a wide range of questions that don’t necessarily have to be related to one another, but you should have a goal, or a few goals, for your survey, so it doesn’t become an endless stream of questions.

Think about what you want to learn before you start your first website survey. Goals popular among Survicate’s clients include: learn what products or features visitors want you to offer, what stops them from buying, how they assess a new design, what they would improve on a page etc.

Most people are happy to answer questions, but if the survey is too long you risk people getting bored and clicking away before they’ve completed it.

2. Utilize targeting

Advanced targeting allows you to choose who and when will see survey widgets so you can adjust the message. Take advantage of this. Example: when you want to investigate why people abandon shopping carts, run a survey to target only people who added something to the cart and are about to leave the page. Survicate targeting options include:

  • traffic sources (direct, organic, PPC, campaigns etc.)
  • behavior on the website (exit intent, % of the scroll, browsed pages, time spent on a site etc.)
  • characteristics of users (devices they use, language, cookie values, logged v unknown visitors etc.)
  • URLs – create rules where the survey should appear using regex, ‘starts with’, ‘matches’, ‘contains’ etc.

3. Use integrations

If you use tools like HubSpot, Pipedrive, Pardot or Intercom you can use integrations to send collected data to those tools. How can you benefit from it? Integrations with CRMs and mailing systems send generated leads straight to the system you use. Answers collected with Survicate enrich profiles of leads stored in Marketing Automation systems so you can further personalize communication. On the top of that, you can Integrate Survicate with Google Analytics to build custom segments. You can use them e.g. to create personalized retargeting campaigns.

4. Test surveys

You don’t know whether your response rate is good unless you compare it against another survey. Change text on widgets, design, and experiment with targeting to make sure you’re receiving as much valuable feedback as possible. You can even try A/B testing of widgets to make tests easier and more reliable.

5. Regularly review results

Website surveys are not meant to be fired and forgotten. Analyze your results on a regular basis to see what visitors are saying and how your surveys perform. To make it a part of your weekly routine, you can set up reports with an overview of your results to be delivered straight to your inbox.

6. Design widgets to match your website

Survicate offers two basic designs that match most of the website. However, sometimes it’s worth to change them at least a bit to make it more appealing to your visitors. Just remember one thing: widgets should be easily visible. Why? An example of one of our clients: their website was mostly white and they changed widget design to white. As a result, barely anyone noticed them. Making widgets slightly darker increased response rates immediately.

7. Choose the right question type

You can choose between multiple question types, including radio boxes, checkboxes, and text answers. While text answers might provide you with the most interesting answers, they are also more difficult to analyze in large volumes and report lower response rates compared to radio boxes or checkboxes. What you can do about it: at the beginning of a survey, ask for text answers. Find common answers and turn them into answers in single or multiple-choice questions to make analysis easier. You can always add an option to add a comment to those responses.

website survey best practices

8. Act upon collected data

Website surveys allow you to learn about your visitors and customers. But the key is to use collected insights to introduce changes on the website or in the communication strategy. Example: when you find out that people abandon carts because of lacking a shipping cost table, add a table and see how it affects their behavior and answers to a new survey.

How to design survey questions

Then, decide what kind of answers will give you the insight you want:

Do you want to use mostly open-ended questions, or closed-ended questions?

Open-ended vs closed-ended questions

You can find a full explanation of open- and closed-ended questions here, but essentially an open-ended question is one that gives the respondents space to answer the question how they please, and sometimes to interpret the question how they please.

A closed-ended question is one with pre-defined answers for the respondent to choose from.

The benefit of an open-ended question is that the respondent can fully explain how they feel, but the disadvantage is that you may get data you can’t use.

Conversely, the benefit of a closed-ended question is that you will have a very specific set of data to use.

Nevertheless, the disadvantage is that you shoebox your respondents into a certain answer and they may only be able to choose an answer that most closely relates to how they feel, but doesn’t fully encompass their thoughts.

It is up to you to decide which style of question best suits your purposes, but there’s more to designing your survey.

You should also consider asking follow-up questions and applying skip-question logic, which is where you allow people to skip a question if they answered a previous question in a way, that would now render the next question(s) irrelevant.

The crucial thing you should have in your mind as you design your questions is to ensure you aren’t leading your respondents to any particular answer or making it obvious what answer you want them to give.

It’s common to want a specific outcome of your questions, but you have to remove this desire from your questions and allow your respondents to answer honestly.

These questions are:

Leading and non-leading questions

Simply put, all your questions should be non-leading.

Here are a couple of examples:

Leading: Did you find our latest sale exciting?

Non-Leading: How did you feel about our latest sale?

Leading: Did you think your customer service representative was polite and happy to hear from you?

Non-Leading: What did you think about your recent customer service experience?

It’s a fine line to walk, but if you are leading the respondent toward a certain answer (e.g. “yes they were polite” or “no they were not polite”) even if it isn’t necessarily a positive answer, it is a leading question.

Try to give your respondents as much room to define their answers on their own.

If you want to limit their responses, you can do so with a closed-ended question with a specific number of responses, but again, while these will be pre-defined, you should try to keep them from leading.

For example, if you ask a non-leading question, such as “How did you feel about your most recent purchasing experience with us?” the answer options to give them cannot only be “very happy” and “happy”.

A good rule of thumb is to have an odd number of answer options with the middle number as a neutral option.

However, there are a lot of different ways you can design your survey questions – make sure to choose the ones most fitting for you.

How to design a Survey quickly and efficiently?

To quickly and efficiently create your customer and user surveys, you need to use great survey software. There are plenty of tools out there that will help you throw together a survey.

Still, if you want a survey that integrates with your current systems, has a great UI (and user experience) and provides you with the data and templates to create a survey that gives you crucial insight into the minds of your users and customers, you need something designed for fast-growing businesses like yours.

Survicate Team wish you happy Surveying!

Lucjan Kierczak

Head of Marketing at Survicate.

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