10 Tips For Creating An Effective Online Survey

Online surveys are a great way to gather information and feedback from a large group of people. However, ensuring the questionnaire is set up to succeed requires careful planning. Here we provide ten tips for creating an online survey that is both effective and easy to complete. These tips cover survey length, the choice of question types to include, survey design and layout, and how to protect the security of your participants’ data. Following this advice will see you on your way to creating an online survey that achieves your research objectives.

1. A short survey is better than a long one

Most participants are willing to spend on average up to ten minutes completing a survey. In practice, this means that online surveys with more than twenty questions is too long.

2. Questions must be easy to understand and answer

When preparing the questions for your survey remember that short questions and short answers are best. Multiple choice questions are a popular option. Avoid asking open-ended questions, and be careful not to imply the desired answer through the way the question is posed. If possible, offer a scale of answers ranging from negative to positive, for example, 1 being the most negative response and 10 being the most positive.

3. Group questions according to topic

Organising questions together according to topic enables you to ask general questions first, before going into more detailed questions. When you group questions that use the same answer scale together, participants will be able to answer the questions more quickly.

4. Place sensitive questions at the end

After answering other questions, participants will be open to sharing more sensitive or personal information, such as their age group or their household income. Therefore, it is wise to place your more sensitive or personal questions near the end of your online questionnaire.

5. Avoid irrelevant questions

Participants don’t like to be confronted with too many questions that are not relevant to them. You can avoid participants getting frustrated by using survey logic and routing technology to build intelligent and responsive surveys. This ensures irrelevant questions are skipped completely.

6. Reassure your respondents that their data is secure

Always tell your participants that their personal details will be kept safe and won’t be shared with any third parties. Including this statement on your online survey can increase the response rate by inspiring trust.

7. Spend time on your design

An online survey that looks good and is presented well will have a higher response rate than one that looks like it has been thrown together quickly. In approaching survey design pay attention to layout, fonts, and colours, and incorporate design elements from your business website, like your logo.

8. Include images and video

Using visuals, like images or video, can stimulate your participants’ memory. If you would like to know if people remember or noticed your last mailing or advertisement, include it in the survey to jog their memory.

9. Do a trial run

Before making your survey public, have a few people do a test run of the survey to make sure it is functioning correctly and all the questions are clear.

10. Give SmartSurvey a go

Online surveys are an easy and cost-effective way to find out how your customers feel about your business, product or service. By applying these tips you will get the most out of your online surveys. The results of the surveys can be used to fine-tune products and services, and they can even be used to make important decisions about the direction of your business as a whole.

You can start making your own surveys today by using SmartSurvey’s free online survey maker or explore our Professional, Business and Enterprise plans using the links below.

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