Figuring out what website visitors really want can be tough. After all, it’s not like you can just grab their attention and ask them for their thoughts, right? Well, actually, you can.
Surveys are a tool you can use to stop beating around the bush and just ask for the information you need. While there are many strategies you can use to mine for information, surveys are one of the most flexible tools available and possibly the best way to gather the detailed thoughts and opinions of website users.
In this post, we’ll figure out if a survey is a right tool for your information gathering needs. Then, we’ll present the best survey tools for WordPress so you can start gathering data without delay.
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Before you start installing plugins and writing questions you need to make sure that a survey is a right tool for the job. After all, there are plenty of other ways to learn about your website traffic — A/B testing, simple polls, and website traffic analytics are a few potential alternatives.
So you’ll want to make sure you understand the sorts of information that surveys are good and bad at gathering before deciding that a survey is your best option.
Let’s start with the positives. What sorts of information is a survey good at gathering?
- In-depth opinions and preferences.
- Extensive demographic information such as location, age, gender, and so forth.
- Detailed information about existing visitors, users, and customers.
That’s a pretty broad set of guidelines. Let’s narrow the field a bit by looking at some of the types of information that surveys are not good at gathering.
- Instinctive reactions — the preferences that your visitors aren’t even aware they possess. A/B testing is the right tool to gather this sort of information.
- Information about prospective visitors, users, and customers — you may attract a few responses from folks unfamiliar with your site, but expect those responses to be costly and hard to gather.
- Analytics information about your visitors, such as browser and device statistics, search terms, pages visited, and so forth. While you can ask for this type of information, an analytics program such as Google Analytics is a much better source.
- Basic information easily gathered with one or two simple questions — use a simple poll for these sorts of data gathering needs.
How to Get the Most out of a Survey
If you’ve decided that a survey is a right way to gather the information you’re after it’s important to carefully craft your survey if you hope to get the most out of your data collection efforts. Creating a great survey is a science. You have to think about proper question structure, order your questions appropriately, deal with human psychology to encourage survey completion, and consider how to interpret the data gathered.
While we can’t
This article was written by Jon Penland and originally published on WPMU DEV Blog.