Gut-feel and guesswork are the two things you shouldn’t base your decisions on when it comes to making changes to your website or product. Instead, use the data from the most important people for your business — your audience. But how do you collect the information from them? Website surveys are a good way to find out what your customers have on their minds.
What is a Website Survey?
A website survey is a question or a series of questions that you place on your website for your visitors or customers to answer. It can take various forms — from a pop-up appearing in the corner of the screen to a non-invasive feedback widget at the bottom to a full-page overlay.
A survey helps you collect qualitative or quantitative feedback from your customers, which you can then use to:
- improve the user experience on your website
- boost the conversion rate and, ultimately, your sales
- make your product better
- tweak the pricing strategy
- calculate your NPS (to find out how likely your customers are to recommend you to others)
- find out more about your customers
But, to make the most out of your survey, you should first think through your main goal — what exactly you’d like to find out.
Why is one of the landing pages performing badly? Why are the customers leaving in the middle of the checkout process? What do the customers love about your product, and how can you make it better? The more specific your question is, the clearer outcome you will get. So, don’t try to kill several birds with one stone. You can always create another survey on another page.
Having settled on your goal, you’ll need to:
- decide how to write website survey questions not to scare away the respondents and get honest answers
- determine how many there will be
- choose where to ask your questions
In this post, we are going to help you figure out all those details. Let’s dig in!
Here’s How to Write Website Survey Questions
The rule of thumb is to keep your survey as short, simple, and as clear as possible — value your users’ time and effort. If they see a long list of wordy questions, most likely, they will abandon your survey and, what’s even worse, drop what they were doing on your site and leave. To avoid this, follow these best practices:
1). Keep your questions short
Get right to the point, leave out all the words that can be left out without the question losing its meaning. Stick to one sentence in one question’ rule.
2). Use simple words
Avoid including technical terminology or jargon words in your survey. If a user doesn’t know some term from your question, they will most likely skip the whole survey altogether.
3). Don’t ask several questions in one
If you ask a question like “How would you rate your experience with us today?” and then decide that it’s a good idea to add “and why” in that same question, think again. Most likely, the user will not bother to answer the “why”. Or, in the worst-case scenario, they will abandon your question since it’s too long.
4). Limit the number of your questions
If you do decide to ask multiple questions in your survey, make sure you keep their number to a minimum. This way, you will show your customers that you value their time.
5). Encourage your users to be honest
You strive for your users to reveal what they really think about your website or product. Lukewarm comments like “it was OK” won’t bring you any value. To receive honest feedback, try posing your question in the following way: “What’s the reason for your score? We want to improve your experience with our website, so please, be brutally honest.”
6). Avoid asking leading questions
Don’t put the answer in the user’s head. You want to hear their own opinion. Here’s a rough idea of a question you should stay away from “Last month you bought three sweatshirts, what’s your favorite kind of clothes?” Instead of thinking about their own answer, the user will now be positive that sweatshirts are their favorite thing to wear.
7). Test various question types
Always keep trying out various questions in your surveys and track which ones deliver the most valuable information.
8). Experiment with close-ended/open-ended question combinations.
First, here’s some more detail on what these two types of questions are and when to choose which.
Close-ended questions are those that only allow a user to choose from the answers you’ve provided. These include multiple-choice, “yes or no”, “rate your experience,” and “how likely are you to recommend” questions. Such surveys provide quantitative feedback, which is easier to evaluate, but they don’t give you extensive insight into why the user answered this way.
Open-ended questions allow for more freedom for the user — they can open up about their experience in their own words. This kind of survey provides qualitative feedback and a deeper understanding of the user’s opinion.
The simplest way to combine these two types of questions is to start with a close-ended question and then proceed with an open-ended one or two to get more detail.
Here is an example of such a sequence:
1). “Would you consider buying from us again in the next 2 months?” (a “yes or no” close-ended question)
2). In the case of a “yes” response, ask: “What did you like about your experience with us?”
3). In case of a “no” response, ask: “Please share why not.”
Examples of Website Survey Questions and Where to Ask Them?
We are going to take a look at some of the most popular cases, for which you might need to collect user feedback.
1). Learn more about your users
Some companies use screening surveys to collect information about their customers — their age, occupation, hobbies, and others — and create buyer personas, which they can then target with specific marketing campaigns.
In the following example, the company aims to find out how exactly the visitor is connected to startups.
This kind of question can be asked on a homepage or a landing page.
2). Find out how the customers have learned about your website
Knowing how a user first heard about you is important when deciding where to direct your marketing and promotional efforts.
With this survey, ADAY is figuring out how the customer heard about them with a multiple-choice question. This will help the company pick out the most effective channels and use them in the future for promotion.
ADAY uses a close-ended question here, which lets them collect information only about the channels they’ve mentioned. Alternatively, they can pose an open-ended one — “How did you hear about ADAY?” with a space to provide an answer and no options to choose. These answers will be harder to analyze, but the company might learn about some untapped opportunities.
ADAY pop up this survey on their homepage. However, it’s a good idea to ask this kind of question on one of your landing pages as well.
3). See what’s important for your customer in a product like yours.
It might happen that when creating your product, you focused on the wrong things — those that turned out to be insignificant for a customer. Or maybe you just want to freshen up your knowledge of the customers’ priorities. Ask them:
This way, you can focus on the features vital for the customers, and enhance your product.
A survey like this one can be placed on a homepage, landing page, or blog page.
4). Find out what a customer thinks about your company
These two questions are probably the most widely used ones in website surveys:
- How would you rate your experience with us?
- How likely are you to recommend us to a friend/family/colleague? (the Net Promoter Score survey)
The first one allows you to evaluate the overall level of customer satisfaction, and the second one shows whether this particular customer can become your advocate and promote you to their surroundings.
Here is how Prism have connected these two questions in one survey:
You can place this kind of survey on your Checkout/Success page if we are talking about your online store’s shopping experience. However, if you offer a subscription service, the customer wouldn’t know anything about their experience right after they’ve subscribed. So, the survey should be launched on one of the pages of your service after some time.
In the next example, we can see another version of a customer satisfaction survey — but this time, looking for information about future purchases with the company.
5). Consult with the users on your redesign
Who if not your users, should decide whether the redesign has been successful. Pop up a couple of website survey questions about usability, to find out what they think. Even one direct question like “How clear is it what we do from this page?” can help. Ask it after the user has spent at least 30 seconds on the page, or scrolled through 2 screens.
In case you have offered the option of switching to the old version of the site, and the user has done that, you can ask why. Here’s how Facebook did it:
To base your redesign not only on site analytics, but you can also ask the users what they would want to see on it before you start making changes. The Western University did just that:
They are even taking the opportunity to collect the emails of respondents that might help with the future redesign decisions.
6). Check if the pricing is clear
This is mostly the case for subscription services but it can also be leveraged for online stores. The customer spends some time on your pricing page or in the cart, and doesn’t complete the purchase. What you can do to fix this, is place a survey right there on the Pricing page or the Payment/Cart page with a simple question: “Is our pricing clear?” Then, if the person responds “no”, you can proceed with an open-ended “Please specify what you find confusing”. After analyzing the answers you will be able to tweak your page and, hopefully, reduce your churn rate.
Here is an example from Mouseflow:
They ask a close-ended question, and then an open one — to find out what they can change.
A prompt reaction to a user’s answer might even save you the lead. So, make sure you respond quickly.
7). Check whether you aren’t missing any information on your pages
Place this survey on any page with high exit rates. Maybe the reason the person leaving is not that they don’t like your products or website, but it’s just that they can’t find a piece of important information they usually base their buying decisions on.
In the following example, SurveySparrow started a chat with a user to see how they’ve liked the website and if they have found everything they were looking for.
8). Inquire if your product is missing some features
Usability is one thing — you can try to retain the customer by providing the necessary information to them. Yet, when it comes to a missing feature, a customer might want to switch to another service if that feature has been vital.
To prevent the user from leaving you, place a survey on, for example, the Dashboard page of your tool, or any other page where the customers spend much of their time. A Cancellation page is another place to put up your survey. In this case, you will be learning which feature has cost you a customer.
Here is how lalal.ai did it:
Plus, to have an opportunity of following up with the respondent, they are asking for an email. If they are willing to, the users can provide more detail on the feature they want to be added.
9). Find out why the customers haven’t completed a purchase or have canceled their subscription.
This kind of survey is the last resort for you to try and keep the customer or at least prevent your other customers from leaving.
Ask your questions on Cancellation, Downgrade or Churn pages.
With the survey above, the company is using both open and close-ended questions, with the second type provided for those who don’t want to spend time giving feedback. With another short “yes/no” question, they can find out about the user’s future plans.
In this case, a user has spent some time on the site but is going to leave without ordering. You can pop up this kind of survey after a user has moved their mouse towards closing your site. You have to have a mouse-tracking feature installed for this.
For your website survey to be effective and bring you valuable insights, remember to stick to your goal, think through where it’s most reasonable to place the survey, and compose your questions with the respondent in mind:
- Keep them short and simple.
- Ask open-ended questions for qualitative feedback and close-ended for quantitative insights.
- Avoid leading your user to an answer and asking multiple questions in one.
- Limit the number of words in your survey to a minimum