How to Create the Best Website Survey (Step-by-Step Guide)

For traditional stores, collecting feedback is easy.

You’re face to face with your clients.

For online stores and website owners, it’s a whole different story.

How can you identify what your visitors really expect from your website?

Do you have to spend hours crunching Google Analytics stats? Dedicate days to reading live chat discussions?

Luckily, you don’t! If you’re looking for feedback about your website, website surveys can help. A lot.

In this article, we’re going to:
1) Explain why website surveys are one of the best ways to understand your visitors
2) Help you identify what the main objective of your survey should be
3) Find the right questions to ask
4) Help you find the right timing and audience for your questionnaire

 
 
 

What Are Website Surveys?

To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start by explaining what website surveys are.

A Quick Introduction to Website Surveys

Website surveys are questionnaires displayed on a website to get quantitative and qualitative feedback in real-time directly from website visitors.

Their objective is to help understand the motivations and turnoffs of a website user.

Why CRO Experts Love Website Surveys

Website surveys have become the conversion rate optimization (CRO) expert’s favorite. Here’s why.

To get feedback about a website, CRO professionals usually have two main sources.

The first kind of sources are quantitative sources like Analytics tools and Heatmaps. These tools are great to get an overview of your visitors’ behavior on your website. What pages do they visit? On what pages do they exit? How long do they stay on your website? What percentage of visitors sign up or purchase? There are all sorts of questions these tools can help you answer.

And being quantitative tools, they allow you to get a precise idea of what your visitors are doing on your website without having to dig into thousands of lines of data.

 

Website Heatmap Example

A heatmap example from FullStory. The red areas are the areas visitors spend the most time checking.

 

But these tools don’t tell you why your visitors are spending their time there. For example, they can tell you that a high proportion of visitors leave your website right away, but this doesn’t help you figure out why they’re leaving early.

That’s why CRO experts combine quantitative feedback with qualitative sources of feedback.

And when it comes to qualitative feedback, live chats often come up as a solution.

Discussing with visitors in real-time can indeed help you identify things that could be improved on your website. Live chats allow website owners to collect feedback from users, while they’re using the website (and usually when they are stuck!).

But live chats don’t come without their own challenges: operating a live chat takes a lot of time–especially if you want to meet your visitors’ expectations in terms of response time. Plus, if you want to get feedback about a specific aspect of your website, you’ll have to dig through hundreds of support discussions.

That’s why website surveys are so popular.

  • They allow you to collect both quantitative data (through closed questions) and qualitative data (using open-ended questions).
  • They’re super low maintenance. Once you’ve created the survey, you don’t have to sit all day in front of your computer.
  • They can be targeted to help you qualify respondents and limit the quantity of data to analyze.
  • Their results are usually easy to understand because you can set limits to the kind of answers your visitors can provide.

 

Website exit survey example

A simple website exit survey on Notifia.io

 

Website Survey Examples

Now that we know website surveys are essential to improving your website, let’s look at the different shapes and styles of website surveys.

Let’s start with pop-up surveys. This kind of survey pops up automatically on the visitor’s screen. Here’s an example from Upwork:

 

Then there are website exit surveys. These pop-up surveys are displayed right when the visitor is about to leave the website to ask her about her browsing experience:

Website exit survey - Ecommerce

 

We also have feedback forms. This kind of survey is more passive: a “Feedback” tab is added to every page of the website, allowing visitors to share feedback or ask for help.

A feedback form on Usabilla.com


 
 

And finally, there are embedded surveys. These website surveys don’t pop up–they’re part of the webpage.

Embedded website survey example

An embedded survey at the end of a blog article on mopinion.com


 
 

Now it’s time for some website survey best practices.

Let’s detail the creation process of a successful website survey.
 

Step 1: Identify Your Survey’s Main Objective

As in every survey, the first and most important step is to set some objectives.

What do you really want to learn about your visitors?

We recommend you start simple with a specific problem. It will be much easier to create the survey, target the right visitors and analyze their answers.

Survey experts usually break down objectives by stage in the navigation or purchase funnel:

  • For new visitors: learn more about their expectations towards your website. You can also learn how they discovered your site.
  • For visitors who already spent a few minutes on your website: learn if your website contains all the information they need or if the website looks OK on their device.
  • For users in the checkout or sign-up process: learn if visitors hit any roadblocks or experience frictions (elements that make the experience less fluid) during the process.
  • For existing clients or subscribers: learn what the next priority should be for your company (not covered in this article).

Using this approach allows you to cut problems into tiny bits, making it easier to:

  • collect feedback (the questions are super specific), and
  • understand the replies (as you narrow down the topic, you limit the risks of off-topic answers).

 
 

Step 2: Prepare Your Survey Questions

Once you’ve identified your objective, it’s time to work on your questions.

A few principles should guide this process:

  • Be clear: If your questions are difficult to understand, the answers will be, too.
  • Be concise: The shorter the survey, the higher its completion rate (52% of online customers said they wouldn’t spend more than 3 minutes filling out a survey). This is especially true if you’re targeting new visitors.
  • Be open: Leave room for free-form feedback fields in your questionnaire to allow your visitors to share personal comments. This can help you identify turnoffs or motivators you wouldn’t have thought of in the first place.

Once you’ve assimilated these guidelines, you can adapt the following examples of website survey questions to your own situation.

Top of the Funnel Questions

These website survey questions aim at learning more about your visitors: how they heard about you and what they expect from your website. You can then adapt your marketing strategies accordingly.

Let’s start with how they discovered your website:

  • Where exactly did you first find out about us?
  • What brought you to us today?
  • How did you find our site?

 

A website survey on Zapier.com asking visitors “what brought them” to the site


 

You might also want to ask what their main objective is for their visit. This will help you adapt your copy and content to their expectations. To do so, you can use questions like:

  • What did you come to this site to do today?
  • What are you looking to achieve on our site?

A website survey displayed in Google Drawings asking how visitors are using the tool

 

Middle of the Funnel Survey Questions

Next, you can check your visitors’ first impressions about your website.

First off, you can ask how they feel about its content/usefulness using one of the following questions:

  • Does this page meet your expectations?
  • Were you able to find the information you were looking for?
  • What’s the ONE thing missing from this page?

Drip's homepage survey

A website survey displayed on Drip’s homepage a few seconds after landing on their website


 

You can also ask questions about usability. To do so, you can use one of these options:

  • Overall, how easy to use do you find our website?
  • Does our website render well in your browser?

And you can collect qualitative information by adding an open-ended question like: “What could we improve?” or “What’s not working well on our website?”

Bottom of the Funnel Survey Questions

Your visitors are now close to purchasing one of your products or signing up.

They are about to share their credit card and/or contact details with you. This is a critical step for your business.

There are two approaches to collecting feedback to analyze the bottom of the funnel experience.

First option: You can collect feedback from people who are leaving your website without completing the purchase or sign-up. This will put you in the position of identifying the conversion blockers. To do so, you can create a website exit survey and use questions like:

  • Is there anything preventing you from signing up/purchasing from us at this point?
  • Is there anything you’d like to ask before you place your order?

 

A website survey displayed on dwellful.com to visitors abandoning the website


 
And here’s another example, this time from an ecommerce website (freedom.com.au):

A website exit survey displayed on Freedom.com.au

 

You can also ask about the process after your visitors have completed it. This will help you discover any frictions your visitors may have encountered. In this context, you can use questions like:

  • What was your biggest fear or concern when purchasing from us?
  • How easy was it to sign up/complete your purchase?
  • What can we do to improve the experience?

A post-purchase survey displayed on colorescience on the order confirmation page (source)


  

Step 3: Set Your Survey’s Targeting

Now that your questions are ready, it’s time to configure when and where your survey should appear and who you’d like to take it.

Again, we’re going to break down the targeting by survey type.

Top of the Funnel Surveys’ Targeting

For the top of the funnel surveys, we recommend displaying the survey form to new visitors on the first website page they land on.

It doesn’t matter if it’s on the homepage or not.

In terms of timing, you can either display the questionnaire immediately or after a few seconds.

Middle of the Funnel Surveys’ Targeting

For middle of the funnel surveys, we want to target visitors who’ve already spent some time on your website. We usually display this kind of survey after 10 seconds on the page, or once they’ve seen 60% of the page:

You can also target a unique page type (for example, product pages) if you want to collect feedback about a specific part of the navigation experience:

This will make feedback analysis way easier.

Bottom of the Funnel Surveys’ Targeting

For this kind of survey, we have two options:

  • Display the survey upon exit in the checkout or signup process
  • Display the survey when your visitors get to the order or account creation confirmation page

No need to worry about the timing here.

You can select “New visitors,” which allows you to collect feedback from visitors who have never been on your site before. Their input is particularly helpful because they don’t have any preconceptions about what your site should look like or do.


 

Step 4: Design Your Survey

So far, we’ve identified our main objective for our survey, we’ve prepared our questions, and we’ve worked on the display scenario. Now, it’s time to add the final touch: your questionnaire’s design.

With or Without Redirect

There are two main kinds of website surveys.

Website surveys that contain a call-to-action that opens the actual survey in a new tab:

A website survey containing a CTA

A website survey displayed on tipple.com.au after the website was redesigned. The pop-up contains a CTA leading to the actual survey.

 

And surveys that include the form directly:

A website survey featuring a feedback form

Which format works best?

We recommend using forms that are accessible directly, without requiring your visitors to open a new tab: these forms are usually shorter (and less daunting) and minimize the risk of losing some of your visitors in the process.

We recommend using a CTA only if your form is too long (although it’s actually best to keep the form short).

Static vs. Dynamic

There’s another distinction to make: dynamic surveys vs. static surveys.

With static surveys, your visitors see all the questions right away:

A static website survey example

 

While with dynamic surveys, you see only one question at a time:

A dynamic website survey example

 

Dynamic surveys are less daunting and usually convert better because they rely on small steps. If your survey tool includes this option, we recommend activating it.

Match Your Website’s Branding

We’d like to share one final recommendation about your survey’s design.

Make sure you customize your questionnaire to be in line with your website’s style (if your survey software allows you to). This will reassure your visitors and help them understand that it was created by you and is not a third-party ad.

Look at this example we found on Casper.com. The pop-up survey features their logo and reuses their brand’s typeface and colors.

a branded website survey on Casper.com

 

How to Create Your Website Survey Using WisePops

Ready to create your survey?

Let’s do it!

Step 1: Create a new campaign. Select a survey template.

Step 2: Edit the questions and/or add your own questions.

Step 3: Adjust the display scenario. Select when and where the website survey should appear and who’s eligible to see it.

Step 4: Implement the WisePops setup code on your website, turn on your survey, and start collecting feedback right away!

Wrap-up

There you have it: how to create the best survey for your website.

Next? Analyze your feedback and adjust your website accordingly.

To make things a little easier, here’s a recap of the essential survey elements for you as a bonus!
 

Bonus: The website survey cheat sheet
 

Objective Sample Question Display scenario
Learn more about your visitors’ expectations towards your website What are you trying to achieve today? Within 10 seconds after their arrival on your website. Display to new visitors only.
Learn if your website meets your visitors’ expectations Were you able to find the information you were looking for? Display after 10 seconds or more. Target by page type.
Learn how to improve your checkout or signup process Is there anything preventing you from signing up/purchasing from us at this point? Display on exit during the process or on landing on the success confirmation page.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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