4 Survey Tools for Creating Effective WordPress Polls

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 the 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.

Let’s get started.

When Is a Survey the Right Tool for the Job?

Before you start installing plugins and writing questions you need to make sure that a survey is the 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 the 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 cover this topic extensively in this post, we will hit the highlights to help you on your way.

Tip #1: Have a Specific Goal in Mind

Don’t create a survey just for kicks. Have a specific data collection goal and build your survey with that goal in mind.

Tip #2: Have a Strategy for Gathering Responses

Completing a survey requires a certain amount of buy-in from survey takers. How will you secure that buy in? While some users will fill out your survey just because they like expressing their opinions, your response rate will be considerably higher if you throw some leverage into the equation.

In general, there are two basics types of leverage you can throw into the mix to solicit a higher response rate:

  • A tangible reward, or
  • An intangible benefit.

A tangible reward is the sort of thing you offer to get someone to sign up for your email newsletter — a free ebook or a free email course, that sort of thing. An intangible benefit is less obvious and will be specific to your unique situations. If your site engenders a strong sense of community, then the intangible benefit could be the opportunity to speak into the future of the community, to play a role in ensuring that the community continues to serve needs as effectively as possible.

Tip #3: Learn How to Write and Administer a Proper Survey

You absolutely must take the time to learn how to properly write survey questions, administer a survey, and interpret results. Research is a sensitive process and if you get it wrong you can wreck the validity of the results.

Thankfully, there are free resources that you can use to educate yourself. We recommend taking the time to work your way through Survey 101 from SurveyMonkey to learn the basics of creating and administering a survey that produces useful and actionable data.

Four of the Best Survey Tools for WordPress

Now that the groundwork has been laid we’re ready to check out some tools. We’ve narrowed the list of options down to the four best tools for creating surveys and embedding them in a WordPress website. Let’s get right to it.

  • Google Forms

    If you’re into options that are powerful, free, and easy-to-use, look no further than Google Forms. Google Forms is a free form creation tool integrated into Google Drive. In other words, if you already have a Google account (and who doesn’t?) then you already have access to Google Forms.

    Since Google Forms is a Google Drive app, the only limits are the Google Drive storage limits. In other words, Google Forms is effectively unlimited.

    How to Add a Google Forms Survey to a WordPress Website

    To create a survey head to Google Drive and select the New button. From the drop-down menu, hover over More and then select Google Forms.

    google-forms-button

    This will launch the Google Forms application. It’s a very intuitive application that you’ll get the hang of quickly.

    Create your survey. When you’re ready to publish it click on Send to launch the Send form modal window. Select the symbol that looks like this “<>” and click Copy.

    Click on the angle brackets symbol and then copy to copy the installation code.

    Log into WordPress and create a new post or page. Switch the post editor from Visual to Text and paste in the Google Forms code. Then press Publish.

    Switch to the text version of the post editor and paste in the installation code.
    Make sure to use the Text version of the post editor when adding the installation code.

    Your Google Forms survey is now embedded in your WordPress website.

    Screenshot of a Google Forms survey embedded in a WordPress website.
  • Typeform

    Typeform is a survey platform that provides a drag-and-drop survey builder and tons of prebuilt templates so that you can create professional quality surveys that will impress your users. Typeform isn’t as easy to use as Google Forms. However, it does make it reasonably easy to create visually stunning surveys rather quickly.

    Typeform does offer a free plan but it’s only good for 100 survey responses per month. So if you think you’ll get more than 100 people to take your survey each month you’ll need to upgrade.

    How to Add a Typeform Survey to a WordPress Website

    Typeform does offer a WordPress plugin which makes embedding a survey easy. So the first thing to do is to install and activate that plugin.

    Next, go to Typeform, create an account, and create a survey. Once you’re satisfied with the results, select the Share tab and copy the survey URL.

    Go to the Share tab to locate the Typeform survey URL.
    Copy the Typeform survey url from the Share tab

    To add your survey to WordPress you’ll need to create a post or page. Look for the Add typeform button above the post editor — you’ll only see it if you’ve installed and activated the Typeform plugin. Just paste the URL in the appropriate field and click Ok.

    typeform-add-typeform

    Once you publish your post or page you’ll see the Typeform survey embedded on your site.

    Screenshot of a WordPress website with a Typeform survey embedded
  • SurveyMonkey

    SurveyMonkey offers an intuitive survey builder, a variety of free themes and templates, and a free plan that’s good for surveys up to 10 questions long and up to 100 survey responses per month. If you need to ask more questions or gather more responses premium plans are available.

    SurveyMonkey is very comparable to Typeform. It isn’t as easy to use as Google Forms, but the results are higher quality and you get access to lots of great looking prebuilt surveys you can use to jump-start the process of creating your survey.

    How to Add a SurveyMonkey Survey to a WordPress Website

    First, you’ll need to create your survey at SurveyMonkey. Once your survey is ready to go, switch over to the Collect Responses tab and select the Embed on Website option.

    Go to the Collect Responses tab and select Embed on Website.
    Embed your form by accessing Collect Responses and select the appropriate option

    You’ll be able to choose between embedding the survey directly in your website, adding a popup that will direct visitors to the survey, or displaying the survey in a popup. Select the option you prefer. I opted for Embedded Survey.

    On the following screen, you be able to fine tune the presentation of your survey and a variety of other options. Adjust the available options to your liking and follow the Next buttons until the installation code is displayed. Copy the code and head back to WordPress.

    The Next buttons will lead you to the Install tab where you can copy the installation code
    The survey installation code can be found on the Install tab

    Create a new post or page in the WordPress admin area, switch over to the Text post editor, and paste in the SurveyMonkey installation code.

    Paste the installation code into the text version of the post editor.
    Use the text version of the post editor to paste in the installation code

    When you’re ready, click Publish and go check out your SurveyMonkey survey which is now embedded in your WordPress website.

    Screenshot of an embedded SurveyMonkey survey
  • Quiz and Survey Master

    If you’ve been hoping for a plugin-based option that will allow you to forgo using an external survey service, then your wait has come to an end.

    Quiz and Survey Master is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to create complex surveys and quizzes right from the WordPress admin area. Quiz and Survey Master is unlimited — create an unlimited number of questions and accept an unlimited number of responses.

    Quiz and Survey Master is less polished than the other options we’ve covered. However, what it lacks in polish it makes up for in features. If you want granular control over surveys and the ability to create impressive quizzes that are scored automatically, Quiz and Survey Master is your best bet.

    How to Add a Quiz and Survey Master Survey to a WordPress Website

    First, install and activate the plugin. When you do, a new Quizzes/Surveys option will be added to the sidebar menu in the WordPress admin area.

    Select that option and then click Add New. Name your survey and it will be added to the list of surveys. Now, hover your mouse over the name of the survey and select Edit.

    Now it’s up to you to craft your survey. The interface is a bit intimating and does take a few minutes to get used to. Thankfully, if you get stuck (or if you’re the sort that prefers to study before you dive in) the Quiz and Survey Master website offers extensive documentation and free video tutorials to help you get up and running.

    Once your survey is ready to go head back to the Quizzes/Surveys menu item and copy the shortcode.

    Copy the relevant shortcode and paste it into the editor of any post or page to embed the survey

    Create a new post or page, paste the shortcode into the post editor, and click Publish. The survey will be published as the content of your post or page and will render seamlessly by inheriting the styling of your website.

    Screenshot of an embedded Quiz and Survey Master survey
    The survey will inherit your website’s styling for seamless rendering

Wrapping Up

Surveys aren’t the right tool for every information gathering need. However, they are a useful way to gather a lot of detailed information quickly and a particularly powerful way to get at user opinions and preferences.

There are lots of tools you can use to embed a survey in your WordPress website. In this post, we’ve covered the four options we like the best and shown how you can use each one to embed a survey in your website.

Let’s recap what we discussed:

  • Google Forms: Easy to use, unlimited, simple, and powerful.
  • Typeform: Create visually stunning surveys with a drag-and-drop editor and gather up to 100 responses per month for free.
  • SurveyMonkey: Use the available themes and templates to put your survey together quickly and gather up to 100 responses per month for free.
  • Quiz and Survey Master: Create advanced surveys and quizzes from the comfortable confines of the WordPress admin area, gather an unlimited number of responses, and fall back on the developer’s documentation and free video tutorials if you get stuck.

All that’s left to do is to pick the right survey platform, craft an effective survey, develop a strategy for soliciting responses, and put your hard-earned data to good use.

Jon Penland
What is your survey platform of choice? Let us know in the comments section below!