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24 Mar, 2024 • 8 min read

How to Make an Online Survey: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Online surveys are a powerful tool for collecting valuable information. They play a crucial role in understanding people’s opinions, preferences, and experiences. This makes online surveys essential for gathering actionable insights that can help in making informed decisions. Whether you’re a business looking to improve your products, a researcher gathering data, or an organization seeking feedback, understanding the importance of online surveys is the first step towards achieving your goals. Their significance cannot be overstated as they offer a direct line to the thoughts and feelings of your audience.


Defining Your Survey Goals

Identifying Objectives

When you start to create a survey, one of the first steps you should take is defining your survey objectives. This means you need to clearly understand what you aim to achieve by conducting this survey. It’s like setting up a target before you shoot; knowing exactly what you want to hit makes it much easier to get there. Whether you’re looking to gather feedback on a new product, understand customer satisfaction, or measure employee engagement, having clear objectives will guide the design of your survey questions and ensure you collect the data you need. This step is crucial because it helps you focus on the purpose of your survey and avoid collecting unnecessary information. By defining your goals at the beginning, you can make sure your survey is streamlined, purposeful, and effective in gathering the insights you need.

Crafting Your Survey

Question Types and Formats

When creating a survey, it’s crucial to choose the right question types and survey formats to get the information you need. There are several question types you might consider. Some are straightforward, like yes/no questions, which are great for simple answers. Multiple-choice questions offer a set of options for respondents to choose from, making it easy to analyze the data later. If you need more detailed feedback, open-ended questions allow people to answer in their own words. Then there are ranking questions, where participants order their responses based on preference, and scale questions, which ask respondents to rate something on a scale, such as 1 to 5. Choosing the right type depends on what you need to know. For quick, clear answers, stick to yes/no or multiple choice. If you’re looking for deeper insights, open-ended questions might be the way to go. Remember, the goal is to gather useful information, so think about what you need to learn from your respondents when selecting your question types and survey formats.


Writing Effective Questions

To get meaningful answers from your survey, writing questions clearly and without bias is key. Here are some tips to help you write effective questions. First, keep your questions simple and to the point. Avoid using complex words or jargon that might confuse respondents. Be specific in what you’re asking, so there’s no room for misunderstanding. For example, instead of asking, “Do you think the new policy is good?” specify what aspect of the policy you’re asking about. It’s also important to avoid leading questions that could sway the respondent’s answer. Instead of asking, “Don’t you think the new policy will improve things?” ask, “What impact do you think the new policy will have?” This way, you’re not suggesting what the answer should be. Lastly, make sure your questions are unbiased and neutral. Your goal is to gather honest, meaningful answers, not to influence respondents’ opinions. By following these tips, you can write questions that are clear, fair, and likely to result in the valuable insights you’re looking for.


Survey Distribution Strategies

Choosing the Right Platform

Selecting the best survey platform for your audience is crucial. Think about where your audience spends most of their time. Is it on social media, email, or specific websites? Each platform has its strengths. For example, if your audience is young, using social media platforms might be the best choice. On the other hand, for professional surveys, email might be more effective. The key is to understand your audience’s habits and preferences. This way, you can choose a survey platform that they are most likely to use. Remember, the goal is to make it easy for them to see and take your survey.


Maximizing Response Rates

To increase participation and improve response rates for your survey, you need to use some strategies. First, make sure your survey is quick and easy to complete. No one likes to spend too much time on a survey. Second, consider offering a small reward or incentive for completing the survey. This could be a discount, entry into a prize draw, or access to exclusive content. Also, send reminders but don’t spam. A gentle nudge can encourage participation without annoying your audience. Lastly, share why their feedback is important. People are more likely to participate if they know their opinions will make a difference.

Analyzing Survey Data

When we talk about analyzing data, especially from surveys, we’re diving into a process that helps us understand what people think or how they feel about a certain topic. This is all about getting actionable insights that can guide decisions in businesses, organizations, or any other group interested in the feedback.

To start, imagine you have all these responses from people who filled out your survey. Your main job is to sift through these answers to find patterns or trends. This could be figuring out the most common response to a question or seeing how different groups of people answered differently.

One way to do this is by using graphs or charts. This makes it easier to see the big picture. For example, if you asked people about their favorite ice cream flavor, a chart could quickly show you which flavors are the most popular.

Another method is to dig deeper into the responses to open-ended questions. These are the ones where people write down their thoughts in their own words. Reading through these can give you a clearer understanding of why people feel a certain way.

The goal of analyzing survey data is to turn all these responses into clear, actionable insights. This means finding out what the most important takeaways are and figuring out how they can help make decisions. For instance, if most people are asking for more chocolate ice cream, it might be a good idea to stock up on that flavor.



Creating and managing an online survey involves several crucial steps and considerations to ensure it is effective and yields valuable insights. Below, we dive into some frequently asked questions that cover the essentials of crafting, distributing, and analyzing online surveys.


1. What are the key steps to creating an effective online survey?

To create an effective online survey, you should start by defining your goals. Ask yourself what you want to learn from the survey. Next, choose the right questions. Make sure they are clear and to the point. Then, pick a good online survey platform that suits your needs. After your survey is ready, test it to see if everything works as expected. Finally, send it out to your audience and wait for responses.


2. How can I ensure my survey questions are unbiased and effective?

Ensuring your survey questions are unbiased and effective involves a few strategies. First, keep your questions neutral; avoid leading words that might sway the respondent’s answer. Also, use simple language that everyone can understand. It’s important to cover all possible answer options so that respondents can accurately express their opinions or experiences. Lastly, ask one question at a time to avoid confusion.


3. What strategies can increase my online survey’s response rate?

Increasing your online survey’s response rate can be achieved by following these strategies: First, keep your survey short and sweet. People are more likely to complete shorter surveys. Send reminders to those who haven’t completed the survey yet but avoid spamming. Offering incentives can also motivate people to take the time to respond. Lastly, ensure your survey is mobile-friendly, as many people use their phones to access surveys.


4. How do I choose the right platform for distributing my online survey?

Choosing the right platform for distributing your online survey depends on your specific needs and goals. Consider the features you need, such as question types, customization options, and data analysis tools. Look for platforms that are user-friendly and have good reviews. It’s also wise to think about your budget since some platforms may offer more advanced features at a higher cost.


5. What are the best practices for analyzing online survey data?

Analyzing online survey data effectively involves several best practices. Start by cleaning your data to remove incomplete or irrelevant responses. Use graphs and charts to visualize the results for easier interpretation. Pay attention to trends and patterns that emerge from the data. Don’t ignore open-ended responses; they can provide valuable insights that closed-ended questions might not capture. Lastly, consider using statistical analysis tools if you’re familiar with them to delve deeper into the data.


Ankur, with over 20 years of expertise, simplifies the complex world of online marketing to boost your conversion rates. He shares actionable insights that anyone can apply to see immediate results. Trust Ankur to guide you through proven strategies that enhance your online presence and profitability.

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