I’m sure you know this already:
To deliver the best website experience, one that engages and spurs visitors into action, you must first understand who these people really are.
But how do you find that out is often a problem.
There are really two ways to uncover your visitors characteristics and learn what they find engaging on your site:
- You could use Analytics or other data sources to guess it all, or
- Ask them. Simply.
And in this post I’ll show you 3 amazing and free ways (and tools) to do the latter.
Method #1: Embed a Survey Directly on a Page with Survey Monkey
Let’s start with the least common method – embedding the feedback form directly on a page.
I agree, in the days of popups and many other ways to position a survey in front of visitors, simple embed is slowly coming out of fashion.
It is a great method to use if you don’t want to interrupt your visitors’ browsing experience.
Popups, sliders or scroll boxes interrupt the users natural path through a page and distract them from what they’ve actually been doing when the survey popped up.
But a survey positioned on a page, ideally at the end of the content looks and feels more natural, like its integral element.
But there is the other side of the coin too. Embedding a survey adds a permanent and unnecessary (from the user’s point of view) element to the page.
Here are few examples of surveys embedded directly on a page:
Kissmetrics’ app features a short, feedback survey embedded at the bottom of the apps’ every page:
Its purpose is to provide instant but unobtrusive way for users to leave feedback or notify the company if something isn’t right with their app.
Kissmetrics’ example is quite specific as it only seeks feedback from users of their product. But even if you plan to gather feedback from website visitors only, including a short survey below your content could provide them with an unobtrusive way to tell you what they think (or would like to see on the page).
Google help pages, for instance, feature a quick feedback survey gauging the usefulness of the information they’ve provided:
And here’s how I currently use it on my site:
How to Embed a Survey Directly on a Page
Here’s how to do it with the Survey Monkey’s Website Collector:
Log in to your account and click “Create Survey” on the dashboard.
Give your survey a title and select category that best describes it (this second item is optional):
Build your survey using various elements Survey Monkey offers. And when you’re done, click NEXT.
You will see a string of options to send or share your survey with potential respondents:
Select WEBSITE and you’ll see 3 different ways to embed your survey on the site. For the purpose of this exercise, select Embed.
You will then see a final screen allowing you to tweak the sizing of your survey.
Hit Next and the system will output HTML code you need to copy and paste to wherever you want the survey to appear on the page.
Method #2: Use a Scrolling Micro Survey with Hotjar
The trick about getting feedback isn’t in asking a mountain of questions.
Sometimes, one or two are more than enough to find out what you need.
For instance, when we decided to expand the topics we blog about on AdEspresso, we ran a number of separate micro surveys:
First, we validated our assumptions about who you guys are.
Then we asked what other topics apart from FB ads would you like to read more about.
And right now we’re digging deeper trying to gain a better understanding about your marketing activities.
What makes micro surveys ideal for the job is that they are … well… small. They’re nothing else but a tiny slide box that appears on the side of the screen asking a visitor one or two simple questions.
They take hardly any effort to fill in and users could be done with them in a snap.
The problem with micro surveys however is that they can be annoying. They interrupt whatever the visitor’s been doing when the micro survey showed up.
But if that’s not a problem for you, here’s how to run them.
We use Hotjar to run micro-surveys and I have to say, the whole setup process is a breeze. Here’s a step-by-step run down:
Log in to the app and select Polls from the sidebar menu:
Click New Poll to create a micro-survey.
There’s quite a number of elements on this page so I’m going to break it into sections. Normally, all these options below are presented on the same screen.
Set up the Polls’ title, language and the Thank you message recipients will see after taking the survey.
Specify how Hotjar should display the poll:
- What pages the poll should show,
- On what devices, and
- What user behavior should trigger it.
This last option, Behavior, is especially important. For instance, AdEspresso’s polls target only loyal readers. They’re set up to kick in only after a reader has spent about 15 seconds on the page.
I agree, by doing so we may have reduced our conversion rate as many readers would be gone off the page before the survey shows to them. On the other hand, we know that we’re getting responses from people who are really interested in our content.
Create questions you want to ask. Select a question type (i.e. checkbox, radio button, long answer etc.), style your survey and… you’re done.
All the time you’re working on a survey, Hotjar gives you a real time preview so you can see how your micro-survey will look for the users.
Once you set everything up, click Create Poll at the bottom of the page and … you’re done J
To embed your poll, simply include Hotjar’s tracking code in the HEAD element of your site. The platform will then take care of the rest.
Method #3: Invite Visitors to a Proper Survey with UserReport
If you aim to building a full picture of your visitors’ experiences with the site, you might need to ask them for feedback on a number of issues.
In such cases, you could invite them to participate in a full-blown survey.
Verizon, for instance, runs a detailed survey about a visitor’s browsing experience.
(Note: that’s not the entire survey.)
Salesforce uses a full length survey to gauge their visitors’ satisfaction:
How to Create a Similar Report with UserReport
Start by adding your website to the platform:
Place a snippet of code in the HEAD section of every page you want to use UserReport on:
Once done, you’ll get full access to survey features you could avail of:
Customize the survey with your logo and branded colors.
Edit survey questions:
Connect Google Analytics and do much more.
And here’s how the final survey looks like:
(Pop up invitation to the survey. Note the option to postpone completing it.)
Few Words on Gathering Visitor Feedback
I’m going to be bluntly honest but:
Most website surveys suck.
For one, they’re not inviting to participate in. Contain too many questions. Or don’t seem relevant to a visitor at all.
That’s why, when you’re gearing up to launch your visitor survey, keep these few things in mind:
Ask yourself why.
It’s easy to decide that you’re going to survey your visitors. But what’s the bigger purpose in doing it? Why you’re going to bother someone who visits your site perhaps to buy your stuff? What’s the point you’re trying to prove?
Knowing the answer why will help you pick the right question types, ask the right questions and ultimately, make the survey more relevant to your users.
Use the right question types
Before you start writing your questions, you should think how you’re going to use the answers.
I mean, will you be looking for in-depth insights to use when redeveloping a particular process in your business. Or do you just want to prove that your site is actually working? Knowing your goal, the why you’re running the survey will help you establish that.
And based on this answer you’ll be able to pick the right question format.
There are 4 main question types you could use in a survey:
Multiple choice – allowing the survey taker pick one (or more) options from the list of answers you provide.
Rating scales – allowing the survey taker to select a single rating for your question from possible choices. This question type is ideal if you want to measure your visitors opinions or attitudes.
Open ended questions – requiring the participant to write an answer, usually in a comment box. This question type does not provide any pre-set answers to choose from. Instead, the respondent has to write down their impressions.
Demographic questions – used to collect specific data about your respondents, like demographics, income levels etc.
Keep This in Mind When Writing Questions
I’m sure you know this already:
How you formulate questions will have a huge effect on your surveys response rate.
At minimum you should make sure that you:
Use your audience’s language.
Talk to your visitors on their level. Use phrases and words they are likely to use when considering whatever you’re asking about.
Keep questions short and simple to understand.
Your respondents should have to spend any time processing your question.
Keep your questions objective.
Write your questions so that they don’t bias a visitor towards one particular answer.
Asking “We think our site is awesome. Do you think it’s awesome too?” preconditions the answer. It almost forces the visitor to concur with you. To answer truthfully, they would have to object to your statement. And how many visitors will be bothered or have the time to do it?
Now compare it with this question:
Is this site easy to use?
Asking the question objectively frees the recipient from having to object to any statement and leaves them to make their own statements as they wish.