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The complete guide to website surveys

Everything you need to know about website surveys, from deciding what kind of survey you want to run to asking the perfect questions.

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You’ve probably wondered how your customers like your website and your products—or maybe you just assume that since business is going well and traffic is coming in, everything is fine. No news is probably good news, right? 

But to truly know how your customers enjoy and interact with what you offer—what they think is working well, and what they’d like to see improved—running website surveys can get you all of that information and more. There’s no better way to tap into what your customers are thinking than to just ask them directly. No more guessing games, spending hours or days sorting through disorganized data, or simply hoping everything is fine: you need direct answers, and website surveys are the best way to get that from your customers and prospects. 

Website surveys are a pretty broad category, so we’ve done the hard work for you. This guide covers everything you need to know about website surveys, from deciding what kind of survey you want to run to asking the perfect questions to get your open, honest answers. 

What is a website survey? 

A website survey is a survey that helps you gather feedback on your website or your products directly from your customers. You can use these surveys to get both quantitative and qualitative customer feedback from your website visitors—it’s a great way to dig into the voice of the customer and find out what your target audience and demographic really thinks. 

Website surveys let you capture all this information in a way that doesn’t demand much time or effort from your customers but leaves you with plenty of rich, actionable data. You can use the information you gather to fix things that aren’t working well, make good things even better, and hone in on your customers’ top pain points and priorities. 

You won’t know what’s wrong until you ask—and website surveys give you the chance to do just that directly to your customer base. 

How do website surveys work? 

Website surveys appear on your website to certain users after they take an action. You can define your criteria to make your survey show to website users in a few different categories. 

By traffic source. Your visitors reach your website in many different ways—some come in from paid ads campaigns, others via email marketing, and many come in from social media channels. If you’d like to ask for customer feedback on an aspect of your marketing methods, like how helpful they find your emails, you can target your survey to appear to anyone who found your site via an email. This can help marketers further hone marketing messages. 

By visit length. You can target your survey to customers who spend a specific amount of time on your website—perhaps you want to ask people who spend 10 minutes or more on your site about their user experience and how they’re finding the information you offer or your products for sale. You can also target your survey based on how many different pages a user visits. 

By activity. If you’re curious about how visitors are finding the ecommerce portion of your website, but you’re not looking to ask visitors to your blog about what they think, then you can target your survey to just those who visit a certain page or take a designated action, like adding items to their shopping cart. 

By number of visits. Customers who visit your site more than once must have seen something they liked or needed—so you might want to target your website feedback survey to just those frequent visitors. Maybe they’re actually visiting again because they couldn’t find something the first time, or perhaps they truly love the products you offer and are returning for another purchase. 

A website feedback survey is typically built using survey tools (like GetFeedback), and they can be highly customized so you can get at the heart of what you need to know.

Why you should use website surveys

Most visitors to your website remain pretty anonymous. Though you can get some limited info on their basic data, and make some educated guesses at their preferences, the vast majority of them will be unknown entities to you unless you proactively take action to collect and analyze feedback on their experiences. In other words, you won’t have a clear idea of what they really think about your website usability, your products, or their overall customer satisfaction unless you ask them directly. 

Website surveys are a great way to get this kind of in-depth feedback without requiring a huge financial commitment on your end, or a big investment of time on the customer end. You can use a website survey to conduct market research for an upcoming product launch, get site feedback on new sections of your website to ensure they’re user-friendly, or ask about anything else you need to know.

Types of website surveys 

A website survey can come in several different forms. That’s great news—it means you can select just the right kind of online survey for your needs. Here are just a few of the kinds of surveys you can add to your site: 

Slide-out surveys. slide-out website surveys pop open into a specified place in the user’s browser when a certain condition is met, like scrolling to a designed part of a web page, moving to close out their browser window, or navigating to a different tab. 

Feedback button surveys. The simplest, least time-consuming, and most effective way to gather this feedback is by simply inserting a pervasive feedback button on your website or that users can click on at their convenience. You can design these to be as simple (about a specific part of a page) or as detailed (general site feedback) as you like. 

Embedded feedback icons surveys. You can capture user attitudes via embedded feedback icons. This is best used to understand the quality of the content that you are sending and posting in your Knowledge Base or FAQs page. For example, you can embed a thumbs up/thumbs down feedback survey at the end of each blog post or email. Or you could ask users if a FAQ article helped answer their question via a yes/no icon.

There are many ways to integrate surveys into your website so customers can offer feedback. You want to choose the one that will get you the most survey responses so you can collect enough data to make decisions. If you’re having trouble deciding which one to use, it can be helpful to think of the complete customer journey that each website visitor you want to survey will be on. 

Are they completing focused, intensive tasks? Then a pop-up might be distracting and annoying, but a widget lets them answer on their own time. On the other hand, a survey form that pops up after a website user has read a whole blog post can catch the respondent in the perfect moment after they’ve consumed your information. 

Making your surveys designed to disrupt the customer as little as possible, while making the survey itself as painless as possible to take, will net you more survey respondents and more high-quality data. 

Website survey examples 

So what can your website survey actually look like? Website surveys are such a broad category that it can get overwhelming to design the right one for your needs—where do you even start? You can check out the extensive survey templates from GetFeedback to start getting ideas. And here are a few examples of surveys you might find inspiring. 

Example 1: The Net Promoter Score® survey 

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple but highly effective way to gauge how loyal your customers are. It’s one of the best customer loyalty surveys out there today. By asking just one question—on a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends or colleagues??—you can determine how well your efforts to delight and retain customers are going. 

Respondents who answer 9 or 10 are your Promoters. They love your company and your products, and sing your praises to their friends, family, colleagues, and others. Those who answer 7 or 8 are Passives, while anyone who responds with a 6 or below is a Detractor. Calculating your NPS and tracking your results over time will give you a full view of your progress in inspiring customer loyalty

You can run the NPS survey on your website for returning customers. It’s a great option for website surveys because it’s only one question long, though you can and should give an option for verbatim feedback as well to explain why they rated you the way they did. 

Example 2: The website feedback survey

Your website is a vital element of your success. It needs to be easy for potential customers to navigate and find what they need, to be successful at leading customers through your desired digital journey, and selling them with compelling content and copy. 

While data points like conversion rates and UX studies can give you some idea of how effective and enjoyable your customers find your website, the best way to find out is just to ask. Then you can take the verbatim feedback or multiple-choice answers they give to make adjustments to your website and digital customer experience as a whole. This is how you continuously improve your website—especially important as your business grows and your site grows along with it. 

You can ask questions of your website users about their experience on the site, if they found that they were looking for, or asking why they visited your website today. (More ideas to come below for sample questions!)

Example 3: The abandoned cart survey

When your website visitors load up their cart with your products, it’s because they’re certainly at least thinking about buying them. But then, so often they just abandon those full carts and go off to browse somewhere else without completing their purchase. This is a frustratingly common occurrence for ecommerce businesses. 

While email marketing can help bridge the gap and remind potential customers what they’re missing out on, finding out why your customers are abandoning their carts before finalizing their purchase can yield a higher conversion rate for your business in the future. Maybe your online checkout is buggy, or they want to do more research they can’t easily access on your site, or they’re just frustrated with the number of steps they need to take to make a simple purchase. 

Asking directly why they abandoned their cart will yield valuable answers you can use to make improvements. You can trigger this survey to launch if the website user is making a move to close the browser window or exit your website without checking out. Sometimes the survey will even nudge the respondent to complete their purchase. 

Example 4: The website redesign survey

Redesigning your website takes a fair amount of time and money. You want to be sure the changes benefit the user experience in positive ways, but sometimes it’s hard to determine ahead of time what customers will think. 

That’s a great opportunity to run a website redesign survey. You can survey visitors before or after the redesign takes place (or both) to check what they truly value on your website, what they think of the new changes, and gauge any additional changes that need to be made to make your redesign a true success. 

For more examples, check out our complete guide of UX metrics.

Website survey questions 

Now that you know some of the types of surveys you can run on your website, it’s time to start thinking about asking the right questions. The possibilities are truly limitless, but there are some common questions you’ll want to think about including in your next survey. Your questions may be multiple-choice, on a scale, or open-ended—it truly depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Let’s look at some common website survey goals and the questions that go along with them. 

Example 1: What customers want

If you’re designing landing pages to convert customers, you want to make sure they’re as effective as possible. Here are a few questions to ask to ensure you’re providing them with an optimal experience: 

  • Did you find what you were looking for on this page? 

  • What’s the one thing that this page is missing? 

  • What do you like most about our website? 

  • What’s the one thing you would miss if you couldn’t use our website anymore? 

  • How easy was it to find what you were looking for on this page? 

Example 2: How the purchase experience went 

Asking about the purchase process right after your customers successfully check out means you can get fresh views on how it all went. Try asking one or more of these questions to gauge how easy or complex you’re making the check-out process on your website:

  • How easy was it to complete your purchase? 

  • What was the main factor in your purchase decision?

  • What other options did you consider before buying [Product Name]? 

  • What was your biggest concern or fear about purchasing from us? 

Example 3: What’s driving customers away 

These questions are great to include on a webpage that isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped. They can help you find the issues that are driving away customers before they take the action you’re trying to drive them towards, or if your page has a high bounce rate. 

  • What’s one thing missing from this page?

  • Were you able to find the information you were looking for? 

  • What other information would you like to see on this page? 

  • Does this page meet your expectations?

  • What were you hoping to find on this page?

Example 4: What causes customers to cancel

If your website allows for online cancellation or product return requests, getting feedback from customers right after they cancel can yield valuable information on what’s driving that decision. After they submit a cancellation request, you can add a survey with questions like these to learn more: 

  • What could we have done better? 

  • Was there anything specific that made you cancel? 

  • What’s the primary reason you’re canceling your account? 

Example 5: When you redesign your website

Checking in on an upcoming or recent website redesign is a smart idea to make sure you’re not overlooking potential pitfalls. Here are a few questions you might want to include: 

  • What could we do to make this site more useful? 

  • How helpful is this page/article? 

  • Did you find what you were looking for on this page? 

  • Did you like our old website, or does this new one work better? 

  • What would you like to change on our website? 

Tips for writing better survey questions 

The best website survey questions for feedback are clear, goal-oriented, and direct. 

  • Vague questions or poorly-worded ones will just confuse your customers, and they will end up closing your survey without taking it. Make sure you’re asking clearly and simply when you survey customers. 

  • Questions that don’t link directly to a specific business goal won’t give you actionable insights. Set the goals of your survey first, and then write questions that tie back directly to those goals. 

  • If you’re trying to skirt around a difficult issue, like why a customer chose to cancel, you may end up frustrating your customer. You want open and honest feedback—so be sure to ask direct and honest questions. 

How to create a successful website survey 

While every survey will look different, there are a few key elements you’ll need to consider for success before you launch one on your website: 

  • It should be mobile-friendly. A large and steadily increasing share of internet browsing, searching, and purchasing is now coming from mobile devices. If the tool you’re using to survey customers on your website assumes they’re arriving from a desktop browser, you risk creating mobile usability issues. Instead, choose a survey product that is automatically optimized for mobile traffic. Learn more about mobile UX.

  • It should be integrated with your existing platforms. The data and verbatim feedback you receive from your surveys can, and should, be used across your sales, marketing, and product design departments. Choosing a survey vendor that allows you to integrate your survey data with the platforms you already use, like Salesforce, will make your data all the more valuable because it’s more usable. 

  • It should offer flexibility and customization. Your website doesn’t look like anyone else’s, so your survey shouldn’t either. It should seamlessly match your existing branding and tone so it’s clear it’s a welcome part of your overall customer experience. 

Looking for a survey website platform that offers all these qualities and more? Try GetFeedback today and see the difference our advanced customer experience solution can make for your website.

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