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An estimatation of time needed: give people an idea of how much time survey will take to complete.
A mix of open and closed questions: A closed question gives quantitative information. Example: Please rate usability of web site ? Very good – Good – Average – Bad – Very bad An open question gives qualitative information. Example: What subject would like to see on site ? Users are free to answer as they want to.
Closed questions are much easier to analyze. With an open questions you may get as many different answers as respondents. It is sometimes useful to mix open and closed in same question. Example: What subject would like to see on site ? Answer: News – Interviews – Pictures – Games – Other, please specify. Therefore a good ratio is one open question for five closed questions.
No personal information that are not necessary: do you need snailmail address or phone number ? The more personal information you ask, fewer responses you will get as people will give up along way.
Ask respondents to leave a comment at end of survey. Inform them that you can use a comment as a testimonial.
Let users enter a sweepstake, offer exclusive content, give them a giveaway, anything to motivate people to take survey.
When you write questions and answers, always have in mind what it will take to analyze them. Do not offer too many answers. Do not ask too many open questions. More answers mean multiple different results and a risk that trend that should be there is diluted and cannot be seen.
The best tool to analyze answers is a spreadsheet such as Excel. Although some online survey tools are able to analyze answers.
It is not recommended to give results online to users as it can influence people who have not taken survey yet and inform competition.
Some suggested questions to ask in a survey are:
What do you think of web site content ? Very good – Good – Average – Bad – Very bad
Rate usability of site ? Very good – Good – Average – Bad – Very bad
Is it easy to find relevant content on site ? Yes – No
Do you like design of site ? Yes – No
What content would like to see on site ? Open question, users are free to answer what they want to
After 100 or 1,000 surveys filled and analyzed, you already have a good snapshot of users' opinion. The next step is to adapt web site based on survey's results and satisfy users.
Phil Blasco has 10 years of web marketing experience. He shares his best tips in Webmaster-Now, a tutorial to help you build, manage and promote a web site. Webmaster-Now also includes a set of online tools and a directory to give you all you need to make a success of your site. http://www.webmaster-now.com