Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Create Online Surveys: Guide To The Best Free Services
Are you looking for a web-based service that allows you to create and publish a professional online survey? Do you need to create an online survey but are not too sure about what service to use? In this MasterNewMedia guide you can find the best available online survey services and some information to help you choose your ideal one.
Photo credit: John Takai
Online surveys main application is to help you get in touch with your customers and readers. Whether you want to know what your subscribers think of your site or how well they have received your new price changes, creating online surveys is a perfect way to receive opinions and criticism on your existing offering or before investing energy and money into a new project.
Online surveys are specifically conceived to request personal feedback, which means you put your users at the center of your own marketing strategy, making your audience feel compelled to create something valuable and great with you. Your users feel not just paying customers, but proactive consumers whose voice gets to be heard.
Recently I have seen myself how online surveys can be a powerful mean to collect useful data and engage your audience. When Robin Good recently launched his new POP project some weeks ago, he started an online survey asking his interested subscribers which topic they would have liked most to be covered inside the course. In a matter of hours I saw Robin gathering lots of valuable data about what topics people really wanted to hear about, and then shaping his curriculum to serve those very items.
How do these online survey creators work?
You simply register for the service and start creating your questions. There are several options here: you may want to go for an open question with a text box, create a drop-down menu with multiple choices, have a matrix of multiple responses, or ask respondents to rate a specific item to express their level of satisfaction.
Once your survey is completed, you have several ways to distribute it, either by sending a link to your subscribers or by publishing directly on your web site or blog. As soon as people start filling in data, your online survey service starts organizing the information received into reports, that you can either keep private or make available for everyone else to see.
Now that I have stimulated your curiosity, let me share with you some of the key features and traits that characterize these online survey services:
- Web-based: Online surveys are completely built and managed on the web. You do not need to download any software, plug-in, add-on or anything else to create questions and collect the responses.
- Real-time evaluation: Results of your online surveys are processed in real-time and are immediately visible.
- Multi-language: Multiple languages are fully supported so you can reach your audience in its native tongue.
- Survey report: During the life of your online surveys you get detailed, analytic reports on the state of your survey. How many people have responded so far, which kind of responses have you got, etc.
Besides these key general features and traits, I have used some additional characteristics to prepare a set of comparative tables and individual reviews to help me put all of these online survey services through their paces.
The comparative criteria I have selected include:
- Questions per survey: Number of questions you may ask on each online survey.
- Responses per survey: Amount of responses you get from each online survey you create.
- Question types: Different kinds of questions you can ask inside your online survey.
- Distribution: Ways to publish and share your online survey (embed, e-mail, direct URL, etc.)
- Later editing: Adding, editing or deleting questions after your online survey has been published.
- Templates: Custom ready-made templates and themes to style your online survey.
- Export / download: Support for exporting or downloading your online survey for offline editing and consulting.
- Private / public option: Access restriction to allow only selected users to collaborate on your online survey.
- Skip logic: Conditional questions that are asked inside the online survey only if previous answers met precise criteria you have set.
- Premium features: Key advanced features available in premium paid accounts.
Create Online Surveys - Comparative Tables
Create Online Surveys
LimeSurvey is a free open-source survey application that allows you to create your online surveys with ease. The service supports quite a number of common and less-known features and it is regarded as high-quality inside marketing, customer satisfaction and quality management surveys. LimeSurvey supports an unlimited number of surveys plus unlimited questions and responses. In fact, the only limitation is the size of your database. A template editor allows the integration of pictures and movies. Skip logic, 20 question types, export functionality and distribution via email, URL or embedded link make this a comparable software application. Advanced features include account management and multi-lingual support.
Survey.io is a free web-based service that allows you to create a customer development survey using three data points. You can generate an unlimited number of responses and a redirect to your product is usually displayed at the end of the survey. As far as distribution is concerned, you can share a direct link to your survey, embed it inside a web page, or share it via e-mail. Edits, skip logic and export functionality are not available. Survey.io requires a free account before you can start utilizing the service.
SurveyGizmo is an online service that allows you to create surveys. An unlimited number of questions based on 20 question types is allowed and monthly responses range from 250 (free) to 1 million (dedicated). Custom templates, editing after publication, exporting and distribution through URL, embedded, email and other methods are available on all pricing plans. Three monthly pay plans ($19, $49 and $159) offer various features: phone support, brand control, skip logic, secure link and multiple users for team collaboration. A dedicated plan ($7,888/year) allows 40 users, professional services and a dedicated database.
Survey Monkey is a web service that lets you create online surveys. You can start how many surveys you want, limited to 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. There is a wide range of question types you can add to your survey. Some of these are: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), matrix of choices, drop-down menu, rating scale, textbox, and more. To create your surveys you can also choose among several ready-made templates. Once your survey is ready, you can provide a link back to your survey or embed it on any web page or social media site using a standard snippet of embed code. It is always possible, even after you publish your survey, to edit your questions. At a free level, you do not have export / download features, private / public option, neither you can use a skip logic to add questions based on previous answers. Premium accounts start at $19.95/month and allow you to have unlimited questions per survey, unlimited custom themes, branding options, custom "thank you" pages and much more.
Zoomerang is a powerful online survey creator with a large research analysis business behind it. At a free level, you can start unlimited surveys with 30 questions and 100 responses for each. There are many question types you can choose from, like: matrix of choices, multiple choice (one and multiple answers), rating scale, textbox, drop-down menu and more. Questions can always be modified, even after you publish your survey and people have already started responding. Zoomerang also offers customers to access their 2+ million survey takers to find out anything you want. No embed, export / download feature, public / private option, custom templates nor skip logic are available. To enable all these features, you must switch to one of the premium accounts available. The first level of premium accounts is priced at $199/year and also allows you to have unlimited questions and responses for each survey and use ready-made templates.
PollDaddy is an online service to create embeddable surveys and polls. You can start unlimited surveys with 10 questions and 100 responses each, completely free of charge. You have up to 11 different types of questions spanning from multiple choices to matrix of choices, from drop-down menu to textboxes and more. An option to use skip logic (create questions that depend on previous answers) is also available. You cannot edit your questions once the survey is open and published. Once your survey is ready, you can customize it using a ready-made theme and then embed your survey using a snippet of embed code. No export / download feature, nor public / private option are supported. Premium plans for PollDaddy start from $200/year and give you unlimited questions, 1000 responses for each survey, more customization possibilities and survey data export.
- Google Forms
Google Forms is a web-based service inside Google Docs that allows you to create free online surveys. You can start unlimited surveys, with no limit for questions and responses. You can also choose among seven types of questions like: multiple choices, drop-down menus, textboxes, and also use the so-called "skip logic" which allows you to create questions based on previous answers. Like any other document published on Google Docs, you can always modify your survey after publication. Once your survey is ready, you can customize it with a ready-made theme and then embed your survey on any web page or social media site using a standard snippet of embed code. If you need to export your survey data, you can do so from the Google Docs dashboard. By default, your survey is set as private, unless you publish or embed it somewhere on the web. No premium features are available.
eSurveysPro is a web-based survey creator that lets you create as many surveys you want with unlimited questions and responses. You also have a wide range of question types available, like: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), matrix of choices, drop-down menu, rating scale, textbox, and more. Skip logic (a feature to create questions that depend on previous answers) is available as well. No embed option, export / download feature. ready-made themes, nor private / public settings are available. Changing questions on your published surveys is also not supported. Premium plans for eSurveyPro start from $100/year and allow you to go ads-free, export the data of your surveys, have priority e-mail support and receive e-mail notifications related to your surveys.
Wufoo is an online form builder that you can use to create embeddable surveys. The free account of Wufoo allows you to create up to three online forms with 10 questions each. The number of available responses per survey is not specified. Your surveys can either be public or private and you have a range of seven question types to choose when building your forms, like: multiple choices, matrix of choices, textboxes, drop-down menus and much more. Editing your questions after publishing your survey is not possible. Once your form is completed, you can personalize your survey with one of the ready-made templates available. No skip logic (creating questions that depend on previous answers), nor the export of your survey data are available. Wufoo premium accounts grant you access to extended features like: higher number of surveys you can create, file attachments, password-protected surveys and export / download option. Premium accounts start from $9.95/month.
QuestionForm is a web service that you can use to create embeddable online surveys. You can build two surveys with five questions each and unlimited responses, free of charge. You also have up to eight types of questions you can use, including: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), matrix of choices, drop-down menu, rating scale, textbox, and more. You are able to create, edit or delete questions even after your online survey has been published. Also, if you need to export your data you can do so from the QuestionForm dashboard. No ready-made templates, private / public option, nor skip logic (a feature to create questions that depend on previous answers) are available. Premium accounts of QuestionForm start from $9.95 and allow you to create up to four surveys with 15 question each, use custom templates, add file attachments to online surveys and receive technical support via e-mail.
KwikSurveys is a free online survey creator that allows you to build unlimited surveys with no restriction to the number of questions you can include and responses you can receive. Also, you have up to seven different question types to create your survey like: matrix of choices, drop-down menu, multiple choice (one and multiple answers), textbox, rating scale and more. If you need to export your survey data, the web service gives you an option to do so. Using KwikSurveys you cannot embed your online surveys, nor you have the option to edit your questions after your survey has been published. Also custom templates, private / public option and skip logic feature to create conditional questions are not available. No premium accounts either.
With eSurveyCreator you can build embeddable online surveys right from your browser window. Without spending a dime, you have one free month to build unlimited surveys with no question limits and 350 available responses per survey. Seven types of questions can be used on eSurveyCreator to build your survey, including: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), textbox, matrix of choices and more. You can also use the so-called skip-logic feature, which allows you to add conditional questions that depend on previous answers inside the survey. No ready-made templates, nor private / public options are supported, but a feature to export your survey data is available. Premium accounts, starting from $24/month, allow you to get rid of time limitations, have unlimited responses, add photo and logos to your survey, use custom themes and also go ads-free.
FreeOnlineSurveys allows you to create an online survey free of charge. Your survey may contain up to 20 questions and 50 responses and will expire after ten days. Among the seven available question types you can use, there are: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), matrix of choices, drop-down menu and a few others. Once you have published your survey, there is no way to edit your questions, add or delete them. Notwithstanding the free component of the web service, FreeOnlineSurveys is very limited in features. You have no embed option, custom templates, export / download feature, embed option, private / public settings, nor skip logic to create conditional answers that depend on previous answers. No premium plans are available either.
Pollograph is a web service that allows you to create online surveys. With a free account you can create up to five surveys with unlimited questions and 200 responses each. Question types available with Pollograph are seven, including: multiple choice (one and multiple answers), matrix of choices, textbox and a few others. To style your survey, you can use one of the ready-made templates available and then start adding your questions. Your surveys can either be public or private. Not available on Pollograph are: embed option, export / download feature, skip logic (conditional questions based on previous answers) nor the ability to modify your questions after the survey has been published. Premium plans for Pollograph start from $10/month and let you create up to 99 online surveys with 1000 responses each, have a link back to your site inside the survey, and privately view your results.
Daniele Bazzano -
Originally prepared by Robin Good, Daniele Bazzano and Elia Lombardi for MasterNewMedia. First published on October 5th, 2009 and updated on April 20th, 2011 as "Create Online Surveys: Guide To The Best Free Services".