Want to use surveys to gather feedback on WordPress sites? In this post, we compare online survey platforms & WordPress from plugins to see what's best.
Approximate read-time: 4 minutes
There are HUNDREDS of online survey tools available. But which is the best one for WordPress?
When it comes to online surveys for WordPress sites, there are two major choices:
- Online survey platforms (cloud-based)
- WordPress form plugins (self-hosted)
In this article, we'll compare the above choices. But here's a spoiler alert: a WordPress form plugin is almost always better if your site uses WordPress.
There are a few reasons for this, but here's the biggest one first. With a forms plugin, you can build much more than just surveys!
An online survey platform typically only allows for surveys and polls. Will this get the job done? Sure. But since every WordPress site needs a form builder, it's probably better to handle your surveys and forms with one solid plugin.
Nevertheless, we want to give you the scoop on cloud-based surveys so you can decide yourself.
First, we'll look at the pros and cons of online survey platforms. Then we'll take you through the features of our form builder, Formidable Forms.
👉 Read more: How to Create a Survey in WordPress
Online survey platforms: pros & cons
When it comes to online survey platforms, it's not all bad. There are some real benefits. On the flip side, there are some major shortcomings.
Here's what's good about online survey software:
- Cloud-based: It can be useful to host your surveys on another server, especially if you are getting a lot of survey respondents in a short period of time.
- Focused: Since online survey platforms focus only on surveys, it might be easier for users to get started initially.
The trouble with the above two items though? They are also negatives.
A cloud-based solution also stores all your data. That's data that you want full control over! With online survey platforms, you need to keep paying every month to keep your data.
And although it could be said that some survey platforms are sharply focused on surveys, that's all they can do. Like we said earlier, a WordPress form builder can do surveys, simple contact forms, and have many more form building features.
Besides the above, there are some other cons to be aware of:
- Expensive: Online survey platforms are more expensive than WordPress form builders. Although many offer free versions, they often limit the number of survey questions and respondents for a given survey. Also, many form builders (like ours) have free WordPress plugins with no limits!
- Spam: When you host your surveys on a popular server, your brand will be mixed in with everybody else. So when you send emails through an online survey platform, you can expect that many of the emails won't be delivered! A popular platform like SurveyMonkey has millions of users, virtually guaranteeing email deliverability will be impacted negatively.
- Not self-hosted: There are many issues with surveys be hosted off of your site. Besides what we already mentioned, consider all the traffic you could be losing by directing users to another site. Also, you won't be able to track users or redirect them to other pages on your site if they are filling out your survey elsewhere.
- Branding: Many online survey platforms have very specific looks (that you probably recognize). And some of them lack the feature to remove their branding! Why run a survey that doubles as an advertisement for another company?
🌟 Formidable does what other survey builders can't.
Formidable is the most Powerful WordPress survey plugin available!
WordPress form builder: better for surveys
The above pros and cons paint a picture. But you still might have questions. Can a WordPress form builder really do everything an online survey platform can?
The answer is yes! A form builder like Formidable Forms can meet or exceed every single feature.
Formidable is great out of the box. But with some tweaking, it is capable of far more than any online survey provider.
Self-hosted survey forms seamlessly build your brand
Chances are that you've taken a survey online that was built with a survey maker like Survey Monkey or Polldaddy. But do you remember which company the survey was for? Was it branded by Survey Monkey or the company running the survey?
Keep visitors on your site when you use a WordPress form plugin. That way, you can control all the branding, set all the form colors, and include the form on any page of your WordPress site.
And remember, you get to maintain full control over the collected data since it's stored in your database, not offsite in the cloud. Survey results can't be held captive by a monthly fee.
Plus, you won't be limited to a small number of survey questions or respondents. With a WordPress form builder, there really are no limits!
Easily build complex online surveys
It's perfectly natural to wonder if a form building plugin has all the survey features you'll need. After all, there are many survey plugins to choose from.
In reality, a form builder like Formidable has all the survey features you need and many more you didn't know you needed!
Many online surveys use a scale field. This gives the user a choice of radio buttons, usually on a scale of 1 - 10. Assigning a value of "Strongly disagree" to 1 and "Strongly agree" to 10 can help you discover what your users think about your product or service.
Scale fields aren't the only option. Checkbox fields, radio buttons, and dropdowns can all have numeric separate values applied. Used in conjunction with default values, hidden fields, and field calculations, complex math can be performed right within your form. The output of your calculations can be used in the reports or graphs.
A long survey can be split into a multi-page form with a progress bar. This approach is user-friendly and increases conversion rates of a long online survey. Plus, your surveys can branch by skipping the pages that don't apply to your user.
👉 Read more: The Ultimate WordPress Questionnaire Builder
Generate reports from your survey results
Once your online survey is complete, you need an easy way to view the results of the submitted data. That's where the [frm-stats] shortcode shines!
Display the total, number of submissions, average score, maximum or minimum score, and much more for any given field. Follow the guide to filter statistics by date or by the value of another entry.
The shortcode options allow for almost unlimited reports, with a solution to meet every requirement.
Build beautiful graphs & reports
All the data in the world won't do you any good if you can't understand what the numbers are saying. Numeric reports are always useful, but you may instantly recognize an emerging trend shown in a graph that would otherwise have been missed.
Beautiful, eye-catching graphs and charts show form data in seconds. Transform your dull numerical results into vibrant graphs that show data trends at a glance. Formidable Forms offers a wide range of graphing options to choose from.
- column graphs
- horizontal bar graphs
- area graphs
- scatter graphs
- pie charts
- line graphs
- stepped area graphs
- geographic heat maps
The full range of graphing options is too extensive to cover in this blog post, but you can read more about building graphs in the documentation.
👉 Read more: 10 tips for creating a customer survey
That's a lot to take in! But we hope you're one step closer to making a decision.
For more WordPress tips, check the Formidable blog. Thanks for stopping by!