If you've taken a poll, you've probably come across this popular question type but didn't know it had a name! Let's learn what a Likert scale is and how to add one to your online survey.
Approximate read time: 6 minutes
When you think about surveys, your mind might jump to simple "yes or no" survey questions. However, the more detailed survey answer options are, the more valuable and clear the results become.
But it's hard to compile data from hundreds of survey takers if their responses don't follow a similar format.
That's where the "Likert" scale comes in.
A Likert scale enables survey-takers to tell you precisely how they feel about a question without writing down an open-ended response. You can design point scales using different formats depending on the types of questions you include.
In this article, we'll take a minute to explain what a Likert scale is, how it works, and why it's an excellent option for online surveys. Then, we'll show you how to add Likert scale questions to surveys on your site.
Sound good? Let's get to it!
What is a Likert scale, and how is it used in surveys?
In a nutshell, a Likert scale is a psychometric tool commonly used in surveys and questionnaires. By "psychometric," we mean that researchers use this kind of test to measure attitudes.
Even if you're not a psychologist or a researcher, Likert-type questions can be an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to collecting data from users.
Here's a quick example of a Likert scale question:
The scale enables survey takers to provide more precise answers than regular "yes and no" options.
For example, if you feel that you make friends from time to time but not all that often, you might choose the second or third option from the left. If you were only offered "yes / no" prompts, you might answer with a "no" instead.
Put another way, Likert scale responses give you more accurate insights into user preferences.
And if you're using surveys to gauge what customers think about your products or services, more accurate data can lead to bigger improvements and a boost in sales.
Another advantage of rating scales is that they're quicker and easier for users to answer than open-ended questions.
A lot of users might shy away from providing detailed responses to questions. But, if you break down a complex prompt such as "What areas do you think our business could improve in?" into multiple options visitors can simply tick off, odds are good you'll get more responses.
Tips for designing accurate Likert scales
It's important to understand you can't simply add a Likert scale to any old question and expect it to get a trove of accurate data.
For this survey tool to work, you'll need to follow several basic guidelines, which include:
- ⚖️ Make the scale symmetrical. Traditionally, these scales offer a symmetrical range of options along two possible extremes. Rather than asking if users "agree or disagree," you can design a 5-point Likert scale with responses from "Strongly agree" to "Strongly disagree" with a neutral option in the middle.
- Use questions that can be answered with a scale. Some questions don't lend themselves well to a scale-type question, such as: "Will you be coming back to our website?" Instead, you might opt to structure that question as: "How likely are you to come back to our website?".
- Avoid using adjectives in your questions. Adjectives can skew the results of users' answers. If you ask: "Did you love our services?" you're less likely to get honest responses (or might discourage users from answering altogether).
There's no universal template for Likert scales. What matters most is to provide clear, simple questions and a reasonable degree of choice.
How to add a Likert scale to a WordPress survey
Today we'll walk you through creating a WordPress survey with Likert scale questions using our favorite WordPress survey plugin, Formidable Forms.
Why use a plugin, you may ask? Because it's quick and code-free!
If you already have this great WordPress form builder installed on your WordPress website, skip ahead to the next step. ⏬ And if you don't have Formidable Forms yet, click the button below to grab a plan!
You'll want to opt for either the Business or Elite plan to benefit from all of the survey features.
Once you have your license, install and activate Formidable Forms on your WordPress site. And now you're good to go!
Step 1: Install the Surveys and Polls add-on
From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Formidable → Add-Ons.
Then, click to install and activate the Survey and Polls Add-On.
Step 2: Create your survey
Next, under Formidable → Forms click the + Add New button to create a survey form. You can then choose to use one of the pre-built WordPress survey templates or build a survey from scratch by selecting Blank Form.
After you name your survey form and click Create, you'll be taken to the drag and drop form builder to customize your survey.
Find the Likert Scale field under the Advanced Fields section on the left side of your screen.
Then, either double-click or click and drag the field onto your form to insert it into your survey.
Using Formidable Forms, you can add multiple questions to a single Likert field, which works perfectly if you want to use the same rating scale for several prompts:
To edit the questions, answers, or rating scale, just click on the field in your form to open the Field Options menu.
Using Formidable Forms and the Surveys add-on, you can also combine Likert scales with all kinds of other questions. That includes yes and no questions, multiple-choice prompts, open-ended questions, and more.
Here's a quick video tutorial in case you need a hand.
Once your survey is ready, click Update to save it. Almost done! Now we just need to share our survey with the world and start collecting responses!
Step 3: Publish your Likert scale survey
Head to the WordPress post or page where you want to insert your survey.
In the text editor, click the + to add a block and select the Formidable Forms block.
And last, select your survey from the dropdown menu that appears in the Formidable block.
Congratulations, your survey will now be live whenever you hit Update or Publish!
Ready to add a Likert scale to your online survey?
Likert scales are remarkably easy to implement in surveys as long as you keep a couple of tips in mind:
- Each interval level should be symmetrical so as not to skew statistical analysis.
- Stick to questions that can be answered using a scale.
- Avoid adjectives!
And adding these scales to your online surveys is even simpler if you use a WordPress form maker plugin. We think the best one out there is Formidable Forms, but we may be slightly biased.
With Formidable Business plans and above, you can add Likerts to your surveys or regular forms, include as many questions as you want, and design a rating scale with whatever values you see fit.
Plus, unlike most survey plugins on the market, you can collect an unlimited number of responses and emails with Formidable too!