Coming up soon in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course is a huge section on interactivity with WordPress, learning about comments, integrating social media, social media automation, and how to encourage and support such interactivity without draining your time, energy, and emotional being. To help you get started thinking about how you can use your WordPress site to promote interactivity, we begin with polls and surveys.
Everyone asks readers “What do you think?” at the end of their posts, a lousy way to interact. It asks for an opinion not a dialog. A fun way to gather information and interact with readers is through polls and surveys.
In this tutorial and assignment, you will be creating a poll in a post on your test site.
What is a Poll and Survey?
A poll typically answers a single question with multiple answers. A survey asks many questions.
When would you use either?
- You might do a survey to check with with clients on how you are doing as a company with customer support and services
- A poll is often used to gather a collective opinion on a subject such as who you would vote for in an election if the election was now
- Want to make a change in your website? A survey asking visitors to comment on what they enjoy or don’t, and ask them for suggestions on how to improve could yield interesting results.
- A poll is used to vote up or down on something, calling for a yeah or nay
- Wish to learn more about who your readers or customers are? A survey carefully scripted can yield surprising results especially if the person knows it is anonymous. They are often more willing to be honest.
There is an art to designing and developing polls and surveys for specific demographics, ranging from political polls to scientific surveys.
Polldaddy is one option, but there are many more for WordPress users including the use of Google Docs, Forms, and Spreadsheets. I’ll only cover Polldaddy, but do consider exploring the various poll and survey options if this is something you wish to include in your WordPress site often.
To help you understand more about how polls and surveys work, and to come up with your own, here are some references articles on the subject.
- Writing Polls and Surveys:
- Frequently Asked Questions – Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
- Using Online Surveys and Polls to Connect with Your Clients – Cornell Small Farms Program
- Tips for Writing Polls and Surveys – Suess’s Pieces
- Grammar Girl : How to Write Good Survey Questions – Quick and Dirty Tips
- Purdue OWL: Conducting Primary Research
- AP Stylebook on Polls and Surveys
- Survey Tips: How to write a good survey questionnaire – Accesscable.net
- How to Write Good Survey and Poll Questions – SurveyMonkey
- How to Create an Effective PR Survey – PR In Your Pajamas
- 10 Tips for Writing and Delivering Effective Poll and Survey Questions – Adobe Connect User Community
- 8 Tips for Writing Effective Survey Questions – Constant Contact
- Designing Surveys that Count – Keen State College and Monadnock United Way
- Guide to Writing Survey Questions – Manaqgement Analysis and Development – Minnesota State University
- Designing a Survey – Science Buddies
- How To Write A Survey – SmartGirl
- SmartGirl – How To Write A Survey (Advanced)
- Customer Satisfaction Example Survey Questions – SurveyMonkey
- Commentaries on Polls and Surveys:
- You Can’t Trust Most Polls or Surveys – Oddly Together
- 20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results – NCPP – National Council on Public Polls
- Another Look at Survey Bias – VOTAMATIC
- Gallup vs. the World – NYTimes.com
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Public Opinion Polling
- The Power and Perils of Polling – The Daily MBA
- Poll and Survey Tools:
Creating a Polldaddy Poll or Survey
Remember, a poll is one question with multiple answers and a survey contains multiple questions for single or multiple choice answers.
To create a Polldaddy poll or survey in a WordPress.com site, use the Add Poll button on the post or Page.
To create a Polldaddy poll or survey on a self-hosted version of WordPress, download and install the Polldaddy WordPress Plugin, then click the Add Poll button on a post or Page.
- Place your cursor where you wish your poll or survey form to appear. I recommend an introductory paragraph to introduce the subject, but that is not necessary. Click Add Poll.
- If you have created polls before with Polldaddy, the past polls would appear on the list of the overlay that appears (interstitial). If you haven’t or wish to start a new one, click Add New.
- Title your new poll with the question you are posing to the readers. It is typically a question or a statement to agree or disagree with.
- Enter each answer in the section below. Add a new answer by clicking the Add New Answer button. To remove an answer or blank answer, click the X.
- Choose from among the options to customize the look and feel and results of your poll:
- Poll Style: Click the next and previous arrows to scroll through the various design options.
- Results Display: Choose how to display the results of the poll.
- Repeat Voting: If you wish to allow or not repeat voting to protect the integrity of the poll, make a selection. Note that when you block by cookie and IP address, if the person changes computers, they may vote again.
- Comments: Turn comments on and off the poll not the post, or moderate them, easily.
- Save: Select from among the options to randomize the order of the answers, allow other answers with a form for the user to add their answer, multiple choice, and whether or not you wish to add sharing so people can help you promote the poll.
- When the options have been selected, click Save Poll.
- Next to Save Poll will appear Embed in Post. Review the poll, make changes if necessary, save it again, and click Embed in Post.
- A WordPress shortcode will appear that looks like
- Save Draft and click Preview or Right Click View Post and choose open in a new tab to review the front end view of the post to see how the poll will look.
- Edit the post and the poll if you wish to make changes
- Turn off comments on the post by looking for the Discussion section on the Edit post screen. Don’t see it? Go to Screen Options and select it from the list. On the Discussion module, uncheck the comments to turn comments off. Most of the time the interactivity is on the poll and you may not wish to have a discussion there but later when you announce the results.
- When ready, publish the post with the poll.
For more help with Polldaddy, see:
Your assignment is to create a poll or survey on your test site.
Your test site is closed to the public, so unless you link to it, no one will see your poll. Below in the comments, share your experience and include a properly formed HTML link, or head to our popular WordPress School Google+ Community and find the post for this assignment (search for polldaddy on the community page) and tell us about the process and paste in the link (no html). We will check out your poll and vote.
This is a quick assignment, but give it some thought. Polls and surveys are powerful ways to interact and get feedback from your readers. How will you use them on your site?
This is a tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School. For more information, and to join this free, year-long, online WordPress School, see:
- Lorelle’s WordPress School Introduction
- Lorelle’s WordPress School Description
- WordPress School Tutorials List
- WordPress School Google+ Community
- WordPress Publishing Checklist
- How to Give Feedback and Criticism