Online Polls/Surveys: How and Why to Use Them


Polls (surveys) are a well known, effective way of measuring information/opinions. More formally known as opinion polls, polls ask various groups of people questions related to a certain topic. In the past, polls were only done through mail or telephone, however the power of the internet has brought new methods of polling as well as new types of polling altogether.

A poll using the internet is known as an online poll. Here are some of the many advantages to using a poll to capture opinion, especially an online one:

  1. Information is Provided Directly by the User
    Because the user interacts directly with the poll, there is no need for a middleman. This reduces costs, and ensures that the data is as close to accurate as possible.
  2. Cost
    The cost of an online polling system is extremely low in comparison to a phone based or mail based polling system. This is because there is not a high requirement for employees to complete tasks such as recording information, compiling information, etc, because it can all be complete by a computer.
  3. Size
    The size of an online poll can be as large, or as small, as you want it. The survey will only run however long you want it to collect data.
  4. Sampling
    Online surveys allow you to target the survey to whichever demographic you see fit. Here is an example, someone may fill out some preliminary information, such as their age or location, and then the software will determine if their answers match the demographic you are looking for.
  5. Results
    Survey software is automatically able to compile & analyze the results, both while the survey is running and when it is finished. Because the analysis is done by a computer, there is no need for a statistician to analyze the results for you, so you save both time & money.
  6. Incentive
    Many times you can offer an incentive to a user for completing a survey, such as being entered into a drawing to win a coupon, gift card, etc, which gives a better chance of people giving information.
  7. Speed/Timing
    Because computer transactions are instant, you are able to see instantly the results of a survey, as well as the exact time the survey was filled out. Also, the creation and use of surveys is extremely short when they are online.

Now that you know some of the benefits to online surveys/polls, here are some of the companies that provide online surveys:

Go to one of these sites, sign up, and then create your first survey and spread the link. Some sites will spread the link for you. If you aren’t sure of the best way to create and manage a survey, let a company like RP Design do it for you.


Cory is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Eastern Connecticut State University. Cory is skilled in XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, C/C++, and Objective-C. Cory has extensive knowledge of open source software, and participates in the development of well-known software projects, such as Mozilla Firefox and Drupal.

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