How to Create an Online Survey Using SurveyMonkey -- for Free

By Techwalla Contributor

Many of us have completed online surveys or feedback questionnaires. Often these sorts of surveys are created by research marketing organizations on behalf of retail or service companies. Other times they may be custom developed using dynamic HTML or scripting languages. But you don't need to contract with a research firm or understand HTML to create a professional online survey. In fact, you can build your own survey without spending any money, and with very little effort and time. You can create an online survey using SurveyMonkey, a site devoted to online surveys that is extremely flexible and easy to use. SurveyMonkey offers a basic survey service for free that allows you to include more than a dozen types of questions and to view results online. Using the free service, the number of questions and responses is limited. If you have more sophisticated needs, then SurveyMonkey has several subscription plans that allow you to create unlimited surveys .

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet connection
  • Draft/idea of your survey questions and responses

Step 1

Navigate to the SurveyMonkey website ( and click the "Join Now for Free" link. This allows you to create a username and password for your account.

Step 2

After creating an account (or logging in to your account), click "Create Survey" on the menu bar to begin creating your first survey.

Step 3

Enter a title for your survey. This title optionally appears at the top of your published survey. Note that if you upgrade your free account to a professional account, you may create and use survey templates. Templates allow you to create saved layouts and formatting for easy re-use in multiple surveys.

Step 4

Select from a variety of themes for your survey. Themes control the colors and formatting for your survey. Use the drop-down control to select the desired theme. Note that if you upgrade your free account to a professional account, you may create your own themes.

Step 5

Determine whether you want your survey to be a single page or divided onto multiple pages. To modify page properties, click the "Edit Page" option.

Step 6

If desired, customize the title for each page, as well as the page description. Both appear at the top of each page, just below the survey title. This is most useful in cases where your survey is divided into multiple pages.

Step 7

Click "Add Question Here" to create your first question. Note that questions may easily be inserted later, if needed.

Step 8

Select a question type from the available options. SurveyMonkey provides a wide variety of question types to suit just about every need.

Step 9

The Question and Answer dialog will provide varying options, depending on the question type that you selected. Note that you may change the type of question at any time. Most question types prompt you for at least the question and the possible answers. Depending on the type of question, other options may be provided.

Step 10

Continue adding questions and pages, as needed for your survey. You can also insert descriptive text as needed. To do so, select the "Descriptive Text" as your question type.

Step 11

Click "Survey Options" to view or modify options for your survey. This include things like Page and Question numbering, whether to show titles and whether to show a progress bar.

Step 12

When ready to publish or distribute your survey, click the "Collect Responses" tab. You have several options how to distribute your survey. For most applications, the first option is used, which creates a link you may send via email or insert on a Web page. Enter the name for the link, then click “Next Step.” SurveyMonkey will create a unique link that you may either send via email or insert on a Web page.

Step 13

Once you've selected how responses will be gathered (SurveyMonkey calls this a "Collector"), the "Collect Responses" tab will display the selected Collector and the number of responses. You may clear responses on this dialog. Note that you may have multiple Collectors for a single survey. For example, you may send the same survey to multiple groups, and collect responses separately.

Step 14

After you've distributed your survey, view the results by clicking the "Analyze Results" tab. SurveyMonkey displays statistics for each question on a summary form. You may also view individual responses, browse and filter responses, and download responses. If you upgrade your free account to a professional account, you may even share the response summary or detailed results (SurveyMonkey creates a link that you may share with others that displays these results).

Tips & Warnings

  • Click the "Examples" link on the Question dialog and explore all the types of Questions available to you. SurveyMonkey offers question types to suit just about every possible need.