Lessons Learned from 3 Weeks of Using KISSinsights

by Chadwick Wood
September 7th, 2010

A few weeks ago, I decided to give KISSinsights a try on the Coffeeshopped website; I had recently read Neil Patel's article "What I learned about you through KISSinsights", and it convinced me that there's probably a lot I can learn from asking my readers a few questions. I have the free account with them, so I wasn't able to make up my own questions, but they have some built-in questions that seemed appropriate. So, over 3 weeks, I tried 3 different surveys... here are the results.

How would you rate this website's design?

About a month ago, I launched the latest design for the Coffeeshopped website, and so this seemed like a good first question to ask. I'm pretty happy with my design, but are the readers? I set up the survey so that it would only appear on 2 blog posts, both of which get a good chunk of my regular traffic. Picking these 2 posts also meant that most of the people seeing the survey would be coming from search engines (where most of my traffic comes from). I don't really know the significance of that fact. Anyway, over 7 days, the survey got 100 views, and a whopping 2 responses: 1 "satisfactory", and 1 "impressive".

So, what did I learn from this survey? First off, expect a low response rate. 2% is much lower than I expected, especially for a simple multiple choice question. As for what the typical reader thinks of my site design, well, I guess it's decent?

What should we write about next?

That first survey wasn't really going to give me much actionable feedback, though. Even if 100 people had deemed my design "unsatisfactory", what direction would that give me? So for my second survey, I decided I'd go for something really useful: blogging topics. I'm always coming up short for good topics to write about, so maybe readers had some for me.

This time, I went whole hog: I put the survey on every blog post on the website. I actually ran into a technical issue making this work, which I won't waste your time with, but I will say that my first email to KISSinsights support received no response after several days of waiting. I ended up sending a second email, to which I got a very prompt and helpful reply. Just saying.

So, this second survey ran for about 9 days, and what were the responses? Survey says:

This time around, the survey got 300 views. And 1 response. 1 response. A 0.3% response rate. Ouch. The one person who responded recommended that I write another article about Google Analytics filters, which I might do! But no one else had any ideas for me.

How long have you been a reader of this blog?

I knew that this final survey wasn't going to get seen much: this question only gets shown to repeat visitors to the site, and I'll be honest, I don't think I have many repeat readers (blogging more regularly would probably help that). But I figured, what the heck, let's see what happens. Again, I put the survey on every blog post. I didn't bother putting it on the home page, or product pages, etc., since they didn't seem applicable. Ok, so, responses:

... there weren't any! Ok, so it only got shown 21 times. But those were all repeat visitors! To my blog! And it was multiple choice! From this final survey I learned: it's really, really hard to get my visitors to answer a simple multiple choice question.

Final Thoughts

I have a hard time knowing what to make of this experiment. I guess it validated (to some extent) my assumptions that: 1. my website design doesn't totally suck, and 2. I don't have many repeat readers. But it didn't give me much to act upon.

Looking back at Neil Patel's blog post, I do notice that his overall response numbers are low: 49 and 147 responses for the survey that he shows numbers for. Google Reader tells me he's got over 4000 subscribers just on his RSS feed. I bet his response rate was just about as bad as mine!

So, I guess I learned more about surveys than I did about my website: to get meaningful data out of a survey like those that KISSinsights offers, you're probably going to need a lot of traffic. Otherwise, you're not going to have much data to reason with. I think that they have put together a really well-executed product. It looks great, it's simple to use, and it presents the data (that you can get) clearly. But at $29/month, I'd recommend giving the free account a whirl first; you might not have a site that their product can help.

If anyone has ideas/suggestions about how I could more effectively use these surveys, I'm all ears! Let's hear it in the comments.