So you want to create your own survey but don't know where to start? There are plenty of solutions you will find online, but I'd like to talk about the benefits of using an open source solution.
If you use an online solution such as Survey Monkey, you can quickly an easily get a simple survey up an running. however when it comes to exporting your data often you will need to upgrade to the paid version of the product. If you would like to customize the survey, then simple customization such as inserting your company logo or changing the color scheme are usually possible with some of these online surveys, but when it comes to more complex customization then you might be out of luck.
When it comes to control of your data, when you use an online hosted solution, you limit the control you have of your data, and are potentially giving other parties access to this data. Wouldn't it be better if you had complete control over your data and who can access it? This is where running a survey on your own website makes a lot of sense.
The two most popular open source platforms for building websites are WordPress and Joomla. There are many advantages of using an open source platform for your website, starting with the cost since the core software is free, followed by many other things such as widely available resources worldwide, flexibility to customize to suit your needs, large number of third party vendors for add on software, and many more.
If your website is not currently using an open source platform, you could easily run a Joomla website on a sub domain of your current website, purely for the purpose of running surveys, such as surveys.mywebsite.com.
While there are many third party Survey products for both Joomla and WordPress, I'd like to introduce you to our solution called BF Survey. Our current product is designed specifically for Joomla, however we will soon be releasing a WordPress version too. BF Survey will allow you to create professional looking surveys quickly and easily on your own website.
There are a number of things that set BF Survey apart from it's competition. Firstly you can try it out for free without having to make any purchase or provide credit card details. Our free trial version allows you to try before you buy and see if the product will suit your needs. BF Survey can be used for simple surveys and forms, but can also scale up as your requirements become more complex, allowing you to create multi page survey forms with a variety of field types.
You can have fields on your survey show or hide based on answers to previous survey questions, and this is AJAX driven so you don't need to refresh the page to see the change, it occurs immediately when you select the option in the survey question.
There is a terminate immediately option, where you can end the survey and redirect the user to a particular URL if they select a specific option. This can be useful for surveys where you want to qualify the participant, or in cases where the rest of your survey just isn't relevant to them.
For each survey, there is a stats view that shows a graphical representation of your survey data, and you can control who has access to see this information. There is also reporting capabilities, where you can select your criteria and fields required, and generate PDF files of your survey data, or export to csv for use in Excel.
The survey software will automatically create a database table to store the data for each survey, and each question has its own field to store the answers to that survey question, so it's easy to tap into that data if you need it in another application.
BF Survey is completely open source, and contains full source code, so you can make whatever customizations you need.
So if you are looking for a flexible survey tool that allows you to have complete control over your data, then I encourage you to sign up for a free trial via the blue form on the left of our homepage www.tamlynsoftware.com.
You can also see how it works in this quick start video