Online Survey Taking Tips

When it comes to a side hustle, many people turn to online paid surveys. After all, surveys can offer a great way to earn extra income or other rewards without too much work. Of course, not all companies can be trusted. Researching potential paid survey sites before you join up is highly recommended.

In this article, we provide tips to help ensure you find legitimate survey opportunities and receive the maximum rewards for your time.

Is sharing my opinion worthwhile?

First things first, let's discuss the question of whether taking online surveys is actually worth your time. The short answer is yes!

Completing online surveys can be a great way to earn rewards and fulfill your financial goals.

Aside from that, online surveys are extremely suitable for people with busy schedules. Since most online survey sites offer apps and good mobile optimization, you can provide your opinion ‘on the go'. Many surveys can be completed at any given time of the day – whether you are commuting to work, taking a break at work, or at home on the couch.

Why do companies want my opinion?

Nowadays, there are plenty of survey sites on the internet vying for attention as well as new members. What’s in it for them? Here’s a brief explanation: Businesses need to know how consumers feel and what they think about all sorts of things. That’s called market research and many brands will pay top dollar for it.

Tips for completing online surveys

Research the time investment vs payment ratio

When taking surveys, nothing is more important than maximizing the revenue you'll make. Focus your efforts on sites that offer high cash or reward rates for your time investment.

Unfortunately, many survey sites pay out poorly, so look for incentives that are ahead of the pack. In some survey sites, participants are rewarded for their time in other ways (like referring friends), offering ways to earn even more.

Take your time to answer the questionnaire

There's a name for people who speed through surveys, clicking through their answers at the speed of light. ‘Skimmers' are an entrenched problem in the online research industry, leading to low-quality data, and compromised insights.

While some surveys can seem time-consuming and repetitive, it's important to take your time to read the question and provide a considered answer.

Most online survey providers have a function that can quickly identify when people complete the survey too quickly. This means, if you complete a questionnaire in a significantly shorter timeframe than the expected average survey duration, your response is likely to be flagged. As a result, you may be screened out and lose your incentive, or even your account.

Complete surveys as often as possible

In order to get rewarded with surveys, you should take up invitations to complete them as often as you can. Once you get more experienced, the faster and simpler it becomes. Plus, regular survey takers generally get more survey opportunities – so it's a win-win.

Answer truthfully

One of the most important tips for taking online surveys is to answer truthfully – not doing so is one of the most common reasons respondents are screened out of surveys.

Sure, survey questions can often appear time-consuming at first glance. You may be tempted to randomly complete questions in order to spare yourself the extra work or to fill out a free text box with just a few words or illegible text. However, take the time to answer as best you can. Allowing yourself plenty of time to think about each question and provide detailed responses will ensure the market research provider receives accurate, high-quality data.

If you provide incorrect information on multiple surveys, your account may be closed.

Add surveys to your multi-tasking roster

Let's face it. Answering surveys is not the most enjoyable task, even if it does generate revenue for you. The best way to avoid tedium is to make use of a secondary activity while completing your survey. For example, you can listen to music, commute home on the train or watch television while providing your opinion.

Join many sites

There are many survey websites to choose from, so you should never feel pressured to sign up at just one site. Having access to a variety of accounts means you have many options. You can choose whichever surveys you find the most interesting and eventually settle on your favorite site.

Some survey sites will only have a few surveys available for you at any given time. By switching to another survey website, you can get access to more surveys immediately.

Ensure your profile is up-to-date

Research is a numbers game. Most online research projects are driven by quotas – that means ensuring that a certain number of people with certain behaviors or demographics are sampled as part of the questionnaire. Because of this, most survey opportunities will be sent to you based on your profile data. This avoids sending out surveys that aren't applicable, which would result in a high number of screen-outs. Ensure your profile is always up to date. Putting in the effort to provide detailed information about your age, behaviours, and several other factors will help ensure you receive surveys that match your interests.

Of course, you should always keep your contact information up to date, too. Most survey companies require a valid email and phone number to process rewards, so ensure current information is linked to your account.

Join up sites with a refer a friend program

Many survey companies offer referral programs that reward you when you encourage people to sign up. For example, you could earn money if a friend or family member registers for the same website using your link or referral code. Usually, all they need to do is complete one survey and the money will be banked in your account. This can be a great way to find an additional income stream whilst completing surveys.

Important: Tips for choosing legitimate and trustworthy sites

After many years working for respected research organizations, our writers understand what to look for in a legitimate opportunity.

When it comes to online research sites, unfortunately, not all are created equal. Take your time to vet an online survey company to make sure it is trustworthy – before you sign up and start investing significant time in completing questionnaires. Here’s how:

Check industry memberships

Most credible research organizations hold membership to an industry body that oversees the research industry in their jurisdiction.

The industry body will typically require researchers to comply with a code of practice around how they conduct their research, how they manage data collection, and how they interact with survey respondents. These industry bodies vary by country. Key industry bodies that cover companies we write about are listed below:

Industry Body CountryCountry
The Research SocietyAustralia
Canadian Research and Insights CouncilCanada
UK Research Integrity OfficeUnited Kingdom
American Association for Public Opinion ResearchUnited States

Check other accreditations:

Many trusted research organizations have extensive quality assurance processes in place. As part of this, they may adopt the ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Market, Opinion, and Social Research and Data Analytics. Some organizations also hold independent ISO accreditations for further QA.

Check reviews:

You can tell whether a paid survey site is legitimate by searching for their name and “review” afterward. It is typical to find many reviews of any legitimate company on platforms like Reddit, Google Reviews, and Trust Pilot. Read the reviews to ensure that the services on offer are honest.


Many survey sites are available. It can be difficult to know which ones will provide the best fit for you, and how to get the most out of your experience.

Therefore, use this article as a starting point for your own research and spend time learning about which survey sites could work best for you.