How to Start an Online Survey Company
Online survey companies are in abundance on the internet. It's fairly easy to find many, simply by searching for "online paid surveys" in Google. Majority of them are setup by internet entrepreneurs who are trying to profit off the people who are searching for phrases like that or from those who are looking to work from home on the internet. Nearly everybody who thinks about working from home from their computer will eventually come across online survey companies and possibly try them out to make some extra cash. However, very few people consider starting their own online survey business. Maybe it's because they think that it involves lots of hard work and years of computer programming education. However, it can be very simple for any average joe to start their survey business, depending on what resources they use and what type of website they would like to run.
Probably the main major question a person will ask when starting an online survey business, is "Where will I find the sources of the surveys". I'm sure you've wondered where all these companies get the actual questionaires that they have for their users on their sites. Finding the sources of the major online companies is easier than you think. These sources are known as Affiliates. The most common companies you see online, such as Swag Bucks, Cash Crate, and GetPaidSurveys.com are the middle men. They are not the actual source and they are being paid by other companies by getting their users to take surveys on their sites. You can easily find sources for paid surveys by googling "survey affiliates" or signing up at CommissionJunction.com or ClickBank.com (both large legitimate companies and both of which work with other large companies like Ebay, Amazon, and other well known corporations). It's free to sign up with these companies, and after you sign up, you can search their websites for "surveys", and find survey companies that have signed up with these two. The survey businesses you see on these two sites or most other Affiliate sites are the actual sources where Swag Bucks and Cash Crate and all those other websites get their questionaires. So you are effectively cutting them out of the picture, which prevents them from taking a percentage of your profits. Majority of people who sign up with paid survey companies like CashCrate, do not realize that they would be paid much more if they cut CashCrate out of the picture and went through the source to take the survey instead. If you choose to find your own Affiliates by googling "survey affiliates", just be careful and make sure they are a legit company by trying to research a little more in google to see if anybody has said anything bad about them.
So once you find sources through the Affiliate companies, you can apply with them. Usually they will want to see what type of a site you will be running before accepting your application, but many will automatically accept anyone. Now while a company like Cash Crate may only pay .20 cents for you to fill out a survey or $1.00 to refer a friend who fills a few out themselves, the source companies will pay you much higher rates. A few I go through pay $1.75 for each person I refer that fills out a survey. This is how Swag Bucks and those others make their money. They put surveys on their sites, and pay their users to fill them out or give their visitors some other kind of incentive for completing them, then they get paid by the source for referring their visitors and the source pays them much more than they pay their visitors, so they can make a decent profit doing this.
After you apply or are automatically accepted, the sources will have links available to you for different types of surveys. It will say next to the links how much they pay for referrals. The links that show up on their page will be customized for you, and have numbers in the links that help identify you as the referrer. This way, if you refer visitors to them and those visitors fill out online surveys and complete them, you will get credit for it and will be paid. Some even pay for leads, which can mean many things, but usually means people who don't even fill out the questionaires all the way, but still signed up to their site.
Build a Website
When it comes to building a website, there are many options and it all depends on how you want to run your survey company. Some websites are more complex than others. For a site like CashCrate, which pays it's users and allows them to have accounts, you may want to hire a programmer, because this can be very technical or difficult since it involves accounting for each user's earnings and creating individual profiles for them. A site like that is a membership based site, as people have to sign up first and have personal accounts. If this is the type of survey company you want, you can shop around for a programmer or web designer on sites like GetaFreelancer and Elance. Prices for labor can vary, and people will bid on your project if they can do it and then you can decide which person you want, depending on their experience or the rates they charge.
An easier solution, which may or may not be better, is to just create a simple webpage yourself. It doesn't have to be much, and only refer people you personally know, that you can pay in person or through paypal. People that would trust you to pay them. Then you would not need to create a membership site. You could just put links to the surveys on a simple page, and have them visit the page, click on the links, and take the surveys. After they finish, you should get credit for referring them (since they clicked on the links on your page which lead them to the sources), and the money will appear in your Commission Junction or Click Bank account. From there, it is usually sent to you as a check at the end of the month, though they may require that you earn a minimum amount before they release the funds. I believe it's $50 with Commission Junction, but it's better to check on their site to make sure, as things sometimes change in the internet world.
You could also use the same method I just mentioned, by making a simple one-page website and put the links on there. But instead of paying people to take the surveys, you can find sources that offer prizes to people who take their surveys. Many of them will reward the users themselves, and you can still get paid for referring them. This is the simplest solution. So you would want to find sources that offer prizes or raffles to referrals. There's many of them on both CommissionJunction and ClickBank.
The hardest part will probably be advertising your new site. There's so many different ways to bring exposure to a website and get visitors flowing, so you may want to spend a little time learning about this before you go jumping in to the deep end. You can't really expect for people to find your website in the search engines with all the other competition out there. You would need to really build your site and work hard on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get your website to rank high in the results. This can take months, even years, to get a decent spot in search engine results. There are other easier ways to get visitors in the meantime.
One of the most effective ways I've found is to use online videos to get traffic, which serve as video advertisements. Youtube, Myspace, Dailymotion, Veoh and sites like these are great places to post your video ads. Just don't make spam, which would be a blatant advertisement. You could make a video about your vacation in Hawaii or about anything that is not even related to surveys, and sneak a banner in the video or put a link in the description box, letting people know that they can take surveys for cash or prizes or other incentives. Another great way to advertise is with social sites like Twitter and Myspace. You can network with thousands of people and build your friends or followers lists. As you gain a following or network base, you can subtly post links to your site that they will see. If you're creative, there's thousands of other ways to get people to site without having to rank high in the search engines.
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