Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WotW: Easy-as-pie online surveys

Have you ever wanted to ask your blog readers a question or two? Or have you ever needed to make a decision for a group and needed to know everyone's preferences? In situations like this, a survey can help. But there are so many online survey services--which one to choose? There are free services, services that offer free versions, 30-day-free trials, or paid services (blasphemous!).

I use Google Docs forms for my surveys. It's free and sooo easy. I spent 15 minutes creating the short survey below to see what you think about WotW. Take the survey (5 minutes, tops!) and then scroll down to learn more about making your own survey using a Google Docs form.

Thanks for taking my survey! Here are the basics of making your own survey and putting it in your blog like I've done here:

Create the form
  1. Log in to Google Docs at using your Google account (the same account you use to sign in to Blogger).
  2. At the top left corner, click Create New and select Form from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter your form title and (optional) description.
  4. Create each of your form questions by clicking Add Item at the top left corner and selecting which type of question to create. (I've used all 7 types of questions in my survey above to show each kind.)
  5. Click Done to save each question when you are finished creating it.
  6. When you've created all your questions, be sure to click Save in the top right corner.
  7. To add a design theme to your form, click the Theme button, select a theme to preview it, and click Apply to add it to your form. I used the Expresso theme for my survey above.
Embed the form
  1. Click More Actions and select Embed.
  2. Copy the text and paste it into the Edit HTML view of your blog post or into an HTML/javascript gadget to place the form on your blog but not in a specific post.
  3. Click Publish Post (or Preview) for a blog post or Save for a gadget (for Blogger users... Wordpress users will be similar, I'm sure).
If your form is cut off in your blog like it was for me, you'll need to change the size of the form by entering new values for the height and/or width of the iframe that the form uses.
  1. Go back to where you just pasted the text (<iframe ....), and look for height="XXX" and width="XXX".
  2. Enter a new value for whichever dimension you need to change. You can guess-and-check, or Firefox and Chrome users can use my favorite add-on, MeasureIt, to determine the right dimensions.
  3. Be sure that you do not delete the quotes around the numbers.
Tada! Easy peasy, right? When respondents fill out and submit the form, that information is entered in your Google Docs spreadsheet. Go back to your Google Docs homepage and click on the title of your form to see the spreadsheet responses. To see the responses graphed, select the Form menu and click Show summary of responses. If you need to edit the form, select the Form menu and click Edit form.

Google Docs forms also have a bunch of other fun and useful features to play around with, but this will get you started. Enjoy!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about books, crafts, recipes, and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

1 comment:

Emma @DivorcedBefore30 said...

Great tip! I use google docs all the time and had no idea this function existed!