Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google Docs

Since I started hanging out in the blogosphere a few years ago, I noticed that a lot of people were using applications, like Google Docs, to do surveys, gather entries to giveaways, share files and more. I had always wondered how they did it, but had yet to take the time to look into it. So, last week I finally decided I would, after years of considering it, figure out how to put a survey on my site.

My final result was my Reader Survey. (if you haven't already done so, would you mind taking a few minutes and completing the survey here. Thanks!)

Putting together my survey was much easier than I expected. I simply headed over to Google Docs to begin. I selected the Create New button and chose Form from the drop down list. This brought up a blank form. I could start with a title. Then, for each question, I simply entered a question, could add help text for the question, and selected a question type (text, paragraph text, multiple choice, check boxes, choose from a list, scale or grid). Most of my questions were check boxes. This type of question allowed for multiple answers to questions. With check boxes, I got to enter each of my potential answers and could even check select other, which gave an other check box and an accompanying text box for the entry of other. Then, select Done and you got to see how the question would look. After entering all of the questions, I simply Saved. Then, I clicked the More Actions button, and selected embed. This gave me some html text to copy and place in my post.

Once my post was up, readers could enter their responses and they populated to a spreadsheet that only I have access to. I could see the responses by selecting that form from the Google Docs page. Of course, you can also make your document public, if you had something that you wanted to share with everyone.

I really was amazed at how easy it was to create and embed a Google Doc in my blog. Have you tried Google Docs or another on-line document program to do surveys or share documents? How did it work?