Collecting information from your readers doesn’t have to be hard. Google Forms is a great (and free) way to create a form your readers can fill out. There're all kinds of things you can do with your Google Form. Once you have it created you can easily add it to a post, page, or sidebar.
To use Google Forms, you first need a Google account. If you don’t have one, it's easy to set up. Once your Google account is created, log into your Gmail account and click on the 9 dots (top right). Select Forms and your Form account will come up.
Google offers a multitude of premade templates for you to select and customize. Look for a template that fits your needs or create one from scratch.
Google Forms allows you to add different types of questions to your form depending on the answer you want. To add a question, click on the Plus (+) sign on the right and a new question will be added to the bottom of your form. The questions types are Short Text, Paragraph, Multiple Choice, Check Box, Drop Down, or File Upload.
You can also structure the question in different ways. You can have Linear Scale, Multiple-Choice Grid, or a Check Box Grid. These are great for ranking questions.
Pro Tip: You can add more than questions to your form, you can add images and videos as well.
If you have a larger form for your readers, you can break it up into smaller sections. Each section will be on a separate page and can have as many questions as you need.
Customize the Theme
Once you have your questions in order, you can customize the theme of your form. You can add colors to match your branding. Add a banner image to the form that includes your logo and a title for your form.
Form Best Practices
When creating your forms there're a few best practices to keep in mind.
Plan out your form. Make sure to plan out what information you want your readers to provide. Are they signing up for a newsletter or giving feedback on your blog or services? Be clear on what you want to get from the form.
One theme at a time. Don’t try to do everything with one form.
Only ask for information you will use. Readers may not want to fill out the form if you ask too many questions. It may feel personal and invasive to ask for a lot of personal information.
Keep it short. Now one wants to spend all day filling out a form. You can let your readers know about how long it will take to fill out the form (ex: This form should take around 5 minutes to fill out. Enjoy!)
Test your questions. After you have created your form, give it to a friend or co-worker to fill out and ask for feedback. Sometimes a question that might seem clear to you, may be confusing to the reader.
How To Add to Your Blog
Now that you have the perfect form you need to add it to your blog. We're going to focus on adding it to a post or a page and your sidebar.
Get Your Embed Code
Once your form is completed in Google Forms, click on the purple Send button. You'll see different options to send your form, click on the Embed option (<>). Here you will see the embed code you need to copy. Before you copy, you can adjust the height and width of the form. If you plan on publishing on a blog post or page, you can leave the default width and height in place. If you want to add to your sidebar, change the width to be between 200 and 300 px wide (you don’t have to adjust the height). Once you have the correct width and height, copy your embed code.
From the Compose page, click on the HTML tab. Paste in the code where you want it then click on Preview to view the form in your post. If it looks great, click on Save Changes or Publish.
To add your form to your sidebar, click on the name of the blog, then the Design tab. Click on the Content tab, then add an Embed Your Own HTML module. In the pop-up, give your module a name and then paste in the embed code. Click on ok, then save changes.
Using a link to your form
If you don’t want to display the form on your blog, you can always link to it in your sidebar. In Google Forms, click on the Send button then Link (looks like a chain). Here you'll see the URL to your form. You can create a custom image and use the Sidebar Image Module to insert an image and make it a clickable link.
In Google Forms, you can view your results by clicking on the name of the form on the main page then clicking on Responses. Here you will see the answers to all your questions. You can review the results as a summary, by questions, or by a person. This will let you drill down to find more specific information.
Now that you know about Google Forms, how will you use it to learn more about your readers? What other programs do you use to learn more about your readers? Share with everyone in the comments.