Create a survey or poll for your blog with Google Docs and Spreadsheets

You may have noticed the snazzy poll I posted on my blog the other day.  There’s a number of different survey and poll plugins for WordPress but all the ones I’ve looked at have caveats and limitations.  You can also use a service like SurveyMonkey but it has some data limitations for free accounts.  Instead, I used Google Docs and Spreadsheets to create a survey quickly and easily.  Here’s how to do it.

1. Getting to Google Docs and starting your form

We’re going to assume you have a Gmail account or have signed up for some other Google service already.  Go to  Click on New -> Form

2.  Creating your form

This is actually pretty easy, and the online help does a pretty good job explaining what to do.  You have a number of options when creating a question – you can make it multiple choice, full text, or even a numerical scale, and you can mark some questions as required.  If you’re looking for the “Add question” button, it’s up at the top of the page rather than below the last question.

3.  Publishing the survey on your site

After you’ve created your form, use the More Actions button to find the Embed option.  Just copy this iframe into your blog post – it’s that simple. You’ll get code that looks something like this:

<iframe src=”” width=”310″ height=”1044″ frameborder=”0″ marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″>Loading…</iframe>

You can change the height and weight to better fit your blog template.  Keep in mind that some blogging software will not let you post HTML code and others, like WordPress, require you to use the HTML view.

If you can edit your template or sidebar you can even include the poll on every page, instead of just putting it in a post.

4.  Getting data

Here’s where it gets really cool – the data is automatically collected into a spreadsheet that you can share, edit online, or export to Microsoft Excel.  It’s pretty easy to export CSV for a statistical package like SPSS too.

There’s an optional fifth step, creating a chart or graph to let your users see the results, that I’ll cover later.  If you can’t wait just jump back to my post about urban usability and read about how I created the time-series chart there.

15 thoughts on “Create a survey or poll for your blog with Google Docs and Spreadsheets

  1. me too – what an awesome post (i’ve spent the last few days searching for a plug in…. this is stunning!)

    cheers Jason!

  2. Hi, I have tried embedding my google doc into wordpress and it does not seem to be working. I have read that WP does not support iframes? Was wondering how you got your survey embedded and if you had to install a plugin for it to work?


  3. I tried embeding it and it works the first time you save and the iframe code disappears from a post. It show up on the post until I update the post. How are you getting it to stay in place? using wp 2.7

    I even tried the Embed Iframe plugin and did not have a better experience.
    I looked at your source and looks like all you had was paragraph tags
    Whats the magic?


  4. Christine, Josh – you might be running into problems if you’re ever in “Visual” editing mode instead of HTML mode. In visual mode WordPress has a tendency to delete iframes.

  5. This is great! I am so happy I was able to find your blog. I was able to embed this into my sidebar. I’m going to use this from now on when creating polls and surveys for my readers. Thank you so much.

  6. I love that the data can be automatically collected into a spreadsheet that you can be exported to Microsoft Excel. I will be spending a lot of time with this, thanks!

  7. I spent the whole day today to find a good plugin for my wordpress blog for hosting a survey. But none was good enough. At last I found this great post and find the simplest solution. Thanks a ton!

  8. I’m having some difficulty as well with embedding iFrames into my WordPress blog. Could it be that I’m using a pre-fabricated template? The coding I’m getting for embedding it looks like yours but all that shows up is “Loading…” Any suggestions??

  9. I am going to be hosting a giveaway on my blog. I use wordpress. Users will have to leave comments on the post & each comment will count as an entry into the giveaway (if the comment is legit) is there a way to use Google Docs to compile all of the entries that I will have? Thanks for your help.

  10. Thanks for the information! What a great tool! I will be sure to keep your blog handy, (I’m sure I’ll learn lots of other cool things) as I was able to utilize your instructions and create a survey in the blink of an eye!

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