Do you ever have a need to collect information on your blog or website? There have been several times that I wanted to do some type of online registration for an event, but I didn’t want to pay money to setup an online form using a web service. I’ve looked at Icebrrg and Wufoo, which are both great web apps, but they both required a monthly service fee if you wanted the ability to have numerous people fill out your form. If you’ve read this site for long, you know that I have a passion for helping smaller churches. And FREE is good. So when Google announced that you could do online forms using Google Docs, I thought it would be a good fit for ministry.
I did a website for an upcoming children’s event here in our hometown. We have several area churches coming together to do a weeklong children’s praise and worship celebration in the park. I didn’t want to spend much time on the website, but I wanted it to look good and be functional. I used iWeb 08 and used one of the default templates with a just a little tweaking. I added in a blog, and I added the ability to do online registration. For the online registration I setup a Google Docs form that automatically updates a Google Docs Spreadsheet. You can have text questions, multiple choice questions, drop-down boxes, and more. And did I mention it was free? The google info on the online forms is here. All you need is a google account and then you can signin to Google Docs.
The drawbacks are that the form is made to be emailed or be filled out on it’s own webpage. It’s not directly embeddable in a blog or other webpage. I got around this by just loading it as an iframe. See the below picture for the iframe code that I used. You can modify the width, height, and scrollbar visibility in the code below to fit your screen. This works good but it won’t take on the style of your webpage. I’m hoping Google will add the ability to embed the form in any webpage without using an iframe.
You don’t have as many options with the Google forms as you would with Icebrrg and Wufoo, but it’s free and it works. After people fill out the form, all the answers are tabulated in a spreadsheet that you can view or share or export. I think you could use this for online polls, registration forms, online prayer requests, youth permission forms, and anything else that you would like to track or share online.
If you want to see the form in action, then visit http://www.praisinpark.com
However, please don’t fill out and submit the form unless you are actually attending, since this is actually being used. Leave me a comment if this info helps. Thanks