Setup Surveys and Capture Data with Google Forms

Are you looking to learn more about your website visitors? If so, Google has your back. Google Docs is an excellent free online tool that allows you to create forms (surveys) for the purpose of capturing data from your online community. Google Docs allows you to create very professional looking forms, with over 60 different themes to choose from. You can customize the questions you want to ask and the answer choices you want visitors to choose from. Once the form is setup you can easily embed the form in your website or e-mail it out to a list. Feedback is captured automatically and reports can be charted and graphed for accurate analysis. Sound good so far? Let’s dig into how the process works.

Accessing Google Docs

All you need to access Google Docs is a Gmail account. You can setup a Gmail account by going to, filling in the required information, and confirming the new account. It’s a very easy process. Once you have a Gmail account setup you can simply navigate to to get started creating your form.

Create a Form with Google Docs

Survey customers with Google Forms

When you’re ready to create a form using Google Docs you can click ‘Create New’ which will display a drop-down menu, whereby you can then select ‘Form’. A new window will open and you can begin creating your form. Within the form template you’re able to:

  • Create a title and opening paragraph for your form
  • Customize the question text, add Help text, select the Question Type (ie. multiple choice, text box, etc.), and add answer choices
  • Make the question required
  • Customize the theme of the form

Once you’ve created your first question you can either duplicate it or create totally new questions. Continue the process above until you have completed your new form. To review your form simply click ‘Save’ in the upper right corner then scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see text that says, ‘You can view the published form here’. Click the link provided next to that text to view your current form.

Soliciting Responses for Your Form

Google Forms allows you to solicit responses for your form in 2 ways: via e-mail and by embedding the form within your website or blog. To e-mail your form simply:

  1. Click ‘Email this form’ and begin adding the email addresses for your recipients
  2. Click ‘Send’

To embed your form in your website you can:

  1. Click ‘More actions’ and select ‘Embed’ from the drop-down menu
  2. A pop-up window will appear with the embed code, copy the code
  3. Navigate to your website or blog and paste the code in the location that you’d like your form to appear
  4. Publish your changes to your website and begin collecting form responses

Google Forms ReportReviewing Form Responses

Google Forms allows you to easily review all of your responses both via charts and graphs, as well as, in a spreadsheet. These options allow for you to easily create reports and see how what answer choices are most and least popular. The spreadsheet function allows you to break your responses down to a more granular level, while also displaying any text responses that you may have collected. Once the data has been captured and analyzed you can then begin making strategic business decisions based on the information you’ve received.

Google Forms is a really great tool for capturing feedback from your target audience. It’s free to use, easy to setup, and provides wonderful reports for easy analysis. The next time you’re thinking about paying big bucks for a fancy survey tool, be sure to first checkout if Google Forms can help you accomplish your survey goals.

5 Other Top Survey Tools

If you’re anti-Google, don’t have a Gmail account (and don’t feel like setting one up), OR are simply looking to compare Google Forms to other free survey tools out there, below is a list of other great online survey tools on the market:

  1. SurveyMonkey – SurveyMonkey is a leader in the Online Survey industry. SurveyMonkey allows users to create surveys, collect responses, and analyze real-time feedback. Couple that with 24/7 customer service and many users of SurveyMonkey are quite satisfied.
  2. QuestionPro – QuestionPro offers users both free and paid versions. The free version of QuestionPro allows an unlimited number of responses, but does limit the number of surveys you can create to 2 and the number of questions you can ask per survey to 10.
  3. SurveyGizmo – SurveyGizmo is an online survey tool that allows users to create online surveys, quizzes, polls, and forms. Take advantage of their 14 day free trial.
  4. Zoomerang – Zoomerang is another powerful free online survey tool. Users can create unlimited surveys and polls, publish it via email, facebook, twitter or web, and track real-time results. Zoomerang has over 2 million users currently creating online surveys with its’ software.
  5. LimeSurvey – LimeSurvey is an open-source survey tool that’s free to use. LimeSurvey is run by a team of developers who are constantly adding and upgrading features. It’s definitely a great online survey tool that’s worth checking out.

Ryan Taft

Ryan Taft is a twenty-something entrepreneur with a passion for helping small businesses use online marketing tools to reach more customers and prospects, build relationships with those folks, and ultimately grow sales.

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  1. says

    I think here is missing polldaddy, great service which allows you to create up to 5 quizzes, surveys, polls or ratings with 200 responses for each with free membership. Polldaddy allows you to customize templates and create language packs – important for international users.

  2. Jan Kasal says

    Great intro article and thank you for the list of other survey services. The list is bookmarked.

  3. Paul says

    The problem I have here is that once the form is created and embedded – to go back and edit the form (for whatever reason) Google docs wants to open it as a spreadsheet, rather than a form?

    Any ideas, here???

  4. Debbie says

    Thanks for this great article. I’m trying to figure out how to customize the template so I can resize it for my blog – suggestions?