We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!
Today’s lesson is: Using Google Forms for Giveaways
First, a great way to gain readers and traffic is by hosting a giveaway (see previous Blogging 101 post on how to get sponsors). Once you have a giveaway to host, you’ll need a way to have readers enter to win. Many blogs just have entrants leave a comment. We used to do it that way too until we discovered Google forms. Google forms help us eliminate some of the extra work that giveaways require. Since the entry form is secure, we can ask entrants to leave their email and mailing addresses. When the winner is selected, we know exactly where to send the prize to so all we have to do is email a notification. We don’t have to wait for a response or go through the hassle of selecting an alternate if the winner doesn’t respond. Entries on the form are already numbered so when you use random.org (or something similar) to draw your winner you won’t have to count comments which is a real pain. Here’s how to use a google document as an entry form:
- If you don’t already have a Gmail account, create one. We’ll show you how Gmail helps you stay organized as a blogger in a future post but you’ll need a Gmail account to create a Google Document (correct me if I’m wrong!). We suggest using “yourblogname” @gmail.com. If you already have an email account for your blog, you can set up a forwarding service so your email will all go to one account.
- Once you are signed in to your gmail account, click on “documents” in the upper left corner. This will open into a new tab on your browser.
- On the left click “Create New” and select “form” from the drop down menu.
- Create your form as desired. We recommend asking for Name & Address and Email Address. For each item required, check the “make this a required question” box. We also have a space for extra entries.
- When your form is complete, click save on the top right. Then click “more actions”.
- If you want your own entry confirmation message, select “edit confirmation”, type what you want it to say and click “save”
- After (or otherwise) select “embed” from the drop down menu and copy the code
- Paste the code where you want your form to appear. Make sure to put it in the HTML editor. If you are using wordpress, you must publish (or schedule) the post without switching back to visual mode or it will alter the code and the form won’t work. Just put the code in as the last step and you won’t have any problems.
We were asked how to make comments numbered but thought that this might be more useful for many of you. To get your comments numbered, you’ll have to edit your template HTML which might be a challenge for beginning bloggers. If you are feeling adventurous, you might try googling it for step by step directions. Be careful though! Editing your template is a delicate thing- be sure to back up a copy of your blog in case anything goes wrong.
(P.S. In case you were wondering what a google form looks like, that’s one right below!)
When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.