Looking for a simple and effective way of creating a list or capturing data on your website? Don’t have the technical skills or time necessary to develop a backend database to capture data from an online form? Fortunately you no longer have to as there are several tools that make it extremely easy and convenient to collect data on your site.
If you want your website to work for you then you should also be using it to capture information. Whether this information is a simple contact/feedback form or a poll on your site, it can be an excellent instrument to bring you and your audience closer together. Most Internet Marketers know the value of creating a list, which if used correctly can be of great value. So if you haven’t yet implemented or discovered the value of a list here are some quick and easy options for you to use on your website.
Here is just one example of the collaborative power of Google Docs. By simply making a spreadsheet you have the option of adding a form which adds all the available columns and provides the HTML code to embed into your website. Then as your audience fills out the form the data gets collected in your Google Docs spreadsheet. Google is also building in some analysis features which will try to give you a better insight to the data collected.
To try a live example of this go to the Thinkworx home page to sign-up to be notified when the new site is available (form powered by Google Docs). I will try to publish a brief tutorial describing the steps to set-up and customize your form. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be sure not to miss it.
- Pros – Completely free, easy to use, no limitations on number of responses, easy data extraction
- Cons – No built in option to customize the format or styles on the form. No form security, limited field types, no payment integration and no automatic notification options.
For your more complex form requirements for more than just building a simple list there are other solutions to make it easy. One of the first that I came across is Wufoo, offering enough features to meet just about any form requirement.
- Pros – Full website integration including available themes or custom CSS and XHTML markup allowed, reporting tools, notification tools and payment integration. Free version option (limited to 3 forms, 10 fields and 100 entries/month)
- Cons – Free and paid models have limitations on entries/month
A web based WYSIWIG form builder that’s aimed at making form building easy. Build your form without an code.
- Pros – Unlimited forms for free
- Cons – 100 submissions/month limitation for free account (paid account gets unlimited submissions)
Recently purchased by Automattic (makers of the WordPress blogging platform) and aimed at making online polls and surveys as easy as possible.
- Pros – Free account giving you unlimited polls/month with unlimited votes/month, also unlimited survey’s/month limited to 100 responses. Styling customization available with skins or your own CSS.
- Cons – Survey’s are limited in responses relative to program model. Usage is not intended for general forms or list capture.