February 25, 2009
/ by jay.krall
Finding the one that best suits your needs
You’ve heard about widgets: mini-applications that can be embedded on sites, blogs, social network profile pages and just about anywhere else on the Web. Survey widgets, those that poll users on one or more questions and send you the results, can be a great way to start a conversation with people who may be interested in your brand. Best of all, you can spread the conversation beyond the usual borders by planting the same survey on all your online social outposts. It’s a great way to generate buzz.
I know, right now you’re saying, yikes. I’m not even sure if I’m ready to join Twitter or start a blog. I’m definitely not ready to start developing widgets.
Sure you are! It’s easy. Here’s a quick guide to some of the best and best-known providers of survey widgets out there. All four of these options allow you to create a widget in less than 10 minutes for free. Think ahead of time about all the places you’ll want to post your widget. Compatibility issues can guide your choice of which tools to use.
I find the GlowDay widget creation interface a bit clunky to use and the design templates a bit dated-looking. However, the advantage is that the QuickPost function makes it easy to display the widget on Facebook, MySpace and most blogging platforms with one click. For that reason, it may be your best option if you’re concerned that your community won’t want to click through a link to participate. It’s also the only option discussed here capable of displaying your survey in Flash if needed.
SurveyMonkey offers features similar to those described above, but since you’re limited to 100 responses on free accounts, there’s no big incentive to use this over the others. Hopefully you’re going to get more than 100 responses, think big!
5. Online Survey – Customizable Online Polling
What a great example of the democratization of application development for the social Web: one of the best survey widgets out there comes from an Austrian barcode software firm that created it as a hobby. “We started with a barcode generator widget,” says Guenther Kriegl, the CEO of Tec-IT. “The online survey widget was implemented just for fun.”
If you’re not familiar with Widgetbox, it offers tens of thousands of widgets developed by an open community. Another popular, customizable widget on offer there enables you to stream content to a page via RSS (not unlike the SpringWidgets solution I discussed a couple of weeks ago here).
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