Oct 5, 2008

Creating a Contact Form in Blogger

As I mentioned in creating custom pages in Blogger one of the biggest disappointments is not being able to have real custom pages that we can use for our blogs. Since blogspot blogs can be set to create a new page for each blog entry there is a little bit of a work-around this limitation. But even then there is no native contact form in Blogger that we can add to our post page through which people can send us a message like on so many other blogging platforms. A post page that says "Contact" doesn't really cut it.

For a while now there have been options available like Contactify and Web Form Designer. I'm sure they're great products but I'm always weary of add-ons like this for Blogger. I don't know what happens to the personal information that people submit so I choose to stay away from them and hope that Blogger gets around to it one day. Last night when looking for help with a problem with another Google product I came across a contact form where I had to enter my information to get help. After I submitted my information I noticed the URL was something like spreadsheets.google.com. I thought it was odd and thought to myself that I wished we users of Google products could do something similar. Then it dawned on me to Google spreadsheets+contact form+Google docs and I came across the Google Docs blog which informed me that one could build a contact form with a spreadsheet to collect information.

So, I signed up for Google Docs and fumbled around for a few minutes before I figured out how to do it based on the instructions from the blog link above. Hopefully my instructions will be a little clearer and easy to understand for those who, like me, have never used Google Docs or haven't seen a spreadsheet in years.

Step #1: Sign up or log into Google Docs
On the left hand side click New>Spreadsheet then on the right side of your screen locate the Save button. Name and save your spreadsheet something similar to "Contact Me". Once you've saved it click Form and a new window pops up where you fill out the answers you want answered on your form. If there are any questions already there you can delete them and add your own by clicking Add question.

For single word/sentences fields like; Name, Email & URL choose "Text" as the Question Type. For a long message choose "Paragraph Text." Once your form is completed click save then click More Actions>Edit Confirmation to customize the confirmation message. Once that's done you can again click More Actions>Embed and copy the code provided.

Step#2: Paste & Publish
If you haven't already created the "Contact Me" post in your blog go ahead and do so then paste the code we copied above into your post. If you don't want people to be able to comment in the comment section of Blogger at the bottom of the screen you compose your post in click Post Options> Don't allow. This will keep this particular post from being commented on. If you don't want your contact form post to show up on the main page of your blog change the date to a date in the past, now publish your post and you're done. See my Contact Form in this blog for an example. When people fill out your form the information they provided will be saved into the spreadsheet we created when we began. When you get notified that your spreadsheet has been modified simply log into Google Docs and click on the name of the spreadsheet to see the information that has been left for you.

Note
If you're anything like me a spreadsheet looks to be the most confusing thing in the world and you're wondering how you're suppose to see the messages that are wider than the cells. At the top of each cell (column) there is a letter, next to those letters are lines, just put your mouse over one of the lines and drag it to the left or right to make the cell large enough to read the text. I used this same method to create the contact page in the Google Sites that I combined with this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post it was very helpful to me.

    ReplyDelete

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