I just recently started using Google Docs to handle my giveaway entries. So far I really like it. I like that I don’t have to worry about my readers email addresses floating around in cyberspace until the end of time (you’d be surprised how often I get search engine traffic from people specifically looking for an email address on one of my giveaways!). It also makes counting and verifying entries a breeze.
My only dislike is that I can’t link potential advertisers to my giveaway posts anymore so they can see how many entries my previous giveaways have received. To be honest, though giveaway entries depend on so many other factors other than the engagement of my readers (the type of product, the worth of the product, etc). A better gauge for potential advertisers is to look at my Google Analytics stats and my social media following, so I think I’m sticking with Google Docs from now on.
Ever since I started using Google Forms for my giveaways, I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking me how to use it! First off, I’ll admit…there was one piece of the puzzle that took me forever to figure out. It was finally my friend Brittany that gave me the info I needed to successfully use Google Docs in a giveaway! So thanks Brittany 😉
Since I know there are others out there who aren’t quite sure where to start, I decided to throw up a quick tutorial to help y’all out. Please let me know if I miss anything or if anything is not clear. I’m pretty new to this too!
How To Run A Giveaway Using Google Docs (Forms)
Step 1: Make sure you have a Google account and sign into Google Docs.
Step 2: Go to Create New and select Forms
Step 3: When you have your new form open go ahead and give it a name and add any directions you think might be helpful for your entrants. WARNING: Be careful not to let the text stretch too far to the right. In my experience that makes the form not fit well within my post unfortunately. Directions should typically be BEFORE the Google Form anyway, so don’t worry about writing too much here. Because Google Docs embeds as an iframe, you want to make sure that the whole thing can be easily seen within your content
Step 4: Now you need to write out your questions. I typically make all of my questions text questions because your results will end up in spreadsheet format and it’s just easier that way (I’ll show you a screen shot of that later). Be sure to check the box next to any questions that are required such as name and email address (don’t forget to ask for email addresses!) and any mandatory giveaway entries. To add more entries, just click the button for Add Item on the top left.
Step 5: Now that you have all your questions input into the form you’ll want to save, although the program does autosave for you. Go ahead and grab the embed code as shown in the pic below:
Step 6: Now this is VERY VERY important. This is the part that kept tripping me up over and over again. Not just with Google Docs but with all iframe codes within WordPress. You MUST place the code in your post content while in the HTML editor. DO NOT switch back to visual. Once you put the Google Doc embed code in your post, you can never switch back to visual again (this also goes for embedding YouTube videos). You must publish your post while still in HTML. If you go back and edit the document, do not leave the HTML part of the post editor. If you do, it’s not a huge deal, but you will have to paste the embed code in once again. Crazy how something so simple can trip you up, right?
Step 7: Now that your form is embedded and your giveaway is live you should start seeing results stream in. It will stream in in real time so you can sit and watch your giveaway entries as they come in. To get to your entries, simply go to the Google Docs main page and click the title for the giveaway you want to see.
Step 8: This is what your entries will look like:
Step 9: Now say you want to edit your Google Doc after it’s already gone live. You definitely can, just be sure you don’t negate any of the previous entries. Just go up to the *Form* on your Google Doc task bar (within your results) and click Edit Form.
Step 10: When it is time to close up shop on you giveaway, you can either just quickly switch to visual and delete the Google form code from your giveaway. Or just go in and delete the code from HTML. WARNING: As much as I’d like to believe everyone reads directions, they don’t. I can’t tell you how often people still leave comments on giveaways where I specifically state that a comment will not be an entry. I am hesitant to close comments, because I’d like for people to be able to comment on the review or product itself. I still have not figured out a solution for keeping comments open though, so I might be closing them soon on Google Forms Giveaways. If anyone has any advice on that, I’d love to hear it.
So that’s my Google Forms for Giveaways tutorial! I hope it was helpful, and I hope it didn’t have too many holes in it. Who knows, there might be a much better way of doing things, but this is what is working for me right now!
I’d love to hear about what works for you! Talk to me in the comments!