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Ping the World

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Add Interactivity with Online Polls

In poking around Darren Rowse's list of tips for promoting your blog, I came across a post talking about ways to add interactivity. Among the tools and resources Darren has rounded up are links to a couple of online polling tools.

Curious, I tried out both of the tools Darren describes. Both services generate a small piece of Javascript that you paste into your template. Both are highly customizable; both collect data in real-time; both present results graphically; and both allow you to prevent multiple votes.

Personally, I really like the service offered by BlogPoll. The code is generated on the fly and is easy to customize, with a nice onscreen preview feature. About the only downside, for me, is the rather unpleasant advertising in the results screen. I guess that's the price of free.

The service offered by BraveNet is more comprehensive and considerably more difficult to set up and customize. On the plus side, it allows you to create and store multiple polls and even to set up timed rotations among them. The user interface is not as intuitive as BlogPoll's, but they don't bombard you with tacky advertisements.

There are many other companies offering online polling utilities. One worth a look is WebSurveyor. It too is free and easy to customize, and it also offers the ability to store and rotate multiple polls.

Sample polls created using these three tools are displayed (temporarily) in the sidebar to the left for comparison purposes. Feel free to try them out; click View Results to see how each formats and presents responses.

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