Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one! That could help explain why everywhere you turn on the Web, there is a poll awaiting your vote. For a dot com owner, the decision to include a poll is a no-brainer: it adds entertainment value, gives people a voice, keeps visitors on your site longer, and helps you take the pulse of the general public on a variety of issues. Another reason to add polls is that they are so easy to implement.
Here are a few of the better free Web-based poll tools.
BlogPoll – Not the sexiest of all of the solutions, but a hard worker! After inputting your question and answer choices, choose your desired widget width, pick your colors, check a results display format and you’re off and running. SAMPLE
Blog Polls – Free but advance registration is required. All fields are on one page and the site has a streamlined look that we found quite enjoyable. You can upload an avatar to further customize your user profile. SAMPLE
CoolWebToys – You must register an account to create a poll. If you are looking to add an additional layer of content to your site, there are other plug-ins, including chat and CoolWebOfTheDay (a toy that supplies new content to your site every day.)
Choose a theme (all color specific), how you’d like people to respond (single choice, multiple choice, dropdown menu) and what text you’d like on the “submit” button. Polls can be syndicated, commented on. You can display results and the number of votes.
Enable IP Logging, Restrict Voting; One Vote Per IP Address. See where in the U.S. people are voting from and how they cast their ballot.
Pollcode.com – No registration, decent customization options. One of the easier polling codes to create. “Quick post” to several social networking sites. Good control over the voting frequency (day, week, month, etc.)
Polldaddy – Probably the most popular solution on this list, Polldaddy offers unlimited free polls with unlimited votes per poll. Add in 14 PollDaddy skins to choose from or the ability to create your own CSS, and you’ll begin to understand why. These customization options are impressive!
Poll results can be viewed online, as XML, CSV, or even subscribed to via RSS!
Aside from standard text, images and videos can be added to polls. Polls can be closed after a certain date, answers can be randomized, results can be hidden and more!
A Pro Account delivers additional features, including the ability to track individual votes, get voter location and detect fraudulent votes.
Pollhost.com – Maintain 15 simultaneous polls for free. Site is in need of an update but it does serve the purpose. Choose from one of our three voting boxes, customize it with your favorite colors and font, and we’ll provide you with an HTML code to paste into your website.
Websitetoolbox.com – One week free trial than costs a few dollars a month. Fully customizable and standard-looking; I have had success with them over the years.
Always choose carefully and monitor your Website’s load time after installation. I’ve had some third-party code snippets grind my site to a halt. Proceed at your own risk!