Using Online Polls On Blogs

Image of VotingDo you use polls on your blog? I’ve never! And yet occasionally I’ll add my vote to an online poll but I’ve never taken the time to consider why bloggers use them on their blogs.

Why Bloggers Use Polls

Darren Rowse is an example of a blogger who regularly uses polls effectively on his blog, Problogger.

He normally runs a poll most months by posting the poll within the body of a post and displaying the poll in his side bar. This way readers who subscribed to his post by RSS are notified of the poll and people visiting his blog can add their vote to the poll in the sidebar.

Darren leaves voting is open for a few weeks after which he follows up with a post that reviews the results of the poll. Do You Most Want to Learn About Blogging? [POLL] is an example of the post he wrote to announce a poll and results are discussed in What You Want to Learn about Blogging [POLL RESULTS].

Polls provide different opportunities for gauging readers opinions compared to just asking questions in blog posts. Not all readers feel comfortable leaving comments in responses to questions. Polls means readers can express their opinion while maintaining their anonymity. They also provide you and visitors to your blog the chance to gain a sense of how your readers feel on topics since most online poll tools display the results once a visitor has voted.

There is a wide range of free online tools that you can use to create polls for your blog. I’ve created the poll below using Vizu to demonstrate how a poll works and to help me prioritize your needs. I’ve chosen 8 topics and I’d love to hear what you would like to learn more about so I can plan future posts on The Edublogger. Feel free to expand on your choice or add your own topic in comments.


Poll creation tools can be used in numerous ways with students. How have you/would you use these tools with your students? Which online poll tools have you used with your students? What were the advantage(s)/disadvantage(s) of the tools you used?

Don’t forget to add your vote to my poll on “What do you most want to learn more about” ๐Ÿ™‚

This series of posts on poll creation tools was inspired by a Web 2.0 Wednesday task — please feel free to join us for Web 2.0 Wednesdays.

Image by Ben+Sam licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

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28 thoughts on “Using Online Polls On Blogs

  1. @cc I did drop past your blog. Looks like you are enjoying blogging and really like cars.

    @Marie my understanding is there is no difference between blogs now. Previously there was learnerblogs so if you choose student the blogs were created using learnerblogs. Now all blogs are Edublogs. When you use the ‘Blog & User Creator’ you need to make sure you tick add me as an adminstrator — doing this will add you and the student when you set up the blog. I plan to do a series on setting up blogs for classes but I know James is working on an improved system so will wait until that is completed.

    Not sure what the problem is with creating your comment avatar ๐Ÿ™

  2. Hi Sue, just another topic to add to the list of “what do you want to learn more about” The topic is: setting up class blogs. I did a search and couldn’t find anything on your site.

    I can see that edublogs has done a terrific job by simplifying the process of creating additional blogs via ‘Blog & user Creator’ , however, when I tested it out, I ended up with another teacher blog and not student blog (which is what I want to use it for). Not sure if I did something incorrect, or there is an error somewhere. Seems that if I want student blogs I need to get students to sign up and then add me as administrator?

    (PS I’m pasting this reply to the clipboard as I did it previously and I got the anti-spam word wrong so it deleted my comment!!)

  3. @Rhonda H I see that you managed to embed it into your blog post – well done – not so immigrant ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Gabriela Glad you like the post. Now that I have used PollDaddy and Vizu — there are some aspects of PollDaddy I prefer. So far there has been 143 votes on the PollDaddy and 114 on the Vizu. I believe you can also customise similar options for Vizu.

  4. I like to use polls especially to see what are my students’ opinion about a topic or a theme, or the course itself. I love PollDaddy and recently I post ( [grosseck_blogspot_com] ) about the new facility: embeding media like flickr, youtube and seesmic in the poll.

    And what I like most about PollDaddy is that you can customize the poll for unique IP and tracks.

    Great post Sue, thanks for sharing it.

  5. I loved your idea of putting polls in your blog, and I even went to Vizu and created one. How do I embed within my blog? Do you have something that gives instructions? Sorry, I’m a digital immigrant but I’m trying!

  6. @Marie I plan to follow up later with posts on survey tools so had already made a mental note to go back and check your post on Kwik Surveys. Both PollDaddy and Vizu have their pros and cons – but both are good.

  7. I think polls are a great tool to use in the classroom as an evaluation of a program they have taken. This way the teacher can review and amend as necessary. One I have used is Polldaddy which is easy to use.

    Another that I came across yesterday is Kwik Surveys which I have posted about “”>Kwik Surveys. This is a simple tool and one that could be used by students to create quizzes for each other.

    Thanks for the useful poll, they are all useful topics … I’d like to add another subject which I mentioned above (sorry, before I read the post properly – I was in a hurry!) I think it fits into “building your blog community” (maybe) as “pingback” seems to be a means to getting attention to your blog?

    I like the readability of Vizu, the way that it shows instant results.

  8. @Marie Good question and I’ve decided that I will answer it by writing a post in the next few days about pingback as it will also help people to understand how to link better to other people’s posts.

  9. Hi Sue,

    I’ve noticed some comments are entered via ‘pingback’. Can you enlighten the unenlightened on what this is and how to use it?


  10. I am having issues with the update and new password setting for my edublog site. I originally had my blog stored under a personal email because I never got the confirmation email via my school address. After I was set up and running I switched to my school email and now I have been asked to reactivate a new password- which supposedly was sent to my school email! See the problem here. I have been looking for a contact email for Edublogs for days. Can you please help or forward me to someone who can help. Alternative email: [email protected]

  11. @Darren Yes it would be great to know that people only voted once but as you point out there isn’t many easy alternatives. And depending on what the original vote was about their results can be meaningful.

    @Jan I also wouldn’t expect it but it has happened sadly.

    Thanks for expanding your reasons why “Blogging with students”. I think this would be an excellent question to convert into a blog post and get a range of people’s feedback.

    @Sarah If you examine Darren’s blog you can see that he is able to use them really well for conversations and creating interaction. Definitely the size of his readership helps (just look at his subscriber number). But also analyse closely how he works them – embedding into a post and the sidebar. Following up with results post. Ensuring he uses them in moderation and making the questions appropriate to his readership.

    Ideally I should had broken this post into two posts and had the poll in the second post as it would have been better. But it was late and I was tired.

    @Colleen I agree you could make some excellent polls that would be fun for students to interact with. Plus I also think that students would enjoy creating their own poll questions and then analysing the responses. Being a scientist I could imagine how you could use them to ask people’s opinions on what they think the outcome of an experiment might be. Once the experiment has been conducted compare it to what people predicted.

    Polls are great for quick response but survey ‘s may ensure that people only complete once.

  12. Hi,

    I think using polls with your students could be one way to get them interested in going to the site. Especially if you sometimes had poll questions that really interested them or related to topics that were close to their hearts at the moment. If you were using your blog as a place to post important information, you could suck them in with the “fun” poll and then they might stay there and read the important information you have there, or leave a comment on something you wrote. I think a poll is a good way of getting students to understand how interactive blogs can be.

    I like the idea of getting student opinion on different topics related to the classroom and what you are teaching, although Darren is right about not being able to tell if people voted twice.

  13. I have been ‘good’ and only voted once but I wanted to tick all the answers because they are all relevant to me.

    I can’t remember where I saw it, but once I read that having a poll is a great way of attracting and retaining readers. I nearly always have a poll running but don’t get more than 15 answers, so I am not sure that piece of advice is ‘true’.

    I am going to use polls in my next online course to get information about students’ pre-existing knowledge of the topic and check their progress.

  14. Now, I hadn’t thought of voting twice, but Darren’s got me thinking of the Al Capone attributed quote “Vote early, vote often!”

    I chose ‘blogging with students’ in the poll (though I could have chosen at least two others). To expand on the topic as you invited us, Sue, my specific, mundane, but to me essential question is about access. To blog successfully with a class of grade 6 students, what would be the minimum time with a computer (in an average week) to start and sustain successful REAL blogging? My definintion of “real” is blogging with student-generated content (not solely prompt-response) and true dialogue (lots of reading and responding) that allows students to develop their voices.

    Does it require close to one-to-one? Three half hour blocks/week? I am in a situation with 30 computers for 500 students, so lab time is really limited. I have many plans for the lab time I do get (digital storytelling, voicethreads…), and I don’t want to start something that, for lack of good planning and a reality check, would turn students away from this powerful process.

    I would love the perspective of experienced classroom bloggers,
    or tech leaders who have observed situations where blogging thrives or wilts on the vine.

  15. So, I love polls, but I would really love to *know* that every person has only voted once.

    IP tracking doesn’t cut it.

    Cookies don’t cut it.

    What we really need is a voting system that tracks votes to an email address or other account id. Like Ning. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a voting module in Ning? Then we could poll every member of Classroom 2.0 and *know* that every person had only voted once.

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