You probably haven’t thought about them much, and no one would blame you. But online forms are seriously crucial the success of many businesses. And if you’ve ignore yours, you may be ignoring chances to convert leads, collect valuable feedback, or even process payments.
1) “Submit” buttons aren’t effective.
When’s the last time you were dying to click a “submit” button? People put them on their forms because they’ve seen so many other forms feature them, but that doesn’t make it effective. Invest a moment of your time into creating actionable, descriptive language on your buttons, like “Download your brochure”, or “Request a phone consultation.” This reduces potential confusion and reduces hesitations, thus increasing your conversions.
2) Make a better form with images.
Images on your forms can make a big difference. We did a study at JotForm to measure the impact of images on our users’ online forms — and what we found was significant. Our users who had images on their forms had an 80 percent increase in conversions. Obviously, an image might not always make sense, especially on smaller lead gen forms. But for longer forms, images can grab attention and make the form experience more enjoyable for visitors.
4) Cut the fat.
Think long and hard about the information you’d like to have versus the information that you need before making launching your web forms. Every extra second you ask your users to spend filling out a form greatly increases abandonment. Long forms are conversion killers, so just be smart about it.
3) Use instructions to uncomplicate forms.
Including instructions has been shown to provide a nice boost to conversions as well. Use them to explain how you’d like a form field submitted, or what the purpose of the form is in the first place. Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability, says you should start by making sure that your “instructions are in plain language: using words that the target users are familiar with, using simple sentences in the active voice, getting rid of big blocks of text.”
5) Make it easy on the eyes.
We’ve all seen it before. We stumble across an awesome website, then when we click on the contact page we’re stunned at the ugliness of an out-of-place form. Forms that don’t match the look and feel of a site can be off putting to visitors, and even come across as spammy. At the very least, take 20 seconds to make sure the form you embed on your site has matching fonts, font sizes, and colors to the existing page. It will appear much more legitimate, and increase conversions.
6) Use the right measurement tools.
You’re probably already using tools like Google Analytics to measure the traffic on your website. But your online form might get lost in the shuffle if that’s the only tool you’re using. Consider a landing page tool like Unbounce, or even choose an online form software that has built-in analytics so you can determine how your forms are actually performing.
7) Mobile matters.
I know you’ve heard this before. But it’s 2016, so at this point there is no ignoring it. You’ll undoubtedly get traffic from handheld devices, so make sure the forms you’re using look terrific on them. Some form creation software provides mobile forms by default, but it’s still important to test them since mobile has its own visual style.
8) Conditional fields can make a form less daunting.
Online forms that require “if this, then that” conditional logic are considerably less frightening to a user than forms showing dozens of irrelevant fields. It’s an easy fix for your form, and won’t discourage anyone from filling it out.
These eight tips will make your forms conversion machines, and it’s important to circle back to these every now and then. Few people worry about their web forms, which means you’re already at an advantage!
Have any tips for making effective forms? Have you tried what’s listed above? Let us know!
Chad Reid is the director of communications at JotForm, a leading web form management platform, and a candidate to receive his MS in Communication.