4 Best Practices for Web Forms
You’ve got your site up. You set up your email campaign. You open the web form generator to start your sign up form….now what?
There’s a lot of talk about best practices for email marketing, and they cover everything from list building to messages. It can be hard to sort through them all to find best practices for one component of your campaign, such as how you should design your web form.
So given the broad spectrum best practices cover, you’re probably wondering: what are those best practices for designing your web form? We’ve got four of the big ones to share with you.
1. Grab Your Site Visitors’ Attention
Your form will need to catch the eye of a visitor in order to be filled out. This means you’ll want to make sure you design a form that contrasts aesthetically with your web page. Here’s an example:
As opposed to this wine seller’s form:
Although there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that form, it’s harder to see on that page.
Note that while making your form stand out is good, you want to be careful not to make the background of the form too busy. If there is too much going on, or if contrasts too much with your web page to the point you get a headache, you’re not likely to get many submissions.
You want to get the visitor’s attention, but you also want a form that’s user-friendly.
2. Make the Purpose Clear
Another contributing factor for a usable web form is a clear purpose. To establish this, the form needs to answer four questions:
- What is this?
- Why should I sign up?
- How do I sign up?
- When will I get the emails?
Here’s an example of what this can look like:
Answering these questions will help set expectations. If subscribers know what they’ll be getting and when they’ll be getting it, they’re going to be much more likely to stick around.
3. Only Ask For What You Need
Including too many fields can be overwhelming. While you may want all the information you can get, you don’t want the size of your form to scare away potential subscribers or have them abandon the form halfway through.
Let’s take a look at Bed, Bath & Beyond’s sign up form:
They’re using the sign up form to double as their direct mail form. This requires the visitor to fill out their postal address even if they just want the emails. If they don’t want to share that information, they won’t be on the email list.
Now look at Kohl’s sign up form:
If you plan to use other subscriber details for personalization, certainly make sure you ask the questions you need. You need to weigh the cost vs. benefit for each field and decide if there’s a better way you can get that information.
4. Test the Form
Your form isn’t complete unless it works properly, so you’ll need to test it out. Don’t leave this step out, because you don’t want your new subscribers getting an error message after they fill out the form you’ve worked so hard on.
Once you’re happy with how it looks and what it’s asking for, you’ll need to publish it on your website. From there, you can enter your own information to check out how it works.
How do you know it works? This is what happens:
- The thank you page acknowledges the email address has been submitted successfully.
- The subscriber knows they’re going to check their email in order to confirm.
- The subscriber receives the requested information after confirming.
It’s working? Congratulations! You have a web form that follows best practices.
What Do You Think?
What other topics would you like to see best practices for?
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