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Website Tuneup Tuesday: Your Online Forms

By Josh  |   Business Website Tips | Website Improvement

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Does your website contain forms for visitors to fill out?  

Perhaps you have a general inquiry form on your Contact Us page?
Or an online store checkout form?
A product inquiry form? 
A consultation request form?
An online reservation request form?

If your site contains even just one form, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions and tune up your forms if your answers point to potential problems. We want to make sure your website's forms are working for you—not against you.

Just 4 questions today. Be honest here.

Question #1: Are you asking site visitors to provide you with irrelevant information? 
For Pete's sake; do not require visitors to hand over information you don't need. 

How do you think your visitors feel when they go to fill out your contact form and you're requiring they enter in their mailing or physical address? Look through your forms today. Are you requiring extraneous information you don't even need or use?

Question #2: Are you trying to collect more information than necessary?
Do whatever you can to minimize the amount of time it takes for your prospects to contact you via your online forms.  Just because someone wishes to make contact with your company does not mean they want to give up their lunch break filling out a lengthy long form.

Question #3: Do you take care of your visitors after they submit their information?
I’ve used forms where, after hitting Submit, the page flashes and I suddenly find myself looking at a completely empty version of the form I just filled out. No note saying “Your information has been submitted”. Not even a short note saying “Thank you for filling out our form.” Nothing letting me know when I should expect a response. Do I fill out the form again? Did my inquiry go through? A simple, clear confirmation message (and better yet, a new Thank You page) can prevent confusion and frustration related to your online forms. 

You can take care of your visitors even more if you tell them, specifically, what they can expect will happen next.  Will you call them the same day? Will you research their problem and email them a potential solution within 2 business days?  Be clear. Don't leave your prospects hanging.

Question #4: Do you have “Clear” or “Reset” button at the bottom of your form near your Submit button?
If you do, get rid of it. Now.

People do not take time out of their day to visit your website, carefully fill out your online form, get to the bottom of that form—and then suddenly decide to delete all the information they just typed out.

Clear and Reset buttons only increase the likelihood that you’ll frustrate your site’s visitors as they do nothing but make it easier for your visitors to accidentally delete all the information they just entered.

Eliminate the unnecessary

When in doubt, follow these 2 basic rules:

  1. Keep things simple and make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to complete your forms.
  2. Provide visitors with confirmation that their data was submitted successfully.

When you're ready to take the next step and really harness the power of your online forms (through testing, using and analyzing the information you've collected, making your forms qualify your business prospects, etc.), let's talk.


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