One of the most visited pages on any website is the contact page, and part of what makes a good contact page is a good website form.
The best of the best gather information without causing friction. Having developed hundreds of websites over the years, TBH Creative has learned a thing or two about what makes a good website form. Obvious factors, like clarity and design, come into play. You also need to think about how this tool can help solve your customers’ problems or lead prospects down the funnel.
Keep reading to learn more about must-haves when developing the professional website forms.
Determine what info you need
When interacting with your website users, it’s more important to build trust than gain insights. You can’t build that trust if you make it all about your needs all the time. That’s what it can feel like when a company makes you fill out a never-ending website form. No user wants to deal with the hassle of having to provide way too much personal info upfront when filling out a basic website form.
Make using your website form feel simple and purposeful. Remember: you can always get more details when you follow-up.
Pro-tip: Why ask for an email address and not a phone number? Think of it this way: Since the person has decided to reach out to you by computer, in most cases, that’s how they expect you to respond. Also, for example, for more private people, the act of providing their email address may feel like a smaller commitment than providing a phone number. If someone is still early in the buyer journey, meet them where they are.
If you are worried that you might get a lot of spam from people using fake email accounts created at Gmail, Yahoo!, or AOL, you can set up your website form that requires a user to provide their business email address. As a bonus, when you request a business email address, that will give you insights into which company they work.
Your website form isn’t the time or place to start playing a game of 20 questions. Skip asking about that don’t make a difference to them when it comes helping them get what they need from you.
Instead, stick with the basics. Figure out which details you truly need to receive via a website form before you get back in touch with them.
Pro-tip: Get smart! You can use “smart forms” to dynamically change what the user sees next when they fill out a website form. Smart forms can even gather details about your visitors in the background (e.g., the browser they are using) and send that information to you.
In most cases, the only fields you’ll need for your website form are:
- Email address
- Reason for writing
Pick your form fields around the needs of the majority of your users, instead of what your marketing team wants to know.
Pro-tip: Hear the same customer service-related questions over and over? You might be able to provide quick help if the answers to those questions are already on your website. Add quick links to pages like FAQs, billing info, technical support, or shipping and returns policies, and your users may not even need to submit a form to get what they need.
Make your website form easy to find
It seems simple enough, but it must be said: if you want conversions, don’t bury your website form. When optimizing your website navigation options, sticky page elements, and CTA links, think about what pages your target audience will be on when they need to reach you and how easy it is to find a link to get in touch using your contact form.
Test, test, test
You can have the best form in the world—just the right number of fields (not too many, not too few) and easy to fill out—but, if it doesn’t do anything when the user hits click, you’ve built a no-contact form.
Just as bad is what happens if your user clicks “submit” on your website form and get an error, losing all of the information they input and tried to submit.
Pro-tip: Don’t overlook creating a thank you page to appear after submission. Use this space to set expectations about what happens next, and let them know when you’ll be in touch. If it makes sense, you can even use your website form thank you page to share links to other resources they may find helpful.
But, wait—does your website form really work?
When it comes to good website forms, the biggest sin companies can commit is not having a system in place to close the loop. Don’t leave your users hanging. Once the form is submitted, you’re on the hook to respond. Do you have a procedure in place for what happens next? Create a plan to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
One-size doesn’t always fit all
Sometimes, your website users have really different needs, some may be so diverse that it makes sense to develop customized website forms for each group (e.g., you may find you need separate website forms to help leads schedule a demo from the sales team, to provide technical support to existing users, and to connect journalists with your publicity office).
In complex situations where it’s not possible to build a single smart form to solve these usage needs, create various good website forms, and provide direct links to each from your customer service page.
Every company should strive to make a good first-, second-, and third-impression. Since data shows that many website visitors end up using a website form during some stage of their relationship with a business or organization, they can’t be overlooked.
Does your website form need a checkup?
Every website has lots of critical interaction points.
Creating a positive user experience any time one of your potential leads, existing customers, and other users who fit your target audience reaches out and makes contact with your company or organization through your website is just smart customer service.
Make sure you are positioned for success by designing a good website form that gives your users what they need and delivers what your company needs for follow up, too.
If your current contact form or other web forms aren’t delivering, TBH Creative can help you optimize or develop good website forms. Our experienced team has helped hundreds of clients evaluate their strategy and make tactical improvements to help companies get better results. Let’s talk.
You might also like …