Q: What should I include on my website form?
A: It depends on what you hope to accomplish. Be sure to structure your form and frame text to encourage responders to both complete the process and give you the information you want.
Major reasons for form abandonment include
• Forcing buyers to register in order to make a purchase
• No clear call to action
• No obvious benefit to the responder; too much work with no reward
• Something doesn’t work or breaks during the process
The form itself discourages users by being
• Hard to navigate, unresponsive, or difficult to fill out on a mobile phone
• Too long (the form, the questions, the expected answers, or the answer choices)
• Too hard or too confusing and cluttered
• Too time-consuming
Here at Tate Design, we build a website form framework and recommend components based on your purpose and goals for collecting information. We are also mindful that a short, friendly, clear form will have a better response rate.
Consider these bare bones for opting-in to a newsletter list, commenting on a blog, or requesting more information by e-mail
1. A clear call to action that includes the benefit to the responder
Choose something like “Get weekly marketing tips that will save you time and money” instead of “Sign up for my newsletter”
2. Text announcing a link to your privacy and security policy
“View our privacy and security policies here”
3. A request for an e-mail address
Use a pop-up box to explain that this address will only be used to send the weekly newsletter, customer discounts, e-receipts after a purchase, etc. If you don’t really need this information, consider omitting it or making it optional
4. A “Submit” or other “Take action” button
Make this button big and obvious, especially for those using smartphones, and include a more personalized call to action for a better response
5. An optional field for a name* and/or comments*
Star your optional fields instead of your required fields to boost your completion rate and use a pop-up box to explain how you will use this information (for instance: “we personalize our e-mails with your name so you know it’s genuine e-mail from us”)
If you are operating an online store, your sales form should also include
6. An SSL certificate
Encryption builds trust that you will keep the buyer’s personal information safe (as explained in our post “What is SSL and why do I need a certificate now?”)
7. A shipping and handling calculator and tax information
Many purchase forms are abandoned because shipping and handling and/or taxes make the item too expensive
8. A request for credit card information including its number, the first and last name that appears on the card, its expiration date, its 3-digit security code, and the billing address of the credit card
Make this big enough to read easily on any device
9. The desired shipping address if different from the credit card billing address
If you have a reason for requesting additional personal information—like gender, date of birth, or telephone number—be sure to specify exactly why sharing this information will benefit the responder. Perhaps you will include gender-specific product offers in mailings or send out a birthday gift or text discounts.