Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site.
There’s an underestimated tool on your website that holds the key to business growth. If you use it well.
What am I talking about? I'm referring to the simple form tool that we use to create contact forms and other means of getting inputs from users.
Forms are the basis of many interactions online. We carry out searches by entering keywords in a form field and then hitting ‘Search’, we send messages via forms, we enter shipping and billing details with forms, and do so much more.
It makes sense that improving how you build forms will also improve user experience (UX). And as a result, you’ll build leads, get more customers, and engage with people better.
Now let’s take a look at practical ways you can leverage forms and improve UX on your website. Here we go.
Are you experiencing form abandonment? A large number of people who start filling your forms actually leave without hitting submit. This happens when your form is confusing, unintuitive, or too long.
When you do need to collect a lot of data for things like surveys, it’s necessary to create multiple fields. In such cases, you need to find a way to make it engaging and interesting even though there are several fields that need to be filled.
This is where conversational forms come in. A conversational form is where questions appear as if they’re being typed in real-time. And only one question is asked at a time. So when people respond to the form question, it’s like sending a chat message.
Conversational forms remove the feeling that a user is filling a static form and is having a dynamic and more interesting experience instead.
If you’re seeing low form conversions or just want to optimize your surveys to get the most feedback, make use of conversational forms.
Another way to get people to fill long forms is by creating your form in a multi-page layout. Here, your form is spread across different pages that people get to once they’ve finished the current form page.
By breaking down your form into bite-sized pieces, it removes mental fatigue as users enter data. You’ve probably already used multi-paged forms while making payments or applying for jobs. Breaking up your form in this way also removes the need for people to scroll down too far and ensures that the input they’ve already given is saved.
Here’s another feature you can add that makes your multi-page form user-friendly: breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs are visual cues that tell people where they are on your form or website. It lets them know how far along they are on your form and how much more is left to complete.
This creates mental ease and gives the sense of making progress as a user completes the form.
Conditional logic is a form feature where you display certain questions based on the choices a user makes. For example, if you’re using forms to get job applications, then depending on the role a person selects, they’ll get questions related to that role. A person who is applying for the role of a developer would then be shown a dropdown list consisting of qualifications or skills that they can pick.
Using conditional logic means that you only ask the right questions and get relevant answers. And your users won’t have to answer generic questions that waste their time.
Another way that you can use conditional logic is by creating custom messages for different form responses. If a customer makes an inquiry, your success message can thank them and ask them to wait for 24 hours for a response.
Or, if a customer wants to get information for an event, you can automatically assign such queries to people or departments in your business that deal with events. It’s also possible to redirect customers to different pages once they complete and submit their form.
If they’ve signed up for an event, you can take them to a page with a countdown timer that’s ticking down until the event takes place. Or if they subscribed to your newsletter, you can send them to your blog page to start reading.
There are many ways to leverage conditional logic. Look for ways to personalize interactions on your website using forms and you’re certain to see higher conversion rates soon.
The less work your audience has to perform on your website, the happier they’ll be. Auto-filling some form fields based on your page links or user behavior will make less work for your audience.
For example, if your user is on your product pricing page and wants to send a message asking for more information, a form that popups from that page could automatically fill the subject field with appropriate text like ‘I’d like to know more about this product’. Users could add to it, send it as is, or replace the text.
You can also enable a dynamic field population, where users who’ve entered information about themselves once before will find future forms automatically filled.
One of the issues faced with using forms on WordPress is that the theme controls what a form looks like. And because of this issue, you’re very limited when it comes to designing your form.
One way to overcome this is by creating a dedicated form landing page. You build a single landing page with almost no other content except your form. You’ll have control over how it appears by managing spacing, sizes, colors, and more.
Building a landing page for your forms gives you more control over your form's appearance.
This helps your audience to focus on the form and prevents users from feeling overwhelmed or distracted by other content.
Forms are simple but powerful tools and often underestimated by businesses. It is critical that you use a good form plugin to create the best chance of making a positive user experience for users.
Along with sending messages, forms are important tools that help you gather leads, get payments, and even get blog post submissions.
Invest in the right tool and make sure that you create ease for customers who want to interact with your business. In this way, you’ll grow your business fast.
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