How to Increase Form Conversions on your Blog

Web forms for a blog are typical means of converting casual visitors into engaged contacts. Once readers have made the step of dropping you a few lines, they are most likely to come back. However, feeding people’s appetite for filling out forms can be a tricky task. Here are some easy tips for increasing conversion rates. Further on, you can find out how to create forms that suit each blog using the 123ContactForm plugin for WordPress.

5 PRO-CONVERSION tips:

  • Simple layout, catchy design. Make the form simple by using the minimum number of fields and a one-column layout. If you plan on building a more complex form (e.g. a survey), it’s best to group fields into separate topic sections. Forms are powerful elements and their design should match the overall image of your blog. That’s because our vision usually sorts out the page elements that do not harmonize with the ensemble and ignores them. So leave grey aside and be creative. In terms of words, you can use humorous or teasing messages to spice up your forms.
  • User-friendly validation. Fields that prompt for e-mail addresses or phone numbers should have some simple hints below, stating which the desired input format is. This may seem redundant, but mistakes may occur in rush. If your form doesn’t have an autofill option, users should be aware of what they should pay attention to. This kind of interactivity is a must for a contact form, as well as for an order form for WordPress or any other type of web form that requires user input.
  • Non-alien CAPTCHA. Have you ever stood dazzled in front of a hieroglyphic CAPTCHA saying to yourself: “Gosh, I don’t have the keyboard for that”? Oh yes, so did we. There’s no reason in chasing away visitors by using an IQ test when a simple CAPTCHA will be equally successful in preventing spam. The even better solution is smart CAPTCHA, which only shows up when there is a sign that the form has been abused (e.g. multiple submissions from the same IP address).
  • Efficient error handling. Another means of good interaction with users is optimized error handling. A friendly way to do it is by highlighting the fields that contain errors, so that one can notice easily what needs to be corrected.
  • Custom “thank you” message. Even if this comes after the objective of having the form filled out has been reached, it’s best to send a warm message to users, thanking them for their time and announcing that your feedback on their message is on its way.

5 ANTI-CONVERSION practices to avoid:

  • Design clutter. Without a powerful motivation, users would be distracted when faced with a cluttered form and they wouldn’t fill it out. Keep forms stylish, yet clean and simple.
  • Typing stress. Bad questions are the ones that don’t go straight to the point and call for too much typing. Use simple statements and include radio buttons or Likert scales, if suitable.
  • “Reset” button easily mistaken for the “Submit” one. There are few cases when a “Reset” button is necessary at all. Don’t use it when you don’t actually need it because, when hit accidentally, it will lead to users losing data and, naturally, giving up the form.
  • No interactivity. Users need guidance. If they spend more than 5 seconds all alone wondering what to do next, the following step will be leaving your page. Of course, you don’t have to stuff the form with explanations. Use them with generosity, but also with purpose.
  • No motivation. You have to point out why you’re asking users to fill out the form on your blog and/or what they will gain by doing this (even if it’s just a big Thank you).

How to build a highly customizable form using the 123ContactForm plugin for WordPress

123ContactForm is a WYSIWYG form generator that creates any kind of forms and surveys in 3 easy steps. No programming experience is required as a drag and drop form builder handles the entire process of form generating. Features of 123ContactForm include 3rd party apps integration (SalesForce, MailChimp, VerticalResponse, WebHook, iContact, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups), payment processing (integrations with PayPal,
Authorize.Net, Google Checkout). At any degree of complexity, your WordPress online form will blend perfectly with the image of your blog as 123ContactForm allows full CSS customization.

Let’s see the wizard in action!

Install the 123ContactForm plugin for WordPress:
1. Download the 123ContactForm plugin from the WordPress plugins directory.


2. Install the plugin to your WordPress database:
a. Unzip and move the folder 123contactform-for-wordpress to your wordpress/wp-content/plugins directory;
b. Visit your WordPress dashboard. In the Plugins tab, click on the Activate button for the plugin named 123ContactForm for WordPress.

Create your WordPress contact form:
1. Login/signup to www.123contactform.com.
2. In your Dashboard, go to Create New Form and choose Contact form.


3. Choose your fields (you can use the preexistent ones) and edit them to set the validation rules, label text and positioning etc.


4. Go to the next step – Form Settings. Here, you can customize the “thank you” page, choose the email address where notifications will be received and set the security options (anti-spam features include: CAPTCHA, smart CAPTCHA, password protection, country filter). This is also the step where you can customize the form theme or even the CSS code to style the form in any way you wish to.
5. The final step – Publish Form. To post the form on WordPress, choose the WordPress option in the menu on the left. It returns a line of code. In the Publish section, you can also opt for using SSL encryption for the data sent through your form.


6. Go to your WordPress editor (either in the visual or HTML mode) and paste the code in the place where you need the form to be displayed.

There is a second way of publishing forms on your WordPress page, which is particularly helpful if you have more than one form to embed, because it gives you access to all the forms at once, without having to copy the code for each one. This technique works as follows:

  • Log in to 123ContactForm and go to your My Account section. Under Account Details, there is an API Key. The initial status of it is none. Press Create now. Copy the API Key that has been generated.
  • Go to your WordPress dashboard and edit your post. Make sure you are in the Visual mode (not HTML). The 123ContactForm icon was added to your menu when you installed the plugin. Click on it, paste the API Key in the lightbox that appears and press Connect.

  • Here, you can see a dropdown list containing all of the forms you have created with 123ContactForm. Choose the form that you want to publish and press Embed. You can edit the form at any time, to keep up with the updates in your blog design.

Authored by LAURA MOISEI

Being part of the team at 123 Contact Form, I enjoy keeping up with the latest trends in design, as well as with tech news, and share my discoveries.

14 thoughts on “How to Increase Form Conversions on your Blog”

  1. I loved that you have put up demo pictures of the methods that you have suggested. The details given to increase conversions on my blog is what I am most definitely going to try to follow. I have many people who visit my blog on and off, being lead to it from Google, but I am hoping for a more regular group of people who visit my blog and follow my posts. Am hoping that it works for me, as it is one of my goals for the year 2012.

  2. The issue of exit traffic is a major one for my site. I get so many visitors for my websites who just visit the post page and leave general comment. They don’t initiate any conversions. I also analyzed this exit traffic many times and found that they are in search of useful information. They need high quality content to read. But after reading your post i have found more effective ways to get the conversions. You have posted the perfect tips and reasons for getting conversions.

  3. Getting conversions for the website is a wish of every blogger. But for getting them the post must also be of good content. It is important that readers should find useful information to read. You are right that the validation must be user friendly. If the reader faces any problems for filling the contact form then it happens many times that readers just leave by visiting the site. So the bloggers must keep their validation forms user friendly.

  4. Conversions are the sign of the great article I think. And to get them is a tough job. I tried so many things for my blogs after understanding this. I tried writing the best articles for my blogs and received high number of hits but did not see any increase in the rate of conversions. But after reading your post I think I will be able to get the desired conversion rate for my posts. Agree with you that if the users are not getting user friendly form fillings, they are surely going to leave the post by just visiting and without commenting.

  5. 123ContactForm plugin seems to help to get us more creative ways for the validation forms. And this is very important for getting the conversions for the site. It is important that readers should be given user friendly contact forms which will be convenient for them. I have never used this plugin but as from your post it seems creative, interesting, simple and effective to use, I am thinking of using it.

  6. I just love the way you guys make it a point to share all the amazing things possible on WordPress. I was a regular blogger on Blogspot prior to this, but have been drawn to WordPress most of all by the features you guys cover here. I must say that the reviews are a hundred times true of the reviewed aspect. Please keep sharing the innovation. Love exploring all these new features of WordPress.

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for all the value you share here. I particularly liked the custom “thank you” message you mentioned in the pro-conversion tips. Saying thank you is one way we can value and appreciate our customers and this can also lead our visitors to remember us.

    Thanks again,

    Judy

  8. Great points. We may also need to offer some value to users who fill out the forms like free news letter, something with some value that they may get motivated to increase our conversion value.

  9. I think increased form conversions on blogs is a sign of success. But for my blogs I have not yet achieved this success. Even I would like to keep up my blog with latest trends in design. 123 Contact Form looks very interesting! Getting a professional help to create a form that will suit my blog is always welcomed! I think conversion rate would be affected by using this 123 Contact Form. Making attractive user friendly forms for readers will help in getting the desired conversion rate for my blog. Thanks!

  10. I think the use of inline errors should be minimum. It is the most important step as being a frequent web user myself, filling out forms is actually a norm and what actually annoys me is the waiting time period for the server feedback before knowing if there’s any error on the filling process or maybe the username has been taken. I think very few websites offer such feature and obviously those which took the criteria into account are the most user-friendly. Small things like this should not be overlooked. But it should not be over done as each additional time this happens, the visitor becomes increasingly annoyed.

  11. I agree about the capthca. I also have seen some that do not work or have problems sometimes also. I like the motivation idea also. Most sites do not tell people what benefit they have for filling out the form. I also like to see no sharing of email or info listed.

  12. Capthca can sometimes be little tricky since it is difficult to read the letters.

    I seen a better alternative although I don’t know what plugin are they using.

    There is a cool site I have visited that uses mathematical equation as verification method.

  13. great article. i have to laugh because i see the things you say not to do all the time. I laugh when i see images that i have no idea what they are so how can i confirm them if i can not figure out what they area. simple is best idea and less works best.

  14. @Jeff I agree that reading a capthca can be very difficult to read sometimes but I have also seen some better verification methods like “What color is the sky” or “Is fire hot or cold”. I think these are great alternatives to the sometimes difficult number and letter capthcas.

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