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Strategy

The Importance of WordPress Forms: Tips and Best Practices

Without these forms, communication between you and your customers is one-sided. Learn how to make the best of them

Keith Loria
October 08 2018

Forrester predicts that CMOs will spend more than $122 billion on the new marketing economy by 2022. Included in that figure is spending on advertising, support for higher mobile engagement, and digital marketing strategy. All of these initiatives will lead potential buyers and customers to a company website where a call-to-action awaits the visitor.

That’s where a WordPress form comes in. It’s estimated that 30% of the top 10 million sites are powered by WordPress.

“On a WordPress site, forms can make or break lead generation numbers,” said Markelle Harden, chief content coordinator of ClassyInbound. “Buggy forms, forms that are too long and difficult to use on a mobile device, or forms that send information into a database that never gets utilized by sales or marketing will result in very little ROI from the website.”

Contact forms, designed as plugins, help site owners customize their forms to suit their unique markets, customers, segments, and service level needs. From obtaining prospective sales leads from a form to capture lead generation, to designing a form that has a built-in auto responder providing the customer with immediate feedback, forms that are designed in “if, then” statement to yield different results, to even different entries based on their responses, the choices are limitless.

Using WordPress contact forms in your business website or blog is essential these days, because without these forms you can not successfully build a two-way communication with your viewers.

Additionally, forms provide site owners, sales staff, marketing teams, designers and researchers with instantaneous feedback that can be used to improve a product’s feature set, unique selling proposition, marketing channel, and optimize its messaging based on users submitted data.

“For most marketing-focused sites, lead generation is often the primary purpose. Most web pages and content are all trying to get a user to fill out a form to acquire leads,” said Joshua Northcott, chief technology officer for Hounder & Co. “Having a form that works consistently, is easily customizable and works across web and mobile devices is of critical importance to your lead generation efforts. Content is always king, but having a form that works is the next important thing.”

Utilizing Forms Correctly

For any business or personal website, the ability to get in contact is paramount to the website’s success. Therefore, a complex or vague form is a guaranteed barrier to entry for any website visitor.

“Make sure you pay attention to the design of the form. If the form looks too dissimilar to the rest of your site, then it won’t be a great user experience to the customers visiting your page,” Northcott said. “Customizing the design with most services is pretty easy. At a minimum, make sure your colors and fonts match.”

He added the biggest mistake most people make with their forms is including too many questions.

“Every single question you ask on a form reduces its completion percentage by a little bit,” he said. “So, craft your form based on the information you need to have, not the information you think it’d be nice to have. You’ll get more responses that way.”

Chad Reid, director of communication for online form builder JotForm, noted form are of vital importance to a WordPress site.

“They offer a way to not only collect more relevant information for your business, but to centralize the data you collect,” he said. “Forms can do so much that you simply aren’t able to do by just leaving a contact email address. Using a form service, you can send autoresponse emails, collect payments and electronic signatures, and even subscribe someone to a mailing list.”

Forms work by embedding on your site and acting as a part of your website. Generally, they’re hosted by a number of 3rd-party companies who specialize in form creation. To get the most out of your forms, consider the following things:

Ease of Embedding: Having a form that can be embedded easily into your website is the most important element. For many small businesses operating without a web developer, inserting a web form should be a simple task with only a few action points. Forms such as WP Forms and Gravity Forms have this functionality.

Templates: Who wants to create their own template? For people short on time, having a variety of templates to choose from makes their life easier, and may prompt them to include line items that they may have forgot otherwise.

Drag and Drop: Using a template is great, but being able to edit the order of the form questions is even more important. Date of birth may not be important for many businesses, but if you have a business that requires proof of age to order their goods, then this form item should be located at the top of the page. Being able to drag and drop form items is one of the key things people should consider when inserting a WP Form.

Add Ons: Additional add ons such as MailChimp integration, instant notifications, PayPal integration are just some of the additional features that many WordPress Form providers offer consumers. Always shop around to see what items you may require and what provider has them.

Reduce Bounce Rate: If your website does not have any contact form, the visitor feels discouraged to contact with you and leaves your website without visiting another page, increasing your website’s bounce rate. Keeping contact forms in websites effectively reduces bounce rate of visitors in your website and enhances the visibility of search engines.

Mobile Matters

While WordPress is popular for its ease of use and search engine friendliness, Harden noted not all WordPress themes and sites offer forms that are built for mobile devices.

“Businesses who are investing in mobile strategy and technology should pay close attention to the way forms look on mobile, the bounce rates, and the conversion rates to maximize their investments,” she said. “For example, if forms don’t load quickly or have a difficult captcha code, users will abandon the form and look for assistance elsewhere.”

The Final Word

If your company is considering a move to WordPress or already has a site, spend as much time analyzing the forms as you do the overall design and layout. Ultimately, the forms are the bridge between your customer and your website, so make sure it’s not broken down or difficult to use.

“Providing forms on your WordPress site enhances the customer experience while driving more business for your company,” Reid said. “We also think of forms as being a productivity tool, because when you ask the right questions up front, it can significantly reduce the time you’ll spend sending back-and-forth questions trying to get the exact information you need.”

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Keith Loria

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is an award-winning journalist who has been writing for major newspapers and magazines for close to 20 years, on topics as diverse as sports, business and healthcare. You can view some of his recent writing at keithloria.contently.com.

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