Websites contain many parts. For example, there’s the home page, which introduces visitors to your company or services. Some photos or videos tell a little about your product/service. An “about you” page lets potential clients learn about your background and company. You’ll often find a “contact” page among numerous other pages. Forms on your website ask people to provide information about themselves to get the information they seek.

No doubt you’ve completed your share of forms. But when you reach a contact page, how eager are you to complete that form? How much information do you want to provide to a company or person you’ve never had dealings with previously? Do you view it as another way for a company to garner your info? If so, do you abandon it and move on to another similar site?

Indeed, a contact form is a sound way to generate leads. But there are good and bad aspects of such a form. Consider these pros and cons.

The pros of using forms on your website

  • Contact forms are an excellent pre-qualifier. If someone takes the time to fill one out, chances are they are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. You can also pre-screen applicants for new products or services through such a form.
  • Contact forms are good for gathering customer information and ideal for when a customer needs to offer feedback. Or when a customer has an issue that needs to be solved. Rather than sending you or your business an email, you’ll receive the input via the form.
  • Contact forms can cut down on spam. You’ll get a lot less spam through a contact form than you would if you just put your email address out there and asked potential or current clients to email you with questions or concerns. You can take several extra measures to prevent spam when using such a form.
  • You can analyze contact forms through programs like Google Analytics and similar tracking programs. This way, you can determine whether including a contact form on your website is worth it because you’ll know how many visitors have reached the contact form and how many used it.
  • Including a contact form on your website makes you and your company look more professional and serious about gathering new clients.
  • If you set up your form correctly, you can customize who receives the message based on how the user uses the form. This way, the right people on your team will get the message immediately and be able to respond promptly.

The cons of using forms on your website

  • Some customers or potential clients see the form as an invasion of privacy, especially if you ask for more information than necessary. In many cases, a name, email address, and perhaps a short message can be sufficient. Visitors to your site start to get suspicious when you ask for things like birthdate or – especially – phone number. Chances are they already receive way too many spam calls. They may also think you’re phishing for information that could result in identity theft.
  • When forms are too complicated, people often fill them out incorrectly. Then when they hit “submit”, they get an error message. After a few of those, they’ll give up and leave your site.
  • Your contact forms could wind up in your spam box. If your inbox sees many similar emails coming in (due to the formatting of your form), it gets suspicious and marks those emails as spam. You can correct that reasonably quickly, but you could lose some business at the outset before you recognize what is happening.

Formatting your form

While using forms on your website allows you to collect information easily and potentially increase business, the answer to the perfect form is all about keeping it simple.

  • Be sure the form is easy to use.
  • Place it where it’s easy to find from any page on your website.
  • Don’t ask for too much information. Instead, request only the minimum details you need to respond to this individual in a concise and timely manner, providing them with the information they seek.

Want to know more about how to set up quality, effective forms for your website? Contact us at Watershed9 to assist you with this and all aspects of website building. Just call 604-337-1449 or use the CONTACT FORM on this website.