Marketing Strategies

6 best practices to create website registration forms that convert

Filling out online forms to get access to content or a special offer is about as fun as waiting in line at the DMV or working your way through an automated phone menu. Those online forms, however, are often a digital marketer’s most effective way to convert site visitors into new subscribers. That’s why designing registration forms with the user in mind, making them fun and interactive, can make the difference between an abandoned page and a conversion. Check out the 6 best practices for creating effective registration pages below.

1. Less is More: Limit the number of fields

The biggest mistake marketers make when designing website forms is asking for too much information, too soon.  Each additional question or field you include in your form reduces conversion and increases abandon rates.  This is why the most effective form is a simple, single input email form.

Unless it’s absolutely critical, leave it out.

2. Stepped Questions:  Break it up into bite sized bits

So you’ve gone through your form, deleted as many fields as possible, but still find you need more than just an email address.  This is where breaking up the form into stepped questions can be a powerful solution.

Step one is to have a form requiring only an email address. Once a user has entered it and hit ‘submit’, new fields appear confirming their submission and asking for a additional details. Breaking up the form via stepped questions means that even if the user abandons the form after the first question, you already captured her email address. What a win! An added bonus is that consumers tend to convert at much higher rates when presented with a single field or two at a time.

3. Frictionless Forms:  The power of on-screen validation

Designing registration forms that convert boils down to creating a good user experience. And one of the most important elements of good user experience is immediate feedback. In other words, let the user know if they are filling out the form correctly as they’re typing, per the example below.

A recent case study confirmed that on-screen validation resulted in a 22% increase in success rates and a 31% increase in satisfaction rates.

4. Mobile Responsive Is a Must

This is an obvious one, but surprisingly overlooked. A recent email marketing benchmark report showed that mobile clicks made up 46% of all email clicks in Q2 of 2015.  Having a web page that renders well on a mobile device becomes even more important with registration forms.  Non-responsive mobile pages will sink your form conversion rates.

5. Showing Samples:  Inspire confidence and encourage completion

With the amount of emails the average person receives each day, it’s not surprising that people want to know what they are signing up for. Displaying interactive email samples above or within the form can help ease the user’s mind and encourage form completion. Setting expectations up front will drastically reduce unsubscribe rates down the line.

6. Interstital (Pop-Up) Forms: Slightly annoying, but very effective

Popup forms get a bad rep, perhaps rightfully so. When they’re poorly executed, they are annoying to users and create a bad experience. But why do they seem to be getting more and more popular? Short answer: They work. Studies have shown that adding a popup window registration page can increase opt in rates by 30 – 100%.

As long as you follow the best practices below, popup registration forms will help you increase signs ups, without driving away visitors.

  • Don’t implement the popup window on every page of your site.
  • Only show a popup once during each unique visit to your site.
  • Delay the popup.
  • Make the message relevant.
  • Ensure it’s easy to exit out of the popup.

Setting up registration forms that follow these best practices will help increase your conversion rates. But how do you keep your customers happy once they’re subscribed? Allow them to easily manage their subscription preferences.


Dan Speers
Marketing Strategist

As a Marketing Strategist, Dan helps our Marketing team identify opportunities and challenges and then develop a plan to meet our objectives. But most importantly, he ensures we let data guide our decisions by consistently measuring and analyzing results. Dan loves implementing new ideas, especially with the talented and creative teams here at Data Axle!