Website Forms – Dos and Don'ts

Marketing Advice - 17.05.17

Website forms can have more impact on how users rate your website than you think. It might be a surprising fact but it is true. Think of it this way: if your user wants to get in touch with you to ask a simple question and if you ask them for a wide array of information instead of letting them ask you what they want. Would you be surprised no one is filling out your forms? The user is more likely to give up and ask that simple question to your competition. 

Keeping forms short and to the point is only one of the things you can do. Here are the rest:

1. Visually Group and Label the Form

Avoid using big spaces between forms label. For example, ‘First Name’ and the bar information needs to be entered. If you leave a big space between the label and the bar, your users are more than likely to think twice about what bar certain information goes where. Your best bet here is to put the label into the bar, here’s an example:

2. Single Column

Keep your forms going from Top to Bottom, meaning that the users aren’t distracted and move down or away from the form. This also allows you to keep the form in a logical order (an exception to this would be an address bar where Country, postal code etc. could be in a row).

3. Provide Error Messages

Make sure to let your users know that they’ve made an error. Whether it is a pop-up window or colour (highlighting the error in red and bold), ensure that your users know that you need this information and the form won’t submit until they’ve provided it. For both parties, submitting a partially submitted form does no good.


1. Overuse Optional Fields

Try to use optional fields as little as possible. Use them only when they are necessary, in cases where they would apply to specific users. Make the rest of the fields obligatory. This way you will ensure that the users provide all the information you need to better respond to their enquiries.


2. Limit the Size of Text Fields

Make sure that the text fields are the same size as you would expect the user to input, especially when it comes to important user information - phone numbers, email addresses etc. This way the user will be able to easily overview the information they have provided and ensure that they didn’t make any errors.

3. Think Like a Salesperson

Of course, there’s no point in having a well-designed and thought-out form if you don’t make a convincing reason for users to fill it out. Always have an introductory paragraph with a convincing copy. Ask yourself questions like; Why should users fill out your form? What do they get? Give them a compelling reason to sign up or inquire and make the copy interesting and unique.

These guidelines should be a starting point when you’re developing your forms. If your existing website uses forms, make sure to review them and ensure that there are no mistakes like the ones mentioned here. It can take a lot of time and money to drive traffic to your site, you certainly don’t want them to fall on the last hurdle. If your forms are too complex and not user-friendly, you will lose out on conversions.

We take usability and design seriously here at Together Digital. If you feel your site is not generating the enquiries it should be making, get in touch and let one of our experts review your site for you.