How Fewer Form Fields Can Backfire

One common piece of advice for anyone working on conversion rate optimization (CRO) is this:

Fewer form fields leads to higher conversions

I’ve made this same claim. And it’s not wrong. But…

As with any other “best practice”, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. While it works in most cases, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. So the best thing you can do is test and measure.

One way this popular advice can backfire is by providing you lower quality leads.

In concept, this appears more obvious. When a person fills out a form, they are giving away valuable information. The more of this information you ask for, the less likely they will be to fill out the form. But, those who do fill out the form are that much more qualified. These are prospects that will be easier to sell.

If you improve your conversion rate by eliminating forms, thereby getting more people to fill out the form, you also eliminate that added qualification. Now your leads might be more resistant to sales efforts, costing you more money and lowering the follow up conversion rate.

Companies must be sure to measure the overall impact of any change. In this case, the best metric would be “cost per sale”, which would take into account the initial conversion rate change as well as all follow up efforts.

Simple Website Fixes – Part 6

Welcome to the latest edition of our newest weekly blog series, Simple Website Fixes. Each week we will identify and explain one easy change that you can make to your company’s website in order to improve performance. Last week’s fix was – Add a Phone Number.

This week’s fix = Use Shorter Forms

Many of your websites have forms that you want people to fill out. Forms can take many different…forms (sorry).

  • Sign up forms
  • Contact forms
  • Lead generation
  • Checkout/Payment

The point of building these forms and hosting them on your website is to get people to fill them out. Presumably, when someone fills out one of these forms, it is a good thing. You have gotten them to take an action.

If the above is correct, then it stands to reason that getting more people to fill out more forms would be a good thing. This is conversion rate optimization. And a great way to do that, when it comes to forms, is to ask for less information.

A more streamlined form (read: shorter) means fewer fields and faster completion times. It speeds up the time to conversion, and also gets over some people’s hesitation to share too much information online.

Take a look at all the forms on your site and get rid of any unnecessary fields. If you do this, you’ll get more people to take action.

Have an idea for a simple website fix? Submit it here and maybe we will include it in an upcoming post.