Optimization tips > Top 10 Mistakes

Top 10 conversion optimization mistakes which hurt forms in 2016

Easy tips for avoiding mistakes which may hurt your conversions

Ron E, 30/06/2016
Easy tips for avoiding mistakes which may hurt your conversions

We all make mistakes, that’s how most of us learn. However Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is all about getting more out of your traffic. If you are not familiar with it, take a look at our intro to CRO. In this short post we will cover some of the most common CRO mistakes. We picked those out of many potential mistakes as we believe these are common, easy to fix and can yield significant results. These tips and many more are all part of the knowledge base we built when we designed FormTitan’s auto CRO engine.


Hiding your key message

Your online form should clearly state its purpose. Regardless if you are building a real-estate form, a registration form or any type of lead generation form, your key message at the top of your form plays a major role in getting your visitors attention. The message should be short, catching and to the point. Most importantly it should be tested. If you are not testing your form, be sure that you are making some mistakes and losing some users. Read here about A/B testing and how you can use it to test your key message.

Messed up label alignment

label alignment

In general you have 3 options for aligning your labels: top, right and left.
The worst thing you can do is not pay attention to label alignment. Interchangeably use top, left and right. Do this and you’ll end up with a messed up form without a clear visual flow leading to submission. Our recommendation is always top: Studies have shown that top alignment facilitates faster reading and higher completion rates. Giles Thomas, in his post "5 A/B Tests You Should Be Running on Your Landing Page Opt-In Forms" also talks about an eye-tracking study that illustrates why top-aligned labels are a good option. Furthermore, Top alignment is much more flexible if you need localization to support multi languages.


No inline validation

 inline validation

Have you ever tried to submit a long form and were asked to go back and fix various errors that you have made? Many people get frustrated at this point and just abandon the form.
We cannot over emphasise the importance of inline validation. Don’t wait till your visitor completed the whole form to tell him he has an error. Inline validation results in fewer errors and shorter time to fill (TTF).

Use too many (required) fields

required fields

The more fields you ask for, the more difficult is the task of filling your form and the more likely are your users to abandon. In general, you should try to minimize the number of fields you ask for. If you want to use more fields, at least minimize the number of required fields and make the others optional. If you use fields that may drive away some people make sure to make them optional. Phone number is the best example for a field which should always be optional.
Meenu Joshi, in her post "Breaking Bad PPC Landing Page Habits That Kill Conversions" gives an example of a form that has too many fields, almost all are mandatory, and how this effects visitors. She really called it for what it is: "Making the visitor do all the hard work".
If your visitors are of diverse origin and you have different sets of questions for them, we highly recommend using conditional logic to minimize the overall number of questions. With this approach, you use the first responses to dynamically show or hide the following fields.


Form structure - starting with the heavy questions?

Form structure

It's always a bad idea to start your form with the more complex or personal questions. Always start with the easy stuff. Name, address, email… Keep the more personal questions or your open-ended text questions to the end of the form. This way you ease your visitors into completing your form. When they are half way through, they already invested a minute or two in filling the form and are less likely to abandon due to a more “personal” question.


Use multiple column forms

It's a common mistake to use forms with multiple columns in order to make the form shorter. In most cases, single column forms are much clearer to follow and fill, even if it makes your form look longer


Making it more difficult than it should be

Asking for the same information twice and refraining from using auto fill are common mistakes. You want to make it easier as possible to fill your form: Don’t ask the same thing twice, use auto fill when possible. It helps your visitor and reduces the overall effort required to fill your form. By auto filling fields such as name, address, email you minimize potential errors and “save” your visitor’s energy for the more personal questions.
Nicole Dieker in her post "31 Ways Your Landing Page Forms Are Bleeding Money" sums it up nicely by saying: "The more work your prospects have to do, the less likely they are to complete your landing page forms".


Dull CTA button (call to action)

A dull looking, with a meaningless label such as “send”, is probably the worst option you can make for a CTA button.
This is the most important item in your form. If you get it wrong, you will get poor conversions. The most common CTA copyright is submit or Send which are too general. Tailoring the copyright to the specific form type or even adding extra text on the button e.g. “Signup Now” can significantly improve conversion rates. To make a clear visual flow through your form, align your CTA button with your labels. Regardless of the copyright, the button must stand out. Make sure to use bright contrasting colors.


Is your form Safe?

Security Seal

Security concerns are one of the key reason for form abandonment, especially when it comes to payment forms. Your users must feel comfortable filling your form. A security “seal” by a recognized 3rd party brand can significantly help ease such concerns.


Not posting a link to a privacy statement

You are asking your users to provide their personal data: their name, address, email, etc. It's only natural that they will want to feel safe about the usage you intend to make with the data. Adding a link to a privacy statement is recommended in order to show your visitors that you respect their privacy and declare what you intend to do with the data they provide.