Monday, August 16, 2010

5 Things That Could Be Hindering Your Conversions

Forms are everywhere on the internet, some convert great while other don’t. There are several factors such as call to action, images, copy etc. that all contribute to the success of a form. However, even a well designed form might not convert well if some fundamental things are not taken care of. In this post I am listing 5 fundamental things that could be preventing the visitors from converting.

  1. Consistency in Call to Actions – Consistency in call to action is critical for conversions. You cannot underline few links and not the other within the same context. Be consistent with your formatting. Making some links underlined while other not underlined makes user think harder than he/she should and increases the chances of bailout. See below; do you see the inconsistency in the links? I almost gave up on finding that “Register Now” link (yes it is obvious now because I have highlighted it).

  2. Captcha – Captcha is meant to stop automated computer programs (spiders) from filling the forms but do you know that a Captcha can also deter people who are genuinely trying to fill your form? I suggest doing a simple A/B test on your form with a captcha and without a captcha to see if you captcha is eating up your conversions. This will help you determine if the captcha is worth the loss in conversion.

  3. Confirmation Fields – Confirmation fields are the field that require users to fill in the same information again to ensure that user that has not mistyped the information e.g. password, email etc. However, confirmation adds one extra field that the user has to fill in, thus coming in the way of conversion. Take a close look at your confirmation fields and determine if you really need them. For example, is it really required to have the user confirm the password? If the user has mistyped the password during registration then won’t she be able to easily get it via “Forgot Password?” link? If yes, then do you really need to confirm the password during registration? Do you really need confirmation on sensitive information such as social security? It is scary (for most people) to provide social security number online and confirming it again just gives users another chance to bail out.

  4. Form Validations – Validations on form fields ensure that the data user is entering is in the correct format. However many validations are not really required and come in the way of user trying to complete a form. Check your validations to ensure they are absolutely required, e.g. @symbol in the email address field, or not, e.g. “-“ between area code and phone number. Do not force the users into unnecessary and annoying validations. Keep in mind that a lot of data formatting can be done via client side JavaScript or backend processing without putting the customer through a lot of pain.

  5. Data Fields – It appears to me that many companies like to collect the data just for the sake of collecting it without thinking how it will be used. Yes every piece of data you collect can eventually provide you more information about your customer but should it be really on your form at the expense of lost conversions? Your customers have limited time and adding more fields on your form might turn them away. Go through your form and remove any unwanted fields. If you don’t want to remove anything at this point, identify the fields and do a simple A/B test (one version as it is and the other one without those fields) to see how your conversions are getting affected.

Questions? Comments?

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  1. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Good post. Verify email drives me crazy.

    FYI - your "Follow me on twitter @anilbatra" link is broken.

  2. Thank you. I have fixed the links now.

  3. That's good stuff. Thanks for your input. I find it frustrating when the designers (actually most of the time it's the owners) make registration processes 3 pages long. I have implemented tracking on registration pages that were 6+ pages long. They wanted fall out on each page, as though they were very concerned about it. GREAT, I thought. They want me to tell them that no one is finishing their forms, rather than listen to me now that their design is wack. *End Rant*

  4. Captcha on some websites are so horrible. I don't remember how many times I had to abandon completely filled up forms because I got frustrated trying to figure out poorly visible captchas.

  5. Great article. We have seen issues with capthcas and forms that are just too long. Sometimes we have to convince clients though...


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