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5 best practices for effective, high-converting lead forms

When it comes to your site’s lead form, the little things count. Here are a few ways to get it right.

1. Be minimalist. Ask for as little information as you can without rendering the lead useless. Use as few fields as possible. Are “company name” and “website” both essential for your form? Whittle it down to the essentials.

2. Make it stupidly easy to submit. Have a big, juicy, colorful call to action that’s just waiting to be clicked.

3. Don’t validate with an iron fist. If you must ask the user to re-submit or fix part of their entry, make it painfully obvious what they did wrong, and use plain English. Never use the word “error.” And always highlight all the issues the first time through. Nothing is more infuriating than fixing one problem only to be stalled by another.

4. Have a clear next step. I see a lot of sites that simply reload the blank form once it’s been submitted. Don’t do this. Create a satisfying experience by telling your user their message is on its way, and give them something to do in the meantime (e.g. check out our FAQs; visit our blog; to reach us faster, call 1-800-PEANUTS). You get the idea.

5. Double-check your tab order. Can I tab through the fields easily, and hit ‘Enter’ at the end to send? Make sure your tab order works smoothly to avoid frustrating some users.

In my opinion, Squarespace has a killer sign-up form. Tumblr does a great job, too.

What are the best lead forms you’ve seen?