How to Build an Online Form | Step-by-Step Guide
Posted on June 21, 2022
How to Build an Online Form | Step-by-Step Guide
Creating an online form can bring countless business benefits. If you want to collect data for better decision-making, building an online form is one of the easiest ways to gather information from customers or prospects.
Setting up online forms shouldn’t be difficult. All you need is the right form builder tool and a bit of time to create a form that addresses your business needs.
So, let’s have a better look at some of the things that can help you discover how to create an online form.
First steps to create web forms
Before you jump straight into the action to create online forms, you should first make sure to cover your bases. Here are the two steps you need to consider before building your online forms:
Define your purpose
One of the first things you will have to do when you create online forms is to define your purpose. Once you do that, you’ll know what features your form builder should have and you will be able to dive deeper and explore the functionalities of the online form builders out there (you can also check out this article we wrote about the best web form builders on the market, from Google Forms to 123FormBuilder).
The structure of your form will depend on what you plan to find out and the type of information you need to collect. For instance, lead generation forms, employee surveys, and event registration forms will all have a different format and they will collect data differently. A good online form builder will be able to help you create all these forms (and more).
Look for a reliable form builder
Pay attention to all the online form builder features that make creating online forms easier. Form fields are just the icing on the cake when you want to easily collect data, so weigh the pros and cons of every online form builder to make
So, what should you look for in a form builder? There are some features that every form builder needs to cover, no matter your purpose.
Those features are:
- An easy-to-use interface with drag-and-drop functionalities so creating an online form is effortless
- Easy integrations with other platforms that you frequently use
- Conditional logic that allows you to display form fields according to users’ input
- Multiple high-quality templates that offer you design freedom while looking aesthetically pleasing
- Simple customization and the option to add different types of fields into your form (such as radio buttons, text box fields, “Sign Here” fields, drop-down menus, and so on.)
- No coding skills required
- A 24/7 support team that will offer you guidance and help you fix any problem
- A good analytics dashboard that allows you to understand better all the feedback you’re receiving
- Mobile-friendliness that gives you the ability to create forms for screens of all sizes, so they can be displayed on mobile devices too
- Great safety and security features, as well as strong encryption technology
- A great online form builder should also allow you to collect online payments via payment integrations. This is useful if you want to create order forms and accept payments directly into your digital forms
- The option to create online surveys is also very appreciated in online form builders
- The ability to add a file uploads field will also be useful if you want to collect information and files (such as documents or images) from potential customers, job candidates, etc.
- A good online form builder will also allow you to integrate your form responses with other tools (such as email marketing tools, project management tools, or Google Sheets, for example.)
It is important to note that your forms can be more than just data collection tools. They can be a way for you to communicate with your customers and form respondents. For instance, you can create quizzes that send users to different pages according to the answers they have submitted. Or you can use your contact forms to give users links to resources according to the answers they have submitted.
How to create an online form
Now that you know how to choose a form builder let’s find out the exact steps to take when making an online form.
- Create new or use a template
Obviously, the first step is to create a new form. Most form builders will allow you to modify an existing form template or create one from scratch.
- Add form description to let users know the purpose
You need to define the purpose of your form to your website visitors, and you can do that by including a short heading that describes what the form will do, such as “Contact us” or “Place an Order”. Also, you can use the subheading section to add extra details.
Branding elements can definitely make your form stand out, but there’s no need to dwell on it. You can still make it look simple and concise. You can include branding elements such as the company logo in the header or use your company colors that show off your brand’s personality. You can also use a specific font for all your forms, so people recognize it’s coming from your business.
Pro Tip: Consider a user-friendly online form designer like 123FormBuilder that grants you endless customization options.
- Add fields
Build your online form by adding as many fields as you need. You’ll most definitely have short and long questions which can require a certain type of field, in a certain order. A form builder should allow you to personalize the display of fields (such as allowing you to display fields in columns or separate them by categories, for example). Furthermore, a good form builder should have no limits on the number of fields you plan to include.
- Keep it relevant with conditional logic
Making an online form requires understanding conditional logic, which relies on the “if-then” paradigm. When you create a web form with conditional logic, you keep it relevant by including conditional fields that are either hidden or unfold depending on the responder’s answers.
- Include a “Thank you” message or page
Show your appreciation with a creative thank you page or a simple success message. Not sure exactly what to say in your thank you message? We have some ideas for you:
You can also set up automatic email responses to send these success messages to those who fill out your form. If you do so, the message will feel more personal and genuine.
An automatic email responder will add personality to the basic process of thanking a customer. It will also create a bridge of communication with your audience.
- Test & publish
All of the previous steps show you how to make online forms so you can start collecting data.
But before you can do that, you need to test the form to make sure it works on multiple browsers and devices and that all the fields are as intended.
Fill the form out and submit it via your phone and a non-default browser to be sure it works properly. And when you see that everything looks clean, you can finally publish the form (on your website, on social media, or you can just share the link to the form with any interested party.)
How Businesses Benefit from Using Online Forms
Creating online forms can help you streamline your business processes and enable you to better communicate with your customers, employees, job candidates, and students. Powerful forms can make the difference between data collection that’s all over the place and clean, secure, data that is automatically transferred wherever you need it.
Some of the main benefits of doing data collection properly, using a good form maker, include the following:
- You will not waste time filing and sorting through paper forms ever again
- You will be able to eliminate human error and endless copy-pasting
- You will be more environmentally friendly (as no trees will be cut to create web forms)
- You will be able to create a bridge of communication with users (a nice Success Page or Thank You page can go a long way.)
- You will sleep better at night knowing your company data (and thus, your customers’ data) is well-protected and secure
- You will be able to embed the form on any web page on any website and collect responses from users wherever you want them (in Google Sheets, in your preferred email marketing tool, etc.)
The good news is that even a free online form builder will give you at least some of these benefits, or at least to some extent. Once you have tried the free version, you can upgrade to get more tool integrations, responses, and so on.
The answer to the question “How to build an online form?” isn’t complicated at all if you know all the right steps. As long as you know what to look for in a form builder, the purpose of your form, and how to make the form itself, building an online form is a breeze with the right tool.
Originally published on September 24, 2021