by anthony on 04/05/12 at 10:14 am
Signing up for a website is a big commitment to most people. Users who sign up for your site are giving you their personal information. If you misuse their personal information, you could abuse their trust. Most users today are more wary than ever about who handles their personal information. In a cyber world full of hackers and spammers, who can blame them? If you aren’t seeing many sign ups, your form is probably raising a red flag for users. Make sure it’s not one of these.
1. Fear of getting spammed
Most users are afraid that if they sign up for a website, they’ll get spammed. This is mainly a problem for sign up forms that ask for the user’s email. If you ask for the user’s email, make sure to note next to the field what you’ll use their email for. This will ease users’ spam fears, and make them feel more comfortable about giving you their email.
2. Fear that a Facebook/Twitter sign up will spam followers & friends
Users don’t like to get spammed and they don’t want to spam others either. Facebook and Twitter sign ups are known for automatically spamming followers and friends with updates on user activity. If you are going to use a Facebook/Twitter sign up, make sure to let users know that the application won’t automatically post messages and updates for them.
3. No option to delete account
Sometimes users sign up for sites and eventually don’t want to use them anymore. Giving users the option to delete their account will comfort those users who don’t want to leave a paper trail of their activity on the web. Let them know on your sign up form that they can delete their account at anytime so that they won’t have to worry about their personal information showing up on your site forever.
4. Feeling insecure with personal information handling
If users are going to give you highly sensitive information, such as their credit card number or home address, they want to know that your site will handle their information securely. This includes encrypting their information on your server in case your site gets hacked or falls into the wrong hands. Let users know that their information stored on your servers are encrypted and secure.
5. Too much work to fill out compared to value gained
If your form is long and is a lot of work to fill out, users will weigh the effort it takes to complete your form against the value they’ll get from using your site. If the value they get is little, they’ll pass on your form. However, if the value they get is a lot, they’ll put in the extra effort to get what they want. A general rule is to ask for the minimum information you need so that you don’t overwhelm them. You can always get more information from users after they sign up.
6. Asking for information users don’t think you need
Everything you ask users should relate to the use of the website. If the user feels that something you’re asking for isn’t necessary, they’ll either give you fake information, or they’ll forget about filling out your form. If you have to ask for something that the user might question, put a note next to the field explaining why you need that information.
7. Asking for their credit card number for a free trial
Free trials are offered so that users can try a site to see if they like it before they commit. Asking for their credit card number for a free trial is asking users to take a big security risk before they have committed to your site yet. Even if you’re not going to charge them during their free trial period, most users don’t feel comfortable giving out their credit card information just to try your site. Give users their free trial first without asking for a credit card number. Then remind them towards trial expiration that if they want to continue services, they need to buy.
8. Product/service is not clear or appealing
When users visit your home page, they should have a clear idea of what your site is offering them. If they don’t, your home page needs work. Users won’t sign up for a site they don’t understand or find appealing. Appeal to users by clearly stating and showing what your website offers and the benefits they’ll get from using your site.
It’s about user trust and comfort
Getting users to fill out your sign up form is all about trust and comfort. Earn your users trust by taking security precautions with their information, and being transparent with why you need a particular piece of information. Make them comfortable by giving them control over their information, and only asking for what you need at the time of sign up. If you can do all this on your sign up form, users won’t have any reason not to sign up.