Regardless of how much traffic you send to your landing page or website if you cannot convert them to valuable leads or customers, receive feedback from them, or offer visitors avenues of contacting you properly, the entire process ends in futility.
To ensure that it doesn’t, you need to place quality HTML forms across important areas of your website to promote free trials, capture leads, get survey feedback, grow your email list, maximize sign-ups, or whatever type of conversion may be relevant for your project.
With that much depending on the quality of your HTML forms, you don’t want to use just any free HTML form service for your website and hope it all works out.
You need to be sure that the service you use allows you to build high-quality forms, test them, and optimize the forms adequately for your specific project.
The best free HTML form service will make the entire form building process seamless and manageable so you can not only build and test new forms quickly, but you can also focus on the right metrics that matter for your unique project.
So in this piece, we’ll be looking at the best free HTML form services. But before that let’s see all there is to know about HTML forms.
Why do you need HTML forms? What are the types of HTML forms typically available with form services? And why do forms require a third-party service? .
Types of HTML Forms
HTML forms are extremely versatile in use and based on their use case scenario, they can be classified into various types.
Most HTML forms are used to capture website visitor’s data and send this data to a server. The purpose of the data capture may vary depending on the goal of the website and is responsible for the type of HTML form used.
With that in mind, let’s see the most common types of HTML forms:
If you’re looking to scale your business, then a contact form is non-negligible. It is by far the most popular HTML form type, and every website needs one to achieve crucial business goals.
The contact form for example helps businesses to be reachable. This makes website visitors trust your brand the more because it means that if they have any issues regarding the use of your website or offer, they can easily reach out to you.
Contact forms usually have a few basic fields such as the name of the user, the email of the user with which they will receive a response, and the field that will contain the message the user intends to send.
If you’ve ever seen those “sign up to our newsletter” pop-ups when you visit a website for the first time, that's a subscription form.
Subscription forms are the standard and universal way of capturing your website’s visitors’ data to reach out to them subsequently.
This comes in handy for nurturing leads in the future and building a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between customers and your brand.
Using the subscription form you can usually collect the following data with their respective fields: age, country, name, gender, and email addresses.
The subscription form is usually on any page of a blog or website that allows users to fill in their information to receive email updates or newsletters relevant to their interests.
The general goal of using the subscription form is to grow your email list.
An HTML survey form is an excellent tool to have on your website to capture customer data via quality engagement on the same.
Survey forms are triggered on a website by different actions of the visitor to get specific feedback from them to determine whether they are satisfied with what you've offered them and what their thoughts are.
That said, HTML survey forms can come in various sizes and shapes depending on the kind of feedback you intend to discover. Using this type of HTML form on your website can help you understand the problems your customers are facing, why they aren’t converting, and a lot more.
Using this type of form, you can capture data like visitor location, likes and dislikes, and other demographic details. The fields in this HTML form will largely depend on what you’re trying to find out with your survey. There is no "one-size-fits-all" field description with regards to HTML survey forms.
Why You Need Quality HTML Forms on Your Website
Even though it may look obvious as to why you should have an HTML form on your website, there are still some important benefits of using them that need to be emphasized and are commonly overlooked.
Have you ever completed a sign-up, subscription, or registration form and told yourself “what an excellent experience I just had inputting my data into that form.”?
But you may remember a bad experience you had while trying to fill out a form. It could have been an extremely long-form or a form that was just hard to find on the brand’s website or a form that kept giving you a “can’t submit” pop-up every time you tried submitting.
Most web users can identify a negative experience with regards to filling forms and this feeling creates a bad impression of the brand involved.
Lead Generation HTML forms are vital to your business growth - with them you are attracting website visitors and converting them into leads.
So you can’t afford to use a form on your platform that evokes negative emotions and not a seamless positive experience for your visitors.
For example, check out Slacks lead generation form.
The form requests for an email address before redirecting the user to a new landing page to complete all the necessary fields.
Slack’s lead generation form is as simple as it gets; it also maintains the brand’s aesthetics which keeps the visitor trusting that their information is going only to the brand.
With a contact form on your website, you can have real people who are interested in your offerings reach out to you and not random individuals via crawling robots.
Crawlers search the web to look for email addresses and if you use your email address as a contact on the website it exposes you to unwanted emails from individuals who use crawlers to scrape for email addresses.
So the contact HTML form provides security by acting as a spam filter and reducing the number of unwanted emails that reach you.
Take a look at the Choice Screening's contact form. It’s concise and straight to the point and requires that the user fills out adequate "human" relevant information before submitting a query to the brand.
This drastically reduces every form of spam as it requires genuine information from the user to proceed to submit and not just an email address.
Engage Your Audience
Engagement is a major priority when it comes to business growth. Poor engagement can cost you setbacks in your business. In fact, customers who are fully engaged make up a 23% higher share in revenue, profitability, and relationship growth over regular buyers.
This means that whatever you have to do to boost engagement on your platform is a worthwhile investment.
Using HTML forms you can post your website engagement via survey forms. The survey forms usually find out the visitor’s opinion about your website, grants you access to customer information, and can help improve the user's experience.
Here’s a great example of an email survey form from Adobe that most users encounter during the on-boarding process.
The brand uses a form that engages the audience by finding out about the user’s demographic. And this creates the impression that whatever product the user is going to get will be strictly tailored to their specific needs.
Why Do Forms Require a Third-party Service?
Forms require a third-party service because of the way they work. The browser submits the form data to the web server for processing and the server then implements an action with the form which can be to email the results or transfer the form to a database.
Here’s a step-by-step explanation as to how forms work, which shows the need for third-party service.
The visitor loads your form page on their web browser. The browser then releases a request to the server. The web server then returns the HTML webpage housing the form.
When the visitor submits the form it is then transmitted to the web server. The author of the form will have had to mention an action that informs the browser where it’s meant to relay the form submission data.
Most times this action redirects to the URL of a script already notified on how to handle the data.
In this step, the web server runs the request by sending the forms submission data to the processor script (identified by the action). The form's processor script can either save the captured data to a database/file or send it by email.
Lastly, the action (form processor script) releases a response to the server stating the failure or success of the form processing operations. This response may be to redirect the visitor to another page.
Form Generator vs Form Service
The difference between a form generator and a form service is quite simple. A form generator only creates the HTML that you will need to put in your website to capture visitor data. And has to work hand-in-hand with a service to process the data.
What this means is sometimes the form generator may not provide the service that is needed to make it work. And this means that the form can simply be filled but the data won’t be processed to the web server and then to your email or database.
Alternatively, as we’ve already seen, a form service handles the processing of the data that the visitors submit. This means that a form service enables the captured data to be submitted to either a database or email.
Options for Free HTML Forms
Let's see the best free form services in detail:
While there are so many free form services on the web, most of them come at a price and that’s the price of limitations. You simply can’t do much with them. This is why Ghoststead is our number one.
With the GhostStead free form service, you have total functionality. When a visitor submits a form using the service an email is automatically sent to the owner of the website containing data imputed by the visitor.
All fields on the form and their answers will be contained in this email. Take for example this form from a GhostStead website with 3 fields: name email, and comment.
Here is what the website owner receives in his email:
Besides this, GhostStead also offers full customizable functionality. This means that as a free user of the form service you can optimize your form to fit into your brand aesthetics just like the Slack example we saw above and a lot more.
Most websites running on WordPress are configured to work with free form plugins like WPForms, Contact Form 7, and Formidable Forms.
The free version of WPForms for instance has a drag and drop feature and is 100% mobile responsive but offers only basic capabilities in this version.
WordPress forms come with pre-built templates as well that help save time because you can remove add or rearrange fields as required.
However even though this form service doesn’t limit features or place their logo on the forms you create, you still need to upgrade to premium to receive high numbers of submissions.
In terms of the web form field types, JetForm offers standard web form fields and also permits new field types like Date Time Picker, capital checks, or star ratings.
This free online form generator service helps website owners create zero complex or basic forms that can send emails to you upon user submission. However, the free plan "subtly" coaxes you to upgrade to a paid plan by numerous pop-ups and adverts when creating or using the form.
EmailMeForm also uses visual captcha technology to reduce automated submissions and doesn’t require your website’s web server to be capable of running scripts.
Formstack is another WYSIWYG form service, as you don’t need coding skills to create a form with the service. This service only offers a 14 day free plan and then you'll need to upgrade to keep using it.
Using Formstack you can simply drag-and-drop the elements of your form which makes the form creation process a lot seamless especially if you’re constrained on time.
You also have the option of picking your preferred template for your form.
If you want to create forms without ever learning HTML then Freedback is an excellent choice.
With Freedback you can create different types of forms using their web interface GUI, which allows you to build contact forms that can receive user data and offer automated responses.
However this comes with the price of showing your visitors ads after they submit a form.
You can manage your form and its submissions via their web interface and even download form submissions as an Excel spreadsheet if needed.
That’s a wrap! So let’s go over what we’ve covered in this piece:
- Why you need forms on your website: lead generation, spam reduction, and audience engagement.
- What the major types of forms are: contact forms, subscription forms, and surveys
- Why forms require a third-party service: Forms require a service because of the way they work.
- The difference between a form generator and a form service: A form generator works with static HTML forms unable to transmit captured data if they aren’t connected to a service. A form service ensures the processing of data submitted by the user.
- The best free form services: GhostStead, WordPress, JotForm, EmailMeForm, Formstack, and Freedback.
What’s our recommendation for the best free form service? Ghoststead.
Because it’s free in every way. Most free form services have limitations that one way or another force you to upgrade to premium but with Ghoststead you get all features for free.