Grow Your List With Hosted Web Forms

Our posts about web forms are usually centered around publishing web forms to pages that already have other content (e.g. your homepage).

Today, let’s talk about a new feature that will let you to publish a form published to its own page, without you having to publish anything to your site.

The new Hosted Web Form option might help you grow your list faster. Here’s how…

First… What is a Hosted Web Form?

The hosted option for web forms provides a quick way of putting up a form with little overhead. Create your form, press save, and it’s published to a page accessible from our servers (on aweber.com).

It’s kind of like taking a Polaroid picture – push the button and you have what you need instantly.

Check out this video to see how it’s done:

Why Would You Use a Hosted Web Form?

I’m sure there are other uses, and we’d love to hear your plans and ideas for using this feature, but let’s jump right into three that come to my mind:

1. Email

You can use email to build your email list.

The best way to do it is by encouraging your subscribers to forward messages to their friends, with an easy way for their friends to sign up themselves.

With a Hosted Web Form, you can send subscribers directly to a form-only page, where there are no other distractions vying for their attention other than the opportunity to subscribe.


Feel free to click on this image to download it. Then, put it somewhere on your site to use in your own messages to help build your list.

2. Twitter

Twitter’s 140 character limitation is both a blessing and curse – it lets you share your thoughts and links with just a few brief sentences.

Meanwhile, email lets you stretch your legs a bit more, and this is a compelling reason to try to turn some of your Twitter followers into email subscribers.

You might even create a form designed to specifically target your Twitter followers. Because publishing a Hosted Web Form is so quick and easy, you can do this in just a few minutes.

Tip: run your form’s URL through a shortener, like bit.ly or idek to give yourself the most room in your tweets for a convincing reason for your followers to click your form’s link, and to track clicks to that link.

3. WordPress.com Blog (And Anywhere Else You Can’t Post Form HTML)

You can’t publish HTML forms to a free hosted wordpress.com site. In the past, we have suggested publishing a form to a blank page on another site, linking to it from a button or link from the blog’s sidebar.

Now, you can simply link to your Hosted Web Form. Just add a text link or banner to your sidebar or inside any of your posts.

The same goes for any other service where you can publish a link but not form HTML.

Design Tips for Your Hosted Web Forms

Here’s a few things to consider when creating your hosted forms, so you can really take advantage of their strengths:

1. The Medium is the Message.

It’s so easy to make a ton of forms tailored for each specific purpose, so take advantage of this fact. For example, if you’re tweeting your form, address your Twitter followers directly and tell them why they’d benefit from getting your newsletter too.

2. No Man is an Island, but Your Hosted Web Form kind of Is.

Usually your form appears in pages with lots of other content. Here, your form stands alone, so a form with nothing but “Name” and “Email” fields probably won’t do the trick.

Part of the advantage here is that you don’t have to worry about how wide your form is and how it will fit in with the rest of your pages design. So, stretch your form a little wider than you’re used to and include some compelling copy.

3. Make Your Form Pretty, and Make It Your Own.

When forms appear within the beautiful layout your designer drafted up for you, it can and sometimes should be designed with pure simplicity in mind.

Since the background for your form here is pure simplicity itself (ie. whitespace), this may be a good opportunity for you to try out any of our 255+ professionally designed web form templates to make sure it has some visual appeal.

You may also want to customize the form with your logo, for all the benefits of brand consistency.

How Will You Use Them?

I’m psyched about the release of Hosted Web Forms for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because it is such a simple feature with broad implications. Our users can and will post forms in places they never have before and with no technical hub bub required.

How will you use this feature? We’d love to hear from you about this in the comments.

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58 Comments

  1. Thank you Aweber for raising the bar and adding features that truly enhance the service.

    1/27/2010 12:38 pm
  2. Great post…

    I LOVE the hosted form option… I’ve been using it all over the place!

    It’s so nice to be able to create a link in a newsletter, an email, blog post, etc. where people can register for an event, sign up for a newsletter, etc.

    I’ve also been using it on my sites instead of the standard opt-in forms because it allows me to create an image of my choice (that doesn’t take up as much space on the page) that says "Subscribe To Our Newsletter" or whatever, that people can click on and be taken to the actual form.

    LOVE this!!!!

    1/27/2010 1:21 pm
  3. And people wonder why I LOVE you guys so much. Aweber is awesome and you are always coming up with new, innovative things to make my life easier. Thank you!

    1/27/2010 1:50 pm
  4. This sounds like what I’ve been looking for…forever! My hosted websites are company hosted. Which means…I can drive traffic to them through messages, but they are not found on search engines because they look like everyone else’s sites. What a waste.

    Not only that, I’m unable to use the sign-ups for my own newsletter. My upline sales team creates all of the copy…which is all geared toward sales and features instead of end benefits to the consumer. Another waste.

    I look forward to future updates.

    1/27/2010 4:42 pm
  5. Cool!

    1/27/2010 4:48 pm
  6. This certainly looks like a very useful feature. Thanks for introducing it.

    1/27/2010 4:52 pm
  7. I am going to use my form when I leave comments on blogs! Thank you for the Tidbit!

    1/27/2010 7:28 pm
  8. I love the simplicity of the new feature.

    I can see for sure that I will be using this option straight away. I’ll start testing different designs with different groups.

    I love the templates too. You’ve done a great job Aweber people!
    Well done and thank you very much.

    1/27/2010 8:52 pm
  9. Once again Aweber keeps us ahead of the pack.
    I especially like the idea of tailoring an opt-in form for my followers at Twitter.
    Can’t wait to get my hands a little dirty as I dig in and give this enhanced feature a run.

    1/27/2010 9:29 pm
  10. Hi AWeber Team!

    Great work. Thanks. This will be so helpful.

    1/28/2010 12:27 am
  11. I think this type of form would also be great for those who host teleseminars and want and easy way to get people signed up for their teleseminar. Instead of having to build a new, temporary page on their website they can just use this form.

    Thanks for always thinking of new ways to improve an already fantastic program!

    1/28/2010 2:31 pm
  12. Sue

    Thanks – I was just wishing for this the other day. It would be great if you could take it one step further though, and allow us to include the actual form in an email, without the recipient having to click on a link.

    1/28/2010 3:00 pm
  13. Hey all,

    Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and feedback! We’re really excited about these too. :)

    Dana,

    That’s another reason we created this. Not everyone has the ability to make broad changes to their pages… but as long as you can add a link to your page, you can get people to your signup form.

    Steve,

    Creative thinking!

    Angela,

    That’s another handy usage for sure!

    Sue,

    Technically, you can embed forms (including an AWeber signup form) in an email.

    However, it’s not a best practice because some email programs will not permit the form to be submitted (others may permit it to be submitted but only after the user OKs a security warning that appears).

    This isn’t something we have any control over as each ISP determines what their email program will and will not support.

    And then when you throw in the fact that when someone forwards an email, it can get changed in a way that might break the form anyway… well, linking to a signup form is the way I’d go if I were in your shoes.

    You’re welcome to embed a form in your email if you so choose; just please be aware of the drawbacks of doing so.

    1/28/2010 3:10 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  14. Am I missing something here? This sounds pretty straight forward and normal…

    1/29/2010 3:32 am
  15. badriya

    It looks great!

    Could you give us a concrete example or a model in order to have an idea how it will look like?

    1/29/2010 5:03 am
  16. Good stuff! Smart of you, Aweber, to offer this. The value for me is to embed the link into a wordpress.com blog. As all of us here may know, Javascript is not accepted on a wordpress.com blog. the link is- yeah!

    1/30/2010 10:29 am
  17. Great stuff to read about. I want visitors the blog to collect a discount voucher from the hosted form and go to the store physically.

    1/30/2010 11:12 am
  18. outstanding feature, thank you aweber

    1/30/2010 12:57 pm
  19. It is an amazing feature, adding great value and making list building on autopilot , A ++++ rated feature

    1/31/2010 3:33 pm
  20. What a simple solution that makes perfect sense. I’m already thinking of ways to implement the hosted forms, both for myself and my clients.

    2/2/2010 11:10 pm
  21. How did I miss this?
    This is going to be very useful and handy. And the forms are nice too.
    Thanks

    2/18/2010 5:17 am
  22. This explains a lot particularly about Word Press, I have been try to over come this now I have the solution.

    2/22/2010 10:35 pm
  23. Internet marketing and SEO are my passion and this feature will really help me a whole lot. I am so glad that I chose aWeber. The other companies fall short time after time.

    2/23/2010 8:23 am
  24. Great idea, it will save time to be able to autogenerate a page without having to thing about where to put it and how to make the form work with the rest of the page.

    2/23/2010 10:04 am
  25. This is excellent! I’m so impressed by and grateful for your web form templates. They make creating them MUCH more fun than with the other companies and they always look professional.

    This new feature is exciting! I can put my AWeber affiliate link on the footer too, right? Looking forward to working with this on Facebook and Twitter TODAY!!! :)

    2/23/2010 10:40 am
  26. W

    This is great; I have been wondering how to make these forms.

    Thank you!!

    2/23/2010 9:01 pm
  27. I woke up this morning needing a solution to this dilemma: I have 2 different areas of business and currently only one website. The hosted web forms eliminate the need to get an additional site up right away. I can begin the pre-launch marketing of the second business while still promoting the first using these quick web forms. Thank you….love it!

    2/25/2010 11:41 am
  28. Fantastic idea. Can’t wait to implement. My mind is racing with the possible uses. THANKS!

    2/25/2010 1:18 pm
  29. Ask me Why I Love AWeber?

    How good is this for newbies, especially?

    Thanks guys,
    10/10 again.

    You really understand internet marketing.

    2/25/2010 8:09 pm
  30. Great idea! However, can I do this http://www.aweber.com/faq/questions/378/

    I need a form that allows people to pick from the 3 lists that I have and I’d LOVE it if you could host the form.

    I think that I’d have to email you the modified code and have you save it for me.

    3/3/2010 11:51 pm
  31. Jerry,

    That’s not something you can do with the hosted web forms. You’ll need to use a form that you embed in your web page to do that.

    3/4/2010 1:30 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  32. okafor Felix

    How do I participate without a personal website? I want to reach my audience.

    3/17/2010 5:27 pm
  33. Hosted forms are a cool idea – the only challenge I have is that you put a promo link on the page footer.

    I’d like to either have the option to remove the footer altogether so it doesn’ t distract my visitors away from the optin process and derail my listbuilding efforts; or

    If I were to choose to leave the link in the footer, I’d like the ability to make that an affiliate link, so I derive benefit from the traffic I drive to the page.

    3/23/2010 11:18 am
  34. I think the addition of hosted forms is the best feature yet since sliced bread!

    Though I have a suggestion/question.

    When someone forwards an email (sent by Aweber) there is a also a link for unsubscription at the bottom… what if some people clicked on it (just for sadistic pleasure)

    Why not have a forwad this email link/button so that people can just click that and send to a friend. (I understand the possibility of wrongly typing an email address outside the email client).

    4/11/2010 6:14 am
  35. I agree with Angela. I can definitely see using these for teleseminar registrations. :)

    5/4/2010 11:14 am
  36. Bill Jacques

    Your stuff is always a pleasure to read because it is grammatical, and flows nicely.
    One small item – you used "hub bub" when it should read "hubbub" at the bottom of this section.
    ProofreaderPro

    7/6/2010 12:05 pm
  37. I’m going to use it today for the first time to create a sign up page for an Agape Toastmasters contest I’m running. It’s only a 2 week contest and only for a few people so it will be great to be able to send it out without having to build a whole web page to host it.

    10/30/2010 2:50 pm
  38. Igwe Aweber! …meaning Aweber the King in my language.

    You guys know internet marketing. I was wondering if there was a video put together to do all this up to the point when there is an actual signup.

    12/8/2010 5:39 pm
  39. You guys know IM inside and out. Was wondering if theres was a video for newbies upto final sign up stage. Great work "Igwe" Aweber!!

    12/8/2010 5:42 pm
  40. It’s good to leave the hitech stuff with you guys at AWeber for my web and email solutions!!!

    Allows me: all my time to focus on my clients solutions…which is the way it should be.

    1/17/2011 7:05 am
  41. Can I add or embed video to a web form? Essentially creating a hosted squeeze page?

    6/30/2011 5:15 pm
  42. Hi,
    I’ve just realized that we non aweber patrons have been missing a lot. Get ready for me. My paypal details are on the way.

    Thanks for the immense education.

    7/7/2011 11:39 am
  43. The hosted form was very beneficial as I kept tweaking it, until I was finally ready to place it on my website (linked of course). The only thing I really have a problem with is so many of your forms are nice design but they have so much color. Why not offer more black/grey/white palettes? I just can’t use purple, orange, or even red or blue for my identity. Thanks.

    7/26/2011 2:46 am
  44. Hi Chaz,

    There are actually quite a few forms in black, grey and white. Check out the color picker on our Web Form Template Gallery to find the one that’s right for you:

    http://www.aweber.com/web-form-template-gallery.htm

    7/26/2011 3:05 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  45. Thanks – I was just wishing for this the other day. It would be great if you could take it one step further though, and allow us to include the actual form in an email, without the recipient having to click on a link.

    9/16/2011 1:47 am
  46. zaher

    Thank you Aweber for raising the bar and adding features

    9/18/2011 5:22 pm
  47. Does AWeber have any plans to create an optin that allows people to sign-up using their Facebook account? I just came across an app ($27) that does that and they suggest adding that sign-up option to the regular option that you offer.

    9/23/2011 8:36 am
  48. Hello, this is amazing and thank you Aweber for upgrading the bar and adding features.

    9/26/2011 1:25 am
  49. Paul Lenton

    I am a total newbie and doing my best to start off in good condition. From what I understand, hosted web forms do not need a website of my own to start building my opt-in list, is that so? I haven’t got a website yet and I need a list to start promoting and so have the revenue to get things done the “normal” way. I have product and content with which to start off. Does Aweber allow the hosting of ebooks or pdf’s to send as freebies? Thanks, Paul.

    12/2/2011 9:32 am
  50. Hi Justin,
    I think this hosted web forms feature you have available here is a great idea (something I recently learned about from Jim Cockrum – voted the most trusted internet marketer on the planet) BUT I am in complete and full agreement with one post made above by LOU DALO which you didn’t answer (and which highlights one particular issue that you haven’t addressed – or offered a solution to – as being a point of legitimate concern for some of us reading this thread, including me):
    Quote

    ‘Hosted forms are a cool idea – the only challenge I have is that you put a promo link on the page footer.

    I’d like to either have the option to remove the footer altogether so it doesn’ t distract my visitors away from the optin process and derail my listbuilding efforts; or

    If I were to choose to leave the link in the footer, I’d like the ability to make that an affiliate link, so I can derive some benefit from the traffic I drive to the page!’

    Unquote.

    I would like to know what you have to say about resolving or correcting this issue, because I too would like to be able to get some benefit (affiliate commissions) for pointing my readers to a footer with a link to Aweber’s autoresponder service. (Either give the means with the templates to generate our own unique affiliate link for that, or give us the means to remover the aweber pointer completely from the footer of the hosted web form).
    Thanks.

    5/20/2012 1:17 pm
  51. Hi Gary,

    Thanks for your feedback on the hosted form. I understand where you’re coming from, and while I don’t expect that we would remove that link entirely, I’ve passed your comment (calling out your point about the affiliate link) along to our development team so that they can look into this.

    5/22/2012 3:57 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  52. Hey Gary,

    Quick update on this: I just spoke with our team, and it turns out that they have already implemented this change.

    If you edit and re-save your hosted web form, the “powered by” link at the end will no longer be added at the bottom (unless you choose to add that while editing the form, in which case you can add your affiliate link).

    5/23/2012 12:32 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  53. This is a very practical, easy-to-use and fast feature for online web-sites and I mean companies and online stores.

    2/25/2013 3:45 am
  54. it is indeed a nice feature but doesn’t it cut traffic from our business site? i thought it was better to direct as much traffic to our website so that to get some extra “juice” from google etc..am i missing sty?

    3/30/2013 5:46 pm