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.

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.

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.

58 Comments

  1. Mark Madere

    9/23/2011 8:36 am

    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.

  2. ABDULQASEEM ELMAHMOOD

    9/26/2011 1:25 am

    Hello, this is amazing and thank you Aweber for upgrading the bar and adding features.

  3. Paul Lenton

    12/2/2011 9:32 am

    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.

  4. Gary Wynder

    5/20/2012 1:17 pm

    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

  5. Justin Premick

    5/22/2012 3:57 pm

    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.

  6. Justin Premick

    5/23/2012 12:32 pm

    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).

  7. Claus

    2/25/2013 3:45 am

    This is a very practical, easy-to-use and fast feature for online web-sites and I mean companies and online stores.

  8. Mike

    3/30/2013 5:46 pm

    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?