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Left unsupervised, your online forms can cause a lot of trouble for your conversions. However, make optimize your forms for performance, and they'll become your website's greatest money-making asset.

Most people don't give their Web forms much credit or blame for their overall conversion rates, and that's a problem. The good news? Making a killer Web form just takes some know-how.

Worrying about online conversion rates might sound like a 21st-century phenomenon, but the tenets behind it have been around for decades. In 1981, William McGuire introduced his communication response sequence, suggesting that for every communication directed at a consumer, the brand must overcome the probabilities of the consumer paying attention to the messaging, liking it, comprehending it, yielding to the information, remembering it, then acting on what they've experienced.

Now imagine that applied to your website's form, and you can start to see where things could go wrong. But, take a deep breath... Here are some best-practices that are bound to help your conversions—and bottom line.

Brand appropriately

Whether you're using your form as a standalone link or you're embedding it straight onto your website, its look matters a great deal. Your company has already taken the time to craft the perfect look and brand, so don't let an ugly and inconsistent form destroy all your hard work. If your company has structured branding standards, make sure your online forms match your organization's look exactly.

Most do-it-yourself online form platforms give you customization options. Make sure your fonts (and font sizes), hex-code specific colors, and logo placement are a perfect match for your company.

Brand dilution happens anywhere you don't take the extra time to follow your guidelines, including on Web forms. Customers may not immediately notice, but if they see inconsistencies in the branding, it will feel confusing and it won't deliver an optimal experience.

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image of Chad Reid

Chad Reid is director of communications at JotForm, a San Francisco-based online form-building tool.

LinkedIn: Chad Reid