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10 Ways to Create a Seamless Website Co-Registration Process for Your Visitors

Being in the co-registration, subscription, newsletter sign-up and opt-in data registration space for over 10 years I've gone through my share of trail and error, when its comes to creating a flowing registration process. Below is my list of the top 10 ways to create an opt-in registration process. I hope my suggestions can help. Thank you :-)

1.) Build value around registration. Right off the bat, explain why a visitor should register with your site. Notice how little copy they use to describe the benefits -- a large, clear heading with a few bullet points laying out the value of registering with the website is all that's needed to quickly explain to a visitor what registered users can do.

2.) Eliminate as many fields as possible. Just as with landing pages, the fewer form fields you can get away with in your registration process, the less likely you'll suffer mid-form abandonment. Consider what information you absolutely must gather. And if you're asking for information that isn't required to help with your lead nurturing, make sure those fields are clearly marked as optional so users know they don't need to divulge that information.

3.) Group fields logically. Some sites require a whole lot of information to register -- shipping address, billing address, contact information, credit card information, a list of your greatest fears (optional). If it's all really necessary to complete the registration process, most users will comply, unless you lay it out in an illogical order.

4.) Break up long registration processes into steps. For many ecommerce sites, the registration process is combined with the checkout process, which means a bigger time investment and more opportunities for users to get frustrated.

5.) Make your security and privacy policies clear as day. Privacy and security is a hot button issue, so reassure your visitors that their information is safe with you. Include a clear link to your privacy policy and visual indications of your site's security with verification badges from third parties like VeriSign, the BBB, and TRUSTe, like Zappos has done on its registration page.

6.) Make password requirements secure, but not ridiculous. Security is important, but when a new registrant is selecting a password for your site, they probably have a few variations from which they're used to drawing. If your password requirements are too narrow -- it must be less than 7 characters, use at least one number, one punctuation mark, one instance of caps, and none of the following terms -- the options become quite narrow

7.) Make password recovery easy so they don't abandon your site. A Janrain study reveals that 45% of consumers will leave a website after forgetting their password or log-in information. I've definitely been in that camp when a password reset option isn't clear and simple. Unless your user can complete their end goal without registering for your website, make it easy as pie for them to reset their password so they don't abandon your site.

8.) Clearly identify and explain form field errors. Whether due to fumbling fingers or misinterpretation of what a field required, users will make mistakes when filling out registration forms on your site. If a field isn't completed correctly, don't just tell them they made a mistake. Show them in which field the error occurred, and explain the correct way to fill out the field. Do it in bright colors so it stands out and they don't have to re-read every form field they entered, scanning for mistakes.

9) Consider offering social sign-in. Social sign-in, also known as social authentication, lets visitors sign in to your site using a social network like Facebook or Twitter, or even an Apple ID or Google account. According to Marketing Pilgrim, 77% of online buyers said they think sites should offer social signup. Not only does this let visitors register for your site quicker, but it also helps you gather more valid data about your registrants.

10.) Let visitors determine how long to stay signed in. If your registrants tend to come back to your site frequently -- daily or even multiple times a day -- give them the option to stay signed in. It's a little added benefit that makes your site more user-friendly for your most engaged users that choose to take advantage of the option.

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