Sparked by an overwhelming amount of compliments, we decided to focus The Academy on something every website needs: web forms!
So, here we go! First, we’ll talk about why they are so important and give you some form use examples and ideas. Then you’ll learn that making a form does not have to be a painful experience; how it can, in fact, be fun!
We’ll show you that getting a form functional and live—standalone or embedded in any page of your choice—is simple and easy. Finally, we’ll go over that ultra-hot form results and stats panel found in the S-Drive Dashboard.
Have an S-Drive account but no copy of Web Form Builder? No worries, just go to the Forms Dashboard to download your complimentary copy of Form Builder Lite (choose Windows or OS X) and you’ll be all set for this tutorial.
What’s so great about forms?
A basic contact form is the minimum every website should have. But there is a whooole range of other possibilities!
Forms spark interaction, supplying feedback and information. They give your visitors a voice. Engage them. Challenge them. Have fun with them.
Are you hosting a party, running a limited sale at your store, or doing anything else that people want to be a part of? Give them an RSVP form and start collecting their contact information (and even compile a mailing list.)
Or learn from responses to a survey. Create order forms to generate money. Invite people to join in a contest or giveaway. Forms are the key to easy two-way communication.
Forms should be useful, flexible, and informative, which is exactly what S-Drive Forms aims to accomplish. They are best when you can put them anywhere—not just on your page, but anywhere on the web.
And you may not need the same form forever. In fact, you may have one form that changes regularly. You can easily adjust that form in Web Form Builder and simply save over the old one when you publish. Hosting your forms with S-Drive is way easier than using your own server for this reason alone.
Making Forms is Fun, too!
If you haven’t created a form in Web Form Builder yet, you’re missing out. It’s simply fun to drag a full-fledged web form together that fast. Then choose all the options you want, pick a theme, and tweak settings until the form does exactly what you want.
Build your form just by dragging and dropping form elements into place.
Switch to the Properties tab to adjust each one’s size, color, labels, and a whole spectrum of other properties that give you ultimate control over the way your form works. You can even add images or adjust the header/footer and Captcha styling if you like.
For a professional form design in seconds, open the Theme Browser and click the one you like.
You can change them on-the-fly if one doesn’t work out so well. And if you like having complete control, you can always create your own theme by adjusting colors, fonts, and images with the Form Options tab and Static form elements.
Click the Settings toolbar icon to reveal dozens of behind-the-scenes options. Configure custom emails that will be sent to yourself and/or the submitter when your form is filled out. Choose what visitors see after the form is submitted. You can even send form results to a mailing list service to help manage your email marketing campaigns.
Publishing and Embedding a Web Form
Ready to see your form live and functioning on the web? Go to the Settings menu’s Form Publishing tab, sign in with your CoffeeCup account information, and select a publishing location.
Now click the Publish toolbar icon and your form will be online in a flash. It doesn’t matter if the form’s not up to snuff yet, because you can always just publish again at any time, overwriting the old form. Now you’ll see the Form Successfully Published! window.
Clicking the link in this window shows a full-page version of your form, which looks great no matter how you’ve styled your form or which theme you’ve chosen. You can click Copy Link (as seen in the image above) to share your form with others for testing, feedback, or general use.
All form results will show up in your S-Drive dashboard without additional effort—sweet!
To put your form into another webpage, you can use the embed code shown in the text box in this window. It’s really easy!
First, click the Copy to Clipboard button (as seen in the image above). Then open your favorite tool for editing your website. This can be the HTML Editor, Visual Site Designer, Shopping Cart Creator, but also any other tool or service of your choice. Now go to the page you want to put your form into and simply paste wherever you want your form to appear.
Hey, look! Your form is now showing up in your webpage! But the best part is what you can’t see: Information submitted through this form automatically appears in S-Drive Forms.
Bet you’re excited that you didn’t have to code a bunch of PHP scripts or configure a mySQL database, huh?
Form Results and Stats in the Dashboard
Your form is live on the web. People are filling it out left and right. Where are the results going? To the Dashboard, of course!
Seriously. Go log in to S-Drive and click the Forms tab. See the results?
That’s right, you didn’t have to set anything up. It just works!
All your active forms are listed here, along with statistics that tell you how many visitors viewed your form, how many started filling it out, and how many submitted it. Analyzing the submit rate can help you to determine which forms are the most successful, among other things.
Click a form. You’ll see a summary of all submissions for that form with a brief overview of the results for each.
Now click a submission. You’ll see an expanded view of all information submitted in the form.
See how easy that was? You built and embedded your form, and it’s already set up! S-Drive is compiling stats based on visitor behavior and diligently recording the results of each form you publish.
The number of forms served and processed by our powerful form hosting service is exploding. Here’s why everybody says they just love it:
- It’s easy (No configuration necessary — it automagically works!)
- It’s fast (Uploading, updating, serving, and processing forms—all fast)
- It’s flexible (Add your forms anywhere with a single paste)
- It’s reliable (Yes, our infrastructure is state-of-the-art)
- It’s informative (We can give you unique stats on your form’s performance)
- It’s expanding (Referral link stats, fill out time, SSL, we will add it! )
- It’s free (Form Builder Lite are free forever with S-Drive)
- It’s freedom (You can always use your own server later)
We’re on track to build the best form builder and form hosting service in the world, but we’re by no means done. S-Drive Forms is expanding as we speak and can benefit from your support and feedback.
So please, let us know what you think. Tell us what you feel could be better and what you would like to see next in S-Drive Forms. No hard promises, but do know that we’re here to serve you. ;)
Now go make the web a brighter place, one form at a time.