Important points for registration page of your website

So your homepage has managed to convince the user and drive them to the registration page. Now what? How do you make sure that he signs up?
The registration page of your website should be like the reception of a brick and mortar office. Its like the beginning of a new relation between your website and the user. If a user returns from the registration page of your site he will never come back. This will not only result in loss of a prospective user but this lost prospective user(oops! no more prospective now) might even go on to spread negative WoM about your service.
First and foremost thing to be kept in mind while designing your site's registration page is that the user should feel welcomed to the site through this page. It should not be a pain to fill in the registration form. The following points should be kept in mind while designing your registration page.

1. Keep the registration page short.
2. Categorize the fields under proper headings and also mention which are required and which are optional.
3. Give a default value for the objective fields(option, check box etc). This default value should be the one most favorable to your business.
4. Ask for only relevant fields. Do not ask for any redundant information that you think is not required now but you might need it later. Such information can be asked later by directing the user to account update page when he logs in.
5. As mentioned in the above point don't ask for all information on day one but instead ask questions and get the form filled up little by little each time the user logs in. This kind of habit should be followed depending on the service offered by the website. For eg. if it is a blogging service user wouldn't mind spending a minute extra to fill in a requested information but in case it is a free SMSing site, user would be annoyed by having to wait an extra minute to send the SMS.
6. Make sure whether you want the user to fill in their real names or some screen name. If you keep a single field for name the user is most likely to fill in a screen name (user name). So, if you want him to fill in the real name than ask for first name and last name separately.
7. Clearly indicate what are the valid parameters for each field. If you do not want any "_" (underscore) in the user name, makes sure you let the user know this fact. Don't just say "invalid parameters" but also mention what are the valid parameters. Consider giving examples.
8. All the possible validations should be done in client side scripting. Repeated error submissions to the server will not only increase load on server but also irritate the user.
9. Do some kind of validation if you do not want multiple accounts form the same user. Although the conventional way is to send a validation email for this purpose but since multiple email accounts are quite easy to create so one might consider validating the mobile number of the user by sending a validation code in an SMS and the user would be required to provide the code during the registration. Allowing single registration for each IP address is not a good idea since dynamic IP addresses might be allotted by the ISP.
10. If you are going to provide the user with an individual page, make sure the page ID is not a serial number. Like "", the userid is actually a serial number in this case so it might be very easy for other users to know the total number of registered users when they sign up. Good, if this number is too high but in the initial days of the website it can be very tough to get the user to believe in the acceptance of the service if this number is too low. Also, even a little exaggeration in press releases about the total number of users would not be possible. Try a longer userid with alphanumeric characters.
11. Make sure every jargon is properly explained or the mentioning of such a term is linked to a page where all explanation is done.
12. Instead of having multiple pages for registration trying keeping a single page with different sections minimized under category heading.
13. Some of the FAQs must be mentioned in the registration page itself but very neatly. The answers to these must open in a new window. Make sure the registration page is never lost because, as mentioned earlier, the user is not likely to visit the registration page of a website twice.
14.. It is not a bad idea to keep a small registration box in the homepage itself.
15. After a successful registration directly point the user to their first action.

The list could go on. Will add some more in upcoming posts. Please share if you can think of something mentionable.

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