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  • Lauren Evans

Best Free Online Form Builders for Small Business

Updated: Jul 12

Whether it’s a contact form, an event registration form, or a subscription sign-up form, online forms are everywhere.

And rightfully so!

They are easy to put together, simple for the respondent to fill out (or at least they should be), and provide instant access to the information submitted.

The best part is, most online form builders offer a FREE PLAN, so it doesn’t cost you anything to put one together and start collecting information.

But with so many online form builder programs to choose from, how do you know which one to pick?

It all comes down to functionality!

Let’s compare my favorite free online form builders and when I recommend using each one:

(Click here to download the full comparison chart.)

Google Forms (free plan): Best unlimited online form builder with simple, easy-to-use functions and automatically summarized results

Cognito Forms (free plan): Best customizable online form builder for fitting a large number of fields in a compact, user-friendly form

Jotform (free plan): Best access to robust features and functionality, such as collecting e-signature and accepting payments.

Please note, some of the links on this page might be affiliate links, meaning if you take action (ex. subscribe, make a purchase), I might earn a little something at no extra cost to you. Any recommendations I make for programs or tools are because I truly believe in them and have actual experience using them.

 
Sample Form made with Google Forms
Sample Form made with Google Forms

Google Forms

About the Free Plan

Total # of Forms: Unlimited

Total Monthly Form Submissions: Unlimited

Total # of Fields per Form: Unlimited

Mobile App: No, but the website is mobile-friendly

Google Forms is, in my opinion, the easiest online form builder to learn how to use and work with, plus it’s the only truly free program. You can have an unlimited number of forms, fields, and submissions, and because there are no paid plans available, there are no sales pitches trying to upgrade you.

You can start by creating a form from scratch or by using one of the Google Forms templates. From there, you can customize the form by adding new fields, changing existing ones, and dragging and dropping them into the order you prefer.

You can choose a large paragraph-sized text box, a select-all-that-apply question, a ranking scale, and more. With multiple-choice questions, you have the option of adding conditional logic. This will send a respondent to a different section, or page, of the form depending on how they answer the multiple-choice question.

For example, if someone answers “yes” they are married, they could be sent to a form that asks them additional questions about their spouse, whereas an unmarried person would automatically bypass that section of the form.

While I love how easy Google Forms is to use and that it automatically summarizes your results into graphs, I have to admit that it’s also the most limited in terms of functionality. There are no built-in ways to accept payments, collect e-signatures, or integrate easily with other programs or apps.

 
Sample Form made with Cognito Forms
Sample Form made with Cognito Forms

Cognito Forms

About the Free Plan

Total # of Forms: Unlimited

Total Monthly Form Submissions: 500

Total # of Fields per Form: Unlimited

Mobile App: No

Cognito Forms is the best online form builder when you want complete control over the form layout or you plan on having LOTS of fields or questions. You can choose exactly how the form is laid out, including the size of each field, the spacing between fields, the fonts, colors, etc., which allows you to fit a large number of fields in a compact, easy-to-read form.

You also have a lot of control over how the form gets filled out. You can set up fields with minimums or maximums, format validation, character limits, and more, to try and make sure respondents are entering the correct information. For instance, if you ask them to enter a date, you can restrict the field to make sure the date entered is in the current calendar year.

With conditional logic, you can add follow-up questions that only appear when necessary. For example, if you’re accepting job applications for a position in California and the respondent enters an address in Arizona, another question could appear asking if they’d be willing to move to California if they got the job.

Cognito Forms offers an amazing free plan with an unlimited number of forms and up to 500 monthly submissions; however, it falls a little short when it comes to accepting payments, collecting e-signatures, and integrating with other programs.

While you can accept payments on the free plan, Cognito Forms charges you a 1% fee on top of Stripe’s normal payment processing fee. If you want to use a different payment processor or remove the 1% fee, you’d need to upgrade to a paid plan.

 
Sample Form made with Jotform
Sample Form made with Jotform

Jotform

About the Free Plan

Total # of Forms: 5

Total Monthly Form Submissions: 100

Total # of Fields per Form: 100

Mobile App: Yes

Jotform is a perfect choice when you need forms with more features and functionality, such as payment processing, collecting e-signatures, and integration with other programs. All of these features are included with their free plan, without any additional fees or limitations.

For instance, if you’d like to collect payments, you can choose from processors like PayPal, Square, Stripe, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay, and many others.

Jotform also offers direct integration with many popular business programs, including Google Sheets, Trello, Airtable, ClickUp, Asana, Slack, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zapier, just to name a few.

If you’re looking to really customize your respondent’s experience, you’ll love all the conditional logic features available. Based on the responses provided, you can have different fields or questions appear in the form, change whether fields are required or optional, display different thank you pages after the form is submitted, have different post-submission emails sent, and more.

For instance, if your webinar registration form allows people to choose from different days or times, the thank you message and email they receive can include details that are specific to the day and time they selected.

While Jotform offers an amazing mobile app and some incredibly robust features with its free plan, it is also the most limited in terms of monthly submissions and the number of forms you’re allowed to have. The free plan maxes out at 5 forms, 100 monthly submissions, and 10 payments accepted.

 

As I mentioned earlier, it all comes down to functionality.

(Click here to download the full comparison chart.)

Before you start building your online form, I recommend outlining it. That way, you can see how much information you’re looking to collect and what features you’ll need, so you can decide which free program will work best for you.

If you start creating an outline and/or form and get confused or overwhelmed, I got you! My services include setting up, streamlining, and integrating online forms for your business, so schedule a free consultation and we can see if outsourcing makes sense for you.

For more business tips and information to help save you time, money, and headaches, be sure to subscribe to my email list and follow me on Instagram and Facebook.





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