Our How-To Guide on Digital Contract Signing (+ Best Practices)

Helpful Summary

  • Overview: We guide you through the process of digital contract signing, including best practices to ensure security and efficiency.
  • Why trust us: We’re a leading e-signature provider that has helped 61,000+ businesses and individuals streamline digital contract signing processes—we know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Why this is important: Digital contract signing offers benefits like efficiency, convenience, and enhanced security through encryption and audit trails, making the process quicker and more secure.
  • Action points: Review contracts carefully, choose a secure signing method, verify your identity, save and submit the signed contract, and adhere to best practices for a responsible and legally compliant signing process.
  • Further research: Check out SignWell’s contract management articles for tips and tricks on streamlining your document workflows and maximizing the benefits of digital contract signing.

Wondering About Digital Contract Signing?

Digital contracts are everywhere. With the rise of remote work and online communication, businesses are now turning to digital contract signing as a way to streamline their document workflows. 

But what exactly is digital contract signing and why is it important?

In this SignWell guide, we’ll answer these questions (and more!) and provide you with the knowledge you need to confidently sign contracts online—including which tools to use and best practices for a secure and efficient process.

But first…

Why Listen To Us?

At SignWell, we’ve helped 61,000+ businesses and individuals streamline their contract management and signing processes. Our secure and user-friendly platform makes it easy to create, send, and sign contracts online anywhere.

But enough about us—let’s dive into digital contract signing.

What Is Digital Contract Signing?

Digital contract signing is exactly what it sounds like—signing a contract digitally. In other words, what we’re really talking about is adding e-signatures to contracts.

E-signatures are digital versions of their analog counterparts (wet signatures). When you add an e-signature to a digital contract, it (generally) becomes legally binding just like a paper contract with a wet signature.

The benefits and use cases for digital contract signing are numerous. 

For starters, it saves time and money by eliminating the need for printing, scanning, and mailing contracts back and forth. It also allows for faster turnaround times as contracts can be signed instantly from anywhere with an internet connection.

But perhaps the most valuable aspect of digital contract signing is the added security and compliance measures that come with it. With features like encrypted documents, authentication methods, and audit trails, you can make sure your contracts are protected and legally valid.

Benefits of Digital Contract Signing

  • Efficiency: While it might take days (or even weeks) to close a physical contract, digital contract signing can be completed in a matter of minutes. This can streamline business processes and decrease document turnaround times by up to 80%.
  • Cost Savings: Digital contract signing can save your company money on supplies and postage costs by eliminating the need for paper and printing. It also reduces the risk of errors or lost contracts, which can result in costly legal disputes.
  • Accessibility: Digital contract signing allows parties to sign contracts from anywhere with an internet connection. This eliminates the need for physical meetings, making it convenient for businesses with global reach or employees working remotely.
  • Security: With digital contract signing, you can ensure that your documents are secure through encryption methods and multi-factor authentication. This adds another layer of protection against fraud or unauthorized access.

How to Send and Sign a Digital Contract

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sign a digital contract:

1. Choose an E-Signing Platform

The first step in this process is to choose the tool you’ll use to facilitate the digital contract signing.

In general, you have two options:

The distinction between these two categories is pretty vague, but in general, e-signature tools are more basic and focus solely on the signing process, while contract lifecycle management tools offer additional features like document storage, tracking, reporting, etc.

For example, at SignWell, we fall somewhere in the middle. We offer a comprehensive e-signature solution but also provide advanced features like: 

  • Contract Storage & Management: Easily see the status of contracts from a central dashboard, and find the contracts you’re looking for with advanced search.
  • Contract Templates: Create reusable templates and streamline your document creation process.
  • Audit Reports: Keep track of all document activity for compliance purposes and enhanced security.
  • Signing Orders: Choose who signs a document and in what order, making the signing process more efficient.
  • Integration Options: Seamlessly connect SignWell with your other business tools via Zapier or our e-signature API.

2. Create & Upload Your Contract

Next, it’s time to create the contract. We offer a library of free contract templates for all kinds of uses if you’re looking to get started quickly. Otherwise, you can create your own customized contract from scratch.

Marketing Agreement Contract

Unless you have a legal background or team, it’s best to use a template to ensure that all necessary clauses and legal language are included. The last thing you want to do is miss a clause that would render your contract invalid—so get it reviewed by a lawyer if you’re unsure.

Once you have your contract ready, simply upload it to your digital contract signing tool.

contract upload for digital signing

With SignWell, you do this from the dashboard. You can either upload a new document for one-off contracts or work from a template for recurring contracts (like boilerplate terms). Any documents you set up can be saved as templates for future use.

3. Set Up the Contract

Next, you need to set up the digital contract. 

This means adding in the fields each party will need to fill in, possibly including:

  • Names and contact information of all parties involved
  • Scope of work or services to be provided
  • Payment terms and schedule
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Signatures

Most tools (SignWell included) feature drag-and-drop document editors that allow you to drag and drop fields onto your document. SignWell also offers automatic field recognition that highlights places where a field is potentially missing.

setting up a contract for digital signing

We also offer advanced settings for different fields—like data validation and date locking. These help ensure that you’re collecting all the necessary information and that it is accurate.

contract signing order

Once you’re happy with the setup and your settings, hit “Send” to get the digital signing process started. With SignWell, you can then set a signing order to determine the order in which each party will sign the document. This is especially useful for documents that have a strict approval process or require multiple signatures.

4. Collect Signatures

If you’re one of the people signing the document, do so now to ensure you’re not a blocker.

If you’re waiting for others to sign, be sure to send out reminders at set intervals to keep the process moving forward. You can also track the status of each signature in real-time on SignWell’s dashboard, and send reminders with one click via the dropdown menu.

Contract reminders

Once all parties have signed, you’ll receive a notification, and the fully executed document will be available for download. This eliminates the need for printing, scanning, and mailing physical documents, saving time and resources.

SignWell allows easy integration with other platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Salesforce. This makes managing your digital signing process even more convenient without switching between multiple applications.

5. Review the Contract

Once you have a downloaded copy of the signed contract, read through it to verify that everything is correct.

What are you looking for exactly? Here’s a checklist:

  • All parties have signed the contract.
  • All relevant information (names, dates, terms, etc.) is included and accurate.
  • Any special conditions or clauses are clearly stated.
  • The document is dated and includes the current version number, if applicable.

reviewing a digital contract

You should also check out the audit report for the contract to review any changes or modifications that have been made.

6. Save a Copy

Consider saving a copy of the digital contract once you have completed the signing process. It’s crucial to have a record of the agreement for your reference and peace of mind.

After signing, look for an option to download or print the contract. Click on the designated button and choose where you want to save the file. Select a location on your device that’s easily accessible and secure.

Saving a copy ensures that you have a backup in case you need to review the terms later. Remember, keeping a copy of the contract handy can help prevent any misunderstandings or disputes that may arise in the future.

Best Practices for Digital Contract Signing

Read Carefully

Before signing a digital contract, ensure that you thoroughly review all of its terms and conditions. It’s crucial to understand what you’re agreeing to.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this process effectively:

  • Take Your Time: Rushing through the contract can lead to misunderstandings.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to seek clarification on any points you don’t understand.
  • Check for Hidden Fees: Look out for any extra costs that may not be immediately obvious.
  • Understand Obligations: Make sure you comprehend the responsibilities outlined in the contract.
  • Keep a Record: Save a copy of the contract for your records in case any issues arise in the future.

Verify Authenticity

To ensure the legitimacy of a digital contract, always verify the document’s authenticity before proceeding with the signing process. Look into your platform’s audit report (if it offers one) for any signs of tampering or alterations to the contract.

Look for digital signatures from reputable parties to confirm the document’s validity. Verify that the contract’s contents match your expectations and intentions. Confirm that all the necessary information is present and accurate.

Double-check the dates and terms to ensure they align with your understanding. If you have any doubts about the document’s authenticity, contact the sender or the relevant parties for clarification.

Use Secure Platforms

Use secure platforms for enhanced security and peace of mind when signing a digital contract. 

When choosing a platform, consider the following best practices:

  • Look for platforms that offer end-to-end encryption to safeguard your data.
  • Ensure the platform complies with industry security standards like GDPR or ISO 27001.
  • Verify that the platform has a secure audit trail to track all changes made to the contract.
  • Look for features like passcodes (for mobile devices and/or documents) and two-factor authentication for added security.

At SignWell, we’re proud to offer all of these security features (and more) to ensure the safety and integrity of your digital contracts. Check out our security page for more information on how our platform protects sensitive data.

Ensure Legal Compliance

When signing a digital contract, ensuring legal compliance to safeguard your interests and rights is crucial. Take the time to carefully review and understand all terms and conditions before signing. Confirm that the contract covers all essential details and clauses to prevent misunderstandings later on. 

Make sure that the contract adheres to relevant laws and regulations in your area. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice or clarification if you have any doubts or concerns. And remember—signing a digital contract carries the same legal weight as a traditional paper contract, so treat it with equal importance.

Retain Documentation

Finally, always retain records of your digital contracts for future reference. Save copies of the signed contract and any related communication, including email exchanges or chat conversations with the other party. This will serve as proof in case of any disputes or discrepancies in the future.

Additionally, make sure to keep these documents organized and easily accessible. You never know when you may need to refer back to them, so having a system in place can save you time and stress in the long run.


There you have it—our simple process for creating and signing digital contracts. Stick to this process to make sure that all parties involved are on the same page and that your contracts are legally valid. 

Looking for an e-signing tool that can help streamline this process? At SignWell, we’ve worked hard to build a user-friendly, secure platform that makes creating and signing digital contracts simple—from anywhere, at any time. 

Sign up for free and see how easy it can be to sign contracts digitally!