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To finish off the new portfolio site will add a contact form to the contact page. This is a poorly kept secret in the web industry. If you want people to contact you through your website, you should offer them a contact form. First of all people are far more likely to fill it out then they are to fire up their email program, copy your email address, paste it into the sender, then type a subject and then send you an email. More importantly though, leaving your email address on a website in plain view, opens you up to a barrage of unwanted spam with ads for ink toner, free trips to the moon, and far more ludicrous stuff.
Trust m, a contact form is always the way to go. By the way, if you're following this course using the exercise files and you cut in at this point in this chapter, you need to jump back, because each of the movies in this particular chapter follow consecutively from the previous one, so you need to go through all the steps to get to where I am. There are huge list of contact form plug-ins available for WordPress, some better than others. Of the free variety I tend towards one called a Contact Form 7, but lately I've been using the premium plug-in Gravity Forms which gives me way more options.
This latter one is overkill if you are just building a basic contact form like we're doing now, so we'll just go with Contact Form 7. If you prefer a different one or just one to experiment, knock yourself out. They're all pretty much the same. To add the plug-in, I simply go to Plugins and click on Add New and then I'll search for Contact Form 7. This will bring up a list not only of the contact form I'm looking for, the first one here, but also a bunch of other ones, like I said there are lot of these available and they all do sort of the same thing but in different ways, so you can experiment and see what you like the best.
Since I want to use Contact Form 7, I'll simply click Install Now, click OK that I want to install it and then let WordPress install the contact gorm for me. If this doesn't work or if you're having any trouble installing a plug-in you should check out the WordPress3 Essential Training course, where installing plug-ins is covered extensively. Once the plug-in is installed I could activate it, either from right in here or I can go to the Plugins page and activate it manually from in here, but I've already activated it so we're good to go.
Contact Form 7 adds a new field up to very bottom of my Administration panel called Contacts. In here I can now setup a new contact form. The default contact form created by created by Contact Form 7 is pretty good, so I'll just stay with that, but if you want to you can edit the code here. You can also create more contact forms if you want to or even generate custom tags. When you scroll down you get to the actual functionality of the contact form. For now, all I'm going to do is enter the email address that the emails generated by the contact form will be sent to.
So in this case its email@example.com and you can also put in what the From field displays. The default is actually pretty good, your name and your email, and then the Subject, here I usually put in From website and then the subject. You can also do more customize things like send to second email address. You can also customize what messages the sender will receive and so on and so forth.
It's a fairly advanced plug-in and it's free, so you can kind of experiment with it and see what you think. When I've made all my changes I click Save. Once the form is saved I can place it in one of my posts or my pages, you simply copy this code here, Contact Form 1, and then go to Pages > All Pages and here I find my Contact page and from here I can put in some text and I can enter the contact form itself. So I'll say, "If you want to get in touch with us, fill out the form below." That's all you need to do. If you now click Update and we go and navigate to the Contact page, you'll see the Contact now has a basic form asking for Your Name, Your Email, a Subject, a Message and has a Send button at the bottom.
Then as for the front page, it currently displays the comments, so I'll turn that off. Now in the default view for the page I can't see it, so I'll go to Screen Options, activate the Discussions field, close Screen Options, and then at the bottom here, I can turn comments and trackbacks off. I'll update the page again, reload the Contact page, and now we have the contact form without the comments, and as before the links all of our custom post types is at the bottom.
By adding a contact form to your online portfolio, you achieve several things. You look more professional, you give people an easy way of contacting you and you protect yourself from professional spammers and other evildoers on the web. And with that you have a completed online portfolio.
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