Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing the right plugin for you, part of WordPress: Contact Forms.
- [Instructor] The WordPress world has a lot of contact forms. Some of them are very basic and easy to set up and others take a bit more work, but they have a lot more flexibility and can do so much more and it's your job as someone who's building a site to pick the best tool for the job. The number one thing I want you to take away from this is that there is no such thing as the best contact form. There might be a best contact form for you or for this particular website, but there is no best, so we're going to cover the most common form plugins in the WordPress space.
We're going to start with the free contract form plugins like Contact Form 7 and the contact form built into Jetpack. And later in the course, we're going to cover Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms which are popular among developers and people that need a bit more functionality out of their forms. There are other contact forms that you could use, but these are some of the most popular. The best way to find the contact form for you is to come up with a list of goals in the next six months and score each plugin against your goals.
The reason I set a limit of six months on your goals is that it's easy to dream too big and put too much on your plate. It only takes a few minutes to set up a contact form so if your needs change down the line, you can update your form or entirely swap it out. If you don't have any specific goals for your contact form and you're just including it because you should have it, then you probably want to start with basic forms. They'll take 15 minutes to set up and you don't need to spend money on advanced functionality. For that situation, I usually recommend either the contact form built into Jetpack or Contact Form 7.
Here are a few advanced pieces of functionality that most contact forms can't handle, but some of the more complex forms like Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms can handle. Autoresponders which lets you send email to users thanking them for submitting the form, conditional logic which lets you show or hide fields based on previous fields filled out in the form, files which let the user upload files along with their form, the look and appearance, some forms give you a lot of control and others you have to custom code, multipage forms can be useful when you want to break the form into smaller bite-sized pieces that the user can scroll through, PDF forms lets you convert form entries into PDFs for easy sharing, saving forms when you have really long forms and you want your users to be able to save their progress and come back to it later, signatures when you need the client to sign a document, submitting posts or content to your site, tabular data in case you need to accept data in a very specific table format, and lastly user registration, do users need to be able to sign up for your site.
If you don't know what these features are, that's okay. A lot of these are very niche and are only necessary for very specialized purposes. And the last advanced feature are integrations, so if you want to integrate your form with other services like MailChimp, Zapier, a CRM to manage your customer data, or any service really, then I definitely recommend Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms. Free plugins are great and I've used free integrations in the past, but for those integrations that connect your site to a service, I like to pay for those because that incentivizes the developer to keep the integration up to date.
Sometimes those free integrations are months behind and you might lose data. Now, I just gave you a whole lot of things to think about. The nice thing about contact forms is that they're relatively easy to switch out, so if you start with something simple and later have to upgrade it, it won't be a huge chore. I'll be demoing all four of these plugins so you can see which contact form is right for you.
- Choosing the right plugin for you
- Best practices with forms
- Understanding email deliverability
- Using Jetpack, Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, and Gravity Forms
- Creating and adding a basic form
- Creating extra fields
- Using conditional logic in your form