How to set up a contact form for your website
As we saw in part 1 of this two-part series, having a contact form on your site makes your email communications more secure and efficient. Here’s how to go about setting it up.
First off, we’re assuming that your website runs on WordPress.
WordPress is the most common content management system out there, with 40% of websites using it. One advantage is that there’s a multitude of plugins that expand WordPress’ functionalities, including plenty of contact form plugins.
In addition, you need to have admin credentials for the site on which you want to install the forms. Otherwise, you won’t be able to install the necessary plugins and make the changes required.
2. Install and activate the necessary plugin
As a first step, you need to pick the contact forms plugin that best suits your needs. Later on in this article, you’ll find an overview of the best form builders currently available.
For the moment, we’ll use WPForms as an example. It’s one of the most popular form builders, with over 4 million active installations, and there’s a free version called WPForms Lite. In principle, most contact form plugins work in a similar way, so you won’t have any trouble setting them up if you go for a different option.
First, you need to navigate to the plugins tab in your WordPress menu. Then, you click on “Add new.”
As a next step, search for the WordPress plugin of your choice – WPForms Lite in our case. Once you’ve pinpointed it, hit “Install.” After a few moments, the installation should be done, and you can click “Activate.”
3. Create a new form, using templated and the drag-and-drop builder
Now, you’ll see a new WPForms tab in your WordPress sidebar:
To create a new form, simply click on the “Add New” option.
In the next step, you’ll be asked to name your form. You can either create your own design from scratch using the drag and drop builder, or you can start with one of the numerous templates that WPForms offers.
For this example, we’ll go with the “Terms of Service Contact Form” template.
Now, you can adjust your form according to your own design specifications – add or delete fields, include text or checkboxes, add a captcha, or ask for additional information.
With the “Preview” button on the top right, you can preview what the final form will look like and make final design adjustments.
Don’t forget to save your progress.
4. Configure notifications and confirmations
Once you’re happy with how your form looks, go to the “Settings” tab and adjust the notification and confirmation options.
The notification settings control who gets alerted when someone uses the contact form. By default, it’s the email address of the administrator of the WordPress site. However, you can use any email address you like – and even segment submissions using tags.
The confirmation settings control what message is sent to the inbox of the person who submitted the form. Typically, it’s something along the lines of: “Thanks for your message. We’ll get back to you ASAP.”
Again, make sure to save your changes.
5. Add the form to a page or sidebar
When you’ve adjusted all the settings to your satisfaction and saved your changes, you can click on “Embed.”
This will take you to a screen, asking you whether the form should be embedded into a new or existing site.
Once you’ve picked either option, the form builder will take you to the page where you’ll embed your form.
Here, click the toggle block insert (+) at the top right.
Then, search for the WPForms block.
Click on the icon to insert the block.
Then, all you have to do is choose the form you want to insert from the drop-down menu.
This will automatically insert the form in the latest design you saved.
Once you publish your new page, or update your existing one, visitors will be able to use your form, and you’ll start to see messages popping up in your inbox.
What are the best online form builders?
Now that you know the process of setting up a contact form for your site, it’s time to choose the right online form builder to suit your practice’s individual needs and your own level of skill. Here are five fantastic options.
To begin with, WPForms is one of the most widely used and easy-to-handle form builders out there. Currently, over 4 million websites use it as their go-to contact form solution.
The biggest plus points of WPForms are that it’s easy and intuitive to use, which makes it very beginner friendly. In addition, WPForms offers WPForms Lite, a free version that can meet the basic needs of most small businesses. Paid plans start at $39.50 per month for one site, and unlock a large additional range of features.
Even in the Lite version, WPForms offers form templates, an integration for the Constant Contact email marketing platform, a straightforward drag-and-drop builder, and anti-spam features.
The paid version will unlock a larger range of templates and design options, including 30 advanced form fields. It’ll also allow you to accept payments through PayPal and Stripe, comes with user registration capabilities, and enables you to create polls and surveys.
Furthermore, it provides integrations with platforms such as Mailchimp, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Salesforce, and Zapier.
A standout feature of WPForms is its form abandonment add-on. This allows you to take a look at partial entries that people started but did not send off. It can provide valuable insights into where and why prospective clients hesitated to reach out.
2. Formidable forms
Next up, Formidable Forms is another great option to create both simple and advanced contact forms for your practice’s website.
Like WPForms, it comes with a drag-and-drop builder, spam protection, and basic fields. An advantage of Formidable Forms is that it allows you to build an unlimited number of forms, even in its free version. If you’re into web design, you can also add custom CSS code.
However, in terms of design and field options, Formidable Forms Lite is fairly limited. Its paid plans start at $99 per year, and come with features such as conditional logic, business platform integrations, multi-page forms, and numerous form templates. The paid plan will also allow you to create surveys and quizzes, as well as track users.
In third place, Typeform prides itself on making it easy to create the most visually appealing forms out there, and offers extensive integration options.
Its free plan comes with three form types, a range of templates, and basic reporting features. In addition, it integrates with Google Sheets and Slack. However, it is limited to only 100 responses per month.
If you’re expecting more clients to reach out to you, you’ll have to opt for the paid version of Typeform, which can quickly hit your budget limits. Monthly plans start at $35. However, they come with features such as logic jumps, unlimited forms, 2 GB file storage, various integrations, and a payments calculator.
4. Ninja forms
Ninja Forms takes the fourth spot in this list.
Its main selling point is being tailored to the needs of people without any web development experience. Even absolute beginners can swiftly create decent-looking forms using this solution.
Like other entries on this list, Ninja forms come with a range of templates, complete with a menu of customization options and a drag-and-drop form builder in its free version. Other features in the free version include success messages, GDPR compliance, and spam blocking.
Ninja Forms’ paid plans start at $99 per year. They’ll unlock features such as multifunctionality add-ons, conditional logic, multi-page forms, payments via PayPal and Stripe, and uploads.
5. Gravity forms
Finally, Gravity Forms is another solid option to create a contact form for your practice.
It offers more than 30 form fields, a solid spam filter, payment options with PayPal and Stripe, and user registration forms. You can also harness it to create polls and surveys.
A big plus of Gravity Forms are its conditional logic options, which you can use to easily show or hide fields, depending on your users’ information. In addition, this plugin comes with 14 different marketing add-ons.
However, Gravity’s biggest downside is the lack of a free version. Annual pricing ranges from $59 to $259, which can be very steep if you’re looking for a simple contact form solution for your practice’s website.
Best advice moving forward
Having a contact form on your website has become indispensable in the modern business world.
Prospective clients expect to be able to reach out to you via email. Publicly listing your email address, however, can lead to an avalanche of spam, as well as cybersecurity threats.
A form builder, on the other hand, allows you to easily create visually appealing forms. It will help you ward off spam and phishing messages, while also increasing your business efficiency through integrations and delegation options.
By spending a little time comparing the form builders listed above, you’ll be able to pinpoint the option that best suits the individual needs of your practice.
Do you want a simple solution with a solid all-round performance? Then WPForms Lite is an excellent choice. Are you looking to visually wow prospective clients and don’t mind dipping into your budget? You might want to go with Typeforms.
In any case, taking the time to compare form builders, and learning how to handle the plugin of your choice, is absolutely worth it.
At the end of the day, you’ll be left with a straightforward, attractive solution that encourages your website visitors to take the leap, contact you, and become your next clients.