Making Contact: Contact Form Plugins for WordPress

Making Contact: Contact Form Plugins for WordPress

Why a Contact Form?

Why use a contact form? Why look at contact form plugins? Why not just post your email address on your site? The answer is easy: spammers. Spammers can easily collect your email address and send you tons of junk. Spammers can also target your forms, but the more questions you ask, the less likely you have these issues.

Update to post: in addition to warding off spammers, contact forms give businesses and organizations the added capability of retrieving more information so the questions can be more quickly answered. For example, one can ask the nature of the question in a dropdown or get a phone number to respond. This is specific to one’s needs as a business or organization.

In order to ward off spammers, you can use Captcha or ask math questions on a form (see example below of math on a Contact Form 7 form):
form contact form 7 example with arithmetic question
Do you see where it asks how much is 2+1? I think most people can handle that question.

Review of Three Contact Forms

There are many contact forms for WordPress. Some come and and go; others have been around for a while. The three I present are plugins I have used.
Contact Form 7 – easy to create one page. May not be so easy to edit, as you have to write in their format with their coding style. You will also see it may not have a feature you want, such as option to send a copy. I have been using this plugin for years without any issues.

Contact Form by BestWebSoft – I have only used this contact form plugin on one site thus far. It has good features like option to “send me a copy” in a checkbox. It was easier to set up the additional fields than it is with Contact Form 7. I used it on a client’s site because they were using it already, and it included that “send me a copy” checkbox.

Gravity Forms – costs, but you can do quite a bit. For example, you can have order forms that do calculations or conditional fields. Two of my clients with several complicated forms on their sites do use Gravity Forms. They have to pay to renew it each year, but they find it easy to update it themselves. With Gravity Forms, you can store the information in your database or export the information to a CSV file (comma-separated file), which can be opened in a spreadsheet. You can also produce multi-page forms with Gravity Forms.

You can find each of these and more in the WordPress plugin directory. Look at them there before installing; you can read the reviews and find out when each one was updated. Any plugin that hasn’t been updated in the past year should be avoided, if possible. Maybe by the time you are reading this post one of these plugins is no longer being updated regularly!

Besides Contact Form: What Else?

What else should you put besides the contact form itself on the contact page? Obvious options are phone, address and/or fax. Maybe not so obvious: add your social media links in an attractive manner. Here is example of a social media box on my contact page:
social media box

Another option for local brick and mortar businesses is embed Google Maps. To embed a Google map, go to http://maps.google.com/ and type in the address of the business. You now have to go to the bottom right corner of the browser page, pick that little gear, and up will pop a label like this:
Google Map embed
Click Share and embed map. Then click Embed map. The default seems to be the medium size; I found the small size worked well (and didn’t take up too much space). Highlight all the code starting from <iframe and paste it into your page (if using WordPress, make sure you paste in Text, not in Visual).

Your Turn, Please

Have you used any contact form plugins for your WordPress site? What do you put on your contact page? What might you add that you don’t have already? Have you seen any unique or helpful contact pages?

44 Responses to “Making Contact: Contact Form Plugins for WordPress”

  1. Becc says:

    I definitely wanted a contact form as there was no way I was going to put my email address out there for all and sundry. I had someone put together my blog site so I don’t know why they chose the one we went with, I trusted that they knew more than I did :)
    Becc´s last blog post ..The Subconscious Mind

  2. My comment form is just a stand WordPress plug in, but unlike coment luv (that seems so popular) does not provide for the comment answers to go back to the person who commented. Frankly, I’m still trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing :) Opinion?
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)´s last blog post ..St. Patrick’s Day… Where’s The Justice?

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Jacqueline, a different topic than this post, but it is related as it is about choosing plugins. I have the free version of Comment Luv, but it does not have the feature you mention. I haven’t investigated the plugins that do this in a while; frankly, it doesn’t interest me that much, as I don’t like sending people email just for leaving a comment. When I did look into it, several years back, the free ones were outdated. Plugins come and go; be careful which you choose.

  3. Paul Graham says:

    Beyond the Disqus comment area I don’t use a contact form but think this is a useful summary. The advice re checking Plug-ins before installation is also sound and applies to any Plug-in. I’m always surprised when brick and mortar businesses don’t embed the google map. Thanks for showing how easy it is.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Paul, I suppose people see “free” and get all excited – with plugins, you have to be careful. Same goes for free themes – make sure you know the source and make sure it is highly recommended! You could be installing some nasty code without even knowing it – I’ve seen it happen to others.

  4. Lenie says:

    Hi Leora; I am switching over to WordPress and I will be bookmarking this post to review once I’m done. Thanks for the info.
    Lenie

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Lenie, good luck with your switch. FYI, this is for self-hosted WordPress, where you can pick and choose plugins. With WordPress.com, you don’t have as many options.

  5. Catarina says:

    Used to have Contact Form 7 a couple of years ago. But I had to delete it since it attracted an abundance of spam. Akismet and all the rest of the reliable anti-spam plugins didn’t help:-)Maybe that’s fixed now with the “Are You Human” section at the end.

    As you know, I feature social media buttons prominently on my sites.

    But there is no way I will add Google Maps. Some kind of privacy we all need even if we are entrepreneurs.:-)
    Catarina´s last blog post ..How do you respond to risks?

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Catarina, Google Maps would be for businesses that depend on foot traffic! I wouldn’t use that either. Adding a Captcha, an arithmetic problem, and some clever questions with back-end verification are all ways to reduce spam. The “Are You Human” checkboxes are useful as well.

  6. Arleen says:

    Leora- My blog site is part of my main website. I never really thought about a contact form, so I decided to click on my Contact Us text at the top of the blog and it took me to my contact form page. My web developer created the html coding. I think I might consider having a contact form on my blog site, so I will keep Contact 7 in mind. The only advantage to what I am doing is that it gets people to go to my main site.
    Arleen´s last blog post ..A Winning Online Marketing Strategy

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Arleen,

      I’m glad I get you to think! Maybe you will think of a way to tweak the contact page to improve it slightly. Who knows – if someone has an issue, getting the contact form right might make a difference in how the person views your business.

  7. Jay says:

    Very good info and right on time since I was just thinking about my contact form this past weekend. Thanks for the info..

  8. Beth Niebuhr says:

    I use a variety of contact forms depending on where they are placed. I really hate the Capcha variety that has you write the very difficult to read words they furnish. The simple math problem is so much nicer. Doesn’t even annoy me.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Beth, the feedback I got on the math problem method was that it was cute, especially since I ask such simple math problems. I also find some Captchas painful – you can barely read some of them.

  9. maxwell ivey says:

    Hello; I use contact form 7 myself. but as a blind computer user I want to make a comment about captchas. Be sure that your captcha has an audio or non video option. I like the ones with the math problems the best. take care, Max
    maxwell ivey´s last blog post ..Blessed to be featured on two prominent websites

  10. My super web manager designed a contact form for my blogs and it is working well. Thx for the post and tips.
    Doreen Pendgracs´s last blog post ..Chocolatour at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival

  11. Jeri says:

    I’ve used the contact form that WordPress makes available with the JetPack plugin, but my new theme comes with its own contact from page. I’ve yet to switch over though.
    Jeri´s last blog post ..How to Find a #Critique Partner and Set Ground Rules

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Jeri, ah, there are two more solutions for contact forms: JetPack and a theme with its own. I suppose the danger with the theme one is you can’t keep it if you switch your theme.

  12. Susan Cooper says:

    I use a contact form and find it amazing how many people actually use it. My contact form was created by my web guy. It would appear I’m not alone. How it all works, isn’t something I could answer. All I know is it’s specially designed for my site. It has been a great asset to the over communications with my readers. I would highly recommend it if someone doesn’t have it yet. :)
    Susan Cooper´s last blog post ..Writing Process Blog Hop: #amwriting

    • Leora Wenger says:

      I used to write contact forms with just PHP. As I set up contact pages for clients, I like when they have the ability to make changes themselves. I’m glad yours works well for you.

  13. Leora — I have a contact form and I just looked and don’t see a plugin for it. Not sure how it was created. I rarely get notes from people — the few I’ve received are trying to sell me something. FYI, I despise Captcha. I can’t think of a worse filter for comments. It’s discouraging when you can’t even read the letters and numbers.
    Jeannette Paladino´s last blog post ..Coca-Cola Learned to its Delight that Consumers Own its Brand

  14. Adrienne says:

    Hi Leora,

    I was using just the Contact Form but learned it wasn’t being updated so I switched to Contact Form 7. I don’t like it as much because of the way the message is delivered to me. I do get a little bit of spam through my Contact Me page but not a lot.

    Might have to go and see if the Contact Form has been updated now since you mentioned that you’re using it on a clients site.

    Appreciate this post, it’s hard to find good ones these days ya know.

    Enjoy your week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne´s last blog post ..Repurposing Your Content – The Swiss Army Knife of Blogging

    • Leora Wenger says:

      You were using the BestWebSoft version? That one had more information when delivered, including an ip address (might help with blocking spammers).

      Thanks for visiting, Adrienne!

  15. I have used both Contact form and Contact form 7 (One of them didn’t really work for me….not sure which one it is! The other did, but it affected my website speed, a lot more than any of my other plugins).

    So, I switched over to Jetpack (I was already planning to install this for the other features, but decided to switch over…why not use this plugin when I have it?).

    Hmm, now that I think about it. The only thing I use Jetpack for, right now, is the contact form. I should probably switch.

    I am probably going to switch over to Google forms. I have done this in the past (It’s easy and efficient) so it shouldn’t be much of a problem (But, Google has changed a lot since then. Especially changing their docs to drive, so I need to check that).

    Anyways, thank you for the post, Leora :) Appreciate it!
    Jeevanjacobjohn´s last blog post ..Want to be more Creative? Just be bored!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Jeevan, wow, you really have tried a number of these. We are using Google Forms on one client’s site – one problem with those is we can’t format it the way we look. Planning to switch to another plugin.

      Thank you for your insights. I wouldn’t think that a plugin for a contact form should effect website speed. I’ve never seen anyone mention that. Strange. I wonder what kind of database calls that one would be making. Contact Form 7 just gives you emails, no writing to the database (maybe that is safer).

  16. Jason B says:

    I used a contact form. It has the basics which is a place to include your name, e-mail address and a subject box.
    Jason B´s last blog post ..Before I Die Art Wall

  17. andleeb says:

    I am not good in these things but I will try to add some improvements to my blog…
    thank you for a nice informative share…

    I really liked your post as it is informative.

  18. Greg says:

    Hey Leora,

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    For clients, I’ve gone through countless plugins. The problem I get is huge delays on sending the email thru. Things just don’t send. And, ALL THESE UNNECESSARY STEPS.

    I’ve ended up just going with default WordPress contact forms that are simple and work.

    What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Greg
    Greg´s last blog post ..Finally Published! The Dear Blogger Toolbox

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Wouldn’t a delay be related to the web host and the DNS? I haven’t heard of delays, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

      “default WordPress contact forms” – what are they? I am not aware of WordPress coming with a contact form.

  19. Uh oh. I have an email address on my contact form, but spam hardly ever gets past Akismet. For right now, I think I’m going to stick with “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Suzanne, sounds like a good strategy! If your email is already out there, it’s already out there. Some companies and organizations prefer publicizing an email address. Personally, I like the added part of collecting a bit more information (maybe I should have written that in the post).

      FYI, people seem to be confusing what Akismet does. It screens *comments* for spam, not email addresses. Those are two separate things. Akismet has nothing to do with a contact form.

  20. Atish Ranjan says:

    Contact forms are indeed necessary because this is the page from where you readers or advertisers can contact you. I have used BWS plusgin and contactme forms on my sites.
    Atish Ranjan´s last blog post ..How to Fix Common Outlook Mistakes that May Screw Your Life

  21. Hi Leora,

    I do have a contact page, but as I write, I’m spiffing it up because I’m having my blog re-done. It’s time as I’ve grown.

    I love that you mentioned the “connect with me” buttons!
    There is nothing worse than going to a blog and trying to find out where the heck I’m supposed to connect with a blogger so I can syndicate their blogs!

    Awesome information!

    -Donna
    donna merrill´s last blog post ..Is Your Blog A Graveyard?

  22. Tuhin says:

    I use a very ordinary contact form. Will have to upgrade it soon! Thanks for the ideas!
    Tuhin´s last blog post ..Adolescence: A Difficult Phase to Handle

  23. John says:

    Recently we have created our own WordPress contact form plugin which will hopefully suit all of your needs. Please check out Perfect Easy & Powerful Contact Form (https://wordpress.org/plugins/pwebcontact/). It has ton of features (it is easily competing with top WP contact form plugins) and is extremely easy to configure thanks to a very friendly user interface with drag & drop fields and many different layouts!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge