I have had a few projects recently, where we added some functionalities to webpages by using what’s called a ‘Form Plugin’. This type of plugin allows you to build all kinds of forms to collect data from your visitors while they are on your site.
No time to read it all ? Just check out the sample forms here:
The most common example of this that you might already be using is the contact form: The visitor fills in a few fields and the contents of the form are sent to you by email. Before we look at other uses for forms, here is first a little round-up of the solutions that are out there. The focus here is specifically on plugins that can be used with WordPress.
With Contact Form 7, Formidable Forms and Ninja Forms there are some free plugins available. Contact Form 7 has been around for a while. You can do a lot of things with it, but the user interface is a bit complicated to use because it has not evolved from when it was first released. The other two aren’t really free, as they offer only basic functions in their free versions. To make more interesting forms you have to upgrade to their paid plans. Formidable is $49/year and Ninja is $99/year for one site. If you are happy to pay an annual fee or if you need specific functionality for e-commerce, then Gravity Forms is a well-established option at $39/year. (All prices are valid at time of writing…)
I personally try to avoid paying on-going fees as much as possible for myself and my clients, especially as those can quickly add up if you need to add different functionalities to your site. Luckily you can find some good alternatives on codecanyon created by independent developers that charge a one-off license fee. From the list of best-selling form plugins, I looked more closely at Quform and FormCraft and ended up choosing FormCraft as my favourite because their user interface is well designed and the forms have a nice modern-looking flat design. Cost-wise this form builder comes to $39, which you only pay once.
OK, so let’s get to the interesting part, actually using this tool.
What can you do with it that you can’t do with a free tool?
As a start, it will save you time and money because the well-structured user interface will make it easy and quick to create and edit your forms. In terms of functionality, you will be able to build user-friendly forms with more or less complex logic where certain fields are only show when they are needed. This keeps your forms short initially and does not scare people away from filling them in.
And finally, you get all kinds of design freedom to make your form look as good as possible by adding in colours, fonts, your logo, images and icons.
So let’s start with a contact form that has a bit more functionality than the usual comment box to help your customers with their inquiry. If you are a communications agency like we are, you can request some additional information in your form to better qualify the inquiry at the first point of contact. In our case, this allows us to respond quicker and better to customer requests.
NOTE: all the following forms are for demonstration purposes only and no data is saved.
Example 1: Contact Form
Next, you can use a form to let users easily register for an event. We have put this type of solution in place for several clients who offer coaching seminars. This form demonstrates that it is also possible to do some calculations within the form. Combined with another add-on from FormCraft, you can even add credit card payments directly into the form (not included here).
Example 2: Registration Form
If you have a newsletter, you can also make a nice form it. This time the form is embedded straight into the page.
Example 3: Newsletter Form
If you have a jobs page for your open positions, you can easily create a custom form for each post, where applicants can upload their documents directly on your site.
Example 4: Job Application Form
You want more ways to use forms on your site? Here are 2 more:
You can turn your form into a quiz, giving you a simple tool to run competitions on your site.
Example 5: Competition
Finally, you can also design a simple form to run a customer satisfaction survey without having to use other third party services. This sort of approach will work well if your responses do not exceed a few hundred. beyond that, it will be better to use a dedicated service like Survey Monkey.
Example 6: Customer Survey
As you can see, a form plugin like FormCraft can be quite a versatile tool to add functionality and interactivity to your site. For certain situations where you need to get a visitor’s attention, a form works better when it is used together with a PopUp plugin that brings up the form at a certain point in time during the users visit. We cover this in more detail in an upcoming article.
Kaarma assists small and growing companies in presenting themselves professionally online and in the real world. Feel free to contact us if you need help with the design or functionality of your WordPress website or if you have some other communication needs.
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