While plenty of WordPress themes come with a built-in contact form, many sites require something more featureful than these standard forms. Whether it’s sponsorship requests, event registrations, sensitive information, or a myriad of other options… the list of form needs is endless.
We test drive quite a few plugins here on our own blog and while helping clients. One of the best we’ve found for creating rich WordPress forms is Gravity Forms.
This is a premium (i.e. paid) plugin, but it’s one we’ve found is well worth the cost if you need a more powerful contact form. Here are the 11 features that make this plugin stand out from the rest:
1. Drag-and-drop placement
When you create your form, you can easily add, remove, arrange, and rearrange fields by dragging and dropping. No programming needed!
2. Conditional logic
Gravity Forms really shines when your form needs to dynamically change and show/hide specific fields based on user input. Imagine a registration form with optional lunch. The form could adjust to allow specific lunch orders for each person in a multi-person registration.
3. Secure contact forms
One reason many bloggers implement contact forms is to reduce the amount of spam they get in their email inbox. Of course, contact forms can get spam too. Fortunately, Gravity Forms comes with multiple anti-spam security measures like Honeypot and Captcha. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what those are yet; they help beat spammers.) The plugin can also be configured to force encrypted (SSL) submissions, so that form data is safe from prying eyes.
4. Advanced fields and validation
With built-in validation for fields like email, address, and phone number, Gravity Forms can be configured to only accept valid entries, notifying users of errors along the way.
All forms can have as many or as few fields as necessary and support nested conditional sections. Additionally, fields can be set as required. And special fields like address and phone number can be preformatted for regions and countries.
5. Responsive layouts
With more than 50% of internet traffic happening on mobile phones, responsiveness continues to be a driving factor for web design. Gravity Forms scale to fit the space in which they are placed. Rather than shrinking or expanding, the forms will reflow content to fit various screen sizes. That means your forms will look as good on a phone as they do on a desktop!
6. Entries are stored in your database
Although form entries are delivered via email to the site admin by default, entries are also stashed in your WordPress database for safekeeping. Site admins can reference them through the dashboard.
Entries can also be filtered, sorted, and exported. The Gravity Forms dashboard provides data on views-to-entries and displays a conversion percentage so you can measure the success of your forms. Each entry can be annotated within the admin as well.
7. Form entry reports and exportation
For forms that collect payments, there’s even a sales report that allows you to monitor revenue generated from each individual form.
8. Custom options for confirmations and notifications
What happens once a form is submitted? Gravity Forms offers plenty of options for both the user confirmation and the notifications you receive. Simply put, you can display a confirmation message, send the user to another page on your site, or send them to another URL. In cases where the user is taken to another page, field data from the form can be passed to that page to provide a sense of continuity and confirmation.
You can also route notifications a number of ways: to a specific email address, to an email address specified within the form, or to a combination of email addresses—all depending on form configuration and field entries.
9. Multi-page contact forms
Longer forms can be broken into multiple pages that allow users to move back and forth between them. Throughout the process, the form displays a status indicator to help users know how much of the form remains. This is critical on longer forms to help users avoid fatigue and ensure your forms get completed.
10. Seamless integration with payment processors
Do you need to receive payment for registrations or products? With add-ons or a Developer’s license, Gravity Forms integrates seamlessly into third-party payment processors. This allows you to securely receive payments through Paypal or Stripe using your custom forms. The forms then transfer the necessary information to those payment processors for a smooth user experience.
11. Add-ons for third-party integrations
While the plugin is a powerful and impressive suite of tools by itself, there are add-ons available to extend its features into third-party services. This includes uploading attachments to Dropbox, adding subscribers to your MailChimp campaigns, updating client details in Freshbooks, or creating a new team collaboration message in Campfire. Additionally, there are add-ons that extend Gravity Forms’ capabilities, adding coupon codes to products, partial-entry follow-ups, polls, and quizzes.
Building forms online can often be complicated and time-consuming, and there are plenty of other form-building plugins worth exploration, depending on your specific needs. Because Gravity Forms offers so many comprehensive options to fit a wide variety of needs, we’re proud to recommend it as an Agathon Plugin Pick!
How do you use contact forms on your site?
Do you use a built-in form, Gravity Forms, or a different plugin?
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