When you start a website using WordPress it may seem that it does everything, but over time you probably realized there was a lot of room for expansion. Luckily WordPress supports many plugins to help fill in any gaps and to expand its functionality. One thing you should be adding to your site is a contact form.
There are a variety of reasons why this is better than just posting your email on your page, ranging from avoiding spam to ease of use for customers to gathering additional information. But you might notice there are well over a thousand plugins just for creating contact forms. Which one do you choose? That really depends on your needs and skills. Here’s a quick comparison of four of the best WordPress plugins for contact forms.
Contact Form 7
Undoubtedly the most used contact form builder, it is also the oldest. So while it is highly reliable, with well known behaviors and a large community available to ask questions, it doesn’t have a modern interface. The forms are built using a html and some knowledge of that language is required. It does support CAPTCHA and other predefined fields, and if you are technically savvy you can customize the open-source code for your needs. There are third party add ons available to enhance it, but aren’t listed on the official web page. But as always, the biggest selling point, so to speak, is that it is free, with no premium fees at all and unlimited usage.
A more recent addition to the field, Ninja Forms has a drag and drop interface with a larger selection of predefined fields. A user doesn’t need to change any code to make this work. The basic plugin is free and can be used on as many site as you wish, but if you require additional functionality you will need to purchase addons or buy a membership. A wide array of addons exist, including conditional logic, multi-part forms, and integration with Mailchimp, Freshbooks and Salesforce is available. One drawback is the pricing of addons which can drive the price up beyond what you would pay for a plugin without a free option. While you can expand your functionality slowly and space out your expenses, you could save money by buying a more functional plugin from the beginning.
Possibly the most user-friendly contact form builder, WPForms has a well designed drag and drop interface, simple, clean, and reliable. Using that it is possible to build complex forms with little effort. There are several optional packages for even more advanced features and the starting cost is very low. In fact, there is a lite version offered for free, but it strips out even more functionality and it is worth the minimal cost to upgrade to at least the base premium version. One warning would be to realize the emphasis on simplicity and user-friendly interface comes at the cost of some highly complex features offered in other plugins. By making the user interface first priority, other features were left out.
For a very quick, very simple, but good-looking contact form, Pirate Forms fits the bill. Able to be set up in about one minute, it can add forms quickly, but limits you to simple forms. It does support some nice features, reCaptcha and its own SMTP option, as well as storing all the contacts in an included database. Automated email notifications can be sent when visitors use the contact form, alerting staff to check for messages. It comes as a free version, although there is a very inexpensive premium upgrade available.
As you can see, depending on your needs and desires, the best contact form creator can vary. These focused on ease of use rather than support for highly complex functionality. If you need a specific function, you would be best off searching specifically for that function and comparing the plugins that featured it. If you need an integrated suite of complex functions begin looking at the premium plugins that offer a purchase level which unlocks all of its functionality. As mentioned with Ninja Forms it is possible to enhance some plugins to support a wide variety of features, but it is usually more cost effective to buy package with everything you need, and some things you don’t, than using a large number of add ins.
Identify your key features and research based on those. If you need complex, multi-functional forms you will likely need to sacrifice simplified user interfaces and will be required to gain some technical expertise. But you will get the plugin you need with the features you need. That’s what really counts, meeting your needs and not spending extra for things you don’t require. Dig in and find out what you need and what the plugins do. Pick the best match. Don’t be intimidated by the selection. Think of it as a target rich environment, with many good choices.