Generating feedback from your readers usually involves polls and comments on your blog posts, but from time to time they might wish to contact you personally. For instance, they might have a suggestion for article content on the site, or – if you run a news-based website – a tip-off might be left by a helpful visitor.
Tricky to code by hand, forms are potentially very powerful so it should come as no surprise to learn that there are several very good contact form plugins that you can install on your WordPress website.
While they are all capable of doing much more, the following “top five” have been tested to see how they fare with the basic task of creating a standard email contact form.
Easy Contact Forms
Making the creation of contact forms for your website simple – rather than forcing you to rely on HTML or PHP – is the aim of all of these plugins. Easy Contact Forms has plenty of options for creating custom email fields and much more.
Despite the name, however, this plugin isn’t easy to use. While the ability to construct a form might have been beautifully streamlined, the labelling applied to the various form components is pretty obscure in some cases.
Additionally, claims to be “template ready” are wide of the mark. Creating a simple email contact form with this plugin proved challenging, not an experience I would want to endure again in a hurry. However the plugin has plenty of options to be of use in other ways. You can find out more on the WordPress plugin site.
Contact Form 7
Providing tools to manage as many contact forms as you need, Contact Form 7 enables you to easily customize your forms and adds CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering support.
But how easy does it make setting up a basic email form?
Well, little work is required for creating this type of form as everything is provided. All you need to do is copy the shortcode into your page or post and the form is ready to use. However there are plenty of ways in which you can edit the form by changing wording and adding markup, while many different form types can be created. Forms with uploads, radio buttons and checkboxes can all be added, enabling the flexibility to add any type of form to your website. CAPTCHA is enables by installing the Really Simple Captcha plugin.
Full details can be found at contactform7.com.
Fast Secure Contact Form
As options go, you’ll barely find more in one place than you will in the settings view for Fast Secure Contact Form.
Like Contact Form 7, a set of basic email contact fields are provided by default with this plugin, so once again it is simply a case of pasting the shortcode and leaving it to its own devices.
However there are many options that can be used to enhance this plugin, beside the obligatory CAPTCHAs and anti-spam tools. An interesting feature is the option to provide an alternative means of contact beyond email in the form of a webcam chat or phone call. This taps into the vCita service for scheduling web-based meetings, and is a great way to bring customers and clients closer!
Further details on this plugin can be found by checking the WordPress plugin page.
On first impressions, the settings for this plugin might give the impression that it is very basic. While Contact Form doesn’t have the same range of options as some of the others in this list, it is far and away the simplest, but it also has some tricks up its sleeve.
Using the shortcode and a drop-down menu of contributors, editors, authors and administrators of your WordPress blog, you can easily select the intended recipient for the submitted message. There is also a field to enter an alternative, preferred email address.
In addition to the standard fields, Contact Form also provides the ability to upload attachments, attach sender IP information and even edit the form fields.
Find further details about Contact Form by visiting the WordPress plugin site, where you can also find screenshots.
Custom Contact Forms
Claiming to be more customizable than both Fast Secure Contact Form and Contact Form 7, this plugin is arguably better presented than either, offering good background to each of the options that can be used and a small tutorial.
Feature-packed and with a selection of tabs to easily find specific options, Custom Contact Forms also includes CSS styling tools, a bug report feature and many fixed and configurable fields for you to construct complex and basic contact forms. The most basic form type is already set up by default, and includes a CAPTCHA test. Details and an FAQ can be found as usual in the WordPress plugin index.
Form Maker is powerful and functional tool for the owners of websites. With the functionality and ease of use of this plugin can be compared just a few plugins. It have a user-friendly interface, that allow you easily and quickly add the form from admin panel. The form includes 10 main elements for creating a new form: Custom HTML, Text Input, Time and Date, Select, Checkbox, Radio, File upload*, Captcha, Map*, Buttons
The Form Maker plugin can be used for creating contact, mailing list, survey, application, event registration and party invitation forms.
Plenty of Great Plugins!
There is barely a dearth of contact form options, but thanks to the efforts of the developers of these examples, there are plenty of good contact form plugins for WordPress users to choose from.
Most impressive, perhaps, is Contact Form 7, but all of these options are recommended.
The question is – did we miss any? Do you use a contact form solution that isn’t listed here? Or do you use contact form plugins in an interesting way?
Let us know!