How to set up free contact forms on your WordPress website

Every WordPress website I’ve worked on has required me to set up forms.

Often it’s just a simple contact form, but things can definitely get a lot more complicated than that. You might have forms to sign up to be a volunteer, or to make a payment, or to download a file. You might want several versions of a form to appear in different locations on your website.

If you’ve ever searched for “forms” in the WordPress plugin repository, you may have noticed that there are dozens of plugins that will let you create forms. I’ve dabbled with several of them, including Wufoo, Ninja Forms, and Gravity Forms, and many of these are great and easy to use. However, the winner for me is always Contact Form 7.

The other form plugins may have loads of bells and whistles, but you usually need to upgrade to their pro versions to get the same kind of functionality that Contact Form 7 already has out of the box. And by that, I mean the free box!

Unlike some forms plugins, Contact Form 7 is not drag-and-drop, so if you’re not OK with touching a small amount of code, it is perhaps not the best plugin for you. I would instead recommend Ninja Forms, but for some functionality you may need to pay for add-ons. So if you’re not up for getting your hands a little bit dirty, stop reading this and go install Ninja Forms.

If you’re still reading, I’ve convinced you to check out Contact Form 7. Yay! So let’s take a deeper look…

Once you install Contact Form 7, you will now have a “Contact” section in your Dashboard. Here, you can add new forms, and edit existing ones.

The Form edit screen looks similar to the “Text” tab in the normal WordPress page/post editor. You can enter HTML code, and shortcode tags for various types of form fields. A standard contact form will use label tags to lay out the content. There is already a default form set up so you can see the tags used, and customise it for your own purposes.

You will see a pattern for the form fields, with the label first, and then a shortcode for the type of field required. There are also buttons along the top to help you add form fields of different types. For more help on creating forms, see the Contact Form 7 Docs page.

In the “Mail” tab, you can customise the notification emails that are sent after the form is submitted, and the “Messages” tab handles the success and error messages shown when a visitor is filling out the form.

The real beauty of Contact Form 7 comes with the different integrations available. For instance, the Mailchimp extension allows you to add people to a MailChimp list when they fill out your form. The Success Page Redirects plugin allows you to choose a page to redirect users to after they fill out the form.

After you save the form, you can insert it in any page or widget using the shortcode provided. And that’s it!

So tell me – have you tried Contact Form 7? Is there another form plugin for WordPress that you love?

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