Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, comment sections, and other online tools give your website visitors a multitude of different ways to interact with your brand. But it’s also important to give visitors a way to get in touch with you directly, right on the website itself. Adding a contact form to your self-hosted WordPress website protects your privacy, while allowing your visitors to communicate directly with you—and WordPress has a variety of plugins for creating and managing contact forms from your site’s admin dashboard. Below is an in-depth guide on how to add a contact form in WordPress.
Why Add a Feedback Form to Your WordPress Site?
Visitors can interact with you and your brand through all the social media and commenting channels you offer. You can talk directly to them through those channels too, but many of those tools operate off your WordPress website and your comments are visible to everyone. In some circumstances, visitors might prefer to contact you personally; and giving them a way to do that can lead to new relationships and opportunities.
That’s especially important for freelancers and other kinds of service providers whose business depends on direct contact with potential clients, but it can also benefit other kinds of businesses. Showing site visitors how to reach you can establish that there is a real individual behind the website, as well as turn your online space into a channel for two-way communication.
It can be tempting to simply provide an email address on your site’s “Contact” page, but even if you’ve created an email address specifically to handle contacts related to your site, website security experts say that spammers can quickly pick up those “naked” email addresses and add them to their mailing lists. The result: your inbox is quickly flooded with spam, scams, and potential malware.
Creating a contact form on your WordPress site makes it easy for visitors to contact you directly, and it can eliminate problems with spamming. These kinds of forms allow you to specify precisely what kind of information you want to collect from visitors, and to let them know exactly what they need to do in order to reach you. Contact forms can also be customized in a variety of ways so that you can use them to remind visitors of things like special offers and opportunities or to inform them about your response policy.
Contact forms and “signup” or subscription forms aren’t the same. Signup forms invite visitors to leave their name and email address in order to receive newsletters, email updates, and other material from your site. In return, they might receive a free offer: a “lead magnet” in the form of a report, free eBook, or other material. Although you can collect a visitor’s email address with both a contact form and a signup form, the contact form simply allows visitors to send you a message. Once someone submits the form, they receive confirmation. Then, you receive a notification via the email linked to the form, and you can respond directly to the sender.
Setting up a Contact Form
A basic WordPress installation doesn’t include a contact form builder, and neither do free WordPress themes. To add this kind of function, you’ll need to choose from a variety of WordPress plugins for managing contact and other types of forms. Many contact form plugins are available from the WordPress Plugin Directory that’s accessible from your site’s dashboard, and others can be downloaded or purchased from third party developers. Some plugins, like Contact Form 7, are specifically designed to add a contact form. Other plugins include contact forms among a variety of other forms and features for managing newsletters, email lists, and more.
Choosing the right plugin for your site depends on factors like your site’s purpose and your budget. A number of quality contact form plugins are available entirely for free, with the option to upgrade to a premium or pro version with more features. Premium plugins that offer a full suite of mail and list management features can be purchased from a variety of marketplaces and individual developers, with ongoing support and updates, included. In general, most contact form plugins for WordPress can be installed and managed from your WordPress admin dashboard in similar ways.
Installing and Activating a Contact Form Plugin
To install a forms plugin from the WordPress plugin directory, search the directory for “contact form plugins” or the name of the plugin you want. If it’s compatible with your version of WordPress, click “Install.” The files will be added to your WordPress code files, and the plugin will appear in the Plugins list on your dashboard. Click “Activate” to begin using the plugin. To add a plugin from another source, upload its files and click “Install.” Then activate it from your admin dashboard.
Configuring and Using a Contact Form Plugin
The process for configuring your forms plugin may vary depending on the plugin you choose. For most plugins, though, setting options are available from the menu in the left sidebar of your site dashboard. Opening the “Settings” option allows you to create and customize a new form, with options including text, fonts, colors, and layouts. You can also add follow-ups, such as confirmations and thank-yous, and request notifications to your email whenever a form is submitted on the site.
Once the form looks right, save it and click the option to create the new form. That prompts the plugin for WordPress to generate a unique shortcode. Copy the shortcode and paste it wherever you like on the site. Shortcodes can be embedded on a dedicated “Contact” page, inserted into posts, or pasted into a text widget that can be placed in any of your theme’s widget areas.
Contact forms can be edited or deleted at any time. Your site may not need all the features of a premium form builder plugin, but as it grows, you may want to integrate your contact form with other plugins for building email lists, landing pages, or newsletters. Pro or premium versions of popular plugins usually allow for a seamless upgrade from the free version, but you may need to choose a different plugin to manage all these tasks. Some, such as the free WPForms, allow users to migrate forms and settings across multiple domains and plugins.
Adding a contact form to your WordPress site gives visitors another way to stay in touch, and protects your email from potentially harmful spam. Whether you need a single contact form plugin for a small blog site or a complex form manager for a major marketing campaign, there’s a contact form plugin for WordPress that can help.