The contact form and other forms are basic elements on every website nowadays. It wasn’t long ago when website sellers still priced the forms separately, but now you can assume that the basic form is included in the package. But which form should you choose for your WordPress site?
First, think about what kind of forms you need
There are a lot of form plugins to choose from and choosing the right one may seem like a difficult job. In addition, most of the free add-ons have extensions available for more functionality. By purchasing functions one by one, a free add-on may suddenly become expensive and difficult to manage. So you should start approaching the choice by asking yourself what it will be used for, Do I need several different forms and what do I want to happen after sending the form? In this way, you can quickly find out whether the free basic block is enough, or whether you are going to buy the whole thing.
In general, the purposes of forms can be divided into two: Simple contact forms and those that utilize marketing automation, e.g. forms that offer a downloadable file. In the latter option, the purpose is usually to get the customer to subscribe to the newsletter, and in return for this, a downloadable guide or something else of interest to the customer is offered. Both forms can also be referred to as “lead forms”, because the purpose is to get the customer’s contact information for later sales opportunities. Of course, sometimes forms can only be used to acquire information.
WordPress plugins for creating forms
As I mentioned, there are a lot of add-ons, and I haven’t tried them all, or plan to try them all. Instead, I’ll highlight three that I’ve used myself. It’s also not a broad comparison of features, because at the end of the day, everyone does the same thing with very much the same features, i.e. enabling the form on the website. The article contains affiliate links, but no paid content. Experiences and opinions are therefore my own.
Gravity Forms is one of the most popular form plugins and also my favorite. Gravity Forms makes it easy to build different forms with a simple drag&drop technique. More than 30 different ready-made fields are included. The finished form is also easy to add to any page, e.g. using a shortcode.
Features in brief
- More than 30 ready-made fields
- Drag & Drop editor
- Conditional logic for displaying fields (e.g. display a field if the previous one has the answer X)
- Uploading files to the form
- “Save and continue” feature
- Limit the number of transmissions
- Schedule the visibility of the form
- Spam blocking
Gravity Forms also integrates with the most common newsletter services, such as Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Hubspot or Campaign Monitor.
Other features include the possibility to send a confirmation message to the person filling out the form, export of entries as a .csv file, export and import of actual forms and a huge number of different add-ons. With Gravity Forms, I myself have built very extensive and complicated forms, e.g. for various surveys.
Gravity Forms is a paid add-on, the basic model for one page with annual updates costs $59, for 3 pages $159 and the unlimited Elite license costs $259. If you’re managing multiple sites, Elite is a great value for money as it includes all plugins. A free demo is also available to try all the features.
WPForms is very similar in features to Gravity Forms. The biggest difference is the editor for building the actual form, which in WPForm is perhaps a bit more visual. In addition, WPForms has ready-made templates, which means that it is faster to start creating a form if you want to use ready-made templates. There are plenty of extensions available in the same way as in Gravity Forms. WPForms markets itself as “the easiest on the market”, which it very well may be!
Pricing on WPForms is a little different. The Lite version costs nothing and is suitable for creating a traditional “Contact Us” form. Since the prices may change, I’ll link the prices and features of the different licenses at the end. In this service too, with the Elite license you get everything possible without restrictions.
WPForms also has an additional service called WP Mail SMTP, which fixes a common WordPress problem, i.e. email sending problems. WP Mail SMTP therefore ensures that the form responses come to you and the response messages go to the customers and are not missed.
Ninja Forms completes the tough trio. A service with similar features to Gravity Forms and WPForms. Like WPForms, there are ready-made templates for the most common forms, but the form can also be created from scratch and there is a wide selection of different fields. The user interface in Ninja Form, like WPForms, is a bit more visual than in Gravity Forms. The list of integrations is also comprehensive, and in terms of the number of optional extensions, Ninja Forms does not pale next to the others. The pricing and the number of licenses also follow the previous ones, however, unlike others, Ninja Forms offers à la carte, i.e. the opportunity to put together a customized service that suits you. With this option, you get exactly what you need, and you don’t pay for anything. A free version of Ninja Forms is also available for creating a basic form, which can go a long way if there is no need for add-ons.
In summary about Forms
As you surely noticed, there are not many differences in the features / prices of the three services presented. So which would I choose?
All three services presented offer at least a 14-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try all of them with full features. WPForms and Ninja Forms can be found in the WordPress add-on list as free versions, allowing you to easily test the basic features. There is a demo version of Gravity Forms and you can get your money back from them too if you are not satisfied with the service. Personally, I have used Gravity Forms the most, and there have been no problems. The user interface in Gravity Forms is not as beautiful as others, but at the same time it means faster operation when heavy graphics are not running in the background. On the other hand, there have been no problems with the other two and all three have functional customer support.
If you use a newsletter service and the purpose of the form is only to collect subscribers, you should make these forms directly in the newsletter service and embed them on the pages. Forms intended for downloading guides and others are also best done through newsletter services, because at the same time you can create far-reaching automation in the background. I will discuss these in more detail in later posts. For example, this site has Mailchimp running in the background.
In addition to these presented form add-ons, there are of course plenty of others on the market that might work better for your purpose. To make the choice easier, there is a short checklist that you can use to compare and choose the most suitable add-on for you.
- Do I need anything other than the contact form?
- Do I need multiple forms?
- Do I want to schedule the visibility of the form (e.g. registrations)?
- Do I want to create conditions/rules related to the visibility of form fields or sending messages?
- I manage several pages, what do I need forms for?
- Do I want to offer the form filler something to download?
- Do I need integrations?
By answering these questions, you will quickly get a clue where you can ultimately choose the best one in terms of both price and features.
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