Forms are integral to many websites. This article takes a look at what forms you should be using on your website and why.
Before setting up a form, you need ask yourself these questions:
What information do I want to collect?
This is the most important question. Do you collect the minimum amount of info, or do you collect reams of information? If you want to collect lots of info, you’ll need to bear in mind that your customers might be reluctant to give you it and not fill in a form. Normally a compromise is the best option, where you collect the most valuable info in as few form fields as possible, enabling your customers to quickly complete the form.
Where do I want my form submissions stored?
All online forms will send out an email to you with the information submitted. In addition, you can choose to store this info on your website database, or on a 3rd party server provided by external form builder services e.g. Survey Monkey.
What additional features do I want on my form?
Are there extra features you want on the form, such as: file upload, taking payments, conditional logic, user registration, geolocation or integration with other services.
What do I want to happen after my form has been submitted?
After your form is submitted, what do you want to happen next? You could choose a simple Thanks message on the same page, redirect to another page or redirect to a payment processor etc.
How do I ensure my customers data and privacy is protected?
What forms should I be using?
The majority of forms we set up, use the default form builder provided by the Enfold Theme (which we use for the majority of the websites we design). These forms are simple, but are sufficient for most websites that just need an enquiry form. One downside to Enfold forms it that submissions are not stored on your website’s database, but only in your email inbox.
WP Forms offer a lot of features, such as conditional logic and they enable you to integrate with payment processors and other 3rd party services. WP forms enable you to store entries in the database on your WordPress web. This is especially useful, if you have a lot of enquiries and multiple administrators need access. WP Forms do provide a lot more than Enfold, but the catch is – you need to pay a minimum of $39 a year.
With WP Forms mentioned above, you can integrate Mailchimp. However, you can also use Mailchimp’s in-house form builder features, to set up and embed forms on your website. If you are primarily interested in gathering details in order to send out marketing emails, this is the way to go.
Depending on how your emails are set up on your hosting, we may need to install an SMTP plugin. This overrides the default WordPress SMTP mailer. Sometimes emails are unable to be sent from your website upon form submission. If this is the case, we’ll install an SMTP mailer using your default email configuration details.