Contact forms keep your site secure by limiting the need to share contact details that spammers can take advantage of. Of course, they make your site more convenient and accessible to site users, which results in more leads. They collect basic customer data that allows you to better communicate with (and provide specific solutions for) individual cases.
It’s essential that you have a contact form on your WordPress site, and to do that you’re going to have to install a contact form plugin. However, there are over 1500+ contact form plugins to choose from, many of which will have slightly different options, pricing and tech support. As with all plugins, there is no outright best plugin—you need to understand your options and pick the solution that suits your business. I’m going to cover five of the most popular contact form plugins used by WordPress users, ordering them from basic (suited for beginners) to most advanced.
Currently over 1 million websites are using WP Forms. Why? Because it’s powerful and easy, which is why it’s a recommended choice for WordPress beginners. Its simplicity greatly reduces the need to hire a WordPress developer, which makes it highly cost-efficient in early stages.
It’s easily the most popular contact form plugin for beginners, a big influence being its user-friendly drag and drop online form builder. This feature is what allows users to create forms so quickly.
The free version is called WPForms Lite. The free version still has many basic features that are adequate for WordPress users, including: spam protection (captcha), basic form fields, email notifications and a thank-you page.
You can also easily integrate WP Forms with your preferred email marketing service and collect payment platform, still without the need of a developer.
WP Forms comes with an additional WordPress survey plugin addon, which as the name suggests, allows you to create surveys and polls. This is very useful for collecting customer data, which can be shared with the customer in real-time.
WP forms has templates for much more than just contact forms and they can be set up in mere minutes; time efficiency is one of the big advantages of WP Forms, whereas with a range of other plugins you’re still forced to build a contact from scratch with the assistance of a plugin. WP Forms are responsive and optimized for site speed, which can give your SEO rankings a solid boost.
It also has a free version called WPForms Lite. The free version still has many basic features that are adequate for WordPress users, including: spam protection (captcha), basic form fields, email notifications and a thank-you page. There are many more features and integrations that will benefit WordPress users, and you can see the entire list here.
Because of its emphasis on being user-friendly, the one negative of this plugin is that it doesn’t have much customization or flexibility going forward. It doesn’t need a developer, but a developer can’t do much to enhance its functionality, compared to other less user-friendly plugins.
Contact Form 7 is just as popular as other plugins in this article, but it’s not a recommended choice. This is one of the oldest contact form plugins that is still around and functioning. Part of its popularity derives from it being completely free, the drawback of it being free is that there isn’t much support options for WordPress users experiencing issues. To help with support and development, the plugin relies on donations. The majority of third-party plugin solutions for Contact Form 7 are also completely free.
Compared to other plugins on this list, you’ll notice that this plugin has the highest amount of unresolved user issues, which has slowly affected user ratings.
This plugin currently sits in an odd middle ground, where it’s too complex for beginners wanting to create a standard contact form, whilst experienced WordPress developers would rather go elsewhere with more support (Formidable Forms or Gravity Forms).
Still, it is free and if you’re a WordPress entrepreneur with developer skills, this may be a viable option for you.
- Ninja Forms
This plugin has over 18 million downloads and does have a free version (if downloaded from the WordPress directory). Ninja Forms is known for creating highly interactive contact forms effortlessly.
It’s suitable for beginners, yet is still very powerful and does have customization potential if you want to bring on developers. Developers will be able to create custom templates, filters and built-in hooks within the Ninja Forms framework. There’s also plenty of extensions users can make the most of to increase functionality—namely Freshbooks, Campaign Monitor or SMS Notifications.
With Ninja Forms there are no constraints on the amount of fields, emails, user submissions that can be created or collected from your contact forms. Exporting any user data collected from forms can be easily done from the WordPress dashboard.
Users have plenty of anti-spam security options including Akismet integration, Google reCaptcha, question fields and honeypot fields.
Ninja Forms is a great choice for beginners who envision developing their WordPress site beyond a small business. Ninja Forms has customization potential upon business growth. During the entirety of business growth, WordPress users will always have a cost-efficient membership type, whether that be free for beginners or professional memberships for medium sized businesses.
Gravity forms has been around for over a decade and is now one of the most popular plugins that offers advanced functionality and features. Like previously mentioned plugins, it’s also a drag and drop form builder.
Additional addons are required to extend its functionality, and different addons are limited to certain license types, i.e only those subscribed to the elite plan (most expensive) can use elite addons. With basic addons you’ll be able to create surveys, web directories, quizzes and a range of other forms created from customer data.
Gravity Forms comes with over thirty different form field inputs. It’s really easy to choose the forms that best serve your site visitors, or change them according to new data.
There is no free version of Gravity Forms. So, it’s important you’re ready to upgrade to such a plugin and should ensure that the addons your license type of choosing will serve your WordPress site.
Below we have perhaps the most complex contact form plugin available. This is the opposite of WP Forms and will benefit greatly from the input of a developer.
This plugin has a lot of flexibility and therefore you’re able to make anywhere between a simple small contact form to a complex multiple page form. This gives your WordPress site more possibilities when it comes to data collection and form optimization.
This plugin is still a drag and drop form builder, in which users can create surveys, payment forms, quizzes, registration forms, payment forms and more.
Formidable forms is especially useful for advanced users who are able to make more use of user data. The plugin is able to take user data and transfer it into viewable forms into specific forms on your frontend such as: event calendars, job board listings, rating systems or management systems. The more focused your forms are, the more ways you have of expressing customer data, which adds to a more interactive and positive user experience.
There is no free version of Formidable Forms but there are three different pricing packages for businesses of different sizes, and all are year long subscriptions.
Of course there’s a lot of customization potential with Formidable Forms. But if you’re a WordPress beginner, this will usually mean you’ve got a lot at your disposal that you simply don’t need. We’d recommend going for a simpler contact form plugin to start with and keeping Formidable Forms in mind for the future!
If Choosing an advanced Contact Form Plugin: Hire a Developer
The following mostly concerns those WordPress users who want to use an advanced contact form plugin and want to customize things to meet optimal business requirements. To do this, it’s essential that you hire a WordPress developer.
A WordPress developer can optimize the functionality of your contact form and associated addons, extensions or custom plugins, match things with your website design and create contact forms that reflect current user data.
Consider that contact forms are only one part of your website and that you should hire WordPress developers with the intention of optimizing multiple parts of your website. It’s important you prioritize the development services you require, these may change during consulting with a developer as they provide their own recommendations within your vision.
One popular development company for WordPress development services is CodeClouds. They have over 8+ years experience working specifically with WordPress, their plugin and extension development prowess is most relatable here. However, they also offer CMS integration, theme customization, WordPress implementation and customer portal development services. They’ve gained global success by providing cost-effective dedicated developer packages (paid monthly). These allow e-commerce entrepreneurs to get more development or project expertise for less, as they can increase or decrease the expertise they’re hiring depending on current project requirements.
If you’re an e-commerce who’d like to gain some development expertise for themselves—start with these ‘5 Recommended YouTube Channels for Developers.’