Nowadays, contact form is an indispensable element on every website. It serves as an important bridge between the readers and website’s owner. Putting a link to your email address on your contact page is simply not enough. You need a contact form as well. A contact form offers many advantages over just a link to your email address such as it keeps your readers staying on your website as well as saves them all the hassle setting up their email client.
In most cases, I recommend to use both contact form and link to your email address to cater for all your readers’ preferences. However, if you have to take out one, take out the link to your email address, you should always have a contact form on your website no matter what niche it’s in.
Keeping that in mind, let’s explore top 3 WordPress contact form plugins that you can use for your websites.
1. Contact Form 7
Let me begin with the most popular WordPress contact form plugin: Contact Form 7. It’s one of the highly recommended WordPress plugins with more than 1 million active installs, as a matter of fact. There are reasons for its popularity.
First and foremost, Contact Form 7 is a “simple” yet “flexible” contact form plugin.
Upon installing and activating the plugin, you can either view all your forms or create new one. Inside each form, you have your form editor, its mailing options and error messages. Contact Form 7’s user interface (UI) is very simple and straightforward.
The good thing is the plugin’s author doesn’t sacrifice its features for that simplicity. Almost all input fields you’d probably like your contact form to have are available. Besides, you can track your form submissions and send it to corresponding email addresses based on user’s selection.
Contact Form 7 also uses AJAX to validate and submit your forms, which doesn’t require your contact page to reload and therefore provides a good user experience. As an UX guy, I love this “trivial” feature and I’m still wondering why other premium plugins still haven’t supported this feature yet.
On the other side of the coin, even though Contact Form 7’s UI has been improved since its latest update, it’s still not so user friendly yet especially for beginners who don’t know much about WordPress shortcodes. Having said that, due to its simple & straightforward UI, the learning curve is relatively short.
What’s more, users still need to deal with some HTML codes in the form editor. In other words, Contact Form 7 requires its users to have some basic understanding of HTML in order to make their forms work the way they want.
Last but not least, Contact Form 7 doesn’t store submitted entries into the database. So you can’t view, import or export submitted entries on your WordPress dashboard, which is painful for big websites’ administrators to organize and manage their contact forms’ huge submissions.
2. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is one of (if not) the most popular paid WordPress contact form plugins. It comes with a standard fields selection on the right hand side. You can choose what you want to include in your form just by dragging and dropping them into the form editor.
I’m quite impressed with the navigation at the top of the form editor. It’s where you can quickly view the current form’s settings, submitted entries and preview it as well. There’s even an option for you to switch your forms.
Features wise, Gravity Forms goes beyond a normal contact form. You can create surveys, polling, quiz, web directory and even allow users to submit content such as guest posts.
What’s more, Gravity Forms integrates seamlessly with the most popular email autoresponder services such as Aweber, Mailchimp and GetResponse so that you can collect your users’ emails with ease. You can even sell your own products and services as well as collect donation and recurring payment with Gravity Forms through its integration with Paypal.
Apart from that array of powerful features, Gravity Forms also provides almost everything you’d need for a contact form. Basic functions such as view, import and export submitted entries as well as Captcha spam protection are all included. In addition, there are stats (views & conversion) and conditional logics for each form.
Gravity Forms also comes with a built-in form widget, meaning you can quickly place your form in your sidebar or any widget-enable section of your website.
3. Visual Form Builder
Visual Form Builder (VFB) could be considered as an outlier in the top WordPress contact form plugins list having “only” more than 100 thousand active installs. Apparently it’s not as popular as its competitors. However, I consider Visual Form Builder the best (free) WordPress contact form plugin. Here’s why:
As similar to premium plugins like Gravity Forms and Formidable Forms, VFB comes with 2 key features that I believe every WordPress contact form plugin should have: 1. send your form submissions to your desired e-mails 2. store, view and export submitted entries.
What makes VFB stand out among its competitors is its simple & user-friendly UI (although that simplicity is partially due to the fact that its free version has less features than those of Formidable Forms and Gravity Forms). For example, VFB allows you to create complex form layout such as multiple fields in the same row effortlessly within a few clicks – no more complex CSS classes; no more manual checking. VFB does this perfectly – far better than any of its competitors.
After your users submit a form, you can either display an inline thank you message or redirect them to another page. You can even set to send them a confirmation email automatically, which looks like a minor feature at first but indeed provides a great user experience.
VFB’s flow is easy to follow; everything looks easy to do. That is what I love most about VFB!
Besides, VFB validates your forms on the client-side which brings the same good user experience like what Contact Form 7 does.
I’ve contacted the plugin’s author regarding its compatibility with WPML plugin (for multilingual websites). He’s made some necessary changes so that VFB is now fully compatible with WPML plugin.
There are some limitations on the free version of Visual Form Builder though. First, it requires a Fieldset at the beginning of your form. If you remove it, the form will still be somewhat working (the form submission is in but email is not sent as per what I tested) but you’ll see this error message above your form:
“If you are seeing this message, it means you need to add a Fieldset to the beginning of your form. Your form may not function or display properly without one.”
Second, VFB comes with the so-called “text Captcha” which basically asks you to enter a 2-digit number to ensure you’re not a web robot. However, this text Captcha doesn’t look as smart as it’s described. It’s automatically included on every form and you can’t remove it on the free version.
I’ve tried VFB Pro and it’s amazing too. Although it’s equipped with many more premium features like those of Gravity Forms, VFB manages to keep a simple UI that works perfectly well on the free version.
The only reason I would think of why Visual Form Build is not so popular as it should’ve been considering its quality is, apart from the fact that it’s relatively new compared to its competitors, probably because the plugin doesn’t have an affiliate program. Many bloggers and marketers might not prefer to market VFB to their audiences as a result.
If the author keeps up this excellent work, I believe VFB has the potential to become the #1 WordPress contact form plugin in the future.
I’ve just introduced you what I believe the top 3 WordPress contact form plugins that you’ll ever need. Here’s how you can use them for your websites:
If you’ve just started out and had little experience with WordPress, I recommend Visual Form Builder. It’s got everything you’d possibly need for your contact form plus an outstandingly easy-to-use UI. I use VFB for many of my websites.
On the other hand, you only want to a simple form for your contact page and have some hands-on experience with WordPress shortcodes, Contact Form 7 is a good choice. Please remember that it doesn’t store your form submissions though.
Lastly, if you want something more than the just a normal contact form, I recommend Gravity Forms. It’s the best among premium WordPress contact form plugins.