An Introduction to WPForms
There are multiple aspects within your WordPress website that contribute to the overall user experience. Forms are, most certainly, an integral part to this. A form presents one of the best opportunities to collect valuable data from visitors or customers, so taking the time to put together an easy to fill, logical and sensible form, can to wonders to your conversion rate.
In this article we will be reviewing WPForms, a plugin that allows you to build powerful forms in an intuitive and easy to use manner – great news, especially if you are a beginner.
WPForms Key Features
WPForms offer a Drag and Drop Form Builder, which allows you to create a WordPress form in a few minutes by adding, removing and re-arranging fields as you go along. What this means is that you do not need any coding experience to create a form.
To make the form-building process an even quicker one, the plugin features multiple readily-available templates, such as contact form and payment order form, so that you do not need to start from scratch. And if you were worried about how your forms will appear on mobile devices, WPForms also addresses this concern. All forms created with WPForms are completely responsive and mobile-friendly.
For more advanced needs, forms can be built using smart conditional logic to create dynamic flows, and can also be split into several pages, an important feature if you’re after creating long forms. WPForms also provides add-ons to connect with PayPal, Stripe, AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse.
Installing WPForms is very straightforward. Just download the plugin, install and activate.
Upon successful activation, an introduction screen appears, including tips and useful information on getting started.
Creating a form in WPForms is extremely easy and straightforward. Just go to WPForms > Add New. Enter your form name and select a template. Although you can choose to start from scratch and go for the Blank Form option, it is much simpler and easier to start off with a readily-available template, such as the Simple Contact Form.
Once a template has been selected, you will be taken to the Form Builder screen.
As you can see, the Simple Contact Form already includes the key fields one would require: Name (first and last), Email and Comment/Message.
Through the Field Options section, you have the ability to customise Fields in multiple ways. As a minimum, you are able to set the Field to Required (or otherwise), to change the Label or Description, to specify Field Size, Placeholder Text and CSS Classes.
To publish a form, first save it, exit the form builder, and find the page or post where you would like to add the form.
A nifty feature of WPForms is the ability to quickly locate and add the form directly through the Add Form button on the WordPress editor.
The corresponding shortcode is then automatically added to the page or post and upon hitting the publish button, the respective form will be displayed.
Once a form is duly filled in and successfully submitted, a confirmation message is displayed.
The Settings section within each form allows you to customise and configure a number of features relating to your form, such as general display features, notifications and what confirmation message to display (or which page to redirect to) once a form is submitted.
WPForms Pro provides additional functionality, including:
- Additional form templates
- Wider selection of form fields
- Conditional logic
- Third party add-ons and integrations (including MailChimp, AWeber and PayPal)
- Creation of custom WordPress user registration forms
- Form entry management
Upgrading from the Lite to the Pro version is a simple and straightforward process. Upon purchasing the Pro version and downloading the Pro plugin, you just need to upload this to your WordPress site in the same manner as you would have uploaded the Lite version. Once this process is complete, deactivate the Lite version, activate the Pro version and you can carry on accessing all the forms previously created.
Additional Form Templates
One of the first features that becomes immediately apparent within WPForms Pro is the availability of new form templates, mainly Donation Form, Billing / Order Form, Newsletter Signup Form and Suggestion Form.
These templates provide a skeleton of what you may require within that particular form. Although you will, most probably, need to add, remove or change fields, using the templates provided means that you do not need to start from scratch.
Opting for the Donation Form, Billing / Order Form or Newsletter Sign up Form will also prompt you to install the relevant add-on to configure payment provider or newsletter service provider.
Wider Selection of Form Fields
WPForms Pro makes available a wider selection of fields, categorised under Fancy Fields and Payment Fields.
Some of the noteworthy Fancy Fields include:
- Address, which can be set in an international or US format
- Password, which however does not appear to have any validation options (say X characters long, X special characters)
- Phone, can also be set in US or International format but has the same validation limitation (text will also be accepted as an input)
- File Upload, which enables you to set Allowed File Extensions and Maximum File Size
The Payment Fields allow you to set single or multiple items with a respective price/s and automatically calculated total fields. It’s a shame that only radio buttons are allowed within the Multiple Items field as it would have been good to have the possibility to add Check Boxes as well.
This premium feature provides conditional capabilities that enable you to optimise the form-filling experience even further. You can ensure that only relevant fields are shown within the form, depending on an earlier selection. The conditional logic can be as complicated as you need it to be since you can set multiple rule groups with AND/OR conditions.
A good feature of WPForms is the ability to quickly access all form entries (or leads) from one screen. Such entries are stored in your WordPress database and can be accessed by going to WPForms > Entries. Within that screen you have the option to favourite entries, mark as Read / Unread, Delete and export a list of all entries in CSV format. Whilst the process is easy enough to manage if the number of form entries is quite minimal, the process becomes somewhat unwieldy if you have a larger number of forms, as there are currently no sorting or filtering capabilities.
WPForms offer 4 separate pricing plans. The Basic Plan, at $39 per year, is intended for those who are just starting out and includes all of the basic features (such as templates, advanced fields and entry management). This is a great and fairly low-cost way to get a taste of the premium features of WPForms.
The next plan up, the Plus, includes MailChimp, AWeber and GetResponse integrations on top of the Basic features; whereas the Pro further includes PayPal and Stripe integrations together with Conditional Logic, User Registration and Login Form. The Ultimate Plan, as the name implies, includes all the features outlined in the Pro plan but allows you to use the plugin on unlimited sites and provides lifetime updates. In terms of pricing, these plans are very much in line with competing plugins, so at the end of the day it all boils down to the desired level of functionality and features required.
Even though WPForms do not offer a trial, they adopt a 100% No-Risk Double Guarantee and if you are not happy with the plugin, they will refund 100% of the purchase price within 14 days of purchasing the product.
Documentation and Support
WPForms is very easy and intuitive to use. The process of changing form settings, adding or removing fields and form management on the whole is very straight forward. Having said that, you may want to reach out for documentation for help with some of the more advanced features. Whilst the documentation section does provide a good introduction to some of the functionality available, I personally found it quite bare and would have expected more in-depth articles on some of the more advanced topics, such as conditional logic.
Any support queries can be submitted through the WPForms support portal. When contacted with a support query for the purpose of this review, a reply was received within 4 hours.
WPForms vs Other WordPress Contact Form Plugins
The WordPress Contact Form market is currently dominated by Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms, with both plugins having been established for a number of years (Gravity Forms since 2009). Although it is interesting to note WPForms’ late entry in the market (launched in March 2016), one has to keep in mind is that it has been developed by Syed Balkhi, the founder of WPBeginner, which certainly adds clout to the plugin. The choice of name, WPForms, makes it sound like it is the ultimate solution within the WordPress contact form marketplace, but is it?
I personally feel that as the market develops, there is space for different form plugins to occupy distinct niches in the market. In the case of WPForms, it is trying to differentiate itself by being the most beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin. It is a very useful plugin for anyone who does not have much coding experience and wants to build great-looking forms in an easy and straightforward manner.
Having said that, it does lack in certain advanced, complex features that the other two form plugins, Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms, offer. A separate post that compares the major WordPress Contact Form Plugins will delve into more detail in terms of the pros and cons of each tool and how each contact form plugin is trying to differentiate itself.
Given WPForms’ ease of use, and especially the intuitive drag and drop builder, bloggers, writers/authors and digital marketers will have a field day using this plugin.
Given that the plugin is still quite now, you can also expect to see a significant number of features added in the near future. The WPForms blog can be followed for the latest development updates.
If you are not yet sure about making the investment, my recommendation would be to start off with the Lite version (available to download from the WordPress plugin directory) to get a good feel of the plugin and then scale up once you’re ready to take form creation to the next level.