Looking for the best form plugin for your WordPress sites? In my WS Form review, I’ll take a detailed look at one of the newest entrants.
While the WordPress form marketplace is already pretty crowded, WS Form is not just another copy-cat…
It has some unique things going on that help you create more complex types of forms. And if you’re a developer/power user, you’ll especially enjoy features like a helpful debug console, automatic framework detection (e.g. Bootstrap), and more.
Let’s dig in because there’s a lot to cover…
WS Form Review: The Feature List (Briefly!)
I won’t spend too long here because the marketing copy already covers these features and you’ll see them in much more detail as you read on, but to set the stage, some of the core features are:
- Drag-and-drop form builder
- Easy responsive design
- Conditional logic
- After save or submission actions (or actions triggered by conditional logic)
- View form submissions in WordPress dashboard
- Tabbed forms
- Built-in form conversion tracking
- GDPR compliance features
- eCommerce functionality (e.g. accept payments with your forms)
- Integrations with Zapier, email marketing services, Slack, and more.
- Developer features, like an awesome debug console
WS Form Pricing
There’s a limited free version of WS Form available at WordPress.org.
Then, there are two ways that you can add more functionality.
First, there’s the core WS Form Pro version, which gets you access to all the field types and other premium features. The Pro version costs:
- $40 for a single site license with no add-ons
- $250 for unlimited sites and all add-ons.
If you purchase the single-site WS Form PRO option, you can further expand it with individual add-ons for $20 each. These add-ons give you access to integrations for email marketing services, payment gateways, and more.
Hands-on With WS Form: Setting Up The Plugin
After you install and activate the WS Form plugin, it gives you this nice little setup wizard that lets you tailor the interface based on your knowledge level:
Depending on how you answer that first question, you’ll get different options on the next screen.
For example, if you choose Keep It Simple or I’m Familiar, you’ll get a nice little explainer video that shows you how to create forms:
On the other hand, if you choose I’m A Developer, you’ll get a prompt to choose your framework before the video (e.g. Bootstrap, Foundation. Or, you can say that you’re not using one):
The advantage here is that WS Form can output the forms using your framework to avoid unnecessary CSS.
It’s a small thing – but I like the attention to detail here.
Creating A Form With WS Form
When you go to create a new form with WS Form, the first thing that you’ll see is a list of available templates.
This is a feature that I like in form plugins, as it eliminates the drudgery of adding the basic fields that every form needs.
WS Form’s templates are divided into three tabs:
- Contact us
- Newsletter sign up
- Quote request
- Appointment request
- File upload
- Generic purchase form
- Gift card order
- Data erasure request
- Data export request
These last two are really handy for helping you comply with the GDPR.
Of course, you can always opt to start from a blank template, as well.
The Form Builder Interface
WS Form gives you drag-and-drop interface to help you build your form. You’ll see a preview of your form on the left and a list of available field types on the right:
To add new field types, you just drag them over. And you can also use drag-and-drop to rearrange the existing field types.
If you want to customize an individual field, you can click on the Gear icon for that field and it opens up a list of settings in the sidebar on the right:
All that is pretty standard fare for a WordPress form plugin so far.
But WS Form actually is doing some little things here that are really neat.
One of my favorite features is the responsive design and grid column control.
First, you can use the slider at the bottom to target specific device breakpoints for the layout of your form:
Then, to adjust the layout for your entire form or a specific form field, you can use drag-and-drop to choose how many columns a field takes up (like a grid). By default, you get 12 columns, though you can adjust that in WS Form’s settings:
This is a really neat feature – of the form plugins that I’ve used, I think this is the best layout system that I’ve encountered.
Let’s dig into some smaller features now…
Form Field Settings
When you edit an individual field, you’ll get three tabs:
The Basic tab is just that – basic settings like whether a field is required, default values/placeholders, etc.
One nice feature here is a built-in accessibility feature that lets you add an ARIA Label:
The Advanced tab helps you with validation, input restrictions, and some other advanced features.
For example, the Phone number field lets you add an input mask to handle the zip code.
One nice feature here is that you can click the hamburger menu to get access to some handy presets:
Finally, the Datalist tab is a really neat feature. Essentially, it lets you define autosuggest options that will appear as a visitor starts typing in the field:
In the example above, you can see that I’ve added two options in the datalist. Then, here’s how those options appear on the front-end:
This feature is super flexible – my simple example is just scratching the surface. Learn more in this help article.
Multi-Page Forms With Tabs
To help you create multi-page forms, WS Form uses tabs instead of regular pagination.
You can create these tabs in the form builder interface and add different fields to each tab:
Then, you can add dedicated buttons for Previous Tab or Next Tab:
And then people can either click on tabs to move back-and-forth or use the dedicated buttons:
Detailed Conditional Logic
If you want to add conditional logic to your form, you’ll use a dedicated Conditional Logic sidebar, rather than setting it up in the individual field settings like some form plugins have you do.
To add conditional logic, you’ll use a simple IF, THEN, ELSE structure (I’ve made the sidebar full-screen so it’s easier to see):
For example, you could create something like:
- IF “Are You A New Client?” equals “No”
- THEN hide a certain form field
- ELSE something else
This area is super detailed because you can also:
- Add multiple rules/actions to each IF, THEN, or ELSE statement
- Add multiple conditions
WS Form will try to automatically fill in the ELSE condition to simplify things for you.
Actions are another powerful feature that let you get more advanced with your forms.
Actions let you do things like:
- Trigger a conversion in Google Analytics or Facebook
- Send an email
- Show a message
- Redirect users
- Run a WordPress hook
- Push to a custom endpoint
You can trigger actions in two different ways:
- After a form submission or when someone saves a form. E.g. you can send an email notification after a user submits a form.
- With conditional logic. So you could use those same IF/THEN statements to trigger an action rather than waiting for the person to submit the form.
From the Actions interface, you can add as many actions as needed:
For example, if you have the send an email action, you can choose who receives the email and what content it contains:
Or if you choose the Conversion Tracking action, you could push Event tracking information to Google Analytics:
Basic Form Settings
Beyond the detailed settings I showed you above, you also get a separate settings area for your form as a whole. Here, you can set things like:
- Spam protection
- Submission limits
- Submission restriction (e.g. add a start/end date or require a user to be logged in)
One neat feature here is the Tracking settings. These let you track certain information about the form submitter.
For example, you could try to track their:
- UTM source
I think this is another handy feature for analyzing your forms.
This is a small one, but WS Form includes a detailed undo/redo feature that lets you jump back by both individual actions and an entire edit history:
Easy Form Debugging
Finally, another convenient feature for building your forms is WS Form’s debug mode.
With this mode enabled, you get a debug console that lets you quickly:
- Populate the form
- Submit the form
- Do both those things at the same time
- Reload/reset the form
This is a super helpful feature, especially when you start getting into more advanced forms:
Multiple Options To Embed Forms
Once you finish up your form, you can embed it using either a shortcode or a dedicated block for the new WordPress block editor:
View Form Submissions And Analytics From Your WordPress Dashboard
Once you publish some forms, you can view all the form submissions in your WordPress dashboard (in addition to getting email notifications per your form actions):
Beyond that, there’s this feature that lets you see the conversion rate for your forms, which I think is great:
Final Thoughts On WS Form
When I first looked at WS Form, I was a little skeptical. There are already a ton of WordPress form plugins, many of which are doing the same kinds of things at a basic level.
However, after playing around with WS Form, I was pleasantly surprised because I think it has included some great features that most other form plugins don’t have.
For example, I really like how they’ve approached responsive design with the slider at the bottom, and the grid system makes it easy to control the layout of your form on different devices.
I also like the way that WS Form approaches conditional logic and actions. While it’s maybe not the most user-friendly way to do things for casual users, I think power users will appreciate how much flexibility you have to set up conditional logic and actions.
Additionally, the debug tool is super helpful for testing your forms – I wish all form plugins included something like this.
Long story short – WS Form is not another form plugin copycat – it’s definitely trying to improve on how other form plugins approach things.
If you’re looking for a solution to create forms on WordPress, especially forms of the more complicated variety, give WS Form a look.
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