Contact form is an integral part of any website. It provides a medium for the customer to connect directly with the users. Traditional html forms always work but Wufoo, Google Forms, WordPress Contact Form, and so on are the latest contact forms taking over the website world. They are equipped with inbuilt functionalities which otherwise require hours of programming.
HTML and PHP
Traditional HTML Contact forms involve creating forms with ids and capturing them via php and storing in database. The values from the MySQL database could be later retrieved in to a Excel sheet or a web page. This version works fine even now. The developer needs to take care of SQL injection, blank values, naming the fields in the database, and so on. With HTML 5, the inbuilt validations come in handy for developers. A lot of code needed to store and retrieve values from database. Further, the out put where the values are displayed or stored must also be taken care of. Sending the form values to an email via the mailto function is the safest and simplest way to achieve the goal. Adding recaptcha is another safety measure for added security. In addition, blocking spam bots at server side is good for securing your website and contact forms.
Wufoo is another way of adding contact form to your website. However, the entire data and control is with them. Wufoo has four pricing options. The basic version of the form lets you add the fields and put the code on your website. The form also comes with captcha so you don’t have to worry about any additional coding. The data is stored on Wufoo site which can be accessed via your Wufoo login. Wufoo lets you create three forms and three reports in the basic package. The reports are awesome too and you can customize any way you want. The report can further be downloaded in to a Excel file or as a CSV file for further processing. Wufoo forms are great for basic requirements. But, if you want the paid versions you can buy Wufoo membership depending upon your requirements. The basic version also leaves the big message about ‘Form created with Wufoo’ message on your website. You can remove that with paid version. Wufoo also has surveys and emails which can be added later with paid packages.
WordPress ContactForm Plugin
Another gem is the WordPress ContactForm plugin, which you need to set up to be used on your website or blog. The ContactForm plugin is free and can be set up by downloading the plugin from the WordPress Plugins. You can have multiple forms with this plugin and can set up the colors and fields based on your client’s requirements. It comes with captcha for added security. But, ContactForm 7 needs to be updated for latest bug fixes and releases. You can send emails with contact forms in them using this plugin. However, you need to be aware of how to set it up otherwise you will end up with lot of errors. This has to be tested in multiple browsers and devices as the form throws an error if you give invalid input names that are reserved in this plugin. I think this ContactForm is great again and the data can be import or export data from the WordPress admin tools.
If you are a big fan of Google and use Google Apps for most of your web business and data management, Google Forms are a great way. With your google login you can create the form and get the code in your website. Once you submit the form, thank you message from Google Forms remains on the screen. You can edit the colors and fields and set up is easy. You can limit the number of responses, include surveys, send confirmation messages, and so on. The plugins available for Chrome make the set up even more efficient. If you want to send an attachment with the confirmation message, you have to set a trigger for the function on the form submit. First, save the document to be sent in your google drive, then get the id of the document by opening it in a new window. Set up the Google script to send the mail with subject, body, and attachment to the email specified in the Google Contact Form. You may need to test it out multiple times before you can successfully send the attachment. Spend some time to get a hang of the Google script and related errors. Google Forms Example shows that the data can be saved in an excel sheet on your drive or you can specify the format required. The beauty of the Google Forms is that the Contact Form data sheet on your drive is instantly updated. Sending confirmation messages and sending mail to self is also simple. You can set to send you daily or weekly reports as well.
Let me know how you incorporated Contact form in your website and which you think is the best! Here is one so you can contact me. 🙂
[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]