You may often be looking at websites and then decide that you need to contact them, so you look for contact information. Most of the secure and up-to-date websites will use a form. Others, may only list a email address, contact phone number, or mailing address. Using a contact form is the preferred way to obtain information from website visitors.
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Reasons to use a Form
The main reason for creating a form is to provide a secure place where your website viewers can give you feedback or provide contact information. Instead of providing your email address that web crawling robots can automatically grab from your website, there’s only a form that can be secured in different ways. The entries that you get can also be managed based on the form plugin that you are using. Additionally, you can use the form to get specific information and prevent the wrong data from being sent to you. For example, you may want to get a phone number with an area code. You can format the field to specify the required digits for a phone number entry to be added. This is a powerful feature and one of the best ways to insure that you’re getting the correct information. To summarize, the main reasons you should be using a form are:
- Security – prevent spammers from grabbing your email address
- Management – allows you manage contact information depending on the solution you use
- Accurate information – provides a way to curate the information that people send so that you get only the information that you need
Contact Form 7 is one of many developers for forms, but it is among the most popular. If you look at the number of installations on the WordPress.org plugins page, there are over 5 million installations of the plugin. This doesn’t give you the exact number of users, but it gives you an idea of the number of people who have loaded it from the WordPress.org site. There are other developers such as WPForms or Ninja Forms, but this tutorial will focus primarily on using Contact Form 7.
Installing the Contact Form 7 Plugin
As with any plugin, the Contact Form 7 plugin requires that you be logged in the WordPress Administrator Dashboard as an administrator before you can install it. The instructions provided below guide you through loading the plugin via the Dashboard, but you can also opt to download the plugin directly from the WordPress.org website.
- Log into your WordPress Administrator Dashboard
- Go to Plugins, then click on Add New
- In the search field, type in “Contact Form 7“
- Click on Install
- When it’s completed installing, click on Activate.
This completes the installation of the Contact Form 7 plugin for WordPress.
How to Add a Form using Contact Form 7
You will need to return to the WordPress Administrator Dashboard. From there you will be adding a new form for your WordPress site.
- In the WordPress Administrator, hover over the new menu item labeled Contact. You can also click on Contact and you will see the options for adding new forms and integration.
- You will then click on Add New in order add a new form. You will see the page labeled Add New Form appear. There will be a pre-formatted form ready for you to use, but you are able to modify it. They provide a link to instructions on the form, but you can also click here to jump to them.
- Name the form. Click in the empty field at the top of the screen and then type in a name for the form.
- Edit the form to meet your needs. You can change the email address for the recipient of the completed form by clicking on the Mail tab, then clicking on the first field (labeled To:).
- When you have completed any changes to the form or if you’re ready to use the form without any changes, click on the Save button.
- When the form is saved a shortcode will appear under the title of the form. Copy that line of code. It will allow WordPress to access the form from your Post or Page.
- Finally, you will need to add the code to either a Post or Page in your WordPress site. You can do this by simply going to the page or post, and then pasting the shortcode that you copied above. In the new Gutenberg editor, shortcode is automatically recognized. If you’re using a different editor for your posts or pages, double-check with the documentation on adding shortcode.
That completes our tutorial on adding a form with Contact Form 7. For many other helpful articles on using WordPress, please see our WordPress Educational Channel.