Choosing a WordPress forms plugin can be challenging. With over 1,500 form plugins in the WordPress repository, dozens of premium form plugins, as well as multiple online web forms options, where do you turn?
I get asked about forms all the time at our monthly Metro Detroit WordPress meetups. And it’s a question that was posted last week in one of my WordPress designer groups.
A fellow web designer had been using a forms plugin for years, but due to recent updates that caused issues for her clients’ websites, she was looking for alternatives.
My friend Maria asked me a similar question last night on Twitter, for a website she was working on.
— Maria Gosur (@mariagosur) March 21, 2016
What You Need to Know Before Selecting a Forms Plugin
It can be easy to go down the rabbit hole, like Alice in Wonderland, spending days or weeks looking at WordPress form options.
I’ve used lots of plugins on sites, and I certainly have my favorites.
But my client’s needs aren’t likely to be the same as your client’s needs.
Here are questions to help you identify your needs and narrow down your choices:
- What are your goals or purpose for the form?
Are you looking for a simple contact form? A form with maybe four fields for name, email address, subject, and message?
Or, do you need an advanced order form with conditional logic, reports, internationalization features; a form that can be extended through additional add-ons for more functionality?
- How do you get support for the plugin?
Is there documentation, online help, or a forum?
For premium plugins and online form solutions, is there a ticketing system where you can chat with a real person when you get stuck?
- Are you looking for a free or premium form solution?
- Is the plugin under active development?
This is easy to check in the WordPress repository by looking for the the latest version, or checking the plugin’s support forum for responses from the developer.
Note: some developers set up a separate site for support.
- Do you want to code the form?
Or do you prefer a drag-and-drop method for creating forms? Some designers and developers want to get hands-on, while other users prefer to create the form quickly.
- Does the plugin create an accessible form?
You can reach more people and meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, by ensuring your form is created with accessible code.
This will likely narrow your choices; not all forms plugins are creating accessible code.
- Do you have theme control or custom styling options?
If you want the form to match your existing style and website appearance, what options do you have?
Or are you required to use the plugin’s theme options?
- Is the form mobile-friendly?
With Google’s announcement about mobile-friendly sites, you want to ensure your form displays well across all devices.
- Do you want to host the form on your site??
Or do you prefer an off-site solution? Check to see if the forms option you select is integrated with WordPress, provides code you embed, or whether the form is hosted offsite.
- What do people say about the plugin?
While reviews are subjective, you can get a good idea of what users think of the plugin, how they’re using it, and any issues they may have uncovered.
Is cost a major factor in your decision? As I mentioned earlier, there’s more than 1,500 free forms plugins in the WordPress repository as well as dozens of premium form plugins.
Take a look at Zapier’s review of 14 hosted online form builder sites; all are premium solutions with the exception of Google Forms.
With so many WordPress form options, it might seem overwhelming to choose a solution for you or your client’s website.
Hopefully these questions will reduce your time spent in the decision-making process and get your forms up and running in no time!
Have any other tips to add for choosing a WordPress forms plugin? Share them in the comments.