Tips and Tricks: How To Build a Free WordPress Form
WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world: It’s free, user-friendly, and easy to learn, even for beginners.
You can build any type of website with it, from simple landing pages and blogs to business websites and complex ecommerce projects.
In disregard of the website you end up creating, there’s something that will almost always be needed - a form.
It can be a simple contact form or a very elaborated one for placing orders, but chances are you’ll need one on your site.
Creating WordPress forms is not difficult, but there are several tips to consider before doing so.
In this article, we’ll share the best advice to build well-designed, free WordPress forms like a pro.
What are forms used for in WordPress?
There are baseline functionalities that every form has to feature, such as a “Submit” button, or a field to gather contact data.
The rest, however, depends on the type of form and the use case it addresses.
Before we jump into solutions, let’s go through the most common applications for WordPress forms.
1. Contact forms
The purpose of contact forms is quite simple – it’s all about making the process of contacting the company simple and transparent.
The minimum requirements for these forms include fields for text and contact information.
2. Subscription forms
Subscription forms are probably the simplest type of forms and can operate on a single field (email) and a submit button.
3. Feedback and survey forms
Feedback forms are normally given to already registered users when they are logged in.
As such, you’ll find out that in most cases, these forms don’t feature fields for contact information. Instead, they tend to have a range (or matrix table fields) so users can evaluate the product or service.
4. Sign-up forms
Sign-up forms allow you to subscribe to a service or product (for example, a SaaS product), and usually feature fields for an email address, phone number, name, and password.
After the user enters such information, some automatic actions follow (i.e. account or user profile creation).
5. Booking and appointment registration forms
You’ve probably interacted quite a lot with these, as it’s how millions of people book hotel rooms, rental cars, or doctor appointments, to name a few examples.
These forms tend to include dynamic data (list of available places, date, time) and produce a desired result after being submitted.
6. Order forms
Order and payment forms are the most complicated type of form.
They rely on several dynamic data inputs, and also demand payment gateway integrations quite often.
On the other hand, this functionality is already included in the WordPress eCommerce plugin, so you don’t have to set it up manually.
7. Content submission forms
When users need (or are encouraged) to submit content from the front end (without seeing the WordPress admin dashboard), content submission forms are the answer.
Usually, they have more requirements than other types of forms, but they prove useful in gathering user-generated content and speeding up the content production process.
How to choose a free plugin to build WordPress forms?
Which plugin to choose depends on the type of form and functionality you want.
You’ve probably noticed that there’s an extensive choice of free plugins to choose from.
For example, if you need a simple contact form or newsletter subscription, the most popular free plugin is Contact Form 7.
It doesn’t even have a graphical interface and uses shortcodes, but the functionality is simple and more than enough for creating simple contact forms.
Forminator is another good, free option as well, and also offers more functionalities.
It supports payment integrations and content submissions; plus, it features many tools for creating surveys and polls.
The third popular option is JetFormBuilder, a powerful plugin for building both simple and complex forms.
Aside from a number of cool features, JetFormBuilder also supports a number of post-submission actions, such as registering users, posting content, updating user profiles, and posting data through webhooks, among others.
As you can see, the availability of plugins is there; all you have to do is determine your use case, and then choose the most convenient alternative for it.
How to protect your web forms from spam?
The biggest problem that appears after you install a form plugin in WordPress is spam from bots.
This can become a nightmare unless you protect your forms. Next, we’ll share the three main ways to do it.
This is the most traditional method, but unfortunately, it’s being bypassed more often due to the spread of AI-powered bots. These can pass many traditional Google CAPTCHA tests without effort.
However, CAPTCHA is still effective in many cases.
With CAPTCHA v3, the user doesn’t even have to see its icon and perform any actions unless their behavior or IP is suspicious.
3. Social media account sign-in
In some cases, it can be a good idea to ask users to sign in using one of their social media profiles. This extra step is often enough to deter spam bots.
3. Anti-spam plugins
Plugins like Akismet or CleanTalk use different methods to protect forms (and the website in general) from bots and spam entries and don’t require users’ actions.
Form automation, or how to collect data from forms without effort
Efficient and fast collection of data submitted by customers or visitors is key to success, but also an overlooked step by many WordPress developers.
If service is not provided on time or the information request gets lost somewhere, money gets lost down the drain.
That’s why automation is extremely important here.
So, how to automatically collect data from a WordPress form?
Let’s illustrate with a basic example: Sending data from a JetFormBuilder form to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
This is easy to do with Make. All you have to do is create a scenario with four simple steps:
After creating the scenario and copying the webhook URL, go to the JetFormBuilder dashboard, and select the form you want to connect. Then, in the form settings, choose “Post Submit Actions”. Click “New”, choose “Add webhook,” and paste the URL. Now, the form is connected.
The next step is to add the Google Sheets module to your Make scenario. Then, connect your Google account through the module, and select the correct action (e.g., “Add a row”).
To conclude, activate the scenario and enjoy the results.
If you want to connect more than one app to the same webhook, use the Router module. See the image below for reference:
Setting up form integrations is intuitive with Make and its user-friendly interface.
Owing to a huge selection of modules and settings, almost any idea can be implemented there.
WordPress offers many tools to create forms within minutes.
There are a lot of free plugins for it, but most of them are for simple forms (and if you want more, you need to buy a Pro plan).
However, there are a few free solutions that work even for the most complicated use cases, such as JetFormBuilder.
This plugin has a powerful set of tools, including conditional logic for fields and a post-submission actions list.
It also works with Make by means of webhooks, allowing you to build impressive automated workflows on the spot, and without trouble.