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Starting Out with Premium Forms Plugins
You're going to want a premium forms plugin when you go beyond the capabilites of a basic contact form.
That said – if all you want is for people to be able to send you a simple message, then you're in the wrong spot. Just find one of the free contact form plugins (there are plenty) and install that – you don't need a premium plugin at all.
Why Should you Get WPForms?
- collect payments with your forms using Stripe or PayPal
- use conditional logic, so that fields appear or not at your choosing
- create multi-page submission forms
- add people to your email list with your collection form
- style your forms in a more sophisticated way.
If those sound like things you might want to explore – then read on.
How much does WPForms Cost?
The present pricing of WPForms is:
- $349 for Ultimate – all the addons, all the future addons, unlimited sites, priority support and upgrades forever and ever;
- $199 for Pro – all the addons, unlimited sites, priority support and upgrades and support for 1 year;
- $99 for Plus – some of the addons (not the ones to take payments, conditional logic or user registration), 3 sites, 1 year upgrades and support;
- $39 for Basic – fewer addons (not the ones to integrate with email services), 1 site, 1 year upgrades and support.
Everything about this plugin is very smooth. Installation is easy (see below) and the plugin itself has a very nice feel about it. It works fast, so there's no hanging around for circles to finish spinning around while you get cups of tea. The custom forms are handy to start with and play around with while you're learning.
The forms themselves are pretty standard, but look nice, are responsive on mobile, and are easy to set up and put on your pages and posts.
Ease of Installation
Predictably, as a WordPress plugin, WPForms is easy to install. Once you pay for your licence, you'll get download links.
Download the main plugin only – don't worry about downloading addons, because unlike me, you've read this review and there is a much easier way.
Once the main plugin is installed, you'll be able to enter your licence, and then go to the screen below to install the addons- click the buttons (much easier than manually uploading them like I did the first time!).
Starting out with WPForms
Getting started is extremely easy, because WPForms comes with a few basic templates that you can use to get going.
Obviously you'll want a simple contact form – and one is included.
However, WPForms also includes templates to get you started for:
- Requesting a quote
- Donating to your site
- Billing/Order forms
- Newsletter signup
- Suggestion forms.
Of course, sometimes starting with a template and fiddling with it is, in fact, more annoying than just starting out with a blank form and building from scratch.
Is WPForms Easy to Use?
The marketing pitch says that WPForms is “the most beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin in the market”.
Now, I suspect this is an attempt to capture some search engine traffic, because for the reasons I've already mentioned, if all you're after is a contact form, then the free options are just fine.
However – beyond that, is WPForms for beginners?
I found the interface to be extremely easy to use, intuitive and fast. There were rarely any occasions that I found myself thinking “what do I do next?”
In fact, with rare exceptions I can't think of any instances where I didn't know exactly what to do next and how to do it.
The creation of the forms, their placement and look, and the way in which they function is all very easy to understand and simple to implement.
With that said – let's take a look at a few core features.
All licences of WPForms come with the ability to make multipage forms.
So, you know those occasions when you want to ask your customers a whole bunch of questions, but don't want to overwhelm them with a massive scroll bar? No problem – just create a multi-page form and split it into bite size chunks.
Each page has a previous/next button on it so people can go back and forth as required. This works surprisingly quickly and, unlike some form plugins, takes you back to the top of the form at each new “page” of the form, rather than scrolling you back up to the top of the wordpress page itself.
This is a given in any decent forms plugin. Spam protection takes two forms:
- honey pots (if you don't know what these are, they are just invisible fields that only robots fill out – if it's filled out, then the form knows it's not a human) – I actually prefer these, because they don't annoy people by making them type out stupid images all the time;
- captcha/recaptcha fields – you've seen these before, they are the things you have to type in at the end of a form submission to prove you are human.
Both work as they should. I choose not to embark on the debate about which is safer.
Again, this is simple and included at all licence levels – just insert a field and the file upload button will appear, allowing users to select from their computer what they wish to upload with the form.
Confirmations and Notifications
Obviously, one thing you want to know about is when someone actually submits a form!
And, probably, you want them to know what happens next by showing or sending them some form of confirmation.
This is where notifications and confirmations come in. Put simply, notifications are emails, and confirmations are other things.
You can send a notification to yourself and the form submitted which shows what has been submitted, together with a little message if you should choose to.
Alternatively (or, as well) you can redirect them to a thank you page, show them a thank you message, or just show up the page they were already on.
One thing that's a little bit simplistic here is that you can only set up one notification per form. Personally, I prefer to have one notification for me, and one for the recipient (rather than just sending it to both at the same time).
Likewise, it's not really clear to me (until I played with it) where, exactly, and how the confirmation showed up.
On the good side, though, setting up your notification is very easy – you can set it to pull information from the form actually submitted, including the email and name fields, so the notification is personalised to the recipient.
Form Creation with WPForms
Obviously, the main reason you get a premium forms plugin is to create forms.
So just how easily can you make complex forms using this plugin?
The answer: very easily.
I found form creation with WPForms to be extremely easy and straightforward. Despite what I was doing, there was no reason I had to visit the forums, ask a question, or dive into the documentation.
Essentially, if you get this plugin I expect that you will be able to make complex forms within a few minutes each, provided you have a clue what you want to actually include.
Even complexities like conditional logic, payment options, cart totals and newsletter integration with Mailchimp or Aweber came quite easily.
In short – creating forms with WPForms is a very easy process. They have clearly thought about the interface, the usability, and the needs of WordPress users in their implementation here.
Getting Paid – Payment Options with WPForms
At the moment (May 2016) WPForms comes with 2 payment options: PayPal and Stripe.
To use PayPal all you need is an email address with an associated PayPal account.
To use Stripe, however, although it is free to set up, be aware that you will need an SSL (secure certificate) with your web host in order to be able to take credit card payments
I hope (assume) that more payment options are on the horizon, because although these are two very common payment options for implementation into a forms plugin, to be truly competitive the team at WPForms is going to need a few more options here.
PayPal is only integrated with the “standard” option, and so while you can take payments fairly easily using this, you don't necessarily have the flexibility you might want using PayPal advanced.
Conditional Logic in WPForms
One of the most powerful features of a premium forms plugin is the concept of conditional logic.
Put simply, it means “if this, then that”.
For example, if they click the checkbox then add them to my email marketing program.
If they select this option, then show them these additional fields to complete.
If they haven't checked this box, then don't let them submit the form.
If the choose this option, then send the email notification to X, rather than Y.
Conditional logic in WPForms is extremely easy to set up, intuitive and a welcome breath of fresh air from some of the more complex systems out there.
Things I don't Like
Inevitably, there will be things I don't like with any plugin, even ones like this where I think they have done a fantastic job.
That said, when I proposed a new feature (polls, in this case) the team responded to me within a few hours to say that it was a great idea, had been suggested by many, an was in the pipeline.
That gives me some confidence that this plugin will be developed over time, that more is on the way, and that getting the Ultimate package is a good idea.
Next seems like a silly thing, but for serious, long form creators it can be a bit of an issue. You can only “click” to add a field, not add it where you want.
That means if I want to add a field to a long form, it adds to the end. Which, in turn, means that if I decide to enter a field in the middle of a long form I need to click, add, and then painfully drag it up to the relevant stop in the form.
Instead, I'd much rather see the ability to drag the fields into the form where I want them to be.
I'd also like to see multiple notifications – as I mentioned above, it's annoying to have only a single notification that performs multiple functions. I'd much rather the option to create a “recipient specific” notification option.
Minor things, but they affect the usability.
Things I love
Frankly, I really enjoy the simplicity of this plugin.
It's so easy to create forms, get paid, hook into my email software – that creating forms has never quite been this easy.
Conditional logic is a breeze.
I also particularly enjoy how easy it is to make something “required” or not.
The installation is simple, the interface is easy, and ultimately the plugin is deceptively simple to use for what, in reality, are some complex tasks.
Do I recommend the WPForms Plugin?
If you're after more than a contact form, then you should seriously consider this plugin.
It's simple, easy to use, and I have great expectations for the future given the developer has a strong history of optimization and support.
I have no hesitation in recommending this premium forms plugin for WordPress.
Have you used it? Got any questions? Let me know in the comments!