Most church websites need to have some type of contact form on them. Contact forms allow you to give people a way to contact you without listing email addresses on the website. If you do put email addresses on your site, you’ll want to protect them. Even if you do, you may want contact forms on your site as well. Here are some options that are out there.
Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins for WordPress. It’s extremely customizable but it is not easy to use for anyone who doesn’t have HTML experience. I try to avoid using it for church websites I design because of how complex it is unless the client knows HTML or has used it before and prefers it.
Custom Contact Forms is another plugin that is far more user friendly than Contact Form 7. It is very customizable as well, and the more extensible something is the more complex it becomes to use. Custom Contact Forms has a pretty good balance though and most users should be able to create and modify a form to add to the site. In designing for a client, I would set the CSS for them which simplifies things even more.
Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin you can buy if you want something that has the best of everything mentioned above along with a ton of extra features. Gravity Forms integrates with a number of other web applications such as PayPal, MailChimp and others. Add-on plugins for Gravity Forms are also available to help it integrate with even more applications.
3RD PARTY OPTIONS
Google Forms are a great option for putting forms on your website. It’s included in the Google Docs suite. When you create a form Google creates a spreadsheet to store the entries. When people fill out the form you can choose to be notified by email of a new entry. You can integrate the form into your WordPress site easily using the Google Forms Shortcode plugin. Sometimes you’ll want to embed the code yourself so you can lose the standard formatting.
WuFoo is another great 3rd party premium forms option. Personally, I like the way WuFoo forms look the most and they provide the best usability in creating forms and managing entries. WuFoo integrates with a ton of other web applications I love to use including Twitter, MailChimp, Highrise, and others. It integrates with WordPress through the WuPhooey plugin.
Both Google Forms and WuF0o are great options for forms that are designed for more than just contact. I’ll write about that in the next post.
What do you use for contact forms on your church website?