Contact Form 7 is a powerful and free WordPress plugin that's been around for a while. But even though it remains one of the most popular WordPress plugins, many bloggers remain confused about how to install and use it. Fortunately, with a little bit of guidance, Contact Form 7 is relatively straight-forward and simple to implement and use. This guide will offer easy instructions on how to get your Contact Form 7 up and running in no time.
What Is Contact Form 7?
Contact Form 7 has been installed on over five million WordPress blogs, and there's a good reason for that. The plugin makes it easy to customize many different contact forms and insert them into any of your WordPress pages or posts. It's easy to markup mail content, and there are also multiple layers of spam and bot protection. Perhaps the best news of all is that setting everything up is easier than many people may think. Installing and using Contact Form 7 requires no coding knowledge or advanced computing capability, you'll just need to understand some basic steps on how to build and implement your contact form.
Why Use It
A contact page on a blog or website gives that site's visitors the ability to send a message directly to the page owner. This is critically important for people who run a business website or an online store since it gives potential clients or customers the chance to reach out with questions. But owners of any WordPress blog will find value in having a contact form on their site. Blog visitors can reach out with ideas for future posts, invitations to write guest blog posts, or valuable feedback on the content of your blog. All of this can help enhance the overall quality of your blog, and a good contact form is the first step toward initiating this kind of interactivity with your blog readers.
Installing Contact Form 7
The first thing you'll need to do is install Contact Form 7, which you can do from your WordPress Dashboard. Simply click on Plugins, then choose Add Plugin and use the search bar to search for Contact Form 7. When you find the plugin, click on Install, then Activate. You'll then go to the Contact link on your Dashboard to access Contact Form 7 and begin setting it up to use.
Setting It All Up
After you've clicked on Contact on your Dashboard, click on Contact Forms. This is the main administration area where you can set up your plugin and manage your contact forms. You can return to this page any time you need to add contact forms or make changes to existing forms. There's also a pre-built contact form here titled “Contact Form 1”, which is a good template if you're a first-time user. It comes equipped with all the basic fields you need and can quickly be deployed anywhere on your WordPress blog. You can easily edit it to add to, edit, or remove the existing fields in the template. You might also choose to start a new form from scratch. If you want to create your own form, just click Contact, then Add New.
The first step is to name your new form. You can name it whatever you want, though if you plan to create many different contact forms, you'll want to give it a name that will help you easily remember what it's for. Once you've named your form, you can scroll down to begin editing it. Contact Form 7 will automatically add many of the basic fields you'll need, which you can delete or add to. If you want to add fields to you form, just use one of the tag buttons right above the text field. Each tag button corresponds to a type of field: text, email, URL, etc.
Just click the type that corresponds to the type of field you want. For example, if you want to insert a field for an email address, click the email button, and you'll automatically get a text tag for a field that will be used for visitors to input an email address. There are also options for telephone numbers, dates, basic text, or numbers. You can also utilize these buttons to incorporate drop-down menus, check boxes, radio buttons, files, or quizzes. If you want your visitors to accept a set of terms before they submit the form, there is an option for that as well.
You can also delete any fields that you don't need by highlighting them and deleting the text. You'll probably want to leave the pre-set fields intact though, as they're basic fields that most any contact form will use.
Finally, you'll want to make sure to leave a “Send” button in the template or your users will have no way to submit the form. You can change the text on the button itself if you want, or you can leave it set to the default text.
This is all you need to do to get your template set up. Just click on as many different button generators as you need and adjust the order of the fields as you see fit. With a simple text-based editor, it's easy to build and edit the template quickly. Once you've finished setting up your template, click Save. You've now set up your first basic contact form.
Building Your Email Templates
Now that you've set up your contact form, you'll need to build the template for the email that will be sent to you when a user fills out and sends in a contact form. To get started, click on the tab labeled Mail. Make sure that the email address you want the contact forms sent to is filled out correctly in the To field. In the Message Body text field, make sure everything looks the same as it did in the previous step when you built your contact form. You may need to copy and paste the fields you added to your contact form, or you can manually add the text in. This way you can be sure that any information a user enters into the contact form is sent to you. If you neglect to add a field to the email template that you added to the form template, you won't receive it when a user enters it into the form. Just like the form template in the first step, you can use the text-based editor to quickly set up and adjust your email template. Once you're done setting up the email template, click Save.
Placing A Contact Form On Your Blog
Now that you've built your contact form and email template, you're ready to insert the contact form into your WordPress blog so that users can find it and fill it out. You'll be inserting your contact form into a single post or page on your blog. Start on the Contact page on your Dashboard, then click Contact Forms. On this page you'll see a code next to every contact form you've created. Find the form that you want to add to your blog and copy the code next to it. Then go to the post that you'd like to add your form to, open the text editor, and paste the form code. Click Preview to see what the form will look like to your visitors, and if you like what you see simply click Publish. You're done! If everything is set up correctly, you will start receiving contact form responses in your inbox. If you aren't getting responses, be sure to check your email's spam or junk folder. If you're still not seeing any responses, you'll need to do some troubleshooting. The good news is Contact Form 7 has a full troubleshooting guide available on its website.
What Else You Can Do?
Once you've got Contact Form 7 up and running, you can do even more with it by using the extension plugins available from WordPress. The Contact Form 7 Style plugin can enhance your contact form with custom colors, fonts, borders, and buttons. This is a great way to integrate your contact form with the existing design or theme of your WordPress blog. There's also a plugin that will let you save and export submissions in case you delete them or miss them in your inbox. You can also integrate PayPal, captchas, signatures, popup forms, and more. WordPress has twenty-one pages of addons for Contact Form 7, so once you're up and running be sure to browse through the options to take your contact form to the next level.
Contact forms are a great way for blog owners to solicit direct, one-on-one interaction with their readers, but it's a feature that many WordPress users overlook if they don't host their site as an e-commerce or other business site. Contact Form 7 is a simple way to quickly integrate a powerful contact form into your blog regardless of the size of your readership, and with the many extension plugins available you can seamlessly integrate your form into the blog.