The Ubiquitous Contact Form

Back in the day creating contact forms was a bit of a tedious task.  Aside from the script that handled the actual emailing of the form data, you had the mind numbing task of creating all the form inputs, building some monstrous table structure if you wanted even a marginally attractive layout, and building and testing the layout of the email data.  If you were smart, you would have a stock set of pages and code that you could re-use time and again to shorten the process.  Still, the contact for has always been, and continues to be, the most basic yet versatile and powerful website tools.  And now with smart phones so popular, a simple mail form can alert you no matter where you are.

With WordPress and a fantastic plugin called Contact Form 7, building and leveraging contact forms has become much simpler.

Getting feedback from clients and potential clients, and providing numerous easy ways to contact you is essential.  The basic contact form is absolutely necessary.  It usually consists of asking for name, phone number, email address, etc, and provides a place for the visitor to type a message or question.  The basic contact form can be taken to a simpler and more complex manifestation to more fully leverage its potential.

On the simpler side, reduce an email form to 3 fields (or even fewer) to allow clients to request a call back.  Ask for name, phone number, and maybe another piece of information or two, like the nature of the call, or a preferred call back time.  Creating a call back form is simple, takes up very little space, and provides yet another way for people to connect with you.

Going the other way, expand a contact form out to include a dozen or so other questions and you have a discovery form.  This could be an online version of an internal document designed to help you gather information about a clients needs.  This allows a client to contact you without committing to a conversation, fully consider answers to questions, and can also be used by your employees during phone conversations with clients.

Contact forms started to become a bit of a liability to companies as a result of spammers and spam bots trolling the internet looking for forms to exploit.  Business owners started to get inundated with hundreds of spam messages per day coming from their own mail forms.  Combined with 2 other plugins (one that attempts to block spam bots and another that provides CAPTCHA) Contact Form 7 has be effectively blocked unwanted, spam-bot-generated form abuse.  This frees us up to leverage mail forms to their fullest potential.

Read More About The Contact Form 7 Plugin

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