Plugins & Resources for WordPress Contact Pages
Any developers who are fairly knowledgeable in WordPress must have toyed around building contact forms. These may be created as a new custom function in your themes folder, or possibly installed as a new plugin. The purpose is to give users a chance for sending questions or feedback on your site – which is commonplace by today’s standards.
I want to use this article as a quick guide to building contact forms in WordPress. The contact page itself can be created like any old simple WordPress page. Or alternatively you could even build a new custom post type in your theme. But the best methods will change based on the needs of each project, so keep this in mind at all times.
Building from Scratch
I cannot say that coding your own brand new contact form is such a bad idea. This provides an endless amount of customization both in the form itself, plus the backend PHP code for sending the mail. A number of guides have been published and you may try using their code as a template engine.
More specifically I really enjoy this tutorial from Cats Who Code and the updated sections in the post. It covers building the HTML5 form to embed within your page, and creating a new PHP file to handle sending the message. Additionally the final points include jQuery form validation to keep spam and wasted messages out of your inbox.
But some users may be interested in building an entire page for contacts. This will be structured around a single HTML form within the page, and powered through backend PHP. You can include this single template file in your own theme directory and it may be selected from the WordPress admin panel.
I recommend this tutorial by Trevor Davis following the steps towards building this unique page type. Since the release of WordPress 3.0 we have seen a number of new features worth investing into. But notably the custom page themes have been given a tremendous update. And now we even have the ability to structure contact pages with a built-in contact form! Plus all this code will be editable from your backend Admin panel.
I do have a small select few plugins which I think are worth a shot in any WP site. The biggest contender is Contact Form 7 which has been apart of the plugins library for years. It is a very popular choice because the designs are easy to customize and you can include your own native fields to send within the e-mail.
Another choice is the Ajax sliding form which can appear as a modal window or embedded into your page. It is a very easy setup and just requires the input delivery e-mail address. By default it will use the administrator’s e-mail which was added when you first installed WordPress.
And although I have recommended this in another article, I feel the Fast Secure Contact Form is worth bringing up again. This provides a built-in CAPTCHA image for preventing spambots and garbage junk mail. But it is also very easy to add into any page on your website – even multiple different contact forms! If you are wary about trying any contact plugins, this is the one which provides the most safety and security.
I think this article on WordPress contact forms published on Blogging Pro outlines a great deal of alternate solutions. They even give a rating and specific review for each platform. Plugins are just the simpler way of doing what has already been done without reinventing the wheel. If you need a quick contact page in your WordPress site then give one of these a shot.
The biggest resource you will need is a large imagination and some cool design ideas. My biggest recommendation is to hit the web and search for a unique yet catchy contact form design. There must be dozens online to be found in various websites.
Plus there are loads of inspirational posts which contain helpful examples. The unique contact page gallery by WPBeginner has a lot of these ideas. You may want to focus on the aesthetic of mail to keep people interested. Adding a map into your design is another way of conveying the whole theme of a contact page. Just let your visitors know what the form is supposed to do without making them read too much.
I do hope these resources may provide some useful ideas to webmasters. The WordPress system is very popular and it seems like everybody has gotten accustomed to the inner-workings. Thankfully there is a tremendous effort for developers to contribute new plugins and updates into the system. I do hope others will notice and try contributing their own works into the WP community. But if you have any additional thoughts please share with us in the post discussion area below.