A Contact form on your blog or website enables visitors to easily contact you without you giving up your email address. It is also convenient for visitors too. But you must protect from spam.
There are many ways to add a contact form and you can see this site’s form at rawinfopages.co.uk/contact/
You can put a link to your contact form on a menu, in the sidebar, in the footer, and so on. I put a small link in the Useful Info section of the footer of every page, but it could be more prominent if you prefer.
A contact form can be placed on any number of pages and they can all be the same or all different. It is up to you how you use them. However, there can be only one per page.
For this article I will be using Jetpack, which has 4+ million active installations, which makes it the most popular plugin for forms. Jetpack does a lot more than forms of course, but I will just focus on forms here.
The Contact Form module is enabled by default, but if you don’t see it in the post editor toolbar, go to:
The Contact Form module can be enabled here:
Add a contact form with Jetpack
A form can be inserted on any post or page, but I would recommend creating a page called Contact, which can then be put on a menu or linked to.
Enter any introductory text you want at the top of the page, such as ‘Please fill in this form if you want to contact me‘ and then on a blank line, click the Add Contact Form button in the toolbar. A default form is inserted automatically.
Customise the form
There are two problems with the default form and one is that it has a box for people to enter their website URL. This is not needed, in fact, some visitors may not even have a website.
Click somewhere in the form and it is highlighted. At the top is a pencil and a cross icon. Click the pencil to edit the form.
Click the cross on the right site of the Website section to remove it.
Click Update Form at the bottom and then publish the page.
This form may be all you need and you can publish the page and let visitors use it. If someone fills in the form and sends a message to you, where does it go?
There is a Feedback menu in the WordPress admin sidebar and submitted forms appear there. You can read them or deleted them. and it is very similar to the Comments admin section. You also receive contact form feedback by email too. Messages are sent to the email registered as the site admin in Settings > General, which is probably you.
Stop contact form spam
There is absolutely nothing to stop people sending you spam by filling in this form. However, the main aim of a spammer is to put their junk in front of as many people’s eyballs as possible. A contact form is only seen by you, so this is a bad deal for spammers.
Even if the contact form is easy to find on your site, you tend not to get much spam through it. If you find that spam does come through the contact form, there are ways to make it harder for spammers.
Most spam is automated and programs, bots, go from site to site adding spam comments. These bots are semi-intelligent and can fill in forms like the comments form on posts and the contact form.
However, you can often fool them by adding a simple question with a required answer.
Add a form field
Return to the contact form and click Add Field at the bottom.
Enter some text into the Field Label box
Set the field type to Checkbox
Tick the Required box to make it compulsory
Click the Update Form button, publish the page and here is what it looks like:
If a spam bot is not clever enough to tick the box, the form will not be submitted because a response is required.
Does it work? I started to get a few spam contact form submissions, so I added this checkbox. It is too early to say whether it is working, but I haven’t had any spam yet, so maybe it is!
Build your own custom forms
Forms can be placed anywhere and for any purpose. Just add them when you need to collect information from visitors or when you need to get a response from them. You now know how to:
- Add a form
- Remove fields
- Add new fields
- Make fields required
One of the nice features of the contact form in Jetpack is that if you use the Akismet spam filtering plugin on your site, the contact form is sent to Akismet and spam is automatically discarded.
Information submitted using a contact form is not private or secure, so it cannot be used for collecting credit cards and other private information.