November 15th, 2010 | Posted in Wordpress
There are literally millions of blogs out there, and if you haven’t yet noticed, most of them have contact forms – and for good reason. People these days don’t want to just read articles and posts – they want to respond to them and share their own opinions. While some of this can be done through comments, contact forms are good too as they allow readers to directly contact site owners. This can help you, as a webmaster, gather valuable information and ideas from your readers. It also leaves the door open for potential business partners, looking to advertise on your site, or even purchase your entire blog! Regardless of the reason, it’s a good idea to have a contact form on your blog.
Some of you may have a contact form built into your WordPress theme, but if you don’t, there are a number of plugins available that can fix that.
WordPress Contact form plugins
One of the most popular plugins is Contact Form 7. This fairly simple WordPress add-on is available free of charge, and allows you to make a clean, organized contact form for your blog. You set it up by installing it and setting up the form (choosing what fields you want i.e. name, email, message body, etc.), and it does the rest from there on out. When a user fills out the form and clicks submit, the information will immediately be emailed to you.
There are several other free plugins available, such as cforms2, WP Contact Form 3, and Enhanced WP Contact Form. All do essentially the same thing, but each has a different look and sometimes different features.
However, you need to realize that having a contact form leaves your email inbox open to loads of spam. Automated bots that are designed specifically to spam often target WordPress blogs, and fill their contact forms with meaningless information and thousands of links. If you don’t want your inbox to be flooded with spam, make sure you are protected. The best protection is having a good anti-spam plugin to go alongside your contact form. While some contact forms have built-in spam filters, they rarely work as well as plugins such as Akismet.
Protect your E-mail Inbox
Akismet is a free WordPress add-on that automatically filters blog comments and contact form submissions and takes out anything that is clearly spam. Of course it can’t work 100% of the time, but Akismet, used with a good contact form like Contact Form 7, will successfully block the vast majority of spam. Plus, most email services offer built-in spam protection, so it’s doubtful that you will ever get spam. However, make sure that when you are setting up your contact form you test it and send an email to yourself, using a different email address. I recommend this because sometimes email filters block everything that looks automated, even legitimate emails that come through a contact form. The last thing you want is for your filter to block legitimate emails, so make sure you test thoroughly before going live with your contact form.