How to Put Fillable Forms on a WordPress Website
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in use today, supporting over 500 million sites across the globe. It is extremely flexible and able to be customized to suit any need or taste. Because of this, it is the go-to platform for bloggers and website owners seeking to build a content-managed (i.e. CMS) website. If you are looking to develop a WordPress website but lack the time to build from scratch, then you can opt for a ready-made theme or plugin to get you started.
Themes and plugins are essential when it comes to building a WordPress website, as they provide the scaffolding upon which you can build your content and design your site. However, they can sometimes come with unexpected side-effects, especially when used in combination or with other plugins. For this reason, it is vital that you know how to identify and troubleshoot these issues when they arise. In this article, we will discuss how to put fillable forms on a WordPress website, including tips on how to troubleshoot and prevent future form issues.
Benefits Of Using WordPress For Forms
WordPress is well-known for its ease of use and flexibility, which make it the perfect platform for forms. By using a simple plugin called Formidable, which is available to download from the WordPress repository, you can take advantage of all the benefits that WordPress has to offer.
WordPress supports user accounts and groups, which provides a more flexible permission structure than traditional membership models. This means that you can assign different user permissions for each form, rather than using group-based permissions (e.g. Member, Guest, and Person, with varying levels of access).
Another advantage of forms in WordPress is that you can integrate them with other plugins and functionality, through simple hooks and actions. This can be extremely useful for creating re-usable form elements, or sharing features across forms (e.g. email marketing, social media, etc.).
One disadvantage to using WordPress for forms, is its lack of native support for PDF forms. Even if you were to install a form plug-in that supports PDF forms (e.g. Bootstrap Form), you would need to find a way to get the file converted to a format that the form plug-in can understand.
When working with forms in WordPress, you should always bear in mind that the data you collect through these forms will be stored on your site. This means that you need to have confidence that the platform you have chosen to host your website is capable of safely storing and processing the data you collect. One way to achieve this is by taking advantage of the built-in security features that WordPress provides.
Steps to Enable Fillable Forms On Your Site
Before you start customizing and implementing your forms on your website, you will need to do a few things. The first step is to activate the Formidable plugin on your site.
This will not only enable you to take advantage of all the features discussed above, but will also add the option to create custom fields in the forms you create. For example, let’s say you are using the Commentator plugin to create a comment form. With this version of Commentator, you can easily assign the author of a comment, and even allow the commenter to input their email address and details about where they found the blog post. Using Formidable, you can create a text field to collect all this additional information, and have it stored in a database, with all the other comment details (e.g. date, content, etc.).
If you are running WordPress on a server that provides version control, then you should make sure that your install is up-to-date. Using a WordPress MU or a self-hosted version can provide additional benefits, such as the ability to update your site with one click, and the security of customizing the code on your end. If you do not have version control, then using WordPress.com, and paying for upgraded storage is the safest and most cost-effective approach.
After you have updated your site with the latest version of WordPress, you can continue adding more features, and filling out your forms. To create a form, navigate to Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress dashboard. Here, you will see a list of all the widgets (i.e. small sections of your site that pop-up or display information) that you can add to your site. You can either search for a form widget, or click the Plus (+) sign to add a new one.
Once you have added a form widget, you can configure it using the available settings (e.g. title, description). To add more options to your form, navigate to Settings > Formidable. In here, you can add a new group, or assign different permissions to specific groups or individuals.
Troubleshooting Forms In WordPress
There are certain things you should look out for, when working with forms in WordPress. First, make sure that the fields you want to have appear on your form have a unique identification. This can be done using the built-in “Group” field, in combination with the “Name” and “Title” fields. The “Name” field will be the identifier for your group, and the “Title” field will be used to identify this group on your form (e.g. My Name is Jane, and I am a Group Organizer – Event Reminder).
If you want to add more than one group or individual to your form (e.g. for a membership form), then be sure to add a clear separation between the different groups (e.g. First Name, Last Name, City, State, etc.). This will help users identify which group they belong to, when completing your form.
Another important point to make, is that you should always make sure the input you are asking for is relevant to the purpose of the form. For example, if you are asking users to input their email address, and you intend on using this to send them notifications (e.g. new articles, blog posts, etc.), then it would be irrelevant whether or not they have a password, or whether or not they are a member of Hootsuite. You will most likely end up sending the notifications regardless, but you do not want to do this if the input is not relevant to the need you have for the form.
If you have followed the above steps, and have successfully enabled fillable forms on your site, then you can move onto the next step – learning how to troubleshoot and fix your site if problems arise.
In case you are wondering, you can find and install the WordPress plugin form below. Just click on the button to start the download.