While it is possible to have a website without a single form, it is not recommended. Forms can be used to collect names and email addresses for further marketing – a necessity when you remember that it takes, on average, seven points of contact before someone buys from you. They can also be used by visitors to send you messages. Although you could provide your email address on your site in plain sight, not only will your visitors be able to contact you directly via email, so will the spammers who have harvested your email address through bots. Form plugins, like Caldera Forms, can also be used to augment built-in WordPress forms such as registration or profiles.
Benefits of Caldera Forms Over Other Form Plugins
If you have used Contact Form 7 or the form module of Jetpack, you know how difficult it can be to customize the look and feel of a form. Caldera Forms, on the other hand, is incredibly easy to design a custom look. You can design your forms with multiple columns, multiple pages, and conditional logic. Besides all this, the forms are responsive and mobile-friendly without any additional coding. You can customize how your forms will look on differently size devices if you desire, but I have never found the need to change what the plugin has created for me.
Caldera Forms has tons of field types:
- Credit Card Number
- Credit Card Expiration
- Credit Card Secret Code
- Range Slider
- Star Rating
- WYSIWYG – rich text editor
- Phone – including international numbers
- File Upload
- Toggle Switch
- Dropdown Select
- Date Picker
- Color Picker
Another great feature is the ability to create an unlimited number of auto-responders. For example, you could send an email to the form filler with the information they input into the form. Another email could go to the form recipient with all the input displayed (easily done through a “magic” tag) or as a CSV attachment. A third email could go to a virtual assistant with just the contact information and instructions to send the “welcome packet”. Endless possibilities!
Caldera Forms also has built-in anti-spam to stop the bots from filling your inbox with spam. The plugin will save all the submitted forms which you can later export to CSV or view within WordPress.
Free Integration Extensions
You can extend the functionality of Caldera Forms even more with extensions. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Caldera Forms PDF – Creates PDFs from Caldera Forms Submissions
- Slack Integration – Get Slack submission notification or create Slack invites with Caldera Forms
- Caldera Forms EDD – Integrate Easy Digital Downloads with Caldera Forms
- Caldera Custom Fields – You can create or edit posts including custom post types and custom fields.
- Google Sheets Integration with Caldera Forms – Send your Caldera Forms data directly to your Google Sheets spreadsheet
Besides the free extensions available through the WordPress plugin repository, Caldera Labs has many more premium plugins that can make your website forms powerful.
- Email Service Provider Integration for MailChimp, Aweber and ConvertKit
- Accept payments through Stripe, PayPal Express, Dwolla, Authorize.net and BrainTree
- Track Conversions through Google Analytics
How To Begin
You can install the plugin directly from your WordPress dashboard. Go to Plugins > Add New and enter “Caldera Forms” in the search box. It should be one of the first items to display after you click “Enter.” Click Install and then Activate. Go to “Caldera Forms” in the main menu and select “New Form.” The plugin comes with five templates you may select from or you can select Blank Form to begin with a completely blank form. I recommend beginning with the Contact Form until you are comfortable with all the features and settings. If you need a custom form built or you just don’t want the hassle of learning one more thing, contact me today.