how to use Contact Form 7

How to use Contact Form 7 to its absolute fullest!

In this blog, we talk you through how to use Contact Form 7 to its absolute fullest – our 6 add-ons will help you get the most from Contact Form 7.

Having a contact form on your website not only acts as a form of communication for you and your clients, it also helps generate leads. With so many WordPress contact form plugins on market, picking the right one can be a mind field. However Contact Form 7 is one of the market leaders, and in our latest post we talk you through setting up a basic form, and getting the most out of Contact Form 7.

Setting up Contact Form 7

Setting up Contact Form 7 is easy. Let us take you first of all through how to install Contact Form 7:

  1. Login to your WordPress admin panel.
  2. Navigate to ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Add New’.
  3. Search for ‘Contact Form 7’ and click ‘Install Now’.
  4. Once installed click ‘Activate’. You will now see a tab appear on the left menu – ‘Contact’. This is where you can fully set up Contact Form 7.

Now we have the easy part out of the way, let us talk you through configuring a simple contact form. If you are struggling to install the plugin, give our web design team a call and they can guide you through any obstacles.

Configuring Contact Form 7

Now you have Contact Form 7 installed, if you navigate to the ‘Contact’ tab on your WordPress menu, you will see a basic form already set up. It should be labelled ‘Contact Form 1’ and have a short code similar to ‘[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]‘. Now to fully configure your contact form:

  • Firstly; you can easily add new contact forms (which is great for lead generation) by clicking ‘Add New’. It will automatically provide you with a basic contact form that you can edit.

Setting up Contact Form 7

  • By clicking on whichever contact form you have set up, you will be able to fully configure that form. Once you have clicked, you will see the form in its basic setting.

Setting up Contact Form 7

  • From here you will be able to add in certain elements to the form. If you only have a basic understanding of WordPress, I would recommend sticking to the basics here. However the more advanced developer will be able to create visually stunning contact forms, with heaps of functionality.
  • As an example, we have shown how you can simply configure your contact form to add in a check box. See the image below for details. By using the tabs at the top of the contact form editor, you can easily add in fields such as name, telephone number and email. You can even add in drop down boxes and check boxes like the one pictured. The more advanced developer may wish to style the form further by using custom CSS to, for example, sit fields on one line.

  • Once you have your form built, you will need to configure the ‘Mail’ settings. When a form is filled in, you need to ensure you receive an email with all of the details of that lead (otherwise what is the point in the contact form). To do this, navigate to the ‘Mail’ tab.
  • In the ‘Mail’ section you will see what resembles an email layout. Here you need to configure the email that is sent to you, with all of the fields from the contact form you have built. Each field has a short-code behind it. So, as pictured, take each short-code and place it into the either the ‘To’, ‘From’, ‘Subject’, ‘Additional Headers’, ‘Message Body’, or ‘File attachment’ fields.

Setting up the Contact Form 7 mail screen

  • There you have it. Your basic contact form is built! Now over to some cool add-ons to make your contact form perform even better than before.

How to use Contact Form 7 to its absolute fullest!

Now we have taken you through setting up and configuring Contact Form 7, we can talk you through how to use Contact Form 7 more effectively. There are loads of cool add-ons, either separate plugins, or functionality within CF7 that you may not even know about. The 5 tools/add-ons below will keep your forms secure, ensure leads are recorded, and stop spam from ruining your Monday.

  • Contact Form 7 Honeypot – The Contact Form 7 Honeypot Form 7 adds anti-spam functionality to CF7 forms. After installing and activating, the honeypot feature can be easily added by including the short-code in any of your forms (see image below). The way it clears out spammers is simple. Any spam-bots will see a hidden field in the code asking to be filled in. Because this field is not visible on the front end, once filled in, a spammer is identified and blocked from using the form. The CF7 Honeypot is great at blocking out unwanted spammers, and stopping a barrage of unwanted mail.

Setting up the Contact Form 7 Honeypot

  • Using the Mail (2) function – The Mail (2) function is built into the standard Contact Form 7 plugin. In a nutshell, it allows you to build and configure and autoresponder to automatically shoot an email over to whoever has filled in the form. “Why is this good” you ask? Most forms of contact via a contact form will be a lead. By shooting an email back simply stating “thank you for your email. We will be back in touch soon”, makes you look more professional, and will help nurture the lead over time. It also gives you the opportunity to push your lead into a funnel Check out this great blog from Kissmetrics on how marketing funnels work.

The mail (2) function on Contact Form 7

  • MailChimp Integration – There is a plugin for everything, and the MailChimp plugin is one of the best. This particular plugin will allow you to link your forms up to a list in MailChimp for future email marketing. With GDPR on the horizon, it is essential you get specific permission before signing people up to mailing lists. The MailChimp plugin will allow this, and when configured correctly, will ensure double opt-in is applied. The more advanced developer may wish to do what we have done, and ensure that the MailChimp plugin only activates when the user gives their expressed permission to sign up to the mailing list. Another key factor for GDPR. Contact our web design team for details on setting this up.
    • There are quite a few MailChimp plugins. The one we use is developed by Themeco and integrates seemlessly into Contact Form 7.

The MailChimp plugin for Contact Form 7 by ThemeCo

  • Flamingo – Not one of the pink birds, but a plugin that records all leads captured through Contact Form 7. This plugin ensures that no leads or messages are lost due to mail server issues. There is no setup required. Simply install and activate, and let Flamingo do the rest. You can download the Flamingo plugin here.

The Flamingo Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin

  • Success Page Redirects – We have only recently discovered this plugin, and we love it. When users usually fill in a contact form on Contact Form 7, they will get a message popup (usually in green) underneath telling them “Thank you for your message. It has been sent.” (these messages are customisable). What Success Page Redirects does differently is in the name. Instead of showing a popup, it directs the user to a whole new page, with either a ‘thank you’ message, or something totally different. We feel it adds something a little different to your contact forms.

So there you have it – we have shown you how to use Contact Form 7 more effectively. If you don’t get on with CF7, here are lots of form plugins out there. Caldera Forms is another we use, due to its user friendly interface. We would be keen to hear of any plugins or pieces of functionality that you particularly like, so comment below with your suggestions.

If you have come up against any obstacles whilst installing any of these plugins, you can contact our web design team by clicking the link, and filling in our form (see what we did there?!). If SEO is your thing, check out one of our other blogs on setting up and utilising Yoast.

Author: Dave Williams

Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.

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