I’ve found they both work well. I have had some problems in the past with Contact Form 7 not sending the notification after a form has been submitted. But overall they seem to work fine.
Just recently, I wanted to update a contact form on one of my sites, and also wanted to be able to have the data automatically sent to a 3rd party system. So I figured I’d give Gravity Forms a try and see how things went.
I’ve been really impressed with this plugin. Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin, which typically means it isn’t free. I don’t have any problem paying for a plugin if it offers more than what you’d find in a free plugin. After all, the developers have invested a great deal of time and expertise in building the plugin.
There are three options available for purchasing the plugin. You can buy Gravity Forms (affiliate link) from their website and click on the “Plans & Pricing” button for more details on the three options.
Gravity Forms Plans & Pricing
At the time of writing this post, Gravity Forms offers three pricing levels:
- Personal – $39
- Business – $99
- Developer – $199
On all three options, you have unlimited forms that you can receive and you can export the entries you receive.
The main difference is that for the Personal plan, you can use the plugin on only one site. For the Business plan, you can use it on 3 sites, and the Developer option allows you to use it on an unlimited number of sites.
Gravity Forms Add-Ons
Gravity Forms also offers numerous “Add-Ons” which are like add on plugins that will enhance the feature set of the main plugin. For example, there is an Aweber and Mailchimp add on which will automatically add your submissions to one of these email marketing platforms.
So, the other main difference between the three options is that on the Basic plan, you do not have access to any of the add-ons. For the Business plan, you have access to only the Aweber, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor add-ons.
With the Developer plan, you have access to the remaining add-ons, which includes, PayPal, Freshbooks, Twilio and User Registration add-ons.
I started with the Personal Option just to try it out and see how I liked it.
3rd Party Add-ons
I discovered there are a number of 3rd party add on plugins for Gravity Forms, most if not all are from one developer. If you search for “Gravity Forms” in your plugin search box you will see them. There is one for integrating with Highrise, and although it works, It doesn’t seem to be able to import any custom fields that you might have set up.
One of these plugins that I did have problems with is the Contact Form 7 Conversion plugin. This will automatically copy over your Contact Form 7 forms to Gravity Forms. Sounds like a great time-saving idea.
Since I was using Contact Form 7 before, I went ahead and did this, and although it seemed to work on the surface, something went wrong because when I tried to submit the form, it kept returning an error saying a required field was empty, when it fact it was not.
Deleting the form, and re-creating it from scratch fixed the problem.
How to Set Up a New Gravity Forms Form
After you install and activate the plugin, you will see a new section in your WordPress dashboard called quite appropriately, “Forms.”
To add a new form click the “New Form” link. Creating forms is super easy with Gravity Forms. You will be presented with a screen that looks like this:
You’ll see this when you click the “edit” link on the main form box on the left. You can enter a name for the form and some other options that will apply to the form as a whole.
To build your form, all you do is click the form element that you see on the right side and it will appear on your form at the left. Each element will have numerous options and settings, which you should edit based on your needs by clicking the “edit” link at the top right.
Gravity Forms Hidden Fields
Take a look at the “Hidden Field” element and add it to your form. There are various options here, but I like the “Referrer URL” field which will add the URL that the visitor came from on your site. I think it’s really useful so you know where the visitor came from. Sure, you have analytics platforms for this, but when it’s right there on the form, it saves you the trouble of looking it up in your analytics.
When you’re done building your form, you just save it and you’re done.
How To Insert The Form Into a Page
Once you’ve created your new form, head over to the page in WordPress where you want to insert the form. You’ll see a small icon as shown in the image on the far right. Click that and you will see a box with an option to select the form you want to insert, along with some options. This will insert the Gravity Form shortcode into your page.
That’s all there is to it.
Gravity Forms Entries
Aside from being able to automatically send your form submissions to an email marketing platform like MailChimp, you can also download the form data from the Entries screen.
All submissions received through a Gravity Forms form are saved to your WordPress database and can be viewed in the “Entries” section of the plugin. Form submissions are neatly presented in a table-like format and even the individual field data is styled so it looks great. The plugin also keeps track of how many views the form received as well as the number of submissions, and calculates a conversion rate.
A nice little touch is that on each entry, there is a field where you can enter notes and attach it to the entry. This isn’t some full-blown CRM, but the notes field can be useful.
What I also like about it is that when you receive the email notification of a new form submission, all the data is presented in a clear, easy to read HTML format. And of course, you have the ability to customize the email notification that is sent back to you.
Gravity Forms Support
With any premium WordPress plugin, you kinda expect the support to be superior to what you might find for a free plugin. The Gravity Forms Support seems to be quite good so far. I haven’t really needed any support but I did register at the support forum and there is a bunch of useful information there, and with the Developer option you get priority support.
Styling Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms are designed to look good out of the box, but you also have the ability to target every element of a form either directly by a class name, unique ID or by using CSS inheritance so you can completely change the look & feel of your form.
There are a bunch more advanced featured of the plugin, including multi-page forms, pricing and post fields, PayPal add-on for payments, etc. To learn more or to purchase Gravity Form, just visit the Gravity Forms Website. (Affiliate link.)
The plugin is really feature-rich with a ton of options available to you. The Gravity Forms plugin has really impressed me. I like the ease which which you can build a form and insert it into a page, as well as the options you have available with respect to the form and field behavior. For here on out, I’m going to use this plugin exclusively when I need to add a form to a WordPress site.
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