by Laura Hartwig
If you need a form for your WordPress site, I highly recommend Gravity Forms. It’s a paid plugin, but I consider it well worth the price. Contact Form 7 is another nice, free option, but if you don’t want ads on your site, Gravity Forms is the way to go. Gravity Forms has lots of great features and has recently made some useful updates. Over the next few posts, I’d like to go over them with you so you can make the most out of this great plugin.
1) UPLOADING Visit http://www.gravityforms.com/ to pay for the plugin. Once you pay for the plugin, you’ll be sent an email with a link to download the plugin as well as your license key. Download the plugin to your computer and then you’ll want to head to the plugins section of your WordPress site and choose “add new”. Then click on the “upload” link near the top as shown below.
Browse your computer to find the Gravity Forms file and click on the “upload” button. Once it uploads, click the “activate plugin” link. You will probably have to refresh the page for the form icon to show up on the left menu bar.
I have my left sidebar collapsed to allow more space on my screen, but if you don’t have your’s collapsed, the icon will look the same and say “Forms” next to it.
Note: If you’d like to collapse your left sidebar, simply click on the “collapse menu” link at the very bottom of the sidebar.
Then, hover over the icon and click on “settings” so we can get started.
2) SETTINGS On the settings page, you will see spaces for two numbers.
a) The first will be the place for your license key that you received in your initial email. Copy and paste it there.
b) The second is an optional reCAPTCHA key if you want to use the reCAPTCHA code before people submit their form to reduce spam. Personally, I haven’t had much problem with spam, but that is up to you. Just click on the “sign up” link under the box and it will explain how to get your free key.
Then be sure to click on the blue “save settings” button at the bottom.
*A quick note: Be sure to visit your plugins page to make sure you have the latest version of Gravity Forms. If not, updating is easy with a simple click, so be sure to update.
3) CREATING YOUR FIRST FORM Once you have the plugin activated, you’re ready to start creating forms. Go back to the form icon on the left sidebar, hover over the forms icon and then choose “new form”. Then hover over “Untitled form” as shown below. A box will appear so you can fill out your form title and a quick description. At the bottom of the box, you can choose your label alignment. This will decide for the form whether the form label will appear over, to the left or to the right of the form box. I usually prefer to leave this in the default position.
4) ADD FIELDS A form is really made up of fields, so let’s start adding them. To make things easy, let’s start with the “advanced fields” tab on the right hand side of the page. When you click on it, you will see all of your basic form options. Let’s click on “name” and “email” to get started. As soon as you click on them, they are automatically added to your form.
5) SAVE IT Click on the blue “Save Form” button on the bottom right of the screen. Okay, wasn’t that simple? Yes, that’s all there is to it. Your form is complete and ready to be inserted into your page post, or widget.
6) INSERT IT Now let’s go to the page where we’d like to insert the form. At the top of the page, you now have a new icon next to the meida uploader. Click on that icon and you will get a pop-up window that will let you choose which form you want to use and if you’d like to include the title and description. Once you have chosen your preferences, click on the blue “Insert Form” button and it will automatically insert the shortcode for you. You have the option to include content before or after the form. Then, publish or update your page and view the page to see the form. Viola!
Now we’ve seen how easy it is to create a simple form. Please come back next week when we’ll delve deeper to learn more about all the features Gravity Forms has to offer.