I’ve had it with plugin-based contact forms! I’ve shifted to Google Forms, and so far, it’s going great. No plugins!
A while back, I began my journey to decouple my website from Jetpack. By far the most difficult part of the transition, was finding a replacement for the contact form. I want nothing fancy. Just a place for people to type in their name, e-mail ID and their message. But I quickly found that that it’s far from simple. Sending e-mail on many servers is hard to set up or unreliable. Also, I wanted the form to store my messages in case the e-mail didn’t make it through. But getting all this in a single, free plugin was far from easy.
I documented my problems with finding a replacement for the Jetpack contact form and finally settled on Ninja Forms. It worked fine for a while, until starting a few days back, it simply wouldn’t load anymore! I got a blinking blob where the form used to be, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. There was a recent update, which I think might have been problematic. Or it might have something to do with my firewall blocking JSON enumeration.
Either way, I’d had it! I decided to jettison the whole thing and find an alternative solution. And after looking around for a while, I finally landed on Google Forms.
Benefits of Embedding a 3rd Party Contact Form
As I mentioned above, sending an e-mail through the WordPress e-mail delivery system is unsatisfactory at best. Even when it works, it can take ages to come through. And if you haven’t validated your domain, there’s a good chance that the delivery will be marked as dangerous, or even outright as spam.
So the way I get most of my messages is from the WordPress dashboard where a red notification indicator tells me how many messages are stored. But as mentioned above, this is a paid feature in many contact form applications.
With a 3rd party form, you don’t need to worry about sending e-mails properly. The messages are sent from the other server which is probably set up with that function in mind. And when it’s something like Google, it’s a slam dunk!
A side benefit is that you can modify the appearance of the contact form easily and have it immediately shown up on your site without you needing to access the backend, save anything, or clear any cache. It’s a minor benefit, but quite useful when designing your form for the first time!
Setting up Google Forms
Setting up Google forms as a contact form couldn’t be easier. Just visit the Google Forms site and start creating your contact form. Here are some tips:
Set Up Validation for E-mail Fields
You want to be sure that people are entering their e-mails correctly in the proper format. To do that, click the 3 dots button on the bottom right and select “Response Validation” as shown here:
This way, you’ll ensure that you capture all the e-mail addresses properly.
Set up Required Fields
As shown in the above screenshot, move the marker to “Required” for all the fields that you need. Often all of them!
Use the “Custom HTML” Block to Insert the Code
I love the “Custom HTML” block in WordPress. I use it to insert code all the time. Just paste your Google Forms code into this block and you’re golden! To get the code, click the “Send” button and select the embed sign “<>” like this:
Just paste the code they give you. You can adjust the height of the iFrame by modifying the “height” attribute in the HTML.
Here’s what the form looks like on my site:
Pretty neat huh? I don’t even write a title for my “Contact” post. But I use the Yoast SEO plugin to create a custom title. I do this for aesthetic reasons so that I don’t have two conflicting titles on my page.
And there you have it! A fully functional contact form with no plugins!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!