WP Fluent Forms is my favorite WordPress form plugin and here’s why:
- Super simple.
- Built-in spam prevention.
- Free version is my favorite FREE FORM plugin.
- Pro version has all the features to rival any premium form plugin out there!
On to the review…
My journey through WordPress contact form plugins
I spent the last 10 years or so cycling through various form plugins. I only needed them on one page, the CONTACT page, and to see these entries from within the dashboard as well as through an email notification.
You would think that’s an easy-enough task but no. Most form plugins were inadequate for my use case due to the following reasons:
- You can’t view entries from WordPress – you need a separate addon plugin (*cough* Contact Form 7 *cough*).
- You get way too much spam – looking at you, Caldera!
- Difficult to customize – too many plugins to list! They’re all difficult to style your form exactly the way you like. Some look too ugly out of the box. Others look too stylized and clash with your theme.
- Slows down your site – they load CSS and JS even on pages where you don’t have forms!
Those were only the basic requirements. Nowadays, forms can do so much more!
- Multi-step forms – you can think of these as fancy order checkout process. Where the form shows you different things as you go through it.
- Payment forms – accept payment through your form! How cool, right?
- Email integration – automatically subscribe form submissions to your email lists.
- Advanced features – allow uploads, conditional logic, and more. Basically, you can build a whole damn business out of just a form plugin.
My favorite WP Fluent Forms features
I don’t cover all the features they have. I cover only the ones I care the most about and most easily distinguished from other form plugins.
1. Easy to create a form
You would think every form plugin would do this well in 2020 but nope, many of them are still clunky. Creating a form with them still feels too technical (too much “design” process or too much developer terminology). FF on the other hand, feels intuitive. Super easy for non-technical users but also also easy for developers to go in and configure technical details.
2. Many prebuilt form examples
The prebuilt examples are fantastic! There are many great templates for all kinds of different organizations and form uses. You might think you only needed a contact form but wait till you see the examples. Or watch my video to see what I mean. It’s awesome!
3. Easy to style customizations
The style customization options were just perfect for me. I typically prefer forms to be “unstyled” so that they take on the theme styling as seamlessly as possible. FF manages this well, leaving them relatively unstyled so they look great with your theme out of the box. Should you want to do basic form styling like color or spacing, it’s possible. Any extra customization you want to do can be easily done with CSS. This is PERFECT for me! I do not want built-in form styling. I do not want some bloated CSS loading on frontend.
4. Spam protection
Oh my god, YES!!! My previous favorite WordPress form plugin was Caldera because it was free and easy to use but dammit…it was full of form spam! Well, you can say goodbye to form spam with WP Fluent Forms. It has built-in honeypot and captcha. You can also use the advanced form validation to avoid spam entries as well! It’s very clever and oh so appreciated. I was sick of getting hundreds of spam submissions every week.
- You can also use Fluent forms to curb user registration spam. (Very cool!)
5. Visual reports
This is actually a really cool feature I never thought about. When you view entries for any of your forms, you can click “Visual Report” to see a much more insightful view of your entries over the past 30 days. It shows a bar chart of how many submissions you got daily over the past 30 days, and also a pie chart of what options were chosen.
I didn’t have to set any of this up. The Visual Report function intelligently picked out the form options that could be easily differentiated. I can think of many people who would greatly benefit from this. In a way, you can think of it as turning your form submissions into survey report info.
6. Email list integration
Automatically add form submissions to your email list or CRM tools. FF has tons of integrations available. See the list for yourself.
7. Slack integration
Oh, how I fell in love with this! You can setup form submissions to be automatically sent to your Slack workspace directly to the channel of your choice! For example: send all support requests to the support channel, and sales requests to your sales channel. Or maybe if you simply prefer to receive your form requests in Slack instead of in your email. The possibilities are endless. I think my business workflow just got even more streamlined. Thanks, FF!
8. Google Sheets integration
I don’t personally have a use for this but I know many clients who do. You can have form submissions inputted automatically to a Google sheets document. For example:
- You’re accepting event registrations through a form, and want to print out a list of attendees.
- You want to make a checklist of what to do with each submission.
- You want to import this info elsewhere?
9. CPT creation
FF can turn form submissions into CPT’s for you. Users fill it out and the info displays on the site. There are so many cool uses for this:
- Product reviews
- Job board
- Any kind of user/directory listing
10. Accept payments and subscriptions
This is really useful for simple business setups where you don’t want to set up a whole ecommerce system (like WooCommerce) just to take payments. Using a form can also be useful as a multi-step checkout process to provide customized pricing. Or you can just use FF to accept payments so you don’t have to mess with any other ecommerce system at all. I use FF to accept random one-off payments for small jobs that are always a different price each time.
The setup is super simple. I also use it with the PDF generator so that all clients who pay me get a PDF invoice in their email immediately afterwards. Saves me time from having to manually generate one for them. Laying it out was so simple and fun!
- Accept quick payments for any purpose.
- Clients, customers, donations.
- Set fixed prices or allow users to enter custom payment amount.
- Accepting payment subscriptions (coming soon)
- PDF invoice and can attach to customer notifications (love it!)
For more robust simple-pay ecommerce usage, I highly recommend WPPayForm Pro which is made by the same developers.
Other awesome features:
- File & Image upload – so users can submit things to you.
- Zapier integration – because I can’t get enough of Zapier. With this alone, FF can integrate with almost anything out there.
- Multi-column layouts – FF makes it easy to design forms in multi-columns. No need to do mathematical responsive calculations.
- Twilio (SMS) integration – so you can send SMS after form submission.
- Great documentation – even complex features seemed so easy after a quick visit to the documentation. For example, the Slack integration which normally takes me an hour with other plugins was only 2 minutes with FF.
- Fast & lightweight code – FF is super lightweight and won’t slow down your site with bloated CSS/JS. And they only load on pages that have forms!
- Email notification customization – you can customize the email notification by a whole lot to make your forms easier to read, easy to reply to. I enjoyed this a lot!
- Import/Export forms – oh yeah, you’re gonna want this if you’re building fancy forms and need to duplicate them across your sites.
- Conversion rate – hahaha, so simple and yet I think it’s useful. FF shows you a quick conversion rate on all your forms. Just good to know.
- Combined entries page – there’s a page where you can see a list of entries from ALL your forms. This is more convenient than clicking entries for each form. I only wish they showed the name and email on that central entries page.
- PDF generation – use this to generate PDF from form or payment submissions. Can even have it auto-attach to user email notifications.
- Signature – lets users draw a signature on their form submission. So you can do your own DocuSign, GDPR, NDA, or whatever agreement signature you need from clients!
- …and still many more that I didn’t list!
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
This list is not meant as criticism. If I ever do feedback like this, it’s because I love the plugin and want to improve it as if it was mine. I absolutely do love FF exactly as is.
UPDATE JUL 28, 2020: they immediately adjusted to my suggestions! Some of these are already handled and only left here so you can see how well they listen to user feedback!
- Easier notification email styling – I actually loved the default design but wish I could do a version without that centered template (it doesn’t translate as cleanly in mobile). I want all the info just sitting outside and without any footer text (just like I had with Caldera). Their support team gave me a developer filter to use but ehhh, that’s not as convenient as being able to custom style from the dashboard. Allow me to deploy my own global styling, please!
- Clearer way of exiting form designer – after I finish building my form, it’s not clear how to get back to the dashboard. Sure, there’s the icon at the top-right to show the minimized side panel but a “Back to Dashboard” or “Exit” text link would have been clearer. Or at least turn that icon into an “X”. I do like the distraction-free layout, though. Maybe it can have two icons side-by-side? Or one inside the other like a toggle? (Put the “X” inside the crosshairs.) Or toggle the icon on each click?
- Rename “Modules” – I think Modules should have been called “Add-ons”. That is clearer for users to understand and actually communicates value. Ahhh but ok, these aren’t actual plugin add-ons…ok fine, call them “Integrations”.
- Export all entries from “Tools” menu – I thought this would have been nice. Let users export and also delete all entries from one place.
- Show IP Geolocation in entries (country, region, city) – this would have been so cool! Even better if the visual reports included a geographical map of user submissions (or just a list of submissions from each continent). Also show this location in column on the entries pages.
- Allow disable notification email footer text – how do I get rid of it?
- Show Gravatar for submitted form users – like Caldera does.
- Show more info on main entries page – like name, email. That would be more helpful than just ID, status, browser. I understand they didn’t because different forms have different fields. Fine, how about do a FIELD 1, FIELD 2, etc…and you list whatever info is shown on each form fields.
- Single entry view needs a “delete” button – either a trash or delete button somewhere. I see the change status dropdown but it’s not totally clear.
- Entries preview hover – would be great if I can see full entry info in JS pop-up upon mouseover from main entries pages. This way, I can quickly scan and find the exact form entry I want quicker. Also easy for me to delete the ones I don’t want.
- Show example payment form – it’s one of your coolest features. Why not have a demo payment form in the examples. (Or did I not see it?)
- Form showcase – as incredible as your examples are, you should have a showcase page on your website of real-world use cases. This is great for showing off really complex forms.
Yes, you should use WP Fluent Forms
WP Fluent Forms is the best FREE & PAID WordPress forms plugin!
I’ve battled tested it on mine and client sites for nearly 2 years now. The spam-protection alone was well worth the money for me. All the other stuff is just the cherry on top of the cherry. The plugin isn’t just mega-powerful with tons of advanced features but it’s also easy to use and super lightweight. I use their plugin (both free or paid) on all my sites. Fluent Forms really is the Swiss-army knife of WordPress plugins…it’s like 10 plugins in one.
And in case you’re wondering, they still have pretty active development. I definitely feel it is their main plugin focus. I’m quite confident their price will continue to go up as they put in more features so jump on it now!