The Problem with Contact Forms

The Problem with Contact Forms

The Problem with Contact Forms

They Never Work!

I was recently creating a page for a friend of mine who was trying to find homes for some adorable puppies, and I came across the inevitable problem of what to do with the contact page. You don’t really need that much on there. After all, the whole point of it is to simply allow someone to send you a message, but I wanted something a little bit fancier than the fallback “send us an email” button.

As most people do, I tried to use the contact form built into WordPress. The downside is that you can’t really change the fields, but the upside is that all you have to input is the email address of where you would like messages to be sent. Clean and simple, or so it seems…

Setting up the contact form was easy enough, but when you try to send a test message…crickets. Nothing in the inbox. Nothing in the spam folder. No error messages. Just a test message lost in space.

So against my better judgement, I turned to the internet for help. A million and one blogposts with affiliate links trying to convince me which plugin to use…seriously, I just needed a contact form that works. So I tried what is supposed to be the reliable standard, Contact Form 7. 7 what? Who knows. My money is on 7 ways to make you crazy. Configure…Test email…Crickets!

Because no matter what I tried, the stupid thing just didn’t work. The handful of advanced degrees hanging on my wall indicate to my ego that I’m not a moron… Is basic functionality really that big an ask?

So down the Reddit Hole I went. It turns out that the problem with every contact form available has to do with security settings on the hosting server…blah blah blah…long story short it won’t work without yet another plugin. And you guessed it, the free version is basically impossible to set up. So after wasting a ton of time and installing two plugins that I didn’t want in the first place, I came to the conclusion that I wish I’d come to sooner…

Just use a Google Form

They’re free. You can embed them directly into your site. They don’t require a plugin. You can have them send a notification email when you receive a message. And you can have the data from the form automatically transferred into a spreadsheet. Thanks for nothing bloggers of the internet.

As an aside. Of course I later went back and figured out how to add a ridiculous number of DNS records and eventually get it to work. If you need the contact form to work or have functionality on your site that requires the delivery of auto-generated emails, I lay out the solution in a video on PSA’s Youtube channel.

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