If you’re still using mailto: links on your WordPress site, I urge you to read this tutorial. Having an e-mail exposed like that on any website is asking for mass amounts of spam. The sad truth is, bots or e-mail harvesters scour the internet for e-mail addresses like this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention it’s really annoying to click on a mailto: link when you don’t have a default e-mail application set up.
The good news with WordPress is: there are a many easy to use plugins available to reduce spam with contact forms. These contact forms will effectively hide your e-mail address from robots and humans alike, thus greatly reducing your e-mail spam. The even better news is: you can do all of this without making it excessively difficult for a legitimate message to get through.
In this guide I’ll go over two plugins which I personally use myself on this very blog, cforms II and WP-ContactForm Akismet Edition.
I’m sure if you browse sites that require any sort of form input, images similar to the following will look familiar.
What is that last character supposed to be? An uppercase I? A lowercase l? The number 1? And what’s the deal with all those little numbers and letters in the background? Should those be accounted for as well? Not to worry, the plugins below won’t have any ridiculously difficult CAPTCHA codes like the above.
WP-ContactForm Akismet Edition
This is a great contact form plugin that will tap into the power of Akismet if you have it enabled. Akismet is a great free service that will detect spam which I wrote about in a previous tutorial. With this plugin you don’t need any annoying image verification codes or checks to see if the user is “human” or not. If anyone attempts to spam you, it will likely never reach your e-mail box. Here’s how to get it working.
- Get the plugin, available on this page.
- Install/activate the plugin, read my tutorial on installing WordPress plugins or my tutorial on OneClick for reference.
- Configure it and place it wherever you want on your pages using the following quicktag:
Like I said above, I use this plugin myself on a couple of pages on this very site on the resources page and the advertise page. Here’s a screenshot of the configuration page in under the Options menu in your WordPress administration panel.
Very simple to use. Although Akismet is very effective, you may be worried some genuine messages will never get to you if they’re incorrectly flagged as spam. You can simply disable Akismet and it will work fine without it, but that will leave the door open to comment and trackback spammers. Alternatively you can just use the “regular” edition of WP-ContactForm, available on this page at WordPress.org.
If you want more control over your contact form, I wouldn’t recommend anything else besides cforms II. You can see it live on my contact us page. There are so many features available in this great WordPress plugin, a few are listed below:
- Customizable fields with optional checkboxes, radio buttons, and select boxes you can use to collect data.
- Several different “styles” available right out of the box. Change the look of your form with a single click.
- Create multiple contact forms and display them on however many pages you want.
- Tell-a-friend form support.
- Backup and restore custom forms to other sites.
- Set certain fields as required and validate e-mail addresses.
- Visitor verification questions, along with CAPTCHA support
I could go on but hopefully you get the idea. Here’s a screenshot of how I have my contact form configured on this site.
You can download the latest version of the plugin over at this page on WordPress.org. Just a note, this will NOT work with OneClick Installer. You’ll need to upload the /contactform/ folder manually since the folder structure in the zip isn’t standard.
That’s about it. I hope you put these contact form plugins to good use on your WordPress site(s). If you liked this tutorial, feel free to comment and share. Subscribe to our feed to stay up to date with all of our free WordPress theme releases and tutorials. Thanks for reading!
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