The 5 Most Popular WordPress Forms Plugins In 2019

Forms are considered to be amongst the most vital elements of any website. We can use it for various purposes including promoting our products, creating email subscriber lists, enhancing our audience, and so forth. On top of this, it will be feasible to form a perfect gateway between the webmasters and the audience for establishing proper communication between them as well.

At present, forms come with an inbuilt builder on the majority of the WordPress templates out there. Below, we will talk about the top 5 WordPress forms plugins this year.

1. Gravity Forms

Clean navigation is offered by Gravity Forms for building as well as dealing with forms on WordPress. It enables you to constrain the number of submissions via one specific form. Besides this, you will likewise be able to schedule forms as well.

Another notable feature of this plugin happens to be the calculations feature which allows the users to perform advanced calculations automatically which will depend on the form fields that a visitor submits. For a basic license, you need to shell out simply $59 every year. You will also be able to get an elite license for only $259 per annum in case you have an agency or happen to be a developer.

2. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 which is next in this comprehensive list is stable as well as dependable. Although it might initially seem to you that the best part of this plugin is that you need not pay anything for it, the plugin offers you much more than that.

It might seem to be that support is the most notable part, given that Contact Form 7 comes with a FAQ section, documentation, and a support forum, not to mention a complete website with relevant information too. Also, an unlimited number of forms can be created using this plugin with several types of fields including date, email, URL, plus text.

3. Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms, as compared to the other plugins out there, has the ability to integrate into your WordPress dashboard flawlessly and you can easily create a form within a short span of time. Although fantastic for beginners Ninja Forms comes with sufficient add-on options for advanced users too. Besides this, the plugin supports most of the most well-known email tools on the market.

You will also be able to collect payments via PayPal Express, Stripe, and Elavon using this plugin. Ninja Forms is considered to be one of the most effective WordPress form plugins because of its ability to gather, export, as well as analyze any info submitted in the forms. The plugin can also work with CRM application such as Zoho, Salesforce, and Batchbook.

You can also send data to productivity and team tools like Trello, Slack, and Zapier. While you need not spend anything to get the basic version of Ninja Forms, the add-ons can be bought separately. There are also plans starting at $99 every year.

4. WPForms

WPForms happens to be amongst the most beginner-friendly WordPress form plugins right now. The reason for this is that it provides an innovative drag and drop form builder which is quite simple to use. WPForms comes with lots of pre-built templates for any newbie out there.

One can also submit files using WPForms. For example, suppose someone has an issue with something they purchased from you. An option can be given to them for uploading a picture so as to improve the communication regarding the issue. You can embed WPForms anywhere on your site. You need to pay just $39 for WPForms every year.

5. FormCraft

FormCraft specializes in designs and this makes it so unique at present. It likewise comes with an innovative drag and drop builder which helps individuals to create a form in no time at all.

One more significant feature of FormCraft happens to be its popup forms. You will likewise be able to create multi-page forms with this plugin. While you need to pay $49 every year for the basic package, add-ons vary between $19 and $29 each.

Conclusion:

All these above-mentioned best form builder plugins for WordPress come with different features as well as functionality for adding attractive forms on your WordPress site.

In case you are planning to add forms on your WordPress site, you can easily use one of these 5 plugins mentioned in this article which come at a reasonable rate.

Using Gulp + SCSS with WordPress to match Gutenberg block styles on the Front end and Back end

With the recent release of the new WordPress Gutenberg block editor, one of the benefits of this new program is the ability to match front end styles with back end styles easily using WordPress functions. However, the issue with this is that you need to have two separate CSS files in your WordPress theme. You’ll need one stylesheet for the back-end editor and another to load on the front-end. For this task, you really should use a task runner such as Gulp.

Gulp is easy to set-up, simply follow their instructions on their website and you should be up and running in minutes. After you have Gulp setup, you’ll need to install and setup gulp-sass. Then it’s time to configure your workflow for your project.

For our projects, we use two separate root SCSS files: editor.scss and main.scss. This simply allows you to control both your front-end file and your back-end editor file to include the individual SCSS files you want for each file. For the editor CSS file, you’ll want to include any important global variable files (such as colors), utility classes, mixins, etc. Do not include any HTML reset files that could alter the over CSS of the WordPress backend. In addition, you’ll want to include any SCSS files for your content/blocks.

Gutenberg Stylesheet

Here’s a snapshot of what our editor.scss file looks like:

// variables
@import './_variables.scss';
@import 'partials/_base.scss';

#editor .editor-block-list__layout {
	// required partials
	@import 'partials/_utils.scss';
}

// blocks
@import 'blocks/**/*.scss';

You’ll notice that our utils.scss file is wrapped in a selector. This a great thing to use if some of your CSS may affect styles outside of the editor.

Creating both front-end and back-end stylesheets for your WordPress theme

Next, you’ll want to setup your gulpfile to create files for both the front-end and back-end of your WordPress theme. Here’s an example of how we compile both files into a css folder:

gulp.task('sass', function() {
    return gulp.src(["scss/main.scss", "scss/editor.scss"])
        .pipe(sassGlob())
        .pipe(sass().on('error', sass.logError))
        .pipe(sourcemaps.init())
        .pipe(sass())
        .pipe(autoprefixer({
            browsers: ['last 2 versions'],
            cascade: false
        }))
        .pipe(sourcemaps.write())
        .pipe(gulp.dest("css"))
        .pipe(browserSync.stream())
        .on('error', function(error) {
            console.error('' + error);
        })
});

You’ll notice we’re using some other modules for our workflow including sass-glob, autoprefixer, sourcemaps, and browsersync. I’d recommend at least including browsersync as this is almost a necessary module for creating WordPress themes.

Enqueuing both stylesheets using WordPress theme actions

Next, you’ll need to enqueue the blocks CSS file using WordPress enqueue functions. Here’s an example snippet of how you can do this:

// Enqueue WordPress theme styles within Gutenberg.
function theme_editor_styles() {
	wp_enqueue_style( 'editor-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/editor.css' );
}
add_action( 'enqueue_block_editor_assets', 'theme_editor_styles' );

This snippet of code will only enqueue the CSS for the back end, so you’ll also need to enqueue your main.css file on the front-end:

// Enqueue scripts
function theme_scripts() {
	wp_enqueue_style( 'theme-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/main.css' );
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'theme_scripts' );

Once you’ve added these lines of code to your functions.php file in your WordPress theme, you should be able to test your website to see both css files loading separately on the front-end and back-end with the same CSS styles. This functionality is great because you do not need to duplicate your code whenever you want to make a style change to an individual Gutenberg block. What’s also nice is that what you see on the back-end of Gutenberg will match what you see on the front. We’ve went even as far as matching the width of the blocks so you know exactly when a line of text will return on the next line.

This setup is excellent for users who want their back-end to match the front-end while using the Gutenberg WordPress editor.

How to create an RSS Feed in WordPress

Overview: Create RSS Feed in WordPress

WordPress comes with default RSS feeds built into the website builder. WordPress can generate feeds for all your website posts as well as corresponding comments on default. WordPress has vast plugins that make it easy to create new RSS feeds as well as modify existing ones. The default feeds which are added to website pages tend to be enough for most people; however, you can customize the feeds accordingly. 

Creating custom WordPress RSS feeds

If you are interested in creating custom WordPress RSS feeds from scratch; you’ll need to move beyond the beginner WordPress user level. Before you get started, create a complete site backup to avoid losing critical site data.

To get started, create a new feed in your theme’s “functions.php” file. Alternatively, you can do this in a site-specific plug-in. To trigger the custom RSS function which adds a new feed, use the code below;

After adding a new feed, you must create a callback function to generate the required feed. Use the code displayed below in your theme’s “functions.php” file or site-specific plug-in. 

The purpose of the code above is linking to a separate template file via the get_template_part function – keeping functionality separate from the layout. The code can also be used directly. The get_template_part has a slug and name argument that simply “tells” WordPress to look for specific file templates. 

It is advisable to define the slug to correspond to the type of feed being created – RSS in this case. The name should match the feed name configured earlier. After “telling” WordPress to search for the feed template, you can proceed and create it using the code below;

The above code will generate a custom WordPress RSS feed that can be amended as you wish to display any kind of information required from comments to post images. The post count variable in the code allows you to control the no. of posts displayed in your feed. The excerpt_rss function displays excerpts for every post. Posts without excerpts will show the first 120-words of content.

Displaying the WordPress RSS feed

To display your new custom feed, you should proceed and flush WordPress rewrite rules. To do this, login to WordPress admin then click on permalinks under settings. Proceed and save the changes to flush the rewrite rules. 

Your custom RSS feed can be accessed by visiting: yourdomain.com/feed/feedname. Your feedname is the name given to your add_feed function.

RSS feed plugin: An easier alternative to creating custom WordPress RSS feeds

The above guide on creating a custom RSS feed in WordPress can be complicated to a person with beginner WordPress knowledge. If that sounds like you, installing an RSS feed plugin is a better option.

WordPress RSS Feed Retriever is a great alternative to customizing WordPress RSS feeds from scratch. The plugin fetches a feed/s and displays them using a short code. Simply; copy and paste, replace the URL among other properties, as you wish.

Installing the WordPress RSS Feed Retriever is easy. Simply download the zip file to your WordPress directory plugins, unzip the file and activate the plugin via your WordPress plugins menu. Proceed by using example codes anywhere in your website content. You can change the URL among other properties as you wish.

Benefits of using an RSS feed plugin to create an RSS feed in WordPress

The RSS Feed Retriever has notable benefits that include, but aren’t limited to; easy setup and unmatched control on display. You can control how you display feed content, i.e. as an excerpt or entirely. You can control excerpt word count, add a “read more” link and display feeds as you wish using a short code including text widgets. 

There are no limits to the number of feeds when using the RSS Feed Retriever. Other notable benefits revolve around simplicity and speed when creating feeds. You can also control item order, put multiple feeds in one list, set cache time and much more!

This RSS feed plugin is also lightweight which ensures your website speed remains optimal. You can use the RSS feed retriever to create custom news aggregators. The plugin can also be used to create and post RSS parsing feeds on any site page/s you choose.

Quick Guide to RSS Feeds

Introduction to RSS feeds

RSS feeds have revolutionized the way we interact with online content. RSS which stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication has made it easy to browse a vast web. Instead of repeatedly checking different sites for updates or new content, RSS feeds offer you automatic updates.

How RSS feeds work

RSS feeds are simply text files which feed directories allowing subscribers to see content immediately it is published or updated. Content can be viewed even more easily using an RSS feed reader or RSS aggregator which is a simpler way of viewing all your RSS feeds at once using one interface.

Getting started

Although some websites don’t publish an RSS feed, most do. To set up a personal feed, follow the steps below;

Step 1: Download an RSS reader or RSS aggregator: There are many free and commercial RSS readers, apps and extensions available online. Download any of these on your mobile device or computer.

Step 2: Visit your favorite sites and search for an RSS link. In case you don’t find one, search the name of your favorite website on Google and include the word RSS. Doing this should bring you an RSS link if one exists.

Step 3: Copy and paste the RSS link of your favorite website on your RSS reader. Repeat for all your favorite websites.

Important: Some RSS aggregators are designed to offer suggestions of related sites that have feeds available. To use your RSS reader, login to the webpage of the respective reader or run the reader software or app. This should allow you to scan the feeds of websites you love visiting instantly. You can make customizations such as arranging feeds into different folders, just like emails. You can also set alerts to get instant updates when specific web feeds are updated.

RSS Aggregator
RSS Aggregator

Custom RSS feeds have sites of your choice delivering the latest directly on your screen. Instead of visiting multiple sites to view the latest in sports, weather, gossip, politics, etc., your just need to visit your RSS aggregator and see the latest in all those sites displayed on one window.

Types of RSS readers

  1. Web-based RSS feed readers: These types of readers allow website visitors to read feeds via a website browser. Web-based readers are the most convenient to use. They are also easy to setup. Feedly is a good example of a web-based reader.
  2. Built-in browser feed readers: The main browsers in use today have built-in RSS readers with countless plug-ins and extensions offering unmatched functionality.
  3. Desktop readers: These types of RSS aggregators are recommendable to individuals who prefer installing something, i.e. an app or software that offers desktop updates.
  4. Email-based RSS feed readers: If you prefer updates delivered via mail, you should consider using an email-based feed reader. Google Alerts and Mozilla Thunderbird is a great example of an email-based reader. The reader has countless custom options offering both website owners and visitors unmatched functionality.
  5. Mobile feed RSS readers: Most people today browse the internet via mobile devices that include Smartphones, tablets, and laptops. If your website is visited by mobile device users, you should consider incorporating RSS readers that are mobile-friendly. The same applies for website visitors who use their mobile devices to access the internet. A mobile feed reader is better for such internet users. Feedly and Flipboard are great examples of mobile readers.

Benefits of RSS readers

RSS feeds are beneficial to both website owners and visitors. Displaying an RSS feed on a website is beneficial to a website owner because it allows website visitors to get updates on new content in a faster and more convenient manner. Since the internet is vast and competition is stiff, having a better way to deliver new content offers website owners unmatched competitive advantage. From a website visitor’s perspective, RSS improves the user experience. Website visitors don’t need to waste time visiting every single website to check if there are updates or not.

Popular RSS aggregators

It’s advisable to try several readers before selecting a preferred reader. As mentioned earlier, there are many readers out there. Some are free while others have both free and paid versions. Examples of popular RSS readers are listed below in regards to the operating system or browser in use.

  • Feedly: Recommendable for Android, iOS or webPanda: Chrome extension recommendable for web and iOS.
  • Feeder: recommendable for Chrome, Android and iOS.
  • Reeder 3: recommendable for iOS and Mac.