Note from AJ Tatum:
I originally wrote this blog post on June 29, 2021, and I have updated it for 2022 with my knowledge of Gravity Forms and why I still believe it is the most effective forms plugin for WordPress. Although the blog post below includes a lot of the original content, I’ve added new content exploring Gravity Forms further and highlighting some helpful third-party plugins to help you get the most out of Gravity Forms.
One key component to any WordPress site or any website are forms for contacting you, subscribing to your newsletter, scheduling a consultation, and endless other possibilities.
When it comes to building forms in WordPress, Gravity Forms is by far my favorite. I’ve tried other plugins like Ninja Forms and WP Forms, and they were worthy components but, at the end of the day, I found Gravity Forms to be a more mature product that had an active development community, plenty of add-ons, and lots of integrations to services I use like ActiveCampaign and Zapier.
In this post, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about Gravity Forms and how to implement them on a page. If you prefer to watch a video, I did a screen recording in 2021 that goes over Gravity Forms; you can find the video at the bottom of this post.
- What Is The Gravity Forms Plugin?
- Who is Gravity Forms For?
- What Kind of Fields Are Available?
- What Are Some Core Gravity Forms Features?
- How to Add a Gravity Form to a WordPress Page
- The Vast Integrations with Gravity Forms
What Is The Gravity Forms Plugin?
Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin that is a powerful forms builder that will help you create beautiful, stylish, and fully functional forms on your website. Form types include contact forms, multi-step forms, job application forms, surveys and quizzes, eCommerce payment and donation forms, and much more!
It allows you to collect information, and then you can choose what to do with that information.
For example, you can connect Gravity Forms to your email marketing or digital marketing service.
If you don’t have that setup, no fear! It can store the results inside WordPress and also email you whenever a new submission is entered.
Who is Gravity Forms For?
Since Gravity Forms is so powerful, you might think it’s targeted towards more advanced users. However, that’s not the case at all!
It has a very easy to use & intuitive drag-and-drop editor that allows you to quickly add new fields and columns.
If you don’t know where to start with your form, you can choose from 13 pre-defined templates.
With over 45 add-ons (if you purchase their “Elite” license), you can easily connect Gravity Forms to your favorite email marketing service, CRM, take payments via PayPal or Stripe, and connect to other services such as Slack and Trello.
So, whether you’re completely new to WordPress or a developer, installing and using Gravity Forms is extremely easy to use. In my use cases, pretty much every integration is just a few clicks!
What Kind of Fields Are Available?
Gravity Forms has many fields that come with it out of the box; however, if you purchase other add-ons that integrate with it, additional fields become available.
You can add “Standard Fields” such as:
Additionally, they have “Advanced Fields” which are fields you’d normally expect on contact forms, etc. What’s unique about Advanced Fields is that they already have “autocomplete” enabled for that field.
For example, one Advanced Field is “Name” which allows you to ask for the user’s First and Last Name (and Middle Name if you wish) and when the user clicks on the field it will automatically suggest pre-populated values.
Additional Advanced Fields include:
Beyond these fields, you’ll find unique fields like “Post Fields” if you want to use Gravity Forms to post content and “Pricing Fields” for products, etc.
One integration that I especially like is the one with Simply Schedule Appointments. Essentially, I can add a unique “Appointment” field to any form. I’ll dig deeper into additional plug-ins that work with Gravity Forms a bit later in this post.
What Are Some Core Gravity Forms Features?
As mentioned earlier, their Form Builder is one of their more attractive features. The Gravity Forms builder functions as a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. In the form editor, you can easily add new fields, select types of fields, and rearrange the fields as needed.
Email Notifications & Forwarding
By default, every new form has “Admin Notification” enabled, which basically means that you’ll receive an email whenever someone completes a form. The email contains all the fields from the form.
However, notifications can be configured based on a field from the form or you can configure routing.
Typically, you’d choose “Select a Field” if you want to send an email confirmation to the user completing the form. In this scenario, you’d select the Email field from the form.
“Configure Routing” is another option that allows you to send the form contents to a specified email address depending on the contents or selection of a field.
The Gravity Forms’ conditional formatting feature, perhaps its most useful and popular feature, reveals or hides certain fields based on the user’s answers to or selections of specified fields.
One scenario where this could be useful is if you want to request additional information from a user if they’re a business owner or not.
Starting with their “Pro” license, Gravity Forms provides add-ons to integrate with PayPal, Square, and Stripe.
With their “Elite” license, you can also integrate with 2Checkout and Authorize.net.
There are several confirmation options available. You can show text, select a specific page to go to, or specify a URL to redirect to.
One notable feature with all the options is that you can pass along form data, either in text or as a query string parameter.
For example, most of the forms on here redirect to a page with a query string parameter “fname” and I use a plugin called URL Params which allows you to display the parameter value on the page.
How to Add a Gravity Form to a WordPress Page
Adding a form to any page is extremely easy!
If you are using the built-in WordPress editor (called the Gutenberg editor), you simply add the “Gravity Forms” block and then choose the form you wish to add.
If you are using a page builder, like Elementor, then you have a couple of options. You can buy another plugin called Ultimate Elementor, or you can do what I do and simply enter a shortcode. It looks something like the below surrounded by square brackets:
[gravityform id="1" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
For more information about how to use shortcodes, check out their documentation.
The Vast Integrations with Gravity Forms
When I was originally evaluating which WordPress forms plugin I should choose, what immediately stood out to me was their large community and third-party integrations. To me, whenever I see a community around a product or solution, it’s a good sign that you’re making a safe bet. Here are some great add-ons that extend Gravity Forms and make it even more valuable for your website and marketing efforts…
AFL UTM Tracker
Out of the box, Gravity Forms doesn’t capture lead information or information about the person who submitted a form. If you’re doing any type of marketing, you’ll want to know where these visitors are coming from; ie: through social media or a PPC campaign?
For each form, you can specify if attribution should be enabled for the form. From there, you can select the conversion type of “Lead” or “Order”. After enabling attribution for a form, when someone submits data using that form, AFL UTM Tracker provides you with crucial information such as Landing Page, First UTM Touch, Last UTM Touch, Conversion Lag, and a lot more data. This data is added to every form entry’s metadata, thus it can be sent to ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, or with some light development, have it stored in Google BigQuery for further analysis.
Gravity Forms is extremely developer-friendly, as they provide literally hundreds of “hooks” so you can perform your own logic before or after some event. For example, ActiveCampaign is very picky about the format of dates. With most plug-ins, I would need to modify the core plug-in code so that it would change the date before sending it to ActiveCampaign; however, Gravity Forms thought of this and provide a “gform_activecampaign_field_value” filter which allows me to adjust the format of dates just before it’s sent to ActiveCampaign’s API.
So, what does this have to do with Gravity Perks? Well, even though I come from a development background, I still like things to work smoothly and easily. I don’t want to always have to program my own thing, and luckily, Gravity Perks provides over 32 addons for Gravity Forms.
In my experience, their “Populate Anything” perk is their best addon. You can have fields pre-populated based on prior form entries, the page the form is embedded on, or practically anything else from the database.
They also have quite useful perks such as Easy Passthrough and Better User Activation, which can help you build a much nicer user experience for those who register for your site via Gravity Forms.
As you can see, Gravity Forms is powerful on its own, but I specifically love it because there are so many third-party plugins that extend it to make it even more robust.
Choosing what plugin you want for your WordPress installation is a big decision as it can truly drive your digital marketing efforts as it can connect your website with other services.
If you are interested in Gravity Forms, but unsure about installing it or configuring it, contact me!
If you have questions regarding this post, please leave them below!
Thanks for reading,