What is Gravity Forms?
In the developer’s own words:
Gravity Forms for WordPress is a full featured contact form plugin that features a drag and drop interface, advanced notification routing, lead capture, conditional logic fields and the ability to create posts from external forms.
Got that? How about once more in English?
Basically, Gravity Forms is software that makes WordPress way better by allowing people to send you any sort of information, and even publish directly on your site in certain circumstances. The plugin adds a “Forms” section to the left sidebar of your WordPress admin area, from which you can quickly access the multitude of things Gravity Forms allows you to do.
Let’s look at four of those things:
Contact and Support Forms
The most basic use of Gravity Forms is your general contact form, which just about every WordPress site has or needs. Whatever the reason people need to get in touch, Gravity Forms makes it easy.
But it’s the versatility of what you can do in terms of contact and support forms that makes even this seemingly mundane use of forms exciting. You can create any variety of form, collect any array of data, allow for file uploads, set up notifications to route to different email addresses based on rules you define, and place the form on any page or post at the click of a new button that shows in your posting interface.
So think about it. Instead of a lead generation call to action that requires the click of a link to reach a form (2 steps), you place the form itself at the bottom of the post. Conversions go up when the number of steps go down.
Plus you can include hidden fields that transmit data like IP address, use conditional form fields that appear only if the preceding responses are a certain value, dynamic pre-population of form fields, and lots of other stuff that opens a world of possibilities beyond the boring old contact form.
Surveys and Polling
That versatility goes way beyond contact and support forms. Gravity Forms allows you to quickly build surveys and reader polls with open-ended text fields, drop down menus, checkboxes, numerical fields, and multiple-choice questions.
You can create lengthy reader survey forms in minutes that provide feedback on a regular basis. Even cooler is simply popping in a quick multiple-choice poll at the bottom of your post for instant data in a format that in many cases will be more useful than free form blog comments.
And don’t forget the conditional form fields. If someone chooses a certain option from a drop down or multiple-choice question, you can then ask follow-up questions based only on that response. Pretty cool functionality that you usually have to buy separate survey software to get.
Guest Post Submission
Guest posting is one of the best methods of building quality back links for bloggers and other content creators. The win for the publisher, of course, is additional quality content from other sources, but it can become a management pain to keep up with the submitted content, much less format it and post it.
With Gravity Forms, you can create a guest post submission page that allows regular and prospective guest writers to “post” outside of your WordPress admin area. You create a form that contains all the regular post fields (title, image, body, excerpt, category… you can allow all or just the areas you want), and the content submission becomes a draft post inside WordPress.
You get instant guest content organization while also reducing the normal workload that accepting guest posts involves. For many busy bloggers, this feature is worth the price of admission alone.
Okay, here’s where things get really interesting. Using the exact same functions that allow you to accept guest posts, you can allow user-generated content on your site that goes way beyond comments. Or you can build a review, Q&A, or wiki-style site using nothing more than WordPress.
This is an amazing site-building breakthrough in my opinion. For example, using Genesis and one of many turnkey designs plus Gravity Forms, you could build a local restaurant review website without writing a single line of code. The layout of the site and the user posting mechanism would all be built point-and-click, drag-and-drop from inside your WordPress interface.
It’s time to kick your imagination into high gear. And Gravity Forms allows you to do much more than what I’ve highlighted in this review. Check it out . . . you’ll get a lot of value out of Gravity Forms.
About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.