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Natural Contact Form is a WordPress plugin that provides contact forms that are easy to create and use. The email messages you receive from your site’s visitors are formatted like regular emails and set up so you can just “Reply” naturally.

Most of the features of Natural Contact Form provide pretty good contextual help. This webpage aims to fill in the gaps that might not be obvious when you’re first using the plugin.

When you first activate the plugin

It’s a safe bet that if you installed this plugin, you need at least one contact form. So, as soon as you activate it, the plugin provides you with a default contact form called (unimaginatively) “Default”.

You may want to customize this default contact form. To change its options, log into the WordPress dashboard, click on the “Natural Contact Form” menu choice near the bottom left. You’ll be presented with a list of all your existing contact forms. At this point, it’s a short list containing only the one “Default” form. Click on the form’s name or ID to edit its settings.

At first, you’ll be given a chance to change the title and ID of the contact form.

Configure the contact form's title and ID

The title of the contact form is only for your personal reference, to give you an easy way to name a contact form according to its purpose. It’s not actually used by the plugin under the hood.

The ID is the plugin’s way to identify a particular contact form. It is used by the plugin, both as a parameter to the shortcode used to display a form on a page, and as a parameter to the Page Guard feature, described later. If you change this value, you’ll have to be careful to change all the references to this value throughout the site. Of course, at this point right after activation, nothing is referring to this form’s ID yet, so you’re safe to change it if you like.

The other tabs on this page let you configure all kinds of stuff.

Configure the contact form's appearance

The best thing to do is place a contact form on a page, see how it looks, come back and tweak a few settings, send yourself a couple of mails, and figure out what you like.

Who receives the emails sent by the contact forms?

I recommended in the last section to send yourself a few emails. But first, you might be wondering, how do I make sure the emails will come to me?

All emails sent by the plugin go to the site’s owner. This is configured outside of the plugin in the WordPress dashboard as Settings >> General >> Email Address.

Making a contact form appear in a page

The plugin uses a WordPress trick called a “shortcode” to automatically generate a contact form in place of anywhere the shortcode appears. It’s a common trick in WordPress-land, so you may be familiar already, but just in case you aren’t, shortcodes are little magic instructions to WordPress that are placed inside of square brackets.

The shortcode for this plugin is natural-contact-form. It can take an optional id specifier, which you will need to use if you create more than one contact form for different pages.

The best thing to do is copy it from the top of the settings page in the dashboard:

Copy the contact form's shortcode

… and paste it into the page where you want it to appear:

Paste the contact form's shortcode

The “Page Guard” feature

One thing you can use Natural Contact Form for is to require visitors to enter their contact information before viewing some piece of protected content. With other form generating plugins, the “thank you” page that visitors are redirected to after filling out the form is totally “in the clear”. This means if someone knows the URL to the thank you page, they can navigate directly to that URL and see that page without filling out the form.

Normally, this isn’t much of a problem. If all you are saying on that page is, “Gosh, sure is swell of you to contact me,” this isn’t something you have to protect from being seen by folks sidestepping the system.

On the other hand, if you have some sort of lead magnet content there, you want to make sure people really do provide their info first.

The “Page Guard” feature lets you do that.

The Page Guard is configured in the dashboard on the “Edit Page” screen for the page that you want guarded. Scroll down below where you edit the content of the page, and you’ll see a box like this:

Configure the Page Guard feature

Once you fill in a valid “Contact Form ID”, this page will no longer allow direct navigation. If anyone types in the URL without filling out the contact form that matches the supplied ID, they will either be shown a “404 Page not found”, or be redirected to some other page of your choosing. If they have filled in the form, their browser will store a cookie that will allow them to return to this page for a month after filling out the contact form.

Email Service Provider Integration

A more conventional approach to delivering lead magnet content is to use a 3rd party email service provider. True, you can just use a sign up form supplied by your email provider, but often these are hosted on their site and/or styled to match their branding, not yours. Plus, although most of them will notify you when someone opts in, if your traffic is manageable and you’d like to personally follow up with folks, it’s nice to receive an email “from” the person opting in that you can directly reply to.

Natural Contact Form lets you create contact forms that double as both a form to send you a personal email and an opt-in to subscribe to a 3rd party email list. You host them and style them to match the look of the rest of your site.

Initially, for version 1.0.0, MailChimp is supported. I anticipate supporting ConvertKit and AWeber in future releases. If you use a different email provider that you would like to see supported and/or you’d like to be a guinea pig to help me test integration with additional providers, feel free to contact me. (And yes, that contact form is powered by this plugin!)

For instructions on integrating with a specific email provider, choose your provider below:

Questions, comments

Please feel free to contact me for any additional help or if you have suggestions for making the plugin better!

– Kirk