Collecting data on a website via a form is one of the most basic function that a website may be required to do. Take a look at the contact form on this website as a good example. They act as contact points to start conversations or lead generation for the website to convert browsing traffic to being a contact, sale or connection.
A content management system like Joomla comes with a basic contact form that will allow people to leave their name, email and a short message but in some case you may want to completely customise the way that works and the data that is collected.
There are many form builder extensions that will allow you to do this without any programming knowledge in the form of third party extensions.
Simply install the extension on your website, configure and publish anyway you wish. This article will go through a few ways that you can turn your basic website into a data collecting and lead generating website.
There are several create form building components for a Joomla website and here are a few popular ones that I have used over the years.
- RSForms!Pro (My favourite! but paid but there is a free version)
- Breezing Forms - (Paid and there is a free version)
- ChronoForms - (This one is free)
These are by far the most popular and well known form building components in the Joomla market. Of course there are many more Joomla components that will make forms that can be found on the Joomla Extension Directory.
RSForms! Pro is the easiest form builder out of the three from my experience. It allows for simple click and population of the the form components from input fields, text area, check boxes and more. It also allows you to customise the emails that are sent to the user and the administrator of the website or the forms. Furthermore it allows for extra such as additional PHP, CSS and JS code to be enabled on the form views and execution.
This is one of the first form building components that I have used. It is simple enough to allow for simple click and build form editing as well as allowing for additional development in regards to third party integration and development.
There is a paid version that is fully featured and a free version that has a lot of the main features that you need but not quite everything.
ChronoForms is the most complex out of the three but will allow a coder that doesn't like the WYSIWYG style editing and is experienced in code to build a form the way they want to build it. It will also allow you to collect data and manipulate it while it is being processed for their party services like CRM systems or email marketing solutions such as MailChimp, AWeber or Campaign Monitor.
This isn't the best form builder if you are a novice at Joomla as it will take a little bit of knowledge in regards to coding and how Joomla works to really get the most out of it. This is very much aimed at the website developer that is well versed with Joomla and coding in general.
All of these form builders are great and will allow you to build any type of data collection form you may require and also come with free versions or are completely free which will allow you to try before you buy.
All of them have a huge amount of documentation that will guide you and step you through the process of building a form for your website.
Lastly, they all have the ability to combat spam. This is a major issue with a lot of forms being abused by spam bots. These spam bots will automatically use your forms to send out spam to people making it seem like your website and server is sending out spam itself. This spam protection is usually done with some sort of anti spam method like reCaptcha from Google or another 'type the letter, or characters' style of anti spam.
What ever your skill level or requirements for your website, there is a simple or complex form builder extension there for you. If you have tried one of these form builders before or would like to have your own form builder added to this list, please let us know and we'll review it for the wider community of website builders and developers.