Building a simple WordPress site? Skip the form plugin.

Ok, before anyone gets too upset, let me be clear — form builders like Ninja Forms, WP Forms, Gravity Forms, and Formidable Forms are incredibly powerful tools used to create everything from focused checkouts to complex workflows. This article isn’t about those complex use cases.

Building a simple WordPress site means keeping plugins to a minimum

People often talk about how it’s better for performance to keep plugins to a minimum on WordPress sites. What people usually mean is that more plugins lead to more code, and more code means incrementally slower sites. They’ve got it almost right, but poor performance is more a function of how many poor performing plugins you have on your site than it is the total number of plugins. So, why does building a simple WordPress site mean keeping the number of plugins to a minimum? Redundancy.

Reducing feature redundancy

The next time you get on an airplane, take comfort in the fact that most critical systems on modern jets are redundant. There are multiple engines, redundant sensors, and even redundant flight control systems. It makes sense to back up critical systems, but it probably doesn’t make sense to have extra toilets, infotainment systems, and food carts on board. Those items take up valuable space and rarely stop working. If they’re in need of repair, they can probably be fixed easily after the plane has landed.

Similarly, it makes sense that the datacenter where your WordPress website is hosted would have redundant internet backbones and that you would keep multiple backups of your site incase the unexpected happens. Having redundant features, however, can lead to visual clutter, extra code, and confusion when it’s time to make changes to existing functionality.

There’s probably already a form solution hiding in plain sight

Before seeking out a dedicated form solution, take inventory of what you’ll need your form to do. Will the form be used simply to collect general inquiries? Will you need to subscribe a visitor to a mailing list after submitting your form?

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If your form-building goal isn’t complex, it’s likely that your page builder or block library already has what you need to create your form. Sidenote: If you’re not using a page builder or Gutenberg block library (or both), you’re probably working too hard. That’s because modern page builders and block libraries allow you to create powerful, beautiful WordPress websites or WooCommerce stores in the fraction of the time that it used to take.

Here’s a list of my 3 favorite full-site building tools with simple form solutions built-in

Elementor Pro

As far as drag-and-drop builders go, Elementor’s form builder is one of the most powerful. With customizable layouts, variable spacing, and a large selection of field types, you can create unlimited combinations of ways to ask users for information. Bonus: Elementor’s form builder also supports multi-step forms.

Kadence Blocks Pro

Using the Kadence Theme? You probably should be. Not only is it a super lightweight theme, it is also deeply integrated with Kadence Blocks. The form block is loaded with simple-form features like ReCaptcha support, customizable styles, unlimited fields, and redirect after submit. The pro plugin even allows for logging entries, auto-response emails, and adding subscribers to your SendinBlue or MailChimp lists.

Beaver Builder Pro

Beaver Builder’s form capabilities are straightforward and meant for building no-nonsense contact forms. As of this writing, Name, Subject, Email, Phone, and message are all fields at your disposal to create a solid contact form. The visuals of the form can be customized and Beaver Builder’s form module supports Google reCaptcha.

With just a little bit of planning, you can keep feature redundancy down while still delivering beautiful forms. Of course, if you want to give one of these contact forms a spin, try mine out! I always love to hear from you.

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