156 – WordPress forms is a crowded space, so we launched WPForms

Interview – WordPress forms is a crowded space, so we launched WPForms

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Some things are universal. Something about death and taxes. Another universal is that you will put some kind of contact form on every site that you build. You will though, won’t you?

With that in mind, developers have been busying working out ways to make WordPress forms as easy as possible. We’ve got heaps of possible options and some of them have been around for a long time. Over time, more and more WordPress form options have cropped up, and there are dozens to choose from.

So if you were a developer and wanted to get into the WordPress plugin marketplace, the last thing that you’d want to do is create a product in a area that has dozens of rivals already. That would be silly…

Unless you are Jared Atchison that is… because he decided to do just that. He looked around and the WordPress forms landscape and thought that there was room for one more, and so WPForms was born.

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You see each plugin does things slightly differently. You have options to do this, but not that. Fields that you have available in one plugin are not available in another.

Then there’s the whole process of actually creating the form, and this is where WPForms like to plant their flag in the sand and say – we do this really well.

WPForms took a look at the multitude of WordPress forms and thought that an area that needed to be improved was how quickly you could go from no form, to a finished – up on the website – form. They wanted that to be faster, much faster. So they created a solution which enables you to click a button a few times… pick from a raft of typical form templates and then get on with something else!

Now let’s think about the audience here for a minute. If you are reading this then I’m going to make the bold claim that you are not the typical user of WordPress. You are likely the typical power user, or developer, but most people who use WordPress have no idea how it works under the hood, and they have no interest in ever knowing. Millions of WordPress users just want to login, create content, hit publish then logout. That’s all they need.

They have no interest in learning the vagaries of how to build a form. They just want a form… now! So WPForms gives then that. Login, pick a template for a form that you know is built for what you need, put it somewhere, logout.

So that’s the WPForms UVP – “a WordPress Forms Plugin that’s Easy and Powerful”. And they back this up with a test to make sure that you can do it all in less time than it takes to boil an egg!

Jared is on the podcast today to talk about what WPForms might be able to do for you. To get you to take a look and see if there’s anything in there that might make it your default WordPress forms plugin of choice.

We talk about how the whole plugin got off the ground with Syed Balkhi, the founder of WP Beginner, and how this is not just a plugin built for fast form creation. We talk about some of the powerful features that the plugin makes available to you too… you know all of the features that the other plugins have, plus a few others that they don’t, such as ‘conversational forms’.

It’s a great product from an engaged team with a good looking roadmap. So take a listen to the episode and let us know in the comments what you think…

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If you’re reading this before 2nd December 2019, you can get WPForms on a Black Friday Deal. If not, you can go to the WPForms site anyway.

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley. Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to this episode 156 of the WP Builds podcast. This episode is entitled, WordPress forms is a crowded space, so we launched WP forms. It was published on Thursday the 28th of November, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'd like to just introduce you to a couple of things. Now. If you're listening to this on the date that it was published, then you will well know that black Friday is tomorrow and WP Builds. We have put together a comprehensive page [email protected] forward slash. Black. It's a list of over 120 words. Press products, things like hosting themes, plugins and so on, and it's all filterable and searchable. Click on the yellow search and filter button and you can, you can sort of hone down and narrow into the plugin that you want. Be that by category or price or just by typing in its name. So yeah, make use of some of those, really appreciate it. If you do, click on those links. Some of them are affiliate links and it really, really will help. The WP Builds podcasts and all that we do here. So that URL, one small WP Builds.com forward slash black for all of your black Friday needs. I got the link I'd like to mention is WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe over there. You'll be able to join us, make use of all of the buttons to join us on every channel that we put our content out on. So it's things like podcast players, YouTube and so on and so forth. And also there's some forms on there where you can subscribe to get updated about the podcast. And also any deals that we hear about as and when they come up. And the final URL I won't share with you is WP bills.com forward slash advertise if you'd like to get your WordPress product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience like these guys have done. The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by cloud ways. Cloud ways is a managed cloud based hosting platform for WordPress. Unlike others, they let you choose the service from top cloud providers like Google cloud, Amazon, and digital ocean. There are no restrictions on the number of websites per server. So you could try cloud ways using the promo code WP Builds. And with that you'll get $20 free hosting credit and page, build a cloud work faster and your page builder of choice by reusing your cloud, save templates, important export, any layout to any of your WordPress websites. Page builder, cloud works with element or BeaverBuilder, breezy, Gothenburg and many more. You can get a free trial up and running today at page builder, cloud.co. And WP feedback, our client communications, eating up all of your time. If so, check out WP feedback. It's a visual feedback tool for WordPress that is specifically designed to get you and your clients on the same page, and you can check that [email protected] and we thank all of our sponsors for helping us to put on the WP Builds podcast. Right. Let's get on with the main event, shall we? The purpose of the podcast today is WP forms. We have Jared Atchison, who is the founder of WP forms. It's quite an interesting story about how the whole thing got started, and really what we learn is that Jared, even though WP forms is in a hugely. Competitive marketplace. So there's a load of incumbent form plugins that you can get. And, when we were having the interview, one of the first things I wanted to know is why would you launch a product in this arena? You know, there's so many different rivals that people can choose. It seems like, you'd be better off finding some other uncrowded space. And so we talk about that. We also get into the features that WP forms house, what the UVP is, and you'll learn that. That's all about creating forms really, really quickly and things like what the power features are, what power users might be able to do with WP forms and the, the roadmap, what's coming in the future. It's a really interesting, discussion. I know that probably many of you are users of WP forms. Many of you may not be, so it might be worth listening to see if, see if Jared has got any suggestions for, for why you might like to look again at WP forms as a possible WordPress forms option. I hope you enjoy the show. Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, we're on the interview stage and today all the way from Texas in the United States. We have Jared Atchison and I've now said it correctly. Hello, Jared.
Jared Atchison: [00:04:40] Hey, how's it going?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:41] Yeah, good. as is always the case, it's, it always seems a bit contrived cause Jared and I have been chatting for about five minutes before this and, but here we are anyway. We're just sort of introducing ourselves to you guys on the line. Jared is here today. I do not think that at any point in the WP Builds podcast history. I don't think we've had anybody on talking about contact forms, which seems strange. Because one of the things that I do as soon as I install WordPress is stick a stick, a contact form plugin of some kind on. So it's a really, really common request. I'm sure you've all heard of WP forms before. Now, I don't know the exact age, but it's not as old as some of its rivals. So that kind of leads me to my first question. Charity. When you, when you decided to build a contact form plugin, why did you do that? Considering that the market was already pretty full.
Jared Atchison: [00:05:32] Yeah, sure. That's a great question. And it's regarding our age. You're right. So we actually just had our three year anniversary in March, so, three, three whole years. We're all grown up now, I guess. But, yeah, that's a great question on kind of how we decided to. enter that. And there's like a little backstory behind that. And basically, so my business partner, for those who don't know is a sidebar who of course, awesome motive, has other products like, optin monster, monster insights. He's the brainchild behind them. He beginner and stuff. So very, very well known within the WordPress community. Very successful. So he's my business partner in WP forms. So some years ago, before the P forms existed, we were chatting and, just kind of a, it was actually a Cabo press, the first Cabo press that Chris Lema put together. Oh, nice. And we're, we're just chatting about things and our frustrations and everything like that. And, somehow some way, I don't really recall how, but, the. The topic of contact forms came up and, it was probably a mostly one sided conversation because at the thing, at the time, I was probably just ranting about how, my clients can very rarely do the, are they able to figure out how contact forms work? You know, it usually works like they email me and they say, Hey, we have a new secretary, Susie. we need to make sure she's copied on all of our existing contact forms. How the heck do we do that? Well, typically what I do is I'm like, well, I can just. Send them like a 10 step checklist on how to do this, or I'll just go do that. Go do it for them. No, it gets done. Right. And like, you know, not have to do it. So, yeah. So we were just kinda talking about, you know, just the current solutions out there that are very powerful, but are, can be. Hard to use for anyone who's not very technical. And Syed comes to this from the approach of dopey beginner. So running WP beginner, which obviously tailors a lot to beginners, he sees first hand what users have trouble with. and I think as developers, mostly we have blinders on, right? Like, we don't. We just assume that everyone knows how to do, you know, normal tasks and stuff like that. So we just started talking about it and that kind of sparked the conversation because, you know, I was complaining how it was complicated and he was like, Oh yeah, I see that in, in our users all the time. No one can figure out how to use anything. Like, you know, what's even worse is contact form seven. Like, try figuring that out if you're new to WordPress, you know, that type of thing. And, yeah. So from there it would just spark conversation or whatever. And, You know, some, some time later we kind of revisited that and it was kinda one of those like, Hey. You know about that conversation we had, you know, about contact forms. what, what if there's a better way? You know, there's some very powerful and very, successful solutions out there, but, you know, Syed believe that the market was big enough for. another person and you know, his, intuition definitely proved right.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:21] Yeah. I mean, he's got the, he's got all the chops, doesn't he? You know, everything that he touches seems to turn to gold. So certainly somebody to listen to. I remember back in the day when it all began, I probably subscribed to your marketing very early on because it feels like all the steps that you're describing that I kind of know. And I don't know quite how I know it. So I must've been listening from the beginning and I remember that the, the sort of the UVP right at the very start was, look, you're going to install this plugin and we're going to bring inside of that plugin a whole bunch of different templated scenarios that you can just click a button and that. Kinda form that kind of form that you always need a is going to be ready for you. So we'll, we'll give you a, a bunch of them for this use case and that use case. And that was kind of where, where I began to sort of pricked my ears up and notice it. Is that, is that kind of still your unique value proposition? Are you still the form builder that's easy to get started with?
Jared Atchison: [00:09:23] Oh, 100%. I think, without a doubt. And that's honestly like really our focus and our litmus test is, you know, we pride ourselves in being easy to use. And, you know, while we do have some areas where we're very powerful, but just all around easy to use. In fact, one of our core values is simplicity. Like we have five core values, and that's one of them. And we, we pretty much referenced that daily. And, You know, changes that we're making to the plugin feature requests when we're designing out new areas of the plugin. I'd like to say that we really pay attention to that probably more than anyone else, which is, you know, been obviously worked well for us, but yeah. But yeah, that's, that's the huge thing. And it is in, you know, you can see that in the templates, right? Like who wants to create a template from scratch when you can at least have a starting point and speed up the process. But, yeah, simplicity is just, just huge. And, you know, we kind of have this like internal thing of like, Hey, when you're working on a feature or doing something or whatever, like what happens if your mom tries to use it? Because I don't know how your mom, like, I don't know how like your mom is, but like my mom or my parents like. You know, they're, they're a little bit older and like, you know, I think they've been using outlook.com for like forever or the outlook app. And you know, they're, they kind of fumbled through things, but they kind of get there, but not very gracefully. So that's, that's kind of like our litmus test because. You know, as, as I said earlier, as developers, we kind of have this bias towards like, Oh, everything, you know, it's not that hard to figure out. It's not that hard to figure out, but when you look at the actual WordPress demographic as a whole. Like if we get out of our developer blinders, and like you don't consider the the thousand people that read WP Tavern. You're right. Like when you get out of our little bubble and you look at the WordPress users as a whole, you're going to find that the vast majority of them are beginners.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:17] Yeah. That is a, that's a thing which continually . I don't know why, but I kind of forget that there's this massive, massive amount of people who just use WordPress as a, as a publishing platform. Then just not interested in the stuff that I'm interested in. They don't care about plugins, they don't care about servers or anything like that. All they want to do is have the capability to log in, achieve what they want to do from the publishing point of view, and that. Basically means writing text and clicking a button to make it go live. And that's it. Anything above and beyond that is too much, and it's of no interest to them. and that, that is, I don't know what the statistics are, but it, I'm sure it's the vast majority of WordPress users are those kinds of users.
Jared Atchison: [00:12:00] Yeah. So from, you know, from the get go, it was like, okay, well those are the users that we want to like cater to. We're not going to do anything to purposely say developers. We don't want you. We do have powerful features that developers use. And you know, our plugin is very extendable in multiple places and whatnot, but as far as from like a marketing and, kind of core value things, it's those beginner users. And that was too. You know, kind of scratch our own itch, right? Like the side has all these people at WP beginner that are beginners and, you know, they can't figure out how to use contact form seven, which who can, you know, and I had clients that couldn't figure out how to use other solutions and stuff like that. So we were like, well, you know what? Let's just, everyone's in the, in the contact form space, it largely felt like the interfaces are different and across different solutions or whatever, but in, in many ways, it felt like everyone was copying everyone. Right? Yeah. And that's, that's fine. Sometimes that works. Like I'm not, you know, people are going to do what they want to do, but that we knew from day one, that's not the approach that we wanted to, wanted to take. We just kind of were going to. Beat to our own drum, so to speak, and, and see where it takes us.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:06] So let's, let's say then that the person listening to this podcast, has never used WP forms before. You know, they've used some, some rivals, and they've taken upon, they've got themselves a license and they've, you know, they've gone through the typical install process. The plugin has been installed, the plugin has been activated. can you walk us through. I don't know how many steps it's going to be, but let's say we want a simple contact us form, like you would find on any brochure website. Can you go through how long that's going to take and how many clicks it's going to actually take to do?
Jared Atchison: [00:13:40] Yeah, sure. So, I actually don't have the exact number of clicks, but I think it's somewhere around like eight. And we actually have a, we actually have a feature that was just, it was huge. It came out in. I believe, last fall sometime, something like that. and it's, it's revolutionary in the sense that no one else does this. And it's directly speaking to what you said. And so our feature is called the WP forms challenge. And what's a WP forms challenge says is you should be able to create your contact form or whatever type of simple form you want, have it embedded inside your contact page or whatever, and like, basically be ready to start collecting, leads or entries. In under five minutes. Okay. And to prove that and to help users do this, we have the WP forms challenge. And, I have a screen cast here, but I'll basically give you the gist of it. The WP Forms challenges. When you go to , you install the WP forms and you activate it. if you go to any WP forms related settings page, so you're looking to add a new form. You're looking to add your license key, whatever that may be for first time users, you'll see a widget in the bottom right hand corner, with our Sally, the bear icon that says, Hey. Take the WP Forms challenge, create your first form and like under five minutes, and what you do is from there, right there, you click it and it walks you through the entire process. So you click it, bam opens the form builder, walks you through the three step process and like. You know, do you want to add more fields? If your notification settings, you know, that type of thing. After you do that, I believe it's step four automatically takes you to a page editor. So if you have a contact page, we find that and automatically open it. If not, we create you a new contact page. and basically walk you through. Either adding a block if you're on 5.0 plus or you know, doing the old, tiny MC modal type of thing. So we literally walked through users the entire step of the way to get their first form added. And that has been mentally valuable. I mean, to me that's, again, that's not a hard process, right? Everyone knows, Oh, go to tiny MC. There's add form button, right? Like you can only think twice about it. But for normal users, that's not say that they don't, they don't, they don't even know what a block is. Right. So by hand holding them, and it's been immensely valuable to us. So we have a. We have the feedback thing in there. So when you complete the challenge at the very end and the whole time you're doing this, there's a timer, right? So you can see if you're meeting this time. Yeah. And when you get to the end, so you complete the challenge by either saving, you know, your contact page or whatever page with, with the embed in it. So there's a blocker, the, the short code. And so when you complete that. If it's over five minutes or if it's under five minutes, you know, completed the challenge, so to speak. You know, it's like, Oh, congrats. You know, thanks for, you, you did it. You know, that type of thing. And if you take longer than five minutes to add your form, we display another message that says, tell us why. Well, we give them a form right there, right there on the page that submits the feedback straight to us because we want to know where the breakdown is. You know, what, what are we doing wrong that you couldn't do this in five minutes? And, we take that very seriously. In fact, me and siad, met up about a month ago and that's one of the things we did, we literally went through, it was like. Five, 500 plus different entries of people who submitted this form that they were not able to create their form of five minutes. And a lot of them were just like, Oh, you know, taking my time, or what? It wasn't you. I just wanted to build a more complex form, you know, that type of thing. But some of them were very valid concerns that we didn't think about. so we're able to leverage that feedback and now we're using it and you know, upcoming updates to improve our product and make it even easier. So that's just the kind of attention to detail. That we, really like to have and, you know, helps us really cater to users who are new to WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:41] If I install the plugin, then let's, let's assume that I've, I've managed to do this straightforward five minute install and that's all worked out for me and I'm happy with that, but now I want to use a different . arrangement of form fields and what have you, we talked a moment ago about the templates. is there a kind of like a template page where you can go and look at the, the variety of, of different forms available? Is that kind of like an, an open initiative? Do you have members of your community contributing templates into the project or is it all just run by you? How do we, how does that all work?
Jared Atchison: [00:18:17] Yeah, that's a great question. And that's a, an area that we're working on kind of improving, but right now all the templates are kind of sourced and done on our end. Just as we get requests and stuff like that. I believe somewhere on the form builder, there's a link that's like, you know, if you don't find a template that you would expect to find or that you would like, it links to a, a suggestion page on our site. And you know, periodically we go through that and try to figure out, you know, once that makes sense and add those so. Yeah. Right now, those are kind of sourced from us, but in the future, we'd definitely want to figure out a way to make it easier for him. If anything, just make the suggestion a page more prominent, because I would like to, the templates are just immensely useful, but at the end of the day, we can only think of so many different, you know. Templates and scenarios or whatever, but that doesn't mean that what we're not thinking of is like not valid, right? So we want to have everything open to where like, Hey, if you have this idea like. Even though we couldn't think about it, it's probably good, you know? So we want to have users be able to supply that easier.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:23] Some of the, page builders as well as the, the Gothenburg project was now this notion of this Guttenberg cloud. And I think the intention really is that, so that Guttenberg itself. Could be, I know you guys say Gutenberg, but I say Guttenberg, if it's possible to suck those up into the cloud so that everybody's got access to the same, templates or blocks. and the same with sort of page builders, you know, although they're proprietary and Beaver builders got their own repository and, you know, elemental, that that's feels to me like a, like a shift that's going on at the moment that all of these services will, it will have. Stuff in the cloud that you can, you can access at your leisure and, and users can contribute back to it. And I just feel that would be a nice addition. so, okay. We've got ourselves the plugin installed where, we're exploring it and with. Trying to work out where its value lies and we've figured out for ourselves, yeah, this is really easy. I like the way that I can get myself a, a decent form going. So in terms of its complexity, is there anything that you, you want to speak about in terms of, you know, stuff that you've developed over the time that you're proud of, particular integrations, features that you think don't often get talked about that people ought to know about?
Jared Atchison: [00:20:35] Yeah, absolutely. Another great question. So. You know, one of our things, which speaks back to obviously simplicity and, you know, our, our target demographic is we don't really have the, any desire to include the kitchen sink, which, depending on your outlook, even as a developer, like you may agree with that, or you may not agree with that. So we're very selective. And the features that we try to, or that we, we plan on including, so obviously we have things like conditional logic, which our conditional logic has gotten pretty robust and supports a bunch of different fields, has a boatload of different, logic conditions you can apply and stuff like that. So we have kind of like, what's your expected? But, we've just been adding. Really things that, I guess you could say not very many other people are doing. I don't want to say no one else is doing this because, you know, there are, but not as many of the big people. And so one of the things was like, one of the, I'd say the thing I'm most proud of that we've done recently is our conversational forms out on it is really nice. It's really nice. It is just fantastic. And that was just something that, you know, we kinda came up with the idea of, I don't know, probably in end of last year, and then just kind of got things in motion and just the way it turned out, we were just blown away. And reception of it has been very good. But, you know, that's just one of those things that, you know, you don't see a lot of other people. That I know of, that have a, a solution like that. Another thing we have another add on that's form pages. so our form pages, essentially, if you're familiar with like Google survey or Google, Google forms, how you, how it creates like a standalone little landing page. You know, it's like a container, simple design type of thing. So that's exactly what we found valuable is that. Okay. If you're, sending a email to your newsletter or something like that and you want to ask them a basic survey or anything along those lines, you know, you don't always want to dump that into, into like a page. Right. And like, not all things are steps. You've got to make the page right. not all themes have a landing page template, some do, some don't. but then you don't necessarily just want to use a full page because you don't want to distract them from completing the survey. You don't want to show them all the navigation, everything. You just want to show him the form. So that was kind of like, you know, before conversational forms was a foreign pages one. And it's very similar to Google forms, you know, it just gives you a standalone page where you can like tweak the colors and a few minor other things, but it's just kind of a no BS. Like, here's your form type of thing. Perfect. For. Sending, you know, surveys and stuff like that out to your community or your customers or anything. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:11] Do you just tick a box to make that happen. Is it like check a box and we're done?
Jared Atchison: [00:23:14] Yeah, exactly. Yup. Exactly. And of course there's more options. Like you can add the description that shows up at the top and you can even add your company logo. So you have like a very minimal amount of personalizing it, but we don't let you go crazy because that kind of defeats the point of using it. Right. so that, that's, those two add ons are kind of our more recent thing. Another thing that I'm really proud of that we did that's actually really complex. Is, our surveys and polls out on and for whatever reason, it doesn't really get talked about probably as much as I feel like it should. And this, this came out probably a year ago, but our surveys and polls out on is, just, it's very robust. It's very. the tracking on it's very, very good. I can probably safely say it's better than pretty much any other solution out there that I've played around with, which is, which is a lot of them. So that's, that's been another one. We have the NPS field, the lacquer field. you know, you can generate your reports, you can export things as a PDF. And, what's really clever is the way we did the survey out on is if you up, like if you're a basic user and you upgrade to pro, then you can retroactively create. Like Pat, you know, forms over the course. Yeah, exactly. So it's not like we're just introducing like new for a survey fields type thing. Like the surveys can include certain field types, and if you're already using that, then that can be included. So, that, that was really helpful. But those are some of the things that, you know, those are the types of things we like to focus on. It's what's going to provide, just immensely amount of value to users. Like. Do I want to provide a hundred different features that like, you know, okay, yeah, some will use this, some will do that. Or, you know, something like conversational forms or surveys or form pages, you know, just gets, gets, provides more value. I feel so.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:02] The best place to find out about all of these things that Jared is talking about is actually to go to WP forms.com so it's WP forms, no, no hyphens or nothing like that. dot com forward slash features and there you'll see a whole laundry list of, all the things that are added in. And I'll probably just mention some of the ones that I know we're going to get asked about. So typically everybody's going to want to know, can I do payments? Yes. You know, PayPal, Stripe, they're all in there. What are the, what are the autoresponder integrations where you've got things like a Weber mail? MailChimp, you've got active camp, sorry, campaign monitored drip and get response in there. you know, you've got all the usual stuff like anti-spam. You can do user registrations. There's file uploads. As we said, the conditional logic, instant notifications, the polls, the, I'm not even scratching the surface. There's absolutely loads in there that. That you could really have a a long, long look at, but I want to go back to the conversation. I'm going to say conversational. Was it conversational or conversation? A conversation. Yeah, conversational forums because this is very cool. And I think probably it was the thing that made me reach out to you. the email that came about, that one, I'm looking at it and thinking, boy, they've, they've really stepped up here, so I, okay, I'm going to struggle to describe what this looks like unless you've seen it before, in which case you go, Oh yeah, it's obvious, but it's kind of like the whole page is taken over by one field at a time, and as you complete that field and it's a bit bigger than, than it normally is. As you complete that field, it sort of slides up and out of the way and fades away. And then the next one, which was kind of slightly revealed beneath it, it pops up and it's all pointy, clicky, mobile friendly, awesomeness. It's breathtaking. I think you can take a bow, you know, it's great.
Jared Atchison: [00:26:56] Yeah, it's, it was, it turned out, like I said, just better than I ever could have imagined. And our dev team did a fantastic job. But yeah, that's really the goal for this. So, you know, form pages is kind of one, one version of this. The other add on that I mentioned where you can kind of create this slow little landing page, but this is like taking it to the next level. and I think that. You did a pretty good job describing, describing the, the flow of things. The only thing I would add is if you are familiar with type form, I think is the big, the biggest service that has something like this or others. So that's the biggest one. you know, it's, it's very similar to that, but really, you know, it's, it's, it's kind of like the goal of this is to, it's like having a face to face conversation, right? Like you, you're giving them one question at a time. You're not overwhelming them with like. Here's our, you know, 15 different questions. It's kind of more of like a casual chat on the patio, like, you know, one question at a time type of feel. And, we just thought that was really neat. I mean, I'm not even a type form, you know, user or anything like that, but we just thought, wow, this is, you know, this is just fun. And
Nathan Wrigley: [00:27:59] it's just an ingenious conception, isn't it? The idea that one thing at a time, you've got a slight reference, very subtle. That something else might be coming once you complete that one, does it, just out of interest, does it give you, cause I've, I can't recall. Does it give you an indication of where you're at in the flow? So let's say there are 15, fields. Is there a sort of an indication that you've got 14 more to go anywhere? Or is it literally one at a time, one at a time? We eventually, we'll get to the end.
Jared Atchison: [00:28:26] No, absolutely. There is a, towards the bottom when you're, you're playing around with it, there's a progress indicator where you can either do like a percentage, like, Hey, you're. you know, 20% complete are, you can do like one out of five, like a numerical percentage and stuff. So there is like a little indicator there, very at the very bottom, not very big, so it doesn't distract you. But that way, especially if you're getting longer than like five or six questions, you know, at that point, users might. Start to wonder like, when the hell is this going to end type of thing. So they kind of lets them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:57] What the thing is, it's kind of like perfect for the modern internet consumption device, which is the mobile phone. You know, you can't really, I dunno when that, when that phone keyboard pops up and you've got like half of a screen available to you, you can't really, and often those form fields get pushed out the ways you have to sort of drag back to where you're at. It's just really great. I was wondering, does it, Like does it, is there a capability, let's say that you have a really long form, is there a capability to sort of get the data as it's being submitted, or does it always submit on submit.
Jared Atchison: [00:29:31] So it always submits on submit. Okay. But we do have a, another add on that's like sorta addresses that for site administrators, which is our form of Banamine add on. And basically what that add on does is if someone. Completes. let's see, you have a contact form with like six fields and they put it in their name and email and like start typing. Then they're like, ah, you know what? And then they leave your site. what the form of abandonment add on those is try to capture that. Yep. Yep. And like provide you the information so that you can follow up with that lead and, you know, potentially see if you can get more information from them or whatever. But, but no, we don't have a. It doesn't do that yet, but that's something that's definitely on our radar because that would be very, very useful.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:14] Well, the thing that I like about this, this conversational forms filled so much is the idea that. You know, when you take a look at a complicated form, it's just a, it's just a complete switch off, isn't it? You know? Oh, really? If I got to do that and and somehow disguise making the fields bigger, making it sort of, it's slides and it's got these wonderful animations. It just somehow sucks you in a bit more. And I was wondering if you'd got any data, any metrics for, for the kind of response rates where the people fill out the conversational ones more against the exact same form in a traditional way.
Jared Atchison: [00:30:53] Yeah, absolutely. And that's a great question. And the short answer is I think it depends because it's going to depend on, like what type of form it is, right? Like if it's something that's like a job application or something that is fairly complex, you're probably better off using like. Legitimate form because that's what those users are going to kind of expect. If it's a like a feedback form, a survey form, like a, you know, more of like a after purchase or NPS type form, things that are like typically less than a dozen questions and are usually following up. We have found or we've seen like tremendous. A success for people using conversational forms. I don't have any exact data to back it up, but I can tell you from talking to customers who are early adopters of this, and they're using conversational forms since it came out that their, conversion rates and form completion rates have like noticeably gone up after they switched. And like I said, most of those users are using it as like. Contact forms and stuff like that, but where it really just seems to be knocking it out of the park is, you know, like following up with users after a purchase experience. Like, Hey, you know, what do you think of this product? Would you recommend this? Again, you know, that type of things where it's like pretty short and sweet. And those are the types of situations where you really want to be conversational, right? It's like, Hey, you know, I really appreciate you giving us the time to purchase our product or sign up for a service. Like, you know, would you mind just telling me a little bit more, you know, that type of thing. And you want that. You want that, just conversational fields. So, yeah. But yeah, it's, it's done really well for a bunch of users, so we're, we're very proud of it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:25] The word I would use for it is, it's just fun. It's just a fun way of filling out a form, much more fun than the, the ordinary traditional way, at least. Anyway. okay. So changing subjects, shifting the gears a little bit. I was wondering about, you know, with all the other form plugins that are out there, I guess one of the things that constantly is in your inbox is, okay, does it, does it interact with this service? Can I bend it to interact with X service? Because it doesn't appear to, it's not on the, you know, it's not on the, the website. So I'm wondering if, if there's like a third party ecosystem that's developed, do you have people who've built stuff. A top of WP forms to make it do things that you guys don't support.
Jared Atchison: [00:33:10] Yeah. There is an ecosystem and a, it's not users that typically we are real close with or we talk to on a regular basis, but we are aware of it. If you go to a code Canyon, I know there's last time I looked maybe like half a dozen add ons on there that people have written that do I believe some of them were. To various, marketing providers and stuff. But, but yeah, we don't, we don't have like direct contact or regular communication with those people and we don't have like an official marketplace, or, you know, I guess listing, you know, directory where we like prevent tell users. Typically what we do is, because you're right, there are, there is like. 1 million different email service providers or you know, network providers. So you know, you're never going to cover them. All right? So typically what we do is, we're real big on Zapier, those, those folks over there, just fantastic. So. that's kinda what we gently nudge users to that need, something off the wall because nine out of 10 times, Zapier can do it. Seven out of 10 times Zapier can do it. And it's not a premium integration. So as long as it's not a premium integration and the user's not just doing, like really high volume Zapier's a, a real good kind of bridge the gap solution that we recommend. Now, with that said, we do track, obviously. literally almost every feature request, it gets quite large. So, so we do keep an eye on, you know, what, what users are asking for. You know, drip was something that we added last year. And, you know, that was just because the number of users asking for it or requesting for it. Yeah. Got the critical mass and those students are doing great things over there. So we got that added.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:53] So I guess that neatly segues me into asking about possible roadmap features. So, you know, middle of 20, 19, here we are. W what's, what's planned for the rest of this year that you, that you can reveal.
Jared Atchison: [00:35:07] Yeah, sure. Great question. so one of the things that we will be, we're working on getting started soon is a Ajax form submissions. So if you're a developer, if you're a developer, you're like likely laughing right now, right? Because like, ah, who doesn't have HX form submissions? like, I think pretty much almost everyone has Ajax form submissions, except for us. maybe separate, maybe contact form seven. But anyways, everyone has it, right? And this is nothing we had, but, That kind of proof, like proved my point whenever we made the plugin is because it was like, we're just trying to get this thing out right and get, get released. So it was kinda like, okay, well we could do Ajax form submissions or like, we'll follow that up later. And let's just, you know, MVP style, get this out, right? So that's what we want. We didn't, didn't have HX form submission. My expectations were at the time that, that was going to be like this very popular request that, you know, we'd be adding, you know, three to six months after, after initial release. In reality, what happened is almost no one asked for it because. If you're not a developer, you don't even know what Ajax is.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:13] No idea that that can be done.
Jared Atchison: [00:36:14] You're used to that. You're used to the page reloading because that's pretty much what happens on any other form. Fill out most forms across the internet, outside of WordPress are not HX. So what ended up happening is like literally no one asked for it. now of course we're, we're kind of hitting critical mass, just do our, due to our growth that, you know, it is becoming a more popular. Plus. So we're, we're prioritizing it now. so that's something we're, we're excited to finally, bring, you know, bring to people and for those users that have, have asked for it, understandably. so that's something that's in the works. be out soon. Stripe updates are coming to obviously, with all the. Data regulations and crazy, legislation and stuff from all over the place. Really that's happening. And I think, believe some of that goes into effect in September. you know, we, we always have to keep a proactive eye on that and account for anything that needs to be done on that or, and so Stripe will be getting some updates for that. And then really just, you know, those, that's kind of the two big things. And then just, doing some internal improvements. You know, we're always looking to, You know, clean things up. We're, we're kind of at that age now, like being three where, you know, we're, we're starting to invest more time and resources into, now circling back now that we're like at a really good place, right? Like circling back and doing internal improvements and cleanups and not like rewrite all the things, type of type of approach. But, you know, Just just improvements. One, one very good, example that I can tell you because this is hopefully going to be out here at the end of the quarter, is our, when you want to export entries. So right now, our entry export is a, it works for the most part, very, very no frills, right? You just click your in what form it is and it export entries and it gives you a CSV and you go along your waste. But as we've grown, like there's several, several issues without like. We don't have the fancy interface where you can select like, I only want to export these fields, not all fields, only these fields, you know? Or maybe I just want to export the last seven days, not, not the last seven months, just the last seven days. Right. So like, yeah, well, you can open this stuff up in Excel and you can kind of, you know, massage your CSV to only. Have that stuff. you know, it's not, it's nice to just be able to do that out of the box. and then the other biggest thing was scaling. So the method that we use right now for exports is, just nothing fancy and often doesn't scale if you have just a boatload of entries. So if you have like, you know, 500 or 5,000 entries, your exports not going to have any issues. If you have like 500,000 entries, like there's no way, like our exports problem, like it's good, it's going to go down and . Flames so. So, yeah, just like little internal improvements like that. You know, our, our MailChimp integration is working very well and is a very popular, but, you know, it's, it's been two and a half years, three years since we wrote it. So we're going to look into later this year, you know, spending some time sprucing that up and doing improvements and stuff. So it's important that as we grow, we balance, Obviously stuff like conversational forms and foreign pages. We want to continue to add new things, but we're being very mindful about, kind of doing housekeeping. Yeah. I guess you could say,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:27] speaking of growth, what are the numbers, you know, I mean, that's one of the big things that I always want to know when I'm, when I'm. Looking into new plugins, you know, I want to know about the history of the company and what their, how long they've been around and what kind of support tiers they've gotten. All of that. Basically, I want to know that you've got my back. So one of the metrics that I'm always interested in is how many people have got this on their website? Cause that's a, that's a good, good measure of how trusted it is. So, so that how many people are using WP forms at this moment?
Jared Atchison: [00:39:59] Sure. So I believe it was almost two weeks. Exactly. Ish. Excuse me. We crossed a 2 million active installs on wordpress.org so it's
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:09] a good number.
Jared Atchison: [00:40:09] Yeah. Now I don't know where that is on the first page of the popular plugins, but we're definitely, definitely up there. Very, very excited and honored to be. And the, the 2 million club, because there's, where it was some very elite company. If you go to the, you know, the.org page and, and look, you know, and if you would ask me, you know, if we're going to be at 2 million. When, whenever we are kind of getting things started, two years ago I would have, just, just told you you were crazy.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:38] Yeah. That's amazing. That's really, really well done. Do you do, do you do support in like 24, seven? Are we on tickets? Are we on chat on the, on the website? How do you interact with your, customers.
Jared Atchison: [00:40:50] Yeah, that's a great question. So, we do support through, mostly through help scout. So if our cus our customers essentially log into their account panel and inside their account panel, there's a, you know, a support forum, which then, you know, pushes it over to help scout. And then all things on our end happen there. of course, if you're a light user, we do actually, unlike other, some other people, we do actually provide limited support to light users. And that happens obviously on wordpress.org support forums. So we're not going to go like, you know, dumpster diving to find like hardcore conflicts or stuff like that for like users. But we definitely do our best. To kind of get them taken care of. So a good example is, you know, there, there's like, Oh, well, you know, by default the boot, the submit buttons, gray, gray, and you know, it'd be really not nice if we could make it green and with white text, you know, stuff like that. We, we, we definitely take care of because we want the user to have a good experience regardless of what, what version WP forms are using. But yeah. So that's support. right now our hours are loosely, our official hours are, believe nine to nine to five Eastern. But we do have some coverage outside that. That's just when the bulk of our support agents are on. But we actually have support agents that do start even earlier than that. So we have, we probably have like a 12 hour, coverage. So we're not to the level of, You know, 24 hours or anything like that?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:42:11] Well, Nope. Fair enough. It's, I would imagine it's unlikely that you're gonna need to critically fix a form. you know, you never know. Probably somebody somewhere will say, yeah, I really do need to critically fix a form. I'm just going to go to WP forms.com. Forward slash sorry WP forms. Yeah. Dot com forward slash pricing and I'm looking at the, the packages here, cause again, this is something everybody's going to want to know. We've got different tiers. The pricing may vary from the time that I'm looking at this, but so I won't mention the pricing because I know that from time to time you do offers and, and at the moment there's an offer and maybe there isn't when this goes live, but we've got a basic tier. We've got an . Plus tier. We've got 40, as we've got a protea and we've got an elite tier. typical stuff, you know, every tier that you, that you pay a little bit more, more stuff is bundled on top. do you want to just broadly, quickly say what, what, what you gain the more money you pay.
Jared Atchison: [00:43:10] Yeah, sure. So, the basic license is kind of the standard license. that's very popular for those users who are coming from, the light. So if they're using light, oftentimes they'll use it for a while, and then they're like, you know what? it'd be nice to have the address field because I need a more complex field there. you know, I, I would like to be able to. Manage the entries inside my WordPress database. Not only just get it in my email, that type of thing. So that's what I'm. That's what base basic provides you is kind of, you know, all the fancy fields. Now you can store entries, you know, all that type of stuff. from there, then you have the plus, which pluses more or less the same, except you get all the email or newsletter. marketing and providers. So mail Chimp, a Webber drip, you know, constant contact, everything like that. So that's, that's kind of just designed for the people who, maybe they don't need all the fancy things, but they want to take their leads and pipe them into mail Chimp or trip. the next level up is pro, which is kind of like our best deal, so to speak. And that's like the, kind of the powerhouse. You know, you, you basically get everything. The, all the payment stuff, PayPal stripes, surveys and polls. Obviously conversational forums that we just discussed. pretty much everything. you get 20 sites, so you know, if you're running a network of sites or something like that, it's a popular, obviously you do get kind of a priority, support your tickets, get kind of flag with extra urgency, and whatnot. And then lastly, we have the elite. Which is right. Right now it's a hundred bucks more. And elite is very similar to pro other that, there's no site restrictions. And, you basically get premium support, which is kind of the highest level that we offer. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:50] if you're a WaaS user, I love that acronym West. So WordPress as a service user. The elite license will also, install on multisite as well. So that's a nice option. speaking of, you know, the payments and everything, I know that a lot of plugins, maybe you do take this approach, maybe you don't, do you do a, a discount, you know, for the second year round.
Jared Atchison: [00:45:12] No, we actually do not do rental discounts. So most most, yeah, most of the users are using a coupon that's, they get during year one. So they get year one discounted essentially, and then year two is.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:27] Fair enough. I mean, it's not, you know, there's nothing outlandish about the pricing that I'm looking at it. It looks completely commensurate with, with what you're, with, what you're giving to me. Speaking of giving to me the, the, the guys over at WP forms, they've given us a WP forms. Pro-license. and we're going to give it away in some way, shape, or form. I'm not exactly sure at the time that I'm saying these words how that's going to be, but it may be a typical giveaway that we do very often when, when we do these kinds of things. That's really kind of you. Thank you very much for that. Really appreciate it.
Jared Atchison: [00:45:58] Yeah, absolutely. We're, we're excited to, to get that away.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:01] Yeah. And hopefully get yourself another, you know, customer and, and some, some great support. The, the thing that keeps me coming back to your stuff is your really good marketing. I don't know if anybody else listening to this is signed up to the WP forms marketing, but I, I, I, I'm subscribed to everything. Every single WordPress thing. I get it, and let's just say that some are better than others. And the WP forms marketing is about exactly the sweet spot of what you want. They send you stuff that you need to know at the time. They've, that they need to tell you, you know, it's not like a bunch of emails kind of, here's something interesting that we thought you might like to know about. That's got nothing to do with forms. It's just his, here's some form stuff that we've done. And so I appreciate your marketing. It's, it's rope right where it should be. So thank you for that. And, yeah, that's it. all, all I'm going to say is. Jared, if you, if you want to take the floor and you've got as long as you like to, to say anything you like about where you are, what your Twitter, Twitter handle is, what your URL is for you, your private blog, whatever, go for it.
Jared Atchison: [00:47:07] Yeah, thanks. So for me, you can follow me on Twitter. User. A Twitter name is Jared Ash. basically just kinda tweet about a business. Usually technology, marketing, the, you know, there would be forums related stuff. Noah, no BS, no politics, nothing like that. So that's where you can follow me. Obviously though, P forms WP Forms.com. our Twitter is easy. Let's see. Easy, Devon P forms.com are easy. WP FormsW is the Twitter handle. we have a Facebook page or what not you can follow, but yeah, for sure. Follow us on. the blog, they're also in the sidebar is, the blog. If you don't want to be old school and follow a via RSS, which I don't think anyone does that anymore. There is a newsletter signup, so you can just kind of. Basically the newsletters, like get our announcements and, as you said, we kind of be, we, we try to like, be very, gracious with that, right? Like if you're giving us your email, it's our job to like, just not bombard you with a list stuff. So we, we really limit it to either just a promotional, sales and stuff like that, which we're, we don't do super often or. announcements and really like, we're not one of those companies. Like every time we push your lease, we do it announcement, right? So we only do, we only do announcements for stuff that's like noteworthy, that we think is going to add value. And you know, users should, should discover and know about. So. So yeah, you could definitely subscribe to the newsletter on our blog. Thank you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:37] I have to say, I am that one person who still uses an RSS reader. I still, I cannot, I cannot remove it from my life. It's too, it's too valuable. There's too much information in there that I couldn't possibly get in other ways. So yeah, I still do it. Thanks Jared, for coming on and talking to us today about WP forms. Much appreciated.
Jared Atchison: [00:48:56] Nope, my pleasure. Thanks for having me. I had a, had a great time.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:00] Well, I hope you enjoyed that. That was a nice chats talking about how WP forms came into the marketplace. it is actually a couple of months, several months, in fact, since we recorded that. So I don't know if the features have been updated, so it might be worth going to WP forms and checking that out, but yeah, certainly looks like a worthy forms alternative. If you've already got an incumbent plugin in your back pocket ready to deploy, maybe go and have a look at WP forms and see if it can do something. Something unique and interesting for you. The WP Bill's podcast was brought to you today by page builder cloud. If you want to dramatically speed up your WordPress website workflow, then checkout page builder cloud. It securely saves all your templates to your own cloud. You can then reuse them on any other website in seconds, page builder, Cloudworks with element or BeaverBuilder, breezy, Gothenburg, and many more. But it's not just for page builders. You can save your contact forms and ACF layouts too. You can get a free trial today at page builder, cloud.com and WP and up one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and up supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training, and counseling. Please help enable WP and up by visiting WP and opt.org forward slash give. Okay. I hope that you managed to pick up some deals in the black Friday sales, if that's your thing. Remember the WP Builds page for that is WP Builds.com forward slash black and join us next week. Next Thursday, we'll have another podcast episode. Very likely it'll be David and I having a discussion, or there's Monday we put out the word press weekly news at a very early time in the morning, or it's just me talking about the WordPress news and then 2:00 PM on Monday. Every Monday. In the WP belt Facebook group or the live page, WP belts.com forward slash live. You can join us and some notable WordPress guests talking about the WordPress news. Anyway, I hope you have a good week. It's time for me to fade in some awful cheesy music and say. Bye. Bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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