A common feature request we get from our clients is to create a contact form. People are often surprised to hear that this isn’t exactly straightforward, so we thought we would do a mini-FAQ on some of the background information you should know when considering adding one to your store.
How do forms work?
The contact form itself is written in HTML, and when the user clicks ‘submit’, the information is sent to a server for processing. If you aren’t technical you can be excused for thinking that the data entered into a form can simply be emailed to you, but that is not how it works. Data has to go to the server first when using HTML forms, then you can email it.
So doesn’t Shopify do this already?
Nope. There is a discussion thread on the forum that goes back to 2006 requesting this feature, but at this time Shopify doesn’t have contact forms. You have to use either a service or run some code on your own server.
What services are out there?
There are several services to choose from. Here is a list of services that regularly used with Shopify. The good news is that all of them offer a free version that is suitable for a lot of shops.
|FormAssembly||Yes||Starting from $0.05/response|
|Formspring||Yes||Starting at $9/month|
|Jotform||Yes||Starting at $9/month|
|WuFoo||Yes||Starting at $9.95/month|
|Zoho Creator||Yes||Starting at $15/month|
What do I look for in a contact form service?
If all you are after is an email with the contact information, the free versions of the above services will likely be sufficient. Premium versions will buy you things like:
- SSL – so you can make sure the information that is being sent to the service is encrypted. This is different than Shopify’s SSL.
- Database – keep track of who has contacted you
- Autoresponders – automatically send an email in response to the contact form submission
If you have a server available you can host your own code. There are many examples out there, but be sure to look for code that is secure and takes steps to ensure spam doesn’t get through. This is typically what we set up for our clients using our servers.
Quick and Dirty
If you simply want to put in a link that will open up an email with your address in it you can use
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" subject="Contact">Contact Me via Email</a>. If you go this route, take a look at “obfuscating” your email address so that spammers don’t harvest it, and be aware that this technique may not work on all browsers.
That’s about it. Of course, to see an awesome contact form in action (including a sexy thank you page that you can only see if you submit the form), please Contact Us – we’d love to hear from you!