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Web Design/Developing A Form On Wordpress

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QUESTION: Hi

I hope you can help. We have a Wordpress Webpage and years ago we needed to have a form where people could subscribe to our newsletter. We made that form with the "Participants Database" pluggin (via shoortcode). Seeing that the forms PDB creates are limited in the way they are displayed  and our needs are much more complex now, we needed to create a new form. So I looked for a pluggin that would allow me to design the kind of form I needed that would either allow participants/subscribers to submit records  that automatically go into our current database we have in PDB by default OR allow me to upload all of our current database's (including those in PDB) into the default file of the new form maker.

I was told that I could do that I could do it with a wordpress pluggin called "Formcraft", so I purchased it. I have been working on this form for weeks now.The form is probabaly 95% finished. The problem is I cant figure out how to get the record submiitted by it to go in the "partcipants database" by default, nor can I figure out how to get all my "participant database" records into the default file created through the forms I make in "Formcraft". Im thinking maybe I could combine to the shortcodes in someway or redirect the submission in someone to someplace other than the default file it goes into

We have about 15 different kinds databases and I'm trying to compile them all into one database. The problem is not compiling the database's, its getting the data submitted via Formcrafts to go into the participants database by default. By doing this we wont have to keep uploading and downloading data. The entire database will update itself everytime a new  record is submitted

The form is not published for the public yet as it is not finished. I've been working on this for weeks now, my deadline was this past Sunday. I've been trying to contact the people at Formcrafts but getting no response so I thought I might try you.

I hope you can help

Karl

ANSWER: Karl,

I can only help to a certain extent with this question since it's very complex and for a full, complete answer I would have to log into your site, look at what you're trying to accomplish fully and then examine this plugin.

On a more superficial answer, just by reading your question over, I can tell you that (and I'm sure you already are aware of this) the situation is much more complicated than it needs or should be.

I've never heard of Formcraft, and as far as WordPress developers go, I have been building websites since (at least) 1998 and using WordPress since it first came out almost a decade ago. You didn't mention if you built this site yourself or had someone else do it for you, or an agency. But I don't see why you couldn't use more known plugins and platforms such as Fast Secure Contact Form plugin, or Gravity Forms, both of which I'm guessing have more support for them and are easier to use. I've used Google Docs for Sudden Impact Web Design .com for a while, to essentially have a "quiz like" form, where if respondents answered one question it could trigger responses to take them to a different page based on that response, I could collect responses and all form data in a spreadsheet and even print up reports on male/female respondents, their geographic location, their budget and so on. Fast Secure Contact Form tracks respondents' IP address and uses Akismet to block spam (which Google Docs can't do yet), and I suspect Gravity Forms does all of the above (based on what I've heard).

I can't know if you are a developer/programmer or not, but one of the issues I hear daily from people has to do primarily with budget and time management. The DIY approach is fine if you're a programmer or developer, but if you're not you inevitably run into the time management issue of how much time do you want to spend trying to learn how to become a developer versus the time you need to spend building your business and generating revenue and cutting overhead costs. If you're an experienced developer/programmer, I'd tell you go ahead with Gravity Forms or Fast Secure or Google Docs.

If you're not a developer, my advice would be to hire a developer to do it for you for a few hundred bucks and be done (and the number one problem customers/clients run into in trying to developer a professional online presence is putting price above quality - so always look for references from real verifiable sources (as opposed to "Dave did a great job for our company." TJ in Oklahoma", a portfolio of live sites and eCommerce, and at least some professional memberships and affiliations and some level of education). As far as price is concerned, like hiring a contractor to remodel your kitchen, the lowest bid is probably going to deliver what we used to call "scutwork" and the highest bidder is probably a more corporate business that outsources everything, so you'd want to go with the middle ground.

Good luck with everything and I hope my input helped a bit.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hey Dave

Thanks for the response. Wow!! I had no idea that what I wanted would be such a challenge.I just wanted the data from the Formcrafts submissions
to go into  Wordpresses Participants database, so we could have one database instead of 2.

Its just a simple name,address city/state zip form with some additional questions. What I wanted seemed pretty standard ... an easy thing that any form maker would do. We already have a database. I just needed to redo our form make it look a little nicer. Thats all. Didnt think I'd have to add all 10,000 names one by one through the new form just because I wanted to redo our form.  That seems ridiculous.

Oh well, I guess we'll just have to stick with the old form that Partcipants Database creates. I didn't like it because you can only ask one questions on it a line making the form look real long. When you can put 2-4 questions on a line it makes the form look much shorter

The form is done. I just wanted to specify the default file for its submissions, so we could have one database.

Thanks for taking the time to answer


Karl

PS Regarding Formcrafts: I just looked for a form maker that worked with Wordpress and Formcrafts was one of the first one that came up

Answer
Karl,

Thanks for your response.

It's not that what you want is a "brain-buster," but any responsible, professional programmer/developer with a conscience should inform you that s/he can't provide an informed opinion on what issues are involved without first looking at your website from a logged in perspective looking at your CMS, your plugin choices, the theme you're running, and other factors.

One of the problems with web development as a serious profession is that it's not regulated in such a manner as doctors, dentists, electricians, and many other service professionals. So it's very easy, and sadly very common, for people who know close to nothing to resell templates with malware, or offer "web design" with no SEO value and aren't responsive. So integrity and commitment to honesty and value matter to me, and it's a tent-pole of Sudden Impact Web Design.

I empathize with your issues in using Form Craft. I'm not familiar with it, and when I searched for form programs, or plugins, I searched directly from WordPress.org, then selected Plugins, and searched from there. First I tried Contact Form 7, felt that it was not being supported well, then tried Google Docs (which I still like very much) but found it couldn't effectively block spammers, so switched to Fast Secure Form which at least give me IP addresses and other spam-reduction options and ways to customize the form and way information is processed.

There are certainly many other types of form processors out there, such as Gravity Forms (which I hear good things about but haven't tried yet), and services such as vCita.

So, I hope I could be of some assistance, and if I did help, please feel free to go to http://www.Facebook.com/suddenimpactwebdeisgn and give us a "like" or give us a kind word here at All Experts.

Have a great day!

Web Design

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David Somerfleck

Expertise

I've been developing professional-level websites for small-to-medium businesses since (at least) 1998. I can answer any questions related to WordPress, website development, training, eCommerce, set up, marketing, social media integration, business management, and small business development as it pertains to integrating internet marketing, and Search Engine Optimization.

Experience

I have 10 years' experience developing websites for small to medium sized businesses, have successfully started two profitable businesses on my own, and have been training people from all walks of life in web design, SEO, and WordPress since 2010. I have a BA in English, and also have worked as a professional journalist, copywriter, editor, and educator.

Organizations
Aurora Chamber of Commerce Colorado Technology Association The Internet Society Freelancers Union International Webmasters Association Denver Better Business Bureau Colorado Small Business Development Center Network Denver Metro Volunteers SCORE Denver Foothills United Way Denver IT Alliance former member Society of Professional Journalists Investigative Reporters and Editors American Federation of Teachers

Publications
Gulfshore Business magazine Naples Daily News Cape Coral Daily Breeze Fort Myers Neighbor newspaper

Education/Credentials
BA, English 10 years' experience in web design 10 years' experience in educational program management and teaching Training people in WordPress, web design, and SEO best practices since 2010

Awards and Honors
Published in over 50 periodicals

Past/Present Clients
AOL Caribou Coffee Ruby Moon Investigations Even Flow Coffee small to medium businesses and startups across the US

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