Troubleshooting Contact Forms

Web Design

Do you own a website? If the answer is yes, then you most likely have some way for users to get in touch with you, and most likely that is a contact form (if you don’t or you only have a ‘mailto’ link on your site, you better get in touch with Intuitive Digital’s Web team so we can help you with that asap!).

Contact Forms

contact form settings

Nowadays is relatively easy to set up and configure a contact form in your website, for example, if your site runs in WordPress, you can use plugins such as the super popular and free Contact Form 7 or the robust and easy to use Gravity Forms to mention a couple of many available.

Regardless the platform or plugin, the process to set it up is similar:

  1. Add the fields to the form (user name, email, message body, etc)
  2. Enter the email address you want the form to be sent (probably yours)
    Enter the email address you want the form to be replied to or “from” address (probably the user’s)
  3. Add a submit button and optionally add some sort of human verification like re-capcha

Despite how easy is to set up a contact form, we have lots of partners that run into problems with these forms, mainly with emails not being received or marked as spam.

Most of the time the issue is created on step 3, when you tell the contact form to “pretend that this email was sent directly from the user’s email address instead of the website contact form so I can just hit reply to message the user back”, to start troubleshooting contact forms you need to be familiar with the concept of email spoofing.

Email Spoofing, not good…

gmail client imap and smtp settings

There is this thing called email spoofing, which is a way to send emails with a fake sender address, and this as you would expect, are detected by mail servers and immediately marked as spam or sometimes even totally discarded, so “asking” the form to “pretend” to send the email from the user’s email address may not be a good idea.

So the solution? Make sure the contact form is sent from and to an email address that uses the same domain as your website, i.e. from [email protected] to [email protected]. You can still add a field where users enter their email address so you can get back to them.

If this doesn’t solve the issue entirely you may need to dig a little dipper by changing the way your site sends emails, which by default, in most cases, is via the PHP mail function. Instead you can set up your contact form to act as an SMTP email client, for example, using the Configure SMTP WordPress plugin. You will need to lookup your email provider’s IMAP and SMTP servers and ports you need to enter to achieve this, for example, Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook.

That’s it!

Once you follow these tips you should test and re-test your contact form to make sure your messages get to your inbox. Still having issues? Have additional tips about contact forms? Leave a comment below and share!

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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