Gravity Forms: WordPress Plugin Worth Buying

A couple of years ago, I was at WordCamp Chicago, and I was asked to come look at a new WordPress plugin that was close to being released. The plugin was called Gravity Forms, and it was amazing.

Photo by Lisa Sabin-Wilson

This was around the time that the WordPress community was going through a bit of a shift as commercialization was entering the scene. Building a business around WordPress wasn’t entirely new, but there were a lot of people that had chosen to ignore those that attempted to do so. By the time I had seen Gravity Forms, people were starting to warm up to the idea of paying for a theme or plugin, especially if it did something cool, and Gravity Forms met that criteria.

What is Gravity Forms?

Gravity Forms, at its most basic level, is a plugin that allows you to create forms that users can enter data into. And while that doesn’t seem amazing, the drag and drop controls made it easy for anyone to use, and the depth of features made it a powerful solution for more than just a contact form.

Gravity Forms is nearly infinitely extendable, super accessible to new users, and made by a team that is passionate about their product. Any data you want to collect from users can potentially be routed through Gravity Forms.

What Can I Do With Gravity Forms?

Of course, my contact form is being powered with Gravity Forms, but so much more than that can be done with the software. I’ve set-up a basic voting system before for a non-profit that was focused on selecting the best artwork for a card they were going to print out. I’ve set-up multiple submit-a-post systems where users could write posts on a blog, including an image and without registering and learning WordPress. I’ve used Gravity Forms for e-mail sign-up forms tied into MailChimp without learning a line of code. Everything is so simple and fast.

Features

  • Visual Form Editor
  • Multi-Page Forms
  • Conditional Logic
  • Limit Entries
  • Schedule Forms
  • Configurable Layouts
  • Export Data as CSV
  • Export/Import Forms

Recently, I had my boss create a form for his youth basketball team website. Initially, he was just going to collect names and e-mail addresses, but once he found out how easy it was to add and move around additional fields, he made a full registration form. He was pleased that not only could he set up the form to e-mail him, but it also saved the data in an Excel compatible format, as he lives in Excel.

It has never ceased to amaze me at the number of ways I can use Gravity Forms. Many times, when someone discusses collecting data entered from users for almost any usage, my first thought gravitates towards, “Could I use Gravity Forms to do what they want?”

How Much Does Gravity Forms Cost?

There are three pricing tiers, each with different access to add-ons, and limitations in the number of sites you can install the plugin on. There is the $39, one site, unlimited forms Personal account. The next step up is the $99, three site, unlimited forms, basic add-ons Business account. Lastly, there is the $199, unlimited sites, unlimited forms, all add-ons Developer account.

I’ve always pushed the Developer option. While it might seem difficult to fork over two hundred dollars for a WordPress plugin, if you are looking to collect user data, think you might need priority support, don’t have a set number of sites you may use the plugin on and want to have access to all of the add-ons released, then the Developer option is your only choice.

Each option comes with one year of updates and support. Beyond that you’ll need to renew to continue receiving such services.

How much does it cost to renew my license?

You can quickly and easily renew your license at a discounted price. The Developer and Business License renewals are 50% off the standard price and the Personal License is 25% off the standard price.

Extensions For Gravity Forms?

If you are a Business or Developer level purchaser, then you get access to the basic form add-ons that include: AWeber, Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp. If you are a Developer level purchaser, you also get access to the advanced form add-ons that include: Authorize.Net, Freshbooks, Paypal, Signature, Twilio, User Registration.

Support

There have been a few occasions where something will have gone wrong. Usually, it is because of a theme or plugin conflict, but most of the time, it is my own ineptitude. Thankfully, all of the team are amazing at supporting their users, and I’ve found nothing but answers when contacting them via the forums, or through e-mail. I’ve even seen support responses on Twitter for Gravity Forms. They are answering questions everywhere their users are asking them. More than the plugin itself, I would recommend their high quality customer service.

Who Made Gravity Forms?

One of the reasons that the plugin is such a huge success apart from being such a useful addition to any WordPress blog is the people that took the time to develop and release it.

I will never forget the day that I met Carl, Alex and Kevin in Chicago. The three of them were excited about what they were working on and spent much of the conference pulling community members aside to give them feedback on what they had done.

rocketgenius was a young company, and they were entering a saturated market. There were plenty of contact form plugins for WordPress, and most, if not all, were completely free, but they knew they had created more than a plugin. In Gravity Forms they had what I consider the first real extension of WordPress.

Currently, the company lists four employees, the three founding members and a new name that I don’t recognize off-hand.

Carl HancockTwitter, one of the founders, comes across as pretty savvy in business, and can be found on the support forums quite often when he’s not promoting the plugin or doing other behind the scenes work.

Kevin FlahautTwitter, an amazing Webby Award nominated graphic designer, the second founder of rocketgenius, and is another person that comes across, in his own words, as “one hell of a nice guy”.

Alex CancadoTwitter, is the member of the team that I know the least. He is the third founder and a super ingenious developer. He can also be found on the support forums from time to time giving away endless code snippets to help people modify Gravity Forms beyond what it was originally intended for.

David SmithTwitter, a “new” member of the rocketgenius team, appears to be a designer and developer with a strong understanding of WordPress and Magento platforms.

Who Uses Gravity Forms?

Joost de Valk – Yoast

My relationship with Gravity Forms is a long standing one. A few years back I developed my own WordPress contact form plugin, which, admittedly, isn’t as shiny anymore as a WordPress plugin should be. So when I needed a more advanced form plugin, I started looking around and quickly found Gravity Forms.

Brian Clark – Copyblogger

This is an amazing site-building breakthrough in my opinion. For example, using Thesis and Gravity Forms, you could build a local restaurant review website without writing a single line of code. The layout of the site and the user posting mechanism would all be built point-and-click, drag-and-drop from inside your WordPress interface.

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