The Membership Machine Show – Jonathan Denwood and Spencer Forman – for advice, tips, and insight on planning, running, and growing a successful membership website, plus what is the best technology solutions from WordPress and SaaS, plus interviews with membership industry experts.
Best Form Plugins For WordPress 2023
Do you want to know the best form plugin solutions for your membership website?
Key Measuring Points
A – Ease of use
B – Functionality | Quizzes | Surveys | Flashcards
C – Usability | UX design
D – Branching logic builder
E – Price
#1 – Fluent Forms
Single Site Annual License – $59.00
#2 – – Typeform
Prices Basic $25 per month one website
#3 – Gravity Forms
Single Site Annual License – $59.00
#4 – – Wufoo
Prices Starter $14 per month for one website
#5 – WPForms
Unlimited Sites Annual License – $599.00
#6 – NinjaForms
Single Site Annual License – $49.00
#7- Formidable Forms
Unlimited Sites Annual License – $599.00
#8 – HappyForms
Single Site Annual License – $79.00
#9 – Contact Form 7
Single Site Annual License – Free
Are you looking for more advice and support connected to building a membership website on WordPress, if yes, why not join our great free Facebook group? https://bit.ly/3W9r4gb
This Week Show’s Sponsors
Sensei LMS: Sensei LMS
[00:00:03.850] – Introduction
Welcome to The Membership Machine Show, talk you through your membership website from the initial idea all the way to the finished product. Here’s your host, Jonathan Denwood.
[00:00:16.450] – Jonathan Denwood
Welcome back, folks, to the membership machine shown in this episode; we’re going to be talking about forms. All the best solutions on WordPress or on SAS. We think you should be utilizing WordPress, but we leave that to your discretion. I’ve got my great co-host with me. He’s frustrated with technology. He’s been mucking around with him since he came on. But I’m going to let him introduce himself. Spence, would you like to introduce yourself to listeners of you?
[00:00:52.060] – Spencer Forman
Absolutely. Good to see you again. As we were saying, Fridays come all too quickly these days, but it’s Spencer Forman from spencerforman.com, the hub of everything I’m up to and WordPress. And if you do see me moving around today, it’s because I’ve got a 43-inch screen here, I have a laptop here, and I have a secondary monitor there. And I have to use the controls on my end separately, so I look like I’m baking a cake or something today. But it’s not for lack of interest. It’s just multi. I’m like the copilot, and I’m dropping the landing gear, adjusting the throttle, doing all the stuff so John can fly the play.
[00:01:27.790] – Jonathan Denwood
All right, thank you. Thank you so much, spencer.
[00:01:30.100] – Spencer Forman
[00:01:31.550] – Jonathan Denwood
Right, so let’s go straight into it. Spencer, we had a discussion quiz last week. This week we decided that we should delve into the world of form solutions for your membership website. Forms are really important, so I thought these are in no particular order. I would slightly change the format from last week and mix up the WordPress plugins with SAS solutions, but we will probably end up all over the place. But let’s start off with one of the strongest players, in my opinion, and I’ll be interested to hear your views, and that’s Fluent Forms, the free version is powerful. They have the pro version. We provide the Pro version as part of our hosting package. What are your thoughts on fluent forms, Spence?
[00:02:33.800] – Spencer Forman
Well, we’re going to talk about a lot of things that have overlapping features, like we’ve done on other shows. But the number one and two, maybe three things about Fluent Forms I like. Number one, it’s the deep integration with the other components that are features in a stack that I am not only recommending, but used throughout my entire business and I believe you’re using lately. So deep integration with the Fluent CRM, deep integration with Fluent SMTP works directly with Wpfusion, deep integration with WooCommerce, with Learn, a lot of other things. So in comparison to the other ones we’ll discuss, one of which is the godfather of all of this, it wants to be. And it does act like a feature instead of trying to be a framework, which is essential to all my conversations. Number two, undeniably Shajahan Jewel and his team WP managed Ninja have a suite of tools. Most everybody has a good access to the whole team. I in particular, have the benefit of being able to bend his ear at any moment. When something goes terribly wrong or something goes terribly right, I get to interact with them directly, which gives me the confidence, unlike some people, that he gives more than two hoots.
[00:03:48.330] – Spencer Forman
One of the products here, The Godfather, is really awesome, but he doesn’t really respond because he’s 57 steps removed from the team that’s running the show now. Shah Jahan is still very, very active. And number three, the things that it needs and does are very light in relationship to the benefits it delivers. So it’s neither stripped down like one or two of the ones we’ll talk about, nor is it bloated. It’s just got this nice balance of the graphic tools, the integrations, the stuff you need to work as part of a system, which goes back to my number one. So for that, this is my number one recommendation in one exception, which I’ll talk about when we come to The Godfather. And that will be the hint is there are still some super complex things that Fluid Forms can’t do, but those are very rare from us people.
[00:04:40.140] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I think for about 90% of what people do in fluid really offers. It’s got a nice ULR design. Like you say, it’s found that good balance, and the team behind it are top notch. The founder is a great guy. His team are responsive. He’s got a pretty big team now.
[00:05:07.680] – Spencer Forman
But he’s over 75 people and counting.
[00:05:11.710] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, but he’s got a great attitude. I’ve asked him to come on my interview show, but I think he’s a bit busy.
[00:05:19.020] – Spencer Forman
But it’s tough for him. I might be able to talk him into it, but it’s a time zone issue, I think, really.
[00:05:28.780] – Jonathan Denwood
But he’s just a great guy and it’s a great team and it’s a great product. So sometimes you’ve got a really great team or great founder of a solution, but it’s not the greatest, but you still want to support it. But in this case, I’ve got no hesitation in recommending this solution. And you’ve got the great benefit. It really integrates fantastically with CRM, which is a key technology for myself and for you when you’re working with your clients, isn’t it?
[00:06:08.040] – Spencer Forman
I want to say that again, this is something that’s my primary focus for 2023, in addition to what I had started in 2022. 2023 is there’s two areas that I’m going to be coming out of the box strong, with and fluent. And the products are part of it. WordPress as a service, plus bundling together and financing together in one package, everything somebody needs, whether they’re a startup or an enterprise, because that’s how the rest of the SAS WordPress. Sorry. The SaaS software space works, right? Like, only in WordPress. After owning 43 plus percent of the Internet do we still have a flea market where people randomly have to figure out how to put together everything, like we’re helping them figure out what bumps on each other and then figure out how to pay for it all? So that’s one of the things that to me is right in the palm of my hand this year. And it’s going to be an interesting conversation, I think, because everybody wants that kind of stuff, but it’s been a disagreement of who’s going to make it happen and whether that will be something that catches on. So we’ll see how it works.
[00:07:14.810] – Spencer Forman
This plug in in the suite, I can recommend to anybody at every level with just that one caveat, which we’ll talk about in a second with The Godfather.
[00:07:23.640] – Jonathan Denwood
The Godfather. Well, before we go on to our next solution, I think we’re going to go for our first break and I’ve got a couple of messages from our major sponsors. We’ll be back in a few moments.
[00:07:38.600] – Spencer Forman
Folks, are you looking for ways to make your content more engaging? Sensei LMS by Automatic is the original WordPress solution for creating and selling online courses. Sensei’s new interactive blocks can be added to any WordPress page or post. For example, interactive videos let you pause videos and display quizzes, lead generation forms, surveys and more for a 20% off discount for the tribe. Just use the code Wptonic all one Word when checking out and give Sensei a tribe today.
[00:08:12.270] – Jonathan Denwood
The importance of backing up your WordPress website cannot be emphasized enough. We use Blog Vault to help us do this on a daily basis with free staging, migrations, and on the pro plans, malware scanning and auto fix. Blogvolt is the professional’s choice when managing just one website or many. Go to blogvolt.com and see for yourself. You seriously won’t find a better, more complete solution that’s Blogvolt.com. Blogvolt.com. We’re coming back, folks. Had a couple of messages from our major sponsors. I just want to point out that I’ve got some great special deals from our sponsors. Also have got a curated list of all the best plug in solutions and services. If you’re looking at utilizing WordPress for your membership website, you can get all these goodies free and you can get them by going over to Wptonixdeals and you can sign up for a great weekly newsletter where I have all the best stories and I write a weekly piece about a subject you should find interesting. So let’s go on to the next solution, which isn’t WordPress, but we mentioned it a little bit last week and that was type form and it just blew Spencer away.
[00:09:39.050] – Jonathan Denwood
How much money they had.
[00:09:46.810] – Spencer Forman
That might go down. What happened to your little I forgot. I want to get one of those one of those little stream boxes that was going to have the pre recording.
[00:09:58.270] – Jonathan Denwood
I don’t even know where the weeks.
[00:10:00.450] – Spencer Forman
Checked the donkey and $187,000,000 in light of the recent tech correction, they might have been geniuses, because if they managed to squeeze $187,000,000 and put it in a waterproof box, they’re going to have a good year this year. I just cannot understand what the hell they’re spending that on. This is not chat. GPT. It’s forms, for God’s sake. So I’m sticking with my original comments from last week brought forward. For those who didn’t see it, please do watch that episode or listen that this is a solid product, heavily backed, been around a long time, have no idea why you would use it if you’re in the WordPress world. Because there are better solutions natively in WordPress. That’s the bottom line for me. It’s always my cardinal rule. Quote me 2023 and beyond. Cut every externality you can to your WordPress site. Because when you own it, control it, you keep it in a box, you can save it, clone it, migrate it, share it, duplicate it, modify it, it’s yours. Every single thing outside of your payment gateway or your SMTP that you have as an externality is a liability. No reason to use an external form.
[00:11:22.320] – Jonathan Denwood
I would say that solely that it kind of popularized this multi choice form layout, didn’t it? What are some of the words? I don’t want to go delve too deeply, but are there specifically WordPress solutions that can do a similar style to what type form develops? Which one or two come to mind that you could utilize in the WordPress space? Could you use Fluent to build something like that form?
[00:12:00.710] – Spencer Forman
Like yesterday I was having a conversation with somebody. We can dive into these nuances if we want, but probably right until we get through the list. So there’s things like called conversational forms. It’s a new trend. In the end of 2021, I introduced something for WP Launch Five. That was when this was new and clever from a third party service. But now it’s moved into all the forms that’s instead of having a static form with maybe multiple step pages, it’s like it asks you a question, kind of as if you had an AI but not really been intelligent. But what it does is it gives you kind of a style that’s Socratic method that reduces, in some cases, people’s anxiety about answering a bunch of questions. Plus, it can have conditional branching that’s in just about every one of the modern products. Now, the other stuff is just stylistic and preference. I don’t want to say Type Farm is not an outstanding product. I’m just saying you got Legos, you got Ikea furniture. Buy Legos or buy Ikea stuff. Don’t suddenly bring in, like, a third party subscription service to connect to that, because you already own everything.
[00:13:03.450] – Spencer Forman
Why break what you got, right? Why break the framework that you’ve got?
[00:13:09.230] – Jonathan Denwood
And it’s not ridiculously expensive. It starts at $25. Obviously, it’s got other plans. Which particular feature why I didn’t stay with the fluid is the free product with Fluent is really very powerful. And then if you do need the pro version, that starts at 59, but it has a lot of additional functionality. But they’re both great solutions. Let’s go onward. I think this is the granddaddy. As you were.
[00:13:45.510] – Spencer Forman
This is the godfather.
[00:13:47.690] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:13:49.250] – Spencer Forman
It’d be a shame if you didn’t.
[00:13:50.820] – Jonathan Denwood
Use the Gravity Forms, you know what I’m saying?
[00:13:53.930] – Spencer Forman
This is gravity forms. Carl Hancock is the godfather of the Godfather product. This is the original OG, the Goat of WordPress Plugins. However, there’s the condition that I was alluding to. So I’ll clarify. Now gravity forms is a plug in. I would say the only other one might be divvy and up until recently, elementor. But I believe I cut the cord on maybe that subscription. I was one of their first subscribers. I’ve been paying them since Moses was meeting me in the chatrooms about what to do with the WordPress. And their product has continued to evolve. Recently they upgraded it, thankfully, to a somewhat more modern drag and drop WYSIWYG interface. It still has some quirky things like the inability to dynamically without certain choices, make multicolumns and so forth. But man doesn’t have a ton of legacy and third party code and snippets and integration and help. So the thing we use Gravity Forms for is utility. If we have a customer or you are a customer who has something that’s just like man, this is going to be really complex. We go to Gravity Forms versus Fluent because it’s the Goat, because it’s the OG, because it has the history, there’s going to be some complex version of what you’re doing that already has been worked out.
[00:15:17.880] – Spencer Forman
And for that and for customer purposes, it’s really helpful. You can still achieve the same stuff with Fluent Forms at the face level and for basic stuff or for modern automation. But if you have one of these really complex, weird things like I need a front end solution where people can submit something and it’s going to be ultimately a custom post type, but I need it to be approved. And then it has to make a PDF that emails to Bob and a round robin trip. I mean, I can go down the list. Gravity Forms is your tinker toy box for that?
[00:15:47.310] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, it’s the kind of defer tool of choice, isn’t it? For the specialized, which is one of the strengths of utilizing WordPress, because you got tools like Fluent Forms that really work hand in hand with Fluent CRM, they get all the power marketing optimization, which a couple of years you didn’t, which has been exciting to see it develop in the WordPress space. But also, if you got that urgent business requirement, that specialize. If you’re in need of that, you’ve got the power of something like Gravity Forms, which most developers are going to utilize for that type of project, because it’s got all that integration and it’s got its own market of add on plugins that have built up over the years for specialized graphs for a number of specialized requirements. Which means that you save money because the developer doesn’t have to give up. You just got this add on subsystem underneath it, which you don’t find with a lot of the other WordPress form plugins, do you?
[00:17:15.450] – Spencer Forman
Right. So like on a dollar for dollar value savings, time savings, you could go right up to the Pro Unlimited, the Pro Three site, or go up to the Elite Unlimited. It’s $259, right, for the top of the top, a guarantee you you will pay that back ten times over if you’ve got something that’s complex. And I was just saying but like an example of a front end add on that I use all the time, something like Gravity View. Right. And there’s a whole secondary market of add ons that work directly with Gravity forms, not the least of which are some of the things like the blocks and the themes, but as add ons that allow you to build, as you just said, something without a developer that’s totally no code, but yet works at the higher level. And carl hancock is a founder. Like I said, Carl’s great guy. I see him a lot on Twitter. I’m not saying he’s not involved, but this is a multimillion dollar business with a lot of people working for him now. So the difference between the two is I would say Shajahan is in the hungry phase and Carl’s in the I’m interested in talking and doing other stuff phase, which is not any way derogatory.
[00:18:22.580] – Spencer Forman
I’d probably do the same. But like Carl isn’t going to get in there and start beating the stick to get things done for you. He doesn’t need to do that. Whereas with Shajan I feel like especially with new ideas and stuff, it’s still at that stage of like, yeah, let’s go. Which to me is interesting because Gravity Forms is like divvy and elementor we talked about before. He would never have to work again, just ride this baby out. I don’t know why he would sell it, but let’s say it’s going to continue on forever as long as there’s the WordPress framework. So doesn’t need to be that innovative. In fact, I think a lot of people don’t want it to change that much because it’s a stable thing.
[00:19:00.140] – Jonathan Denwood
I would also say with both the WordPress solutions with Fluent and Gravity, the support you will get from them is pretty quality. They’re both mature team and they believe in support, don’t they?
[00:19:14.100] – Spencer Forman
I think the big difference, which I alluded to at the beginning of talking about The Godfather is that you can find if you search, like I wrote the lunch list plug in. When I’m doing that, I’ll just search for something. And most of your answers as a curious person or a sort of pseudo help developers stack overflow or something. Right? But between the Legacy gravity Forms forums, their new ticket system or things that are public and stack overflow. There’s just millions of different ideas that have been turned into solutions that you can go, that’s what I need, and there’s a filter or a snippet or there’s an add on plug in. And so that even on top of the support is useful compared to something that’s fresh out of the box. Fluent, for all its benefits, does not have that legacy yet. So you have to rely directly on their support team. If you’re not a quote.
[00:20:06.170] – Jonathan Denwood
He’s growing, though, isn’t it, because of its integration with Fluent CRM. But what you’ve just outlined on Gravity is interesting, isn’t it? Because it’s a competitive advantage, but it’s not something that would come to the mind unless you’re active part of a WordPress developer, but is a competitive advantage, isn’t it, that you got all that information out there about gravity forms? Yeah.
[00:20:40.110] – Spencer Forman
So I’ll give you a metaphor. I used to be really handy in fixing cars and I built houses and stuff, but with cars, there’s this whole really interesting genre on YouTube of classic car restoration. Whether the professionals are amateurs and the motives of that versus somebody who buys a new car or just wants to make some car super cool is different. Gravity Forms appeals to somebody from the generation or the skill set that they just need a solution under the hood for a client. Let’s get this done. And having access to all that legacy and all that stability and all that help is a differentiator just like if you’re a classic carbon store, where can I get that carburetor? Where can I get the matching part number? Where can I get the authentic seats? Because that’s different than somebody who comes in fresh today. The metaphor that I’m pushing for WordPress is like WordPress should just be like Ikea Lego blocks. Like, just buy something, take it home, it works. And the things that you need should be not like worrying about serial numbers and tinkering with the carburetor. This should just be like a WYSIWYG, like easy to use.
[00:21:44.690] – Spencer Forman
So that’s the thing I would suggest to people, if you’ve got a complex problem, a client situation, you’re a professional, you got some CSS experience, gravity form still holds water and more if you’re coming in fresh, clean, new, and you’re not worried about complex problems yet. Fluent. That’s it. Those are my number one and number one A, one B. Pick whichever one.
[00:22:06.810] – Jonathan Denwood
Let’s go on to a non WordPress solution. And we mentioned it last week and that’s woohoo. I think I’m pronouncing it correctly. Thank you. It was the darling of the SAS world at one time. They’ve been going on for a while, haven’t they? What’s your thoughts about Wufu?
[00:22:35.890] – Spencer Forman
This kind of gives me a sort of nostalgia. At the same time, I could see there’s still a place for it. So if you’re somebody who literally I’ve got a hockey team or I got a fraternity or a sorority, and I need to just do something really cool looking that does something more than just ask a question that I could do on free Google Forms. Or there’s a little like one trick pony nature to this which is still applicable versus I am a WordPress person who’s got a WordPress site with a bigger picture. Woofu is not solving the problem that gravity forms and fluid forms and other forms in WordPress are doing because in there, it’s part of a utility, it’s part of a system. Whereas Woofu is kind of a one trick pony solution. Like, I need something fast that does a few things that I’m not going to stick around for maybe a long time or do more with. And that’s cool. It’s not a complex solution. It’s not something that has I see some of the comments from James and Otherwise come in. It’s not something that’s going to help you to solve client problems if you’re in WordPress.
[00:23:40.300] – Spencer Forman
So back to my original differentiator. This is kind of like type form, but even more it’s not really what type form does. Type form is the utility, but living out on its own. Woof. Woo is sort of all in one box, like Gum Road. Like, I just want to sell one thing kind of solution for I need to take information from people.
[00:23:58.220] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah. And it starts at reasonable price at $14. And if you’re determined to use a slash solution rather than WordPress is your core, I think it’s totally worth looking at.
[00:24:15.970] – Spencer Forman
Great interface, but it’s not great anymore compared to like remember the days when we had different types of phones, right? There’s a trio and a BlackBerry and a flip phone and the original iPhone and the big handset. Then people could differentiate, like Nokia on design. Woofoo came from that generation where like WYSIWYG Farms was like, oh my God, this is so cool and easy. But now everybody has that, right? That’s the standard.
[00:24:39.610] – Jonathan Denwood
Before we go for our mid break, I’m going to move the last one up. I’m just going to move contact form seven so we can have a quick chat about it. I’m just going to say this. It was quite a while ago that I had a bit of a spat with the original developer of this contact form unsurprising. Some people won’t be that surprised.
[00:25:13.910] – Spencer Forman
[00:25:14.250] – Jonathan Denwood
You got something like fluent Forms, the free version. I just don’t understand why somebody would use contact form seven.
[00:25:32.170] – Spencer Forman
You actually had conversation with Takayuki Mioshi?
[00:25:36.590] – Jonathan Denwood
No, this is Donkey’s Years because I’m so old and I’ve been involved in the WordPress. Not as long as you, but almost. Do you remember the regional? He was a German guy and he had a food blog.
[00:25:50.270] – Spencer Forman
He was kind of remember, but it’s so long ago because Donkeys Years ago and he has been running this for some time. And this is the OG, goat godfather of the free plugins. That’s the number one differentiator. Free as in you don’t pay for it? Not as in free beer?
[00:26:10.950] – Jonathan Denwood
Yes. I just wondered what your own views because I’m basing mine on donkey’s years kind of spat with the original one. My attitudes are totally out of date, but it’s had the occasional security hiccup, but that’s probably more due to the fact that it’s utilized on millions of websites. What I’m saying is, for that solution, I just say to people, go to fluent, but what’s your own views around content?
[00:26:47.830] – Spencer Forman
All right, let’s break out a couple of things. First of all, worth noting, my Palmeir Kamal from the Gutenberg Hub just released the Contact Form Seven block for Gutenberg Editor, which takes one of the things I’m going to talk about, about what was quirky about Contact Form Seven and brings it at least up to the modern three things that are relevant differentiators. Number one contact. Form seven is free. Free, free. There’s not even a paid option free. It has over 5 million. They stopped counting, so it could have I’ve looked at stats, it might have 40 million for all we know. But the point is, I admire the author, Takahu Yuki. I have reached out to him, have not heard back from him. I think he’s very private but solid. Just nonstop dedication to a free plug in. And unlike everyone else, he’s kind of like the Craigslist of this. He sort of avoided any of the shenanigans that happens, like being sold to somebody with initials AW or, you know, introducing a change in the plugin that suddenly changes every single thing about it in order to upsell people. Because as a marketer, I look at the 5 million plus number and my I start salivating like, oh my God, what could I do with this?
[00:28:02.760] – Spencer Forman
He’s avoided that and I think because he’s just this is like his life work, at least from this one plug in. Now, the plug in itself as a free thing is attractive to a lot of people who try to take a nickel out of their pocket and squeeze it to see if pennies will fall out of it. And from that standpoint, plus what Munir is doing, super sexy here’s a core plugin probably should have been part of WordPress at some point that essentially does a lot of complex stuff, has a lot of following, a lot of support with this block thinking. Now, second thing, James and some other comments on what I was talking about. This is not a plug in you use on a client site, full stop. Because for $59 or whatever it costs you to get into Fluent or whatever you get into Gravity Forms for the same amount, you put that in for a client site. Because if you’re running a business and you go with contact form seven, you need to have your head examined. Quite frankly, because there are so many limitations to what this can do, that it’s just like free lunch versus I’m going to a restaurant.
[00:29:07.000] – Spencer Forman
That makes me the meal because I’ve got 60 minutes and I got to get back to work. Okay. Three. I love the fact that this is there, but I continue to struggle with why the F has this not been woven into core or made part of automatic? It’s worrisome to my mind, but it also reflects if we go back to my point, we started the show. The future of WordPress is going to be bifurcated. There will always be the tinkerers knock on wood that will be allowed to do stuff. But the majority of end users, quite frankly, their eyes would cross and their heads would explode if you gave them contact form Seven. So I don’t see why gutenberg block contact form seven is not something that’s just native to WordPress. It would be so much more logical and easy. So from my standpoint, I just kind of appreciate it’s there. I would not recommend it to anybody other than I got a free ballerina site on WordPress and I’m playing around with it and that’s it.
[00:30:03.730] – Jonathan Denwood
Just to finish off, does Jetpack have a form?
[00:30:08.050] – Spencer Forman
I don’t know because if I see Jetpack that’s the first thing I delete then I delete hello dolly and a kismet and once those are gone I feel safe to start moving on with a client.
[00:30:21.350] – Jonathan Denwood
I always feel above the beat so dusty because there’s such nice.
[00:30:25.740] – Spencer Forman
People you know what Jetpack is? Jetpack if you see on a client site that’s like you see a client and you go hold on 1 second while I call the IRS to let them know that I think you should be audited hi, IRS. I’ve got a client here. I think you should. You’re already connected to them and you can see perfect because it’s the ultimate phone home violation of everything like Jetpack and business. No, sorry.
[00:30:51.870] – Jonathan Denwood
I’ll just confirm that was on the right track. But I still feel a bit guilty being so horrible too. But there we go. It’s just the facts of the situation. Folks, we’re going to go for our break mid break. We will be back in a few moments.
[00:31:10.210] – Spencer Forman
Hey, it’s Spence from Launchflows.com. If you’ve been looking for a fast and easy way to create powerful sales funnels on WordPress, then look no further than Launch Flows. In just minutes you can easily create instant registration upsells down sells, order bumps, one click checkouts one time offers custom thank you pages and best of all, no coding is required. For as little as $50 per year you can own and control your entire sales funnel machine with launch flows. Get your copy today. This podcast episode is brought to you by Lifter LMS, the leading learning management system solution for WordPress. If you or your client are creating any kind of online course, training based membership website or any type. Of Elearning Project Lifter LMS is the most secure, stable, well supported solution on the market. Go to Lifterlms.com and save 20% at checkout with Coupon code podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show.
[00:32:20.030] – Jonathan Denwood
We’re coming back. Folks, I just want to point out we got a great Facebook group, the Facebook Membership Machine show. Me and Spencer are Admins. If you’ve got any questions, go join us on that Facebook group. We love you to join us. Plus, you can watch the show live at around 830 a. M. Every Friday, Pacific Standard Time. And you can put live questions, but just join it. Got any other questions during the week? And place them in the Facebook group about your membership website. And me and Spencer will get back to you. And it’s just a great resource and a great community. Please join us there. So onto edge. Oh, God.
[00:33:08.970] – Spencer Forman
What do you know?
[00:33:15.390] – Jonathan Denwood
Wait for the emails from the founder with joyp forms. What’s your fault about WP forms, spencer.
[00:33:27.570] – Spencer Forman
Okay, I need to get verification, so I’m looking at the docs, but maybe, you know, the last time I touched this bad boy, did it not have to connect to the server in order to work.
[00:33:46.390] – Jonathan Denwood
His little house?
[00:33:48.090] – Spencer Forman
Because I’m looking to their thing to make sure I don’t want to cast aspersions here. Yeah. Okay. I’m seeing their license key process. This is I’m going to put a caveat on it. Okay. As I recall using this, and I could be wrong, the thing that bugged me about this at the time, besides and am I correct? Who owns this?
[00:34:12.370] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, it’s part of the Solid family.
[00:34:18.050] – Spencer Forman
The last time I had two issues with it, number one was that the registration process was not pure open source. And what I mean by that, and again, I may be wrong, I’m putting a big caveat on this and I need to test it again. But the last time I remember trying this is that the licensing on this was required for the thing to function, which is different than licensing, because I want your automatic updates and support. And I can’t say enough how I feel that that is a violation of the principles of GPL. I’m an attorney. I don’t think legally it’s a black and white. It’s a gray area, but from all the other plugins, there’s very few. And the only other worst offender was elementor that literally requires you to phone home with an overlay. But this doesn’t sit well with me if it’s true. And I can test it while we’re here because I’ll do it while you’re talking. But the second thing, the ownership and all the other nonsense, the black hat stuff, the cross selling, the upselling, the whatever, I would not touch a product from the sellers of this because of the way they handle their black cat and their SEO and their customer stuff.
[00:35:25.610] – Spencer Forman
And I feel that they’re very duplicitous. So this is a difficulty for us on the show because if I was objectively just talking about the product itself, I don’t feel this holds a candle to just using gravity forms or even fluid forms.
[00:35:38.680] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, if we can before, let’s have two buckets here. Let’s have the actual about the plug in because they are to give on his review. We got to cover both buckets, but let’s just deal with the actual plugin while we’re speaking.
[00:35:59.560] – Spencer Forman
By the way, I’m going to launch a demo to see whether I’m valid, but I agree with you. Let’s put it in a bucket because you and I both have a lot of personal biases that we’re objectively saying are true.
[00:36:09.130] – Jonathan Denwood
No, they’re true, but what I’m saying is there’s two buckets still with what the form does. I think the form has a polished UX design. I think at different levels, it has different pricing structures, but they all do to some degree, and it does a lot. And it does have a polished UX design. It is expensive compared to some of its major competitors. One thing I’m interested before we go on to the business bucket, which everything you’ve outlined, I think has been totally fair. Your remarks have been totally fair. I’m not sure about the black hat part because I think a lot what they do is what I call gray SEO. But that can be argumented about, but it’s just the price of it and the other things they do to bug people to buy other products in his little empire, I just think compared to Fluent, but when we’re looking at UX design, what’s your feelings about Fluent’s UX design compared to WP forms? If you weren’t a power user developer type, if you were just a normal quaso business user, do you think Fluent is just as easy to use as WP forms if you’re that business user type rather than a power user stripe developer type?
[00:37:53.350] – Spencer Forman
WP Forms has a very fluid interface. It has a very mature interface. It’s very understandable for a naive person. There’s a lot of tabs going around, but I can’t say that there’s anything about either one of those products that is not mature. I think the difference between the two of them is that this is again, I’m sorry, but this isn’t about the owner, but this is about the way this stuff is presented. This takes you into its own screen. I’m validating it. Now, my original thoughts on it. Okay, so when you’re using Fluent, you’re in the WordPress dashboard and the WordPress sidebar and header and all the WordPress stuff is there, and you see stuff. And number one, you’re not taken to a separate screen. So I’m not saying that’s a black and white problem. That’s just a different experience. Like, oh, I’m out of my WordPress environment now. I’m into this standalone focus mode of WP forms, which doesn’t feel right to me compared to the workflow. Second of all is like things such as their pro version, you cannot escape with their free plug in the gravity of there’s, like, 20 options and half or more of them.
[00:38:57.760] – Spencer Forman
Every time you click the tab, even though they’re a little grayed out just slightly, it pops up an overlay. And if I was using this on a client site, I’d be pissed off because it’s like I don’t want the client to be continually having to close modal windows on every single thing they click. How about on the free version? Like with Fluent, you just hide all that shit. That’s the difference. And that goes back to the black hat tactics. It’s not wrong. I’m a marketer. But it’s also not right, is it?
[00:39:27.760] – Jonathan Denwood
Because he pushes it out to the extreme all the time, him, and he’s.
[00:39:33.850] – Spencer Forman
Back to the client part. Like, you bought this for yourself. Sorry. You used the free version intelligently. Okay, give me one splash screen that I could dismiss that disables all of the other upsells. But after that, if I want to use your free thing for myself and my client, can you please not be like a billboard that keeps interrupting my favorite television show or that of my client?
[00:39:57.790] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I think the reason why we’re going on about that a little bit is it affects the usability of WordPress itself. It degrades the general experience of using the platform in general. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re being a bit critical here. Would you agree with that, Spence?
[00:40:17.810] – Spencer Forman
Yeah. And again, I’m in the interface now, and I’m not saying I’m giving it a total fair shake because it’s been a while. I used to really run these things down. I did full reviews. But right now I’m trying to just make a simple form, right. And I created one, and I want to embed it. And let me just see if it actually works, because that was the one thing sorry, but I want to just do this live. If it works, it’s one thing, but in just the other. Set up on testing, let’s see what it does, because I don’t want to be on record of saying something unfair to them. Okay. It does seem to work. So I’m going to go back on what I said before. The things that earlier might have been true, where it was like, it wouldn’t even work unless you registered. That’s not necessarily true with the Free version. But the other things that I just said are true, which is that it’s doing a heck of an effort to try to upsell. No, I can’t begrudge a company for doing that. I can’t. That’s what I would do if I was them, but I would do it transparently or in a way that was oriented towards the intelligence of my users instead of again, I’ll use GoDaddy as a comparison.
[00:41:22.210] – Spencer Forman
I use GoDaddy for all my domains, have used it forever. GoDaddy is very progressive about a lot of stuff, like their relationship with Pagely and doing WooCommerce transactional stuff now. But man, oh, man, do they treat me like a moron when I buy a domain name, because I just bought one yesterday for some new idea and it’s just the black hat checkout tactics. Like things are checked as add ons and I got to be constantly looking at everything, and that’s been going on since the days of Bob Parsons. I don’t think that people are dumb. And in today’s world, that just seems to me to be a bad recipe for longevity. Obviously, you can’t deny the owner of this plug in success, but it comes at a big cost, because if you ask any professional industry what they think about this owner or that company or somebody that’s also similar in the SEO field, it’s not all roses and high fives. It’s like an Elon Musk kind of response. It’s a very polarizing business model, and I think that’s unfortunate. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
[00:42:18.350] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah. All right. I always struggle with you can tell.
[00:42:22.770] – Spencer Forman
By the way how much love I have for.
[00:42:29.150] – Jonathan Denwood
I think your remarks have been fair and balanced, put it that way.
[00:42:34.530] – Spencer Forman
And on the facts. So my opinions are opinions, but if my opinions are based on factual things, then we can argue over whether I’m perceiving them in the same way as others. And it’s up to everybody to decide.
[00:42:45.500] – Jonathan Denwood
But I think sometimes I go over the top. Sometimes you do. But I’m just saying we’re just human. I’m just saying that what you’ve said in this particular show.
[00:42:55.260] – Spencer Forman
I think it’s been the human being behind the company. Good guy, good father. I don’t hang out with them at all.
[00:43:03.050] – Jonathan Denwood
He doesn’t. Yeah. On to the next one. I just can never be able to pronounce this name correctly. I wish I could. Niger. I always get it wrong. Ninja forms. They were really big. They probably still are big. It’s not something that I just rely on fluent or gravity. But what’s your thoughts about what they are offering?
[00:43:35.010] – Spencer Forman
I want to go back to the pricing and see where they’re at today. Because single site lines, they’re reasonable. Yeah. I’m going to put this in the category of been around forever. Great reputation. They work at a professional level really well. I think that the attraction to them initially might have been for the other things that they were built with or worked with. They do have a lot of add ons, but you know what I mean. Like, think of the page builders before Gutenberg got a lot of attraction. Right. We went from one to two to five to seven to nine, and there were some people in certain page builders were like that’s exactly resonating with me. So to that extent, I would say anybody should or could give this a fair shot. It holds up against all of the factors that we discussed right? Good for a single person, good for maybe small business, has lots of people supporting it, great reputation, priced right. It’s just another brand of coffee on the shelf of the fine coffee vendor.
[00:44:38.410] – Jonathan Denwood
I think they initially got a lot of it’s a quality founder team and they’re totally respect to utilize. I think they got traction because they really offered a lot in their free product where a lot of other people it was free but it was crippled a lot, theirs wasn’t. And they got this balance between a free product that actually worked to a certain degree and then having Premier addons that actually kind of because it is tricky to get this right and a lot of people don’t get it right because it’s not easy but they got the balance. But then Fluent came on and some other people have come on the market and there’s a lot more functionality in free plugins when they hit the market a lot. The free plugins, if you weren’t going to use contact volume seven, which I would never use that’s, where would you agree what I’ve outlined? Or do you think I’ve gone off track a little bit?
[00:45:44.990] – Spencer Forman
Yeah. One of our listeners, James has posted about the security issues. Now this I will say with a grain of salt. I posted a link that we can put in the show notes, that is the CVE details. It’s a database of all security vulnerabilities. Like many big and popular plugins are going to have their share of security problems. But they do seem to have been having a bad streak the last years from 2021 to 2022 because in those years alone, 16 security vulnerabilities large enough to warrant being posted. That’s not inconsequential and I don’t know personally how they handled it. I think they’ve all been worked out. But I would say that it’s good or bad, they were updated very quickly. So like it says, the date in one case it was June 16 and fixed on June 27. Once it was September 22, October 27, that’s kind of a long spread. But in other dates it was just a couple of days, maybe even the same day. So if it hit a certain point, like a 6.5 out of ten, they seem to fix it right away and the other ones they kind of said yeah, we’ll take a look at it.
[00:46:55.920] – Spencer Forman
So listen, fair is fair objectively. They’ve had a few hiccups and bumps but it’s a solid product. I would say anybody who’s curious should check it out. There’s nothing about it that puts it out of the box for a WordPress user.
[00:47:07.870] – Jonathan Denwood
No, I think that’s totally fair.
[00:47:10.910] – Spencer Forman
Onto the next one and no bad politics.
[00:47:14.090] – Jonathan Denwood
No, they have always been fair to me. I think in general they’re fair people. There’s nothing. So onto the next one, we have been around quite a while. Full formula, all forms, a team, a man and white team. They’ve got business partners, investors based in Utah being part of the WordPress ecosystem for quite a while. It’s not something I’ve used it’s on my radar. Has a lot of add on plugins, a lot of functionality. What’s your thoughts about this solution?
[00:48:05.130] – Spencer Forman
I think it’s in the category of let’s see if this works. Also, hold on. I was attempting a little AI version. Formidable form. Sort of falls into the type form category. Right. I don’t know. This is what concerns me, because I’m pretty sure it is a plug in. Okay, it’s a plug in, right? Yeah. Okay, so I didn’t want to make a mistake. Like, formidable assessment. I think what I said in the last show about this was I couldn’t figure out why it was priced the way it was. So I’m going to revisit that because that’s what my instinct is telling me to look back at. Right. It’s reasonable. 39, 50 a year. I don’t remember now what exactly my thing was, other than to say it seemed to have a lot of complexity and it was like sort of your maybe third or fourth choice on the list. Oh, I know why it was because in the nature of we were talking about it as an events thing, but as a forms thing, sure. Without saying more, I would put it in the category of what we just talked about with Ninja Forms, which is been there forever, huge team, price, reasonable plug in, not a SAS.
[00:49:21.160] – Spencer Forman
It’s got a lot of historical stuff. As I look it up for people that are doing stuff with it, maybe Snippets and CSS tricks.
[00:49:29.270] – Jonathan Denwood
I think it’s one of those scenarios if you’re looking at Fluent or you’re looking at Gravity, and for whatever reason, it doesn’t fit what you’re looking at, you could look at it and if it’s got a specific bit of functionality or there’s a reason, go ahead. Like Spencer said, there are certain plugins. If I see them on a website and we’re developing for the client, or we’re supporting and they asked us, we would advise them, you should take that off. If I had a hosting client and he asked us to do security all day and I saw formidable forms, I wouldn’t it wouldn’t be something I would say, oh, you’ve got to do something about that. If they were happy to use it. Okay.
[00:50:19.430] – Spencer Forman
Just as an objective thing on security, they only had three events in the last three years, three and a half years. So like 16 in the last two versus three in the last three. So I don’t feel there’s anything about their security. The stuff that they got nailed on in 2021 was like a global kind of thing with WordPress plugins. So solid, solid product. It’s really difficult for me on this one to be even giving any qualifier because it’s sort of like I said, it’s another really nice branded coffee sitting on the shelves with other coffee so fluent and gravity and so forth. You could just look at all of them, see which one smells good, tastes good. Try them. TADA. It’s not missing anything.
[00:51:10.700] – Jonathan Denwood
Obvious ratio. On to the next one. Seems quite popular. I don’t know much about this, but the people behind it seems pretty solid. I don’t know if you’ve got any faults and that love the name. Happy fault. Sorry.
[00:51:31.160] – Spencer Forman
This is a standalone, isn’t it? I don’t think it’s a plug in. Is it for one website? Well, hold on. Let’s see. I never heard of this one, to be honest. I don’t know where you found this one.
[00:51:43.010] – Jonathan Denwood
Oh, they’re pretty they’re they’re pretty popular.
[00:51:49.730] – Spencer Forman
It’s in there. Yeah, it’s in the repository. It got a lot of good reviews of 343 five stars, and but there’s a few one stars, but interesting. I don’t know this I have to launch it right now to see what it looks like.
[00:52:03.510] – Jonathan Denwood
It’s it’s got a solid free product, and they offered a great solution. If you were looking, they got traction. I’m basing this on my memory. So folks, when you get to my age, my memory starts to go a little bit. But they offered a great solution that kind of did. What type forms did about 18 months ago, might be two years ago, as you outlined, Spencer, a particular style became and they got a great free product. It’s got a nice modern interface, and they got a lot of integration.
[00:52:47.430] – Spencer Forman
I’ll tell you my initial impressions, plus and minus. I use Insta WP to just launch these things real quick. So I’m actually looking at number one. It’s clear that they know what they’re doing. The amount of positive reviews and support things, the complaints, and the free plugin are a good indicator. On the positive side, I like their metaphor of the style of what they’re doing. While it is true that it puts it like the WP forms into its own situation full screen, it’s tabbed in nature in a way that I can’t say it’s better or worse, but it really is intuitive. What’s going on. On the left side is your navigation on your right side of the fields, and each field has a little icon for a pencil to click on. This would be easy for somebody. Plus, there’s a responsive stuff on the downside, much like WPForms, the free plug in is just littered silly with red upgrade circles now less annoying than a motor window by an exponential amount. This would be annoying, but not interrupting my workflow. The moto window is unconscionably interruptive, like, just every single time I got to find the moto.
[00:54:02.480] – Spencer Forman
I want to see one thing as a developer. This is me being naughty, but let me just see. Okay, here’s what’s cool about it. I’m sure they don’t want you to do this, but they’ve made it. They’re nice enough. Let me see if I can do it. Yeah, they’re nice enough. That anybody with even like 2 seconds of CSS experience can hide all those red circles for a client. So I could use the free plugin, hide all the annoying stuff, the fields would still be there for the pro stuff. So I’m going to give this a definite checkout. I would say try this out, see if you like it. I don’t have any problems with what they’re doing here as far as the pricing on the main product. It’s a little expensive for what the computer doing.
[00:54:46.970] – Jonathan Denwood
UX design is quite modern and I think if there’s a Pacific case, it’s one of the things that if you’re looking for a Pacific solution and you’re not a power user, reasonably happy with PHP scripting, copying scripting utilizing something like gravity forms. If you’re looking for a Pacific solution that some of the other plugins we have mentioned can’t do for you, you could look at this and it seems popular as a link to how our conversation has gone. As an end wrap up, you mentioned that you could put some CSS code to get rid of these upgrade reminders. Are there any kind of plugins that you can install that can switch off some of the more painful upsell attempts from some of because it really does affect it drives we help out, but it really does reduce the usability of WordPress in general, what some of these people are doing. Are there any kind of plugins you can install on your radar that can help somebody who isn’t happy that they might find some PHP functions and they need to paste them in for whatever reason? Are there some plugins that can help with this?
[00:56:36.750] – Spencer Forman
[00:57:42.700] – Spencer Forman
So ironically, maybe that would be what I would do is like maybe I would release a snippet for the Snippets plug in. That was just the clone of somebody else’s snippets plug in by that company and I would put in it. Here’s how to hide all those modal windows. There is a snippet of script that almost every plug in could have that will be available to paste into a plug in. But you have to Google search it selectively. There’s no universal way to hide all of these notices. And then you’ve also got to deal with the problem that let’s say you hide it, but there’s still a field there that is just non functional that would be confusing to your customers. So you probably want to hide the fields. And this is where I go back to my original point for my clients and myself who write software in WordPress. If you want to make a free plug in, make a free plug in and make it different than the paid plug in so that there’s one ban or one notice, I want the Pro plug in. But the free plug in is not just constantly reminding you like, we’re not married, we’re just going on a coffee date.
[00:58:47.530] – Spencer Forman
Like, you got to pay me to go out again. It’s like stop, because it takes away from the functionality. Contact form seven does not do that.
[00:58:58.250] – Jonathan Denwood
It doesn’t. And it’s all about balance. But some of these plug in offers, the maturity are fine. It’s just that some have pushed a bridge too far, to say the least.
[00:59:13.150] – Spencer Forman
The legacy of WordPress non top down solution for making money from writing plugins, that’s the problem. I mean, that was the incentive for bad behavior that we are continuing to fight today. Like, there’s a topical conversation today about what’s doing like the normal admin editor with like barrages of notices that are all over the place instead of being standardized. It’s because nobody from the top down will just say, hey, here’s a fair and objective way for everybody to be having a free product with an upsell. You know where that would be? That would be in the repository where you can actually say, this is free, and click here to get our paid one and the support and everything. Then people wouldn’t need an admin notice in the dashboard. But that’s not going to happen as long as we’re alive.
[01:00:01.550] – Jonathan Denwood
No, it’s never going to happen. So going to wrap it up now folks. I think we’ve had a good outline of some of the solutions. It’s been more WordPress focused this episode, but we’ve gone through not exhausted all the WordPress form solutions out there. I’m sure there’s some that we haven’t mentioned. I’ve done my best, me and Spencer to talk about what we feel are some of the leading ones that are on mine and Spencer’s radar. Like I say, please consider joining us on the WP membership machine show Facebook Group. If you’re looking to develop a membership website, that’s a great resource. Join us we got a small community there, spencer, myself go on there and post additional information and if you’ve got any specific questions, plus you can watch the show live from the Facebook group. You’ll be notified when we are coming up with the live show and you got any urgent questions, you can put them to us during the show and we will always attempt to answer any questions given us during the show. Spencer, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and your extensive knowledge?
[01:01:26.530] – Jonathan Denwood
Spencer. Thank you, Jonathan.
[01:01:29.450] – Spencer Forman
I’ve got a new hub as of this email@example.com and it’s F-O-R-M-A-N. No E. Leave off the E for savings. And there you will see a stream of all my content, my social media, and I cover the four pillars of WordPress’s business solutions similar to yourself. It’s a great place for somebody to go to my other businesses for software and otherwise. But I want to say as a wrap up of today’s topic, it’s a process that is unwinding on its own, but very soon there will be no need for 17 flavors of vanilla yogurt, right? Like today we’re talking about forms, the market that was has created, we did what, twelve things, maybe ten of them, which are WordPress or something. The future will not have that. So what I suggest to anybody is find something you like that works today, but don’t make your buying decisions based upon, like a year from now or two years from now, because I can 100% guarantee there will be no incentive for all these independent tinkerers like myself yourself to build more of these little independent copies of vanilla yogurt. Like, we don’t need seven to ten forms plugins in WordPress, we need one in the core and that would be fine.
[01:02:46.320] – Spencer Forman
And then there could be some competition that has differentiators but today’s show really put the light, in my opinion, on the fact that we’ve got a couple of Godfather products and a couple of interesting spin offs, but it’s really just like they taste the same, look the same, act the same, pick the one you want. It just seems odd that there’s so much differentiation on such a non differentiated product, right? I mean, it’s be hard on a blind taste test to know the difference. So I’m just saying to people who are asking today, try the 1234 we talked about, but don’t feel like you’re buying Lifetime stuff, maybe that’s the takeaway because it’s not going to be necessary.
[01:03:24.630] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s great. I just want to point out, folks, if you found this podcast or you’re watching it on YouTube and you find it useful, please do us a favor and share it on social media and just say that so other people can join us and get some value from the show. And you’ll be supporting the show as well because it does take time for us to produce the show and. Spencer has got better things to do, but he does this to promote himself. But he also deals with my has to deal with my madness. So that puts some stress on him. But he seems happy today.
[01:03:59.660] – Spencer Forman
Actually, I’ve been hired by Jonathan’s Caretaker to take over for at least an hour a week so that they can go out and get some coffee.
[01:04:06.250] – Jonathan Denwood
Exactly. I’d be nursing care most of the time. My screen just got blank. I have bull stuff a little bit here, but I will return. So we’re going to end the show. We will be back next week with another great topic to help you build a successful membership website for you. Back soon, folks. Bye.
[01:04:28.050] – Ending
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