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A few months ago when I started a little side project using WordPress. If you don’t know what WordPress is, check out my What is WordPress? post. It turns out I’m somewhat graphically challenged, so the progress is slow. Most recently I have been working on setting up subscription and contact forms on my website and I’d like to share some insights.

I decided to use Contact Form 7 as my form front end, primarily because it was “free” with the theme I ended up purchasing (turns out it’s free anyway). Contact Form 7 is what you would expect from a form engine, there’s not a whole lot to it:

Essentially once somebody completes the form an email is sent to a predetermined address with the details contained. It seems somewhat cumbersome copying those who subscribe into some Excel workbook or other storage space.

While researching Contact Form 7 I noticed that the developer also has a plugin called Flamingo which I decided to use. Flamingo integrates with Contact Form 7 and stores the messages (presumably in a database table), Contact Form 7 can still email too which is great for, say, a contact page rather than a subscribe page where rapid response is required.

Next, I decided to look into integration with MailChimp, as everyone seems to use MailChimp, and guess what? It’s free too. There’s a Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension plugin available, once that is installed a new tab is present on the Contact Form along with further fields:

So once I had the plugins installed I went over to MailChimp and signed up, during this process it created an initial list and signed me up to it. Once in MailChimp, you can take the API key and apply it in WordPress, and there’s something called a Webhook that has to be set up – it seems to just be the page (e.g. http://yoursite.com/contact) where the form resides.

So once all the integration, configuration and testing is completed you can sit back and collect some contacts.

Down the line, once the list of people subscribed has grown – MailChimp is your friend for targeted campaigns and subsequent analytics. MailChimp is able to track email campaigns, see who has opened an email, where they opened the email, and even if that person has clicked on any links contained within the email, along with a lot else – check out MailChimp Features.

See you somewhere in the cyberness.

Thomas – MacGyver of code

Thomas blogs about reporting platforms, data warehousing and the systems behind them.

You can read Thomas’s other blog posts about WordPress, BI and all kinds of other things here.

We run regular business intelligence courses in both Wellington and Auckland.

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