What Free Web Form Builders Can’t Do

Written by Heather Mueller on June 12, 2015

Posted in Form Hacks

If you run a WordPress or Drupal website or use a marketing automation tool, you probably have some experience building online forms—either through a free plugin or extra feature tossed in with other software services.

The backend might look similar to this screenshot, which shows some of the code used to meticulously create a web form with a popular free online form builder*:

Free Form Builder Code

Oftentimes, these forms have confines to how they can be designed or branded. How can a platform that’s so critical to the success of your website result in a form that’s so easy to miss? This can be especially disheartening for the non-programmer who’s spent hours learning and fine-tuning each line of code, only to end up with an amateur-looking form and no easy way to organize the data when someone actually stops to fill it out.

In these situations, your first instinct may be to hire a $100-an-hour professional web developer. Because, let’s face it: Free web form builders are often a letdown.

Before you drop that kind of money on yet another contractor, it’s worth looking into what you could accomplish with a more robust form builder. The right platform will make it incredibly easy to create forms that convert like crazy, with features such as: 

Custom Designs that Take Minutes to Create
Today’s advanced form builders are designed so you can drag and drop your way to polished, professional forms with little-to-no coding knowledge. You can customize virtually anything, from form backgrounds and buttons to fonts and overall designs, within a matter of minutes. 

While Cascading Style Sheets are often accessible for times you do want to go behind the scenes, they’re not typically required to get attention-grabbing results. (And at Formstack, we remove the mystery from form CSS.)

Drag and Drop

A robust form builder offers all kinds of easy drag-and-drop field and format options.


Integrations that Make Virtually Anything Possible
Tired of manually adding addresses to your lists? Use email marketing and CRM integrations to automate the process. Need to increase orders? Use Conditional Logic and payment gateway integrations to get paid faster. Want to give people a way to fill out your forms faster? Pull from social media accounts to make things easier on time-crunched, mobile visitors.

You can even link your forms to all of the most popular Google Apps to schedule appointments, register event attendees, create spreadsheets, and more.

Custom Themes You Can Use Again and Again
A form theme builder gives you the flexibility to stylize your form to fit your website’s branding—once again, without having to touch a single line of code. You can use it to quickly and easily customize backgrounds, colors, headers, fonts, and more.

Whether you stylize a pre-made theme or create your own from scratch, the entire setup can be accomplished within an intuitive interface like the one below:

Theme Builder

Formstack’s theme builder makes it easy to create custom, branded forms.


It will get amazing results, like the one you see here. And once you get your theme looking exactly how you’d like it, you can use it again and again as a template for additional forms.

Advanced Analytics
Have you ever spent hours creating a free online form, only to realize later that one little line of misplaced code rendered the whole thing unfillable? Or wondered if there’s one particular question that’s turning away people who would otherwise fill it out? Wouldn’t it be great if you could access data that points to why some visitors who start to fill out your form never hit the “submit” button?

With an advanced form builder, you can.

Partial Submissions let you capture customer information through forms even when they’re never completed. A/B Testing lets you see exactly which colors, fonts and calls to action lead more people to fill out your forms. And Field Bottlenecks reveal exactly where people choose to abandon a form, so you can quickly fix issues.


  With a monthly form building subscription, you can collect info on customers…even if they never submit your form.

All of the above features are included in Formstack’s Platinum-level subscription, and you can get instant access to most of them with a free, 14-day trial. (No freemium versions here. We want to give all users access to features that make form building effective, easy, and fun.) 

Have a question about these and other form-building features? Start a conversation with a super savvy member of the Formstack team. We’re always happy to help solve your biggest web form-building challenges.

*Company names have been intentionally omitted to protect innocent free web form builders.