Drupal is a free and open source Content Management system. Since its’ inception in 2001, hundreds of thousands of webmasters and aspiring entrepreneurs have utilized its’ ever expanding features to create, manage and maintain their websites. Ranging from small personal blogs to corporate sites with intricate graphics and multiple pages, the usage of Drupal is evident all over the World Wide Web.
A crucial feature of any site that aspires to be more than just a static repository of content or basic advertising blurb is the contact form. Allowing the reader, and perhaps potential customer, instant access to further information, even if it is just to ask a simple question, can be crucial to a site’s ultimate success.
The contact form module is built into the Drupal Core system, but like many features within the program it is turned off by default in the basic installation. To activate the module the user must click through to Administer/Site Building/Modules and follow the prompts to turn on the contact module. It is a relatively quick and simple procedure.
In order to begin configuring your new form you need to navigate to Administer/Site Building/Contact Form and click the Add Category tab to begin. You will at this point be prompted to name your category, which you are free to label as you please.
A nice feature of Drupal is that it gives you ability to set up multiple contact forms in any category you require, each of which can be directed to a different contact e mail address. For instance, you may want to create a different contact form for various departments, such as Customer Service, Billing or general information. Drupal also allows each individual form to be directed to multiple e mail addresses, useful perhaps if you have a team of people working in the same division. You configure the recipients for each form by entering the addresses, separated by a comma, when prompted to do so. You are also offered the option of configuring a polite auto-responder, allowing you to make instant contact with the interested individual even though you may be too busy to address their needs immediately.
The standard setup creates a form with fields for name, email address, subject and message. There is also a check box that allows the sender to receive a copy of the message, which can be disabled if you so wish.
If you wish to customize your form beyond these basics you can do so by browsing to Administer/Site Building/Contact Form/Settings .This area will also allow you to set up a useful anti spam measure that will limit the number of contact forms that may be received in a single hour, so your inbox is not bombarded with spam contact forms.
When you activate the Contact Form module, a menu item is created for the page. Again, this is an item initially disabled by default but can be activated by going to Administer/Site Building/Menus, locating the Contact Form tab and clicking on the enable button. You may then move each form to the appropriate place in your site’s navigation. Once activated according to the prompts, the live links to your forms should appear when the page is refreshed.
To ensure the form is functioning correctly you should send a couple of quick messages through it, an important final step as there is little more frustrating to an interested user than a contact form that does not work.