Get Rid of That Captcha! Increase Your Conversions

Trying to increase conversions while leveraging Spam?

Every marketer knows that to increase your conversions or leads you need to have a simple and effective web form; paired with a good CTA. Every field you add increases the likeliness that the person won’t even bother filling it out. And then the real problem, what sort of captcha should you use to handle the spam effectively? I have been a big fan of the free Contact Form 7 plugin and have used it on hundreds of WordPress installs over the years. One problem you run into thought with Contact Form 7 is that it doesn’t handle spam very well. And while you can implement an image captcha or math problem, it still seems to let spam through.

Over the past few weeks I have been testing with the honeypot technique, hidden fields, specific required character formats, etc. with Contact Form 7 plugin and no matter what I did, there was always some spam that would get through the web form. I was also using a math captcha, as that is the least annoying captcha I have come across. So I went out to find a new solution. And this is where Gravity Forms comes into play. I had used Gravity forms on a client’s site a few years back and wasn’t that impressed, especially when you factor in the price tag. However, this time it was a different story.

I decided to give Gravity Forms another try after reading about some people’s success with Spam related issues.  I installed Gravity Forms, built my contact form, and let it run for two weeks on a high traffic site that gets lots of submissions. I decided to leave the captcha off entirely just to see what would happen. The fields I have setup in the form are:

  • Name (Required)
  • Email
  • Phone Number (Required)
  • DOB
  • Drop Down to Select Service
  • Comment Box

This is the identical field setup I had with Contact Form 7, and I removed the captcha entirely and guess what? 2 weeks go by, lots of submissions come through as usual and not a single piece of spam. After doing a little more research it seems that Gravity Forms handles their field requirement checking differently. It has now been three weeks and not one piece of spam. My next test will be to start removing more fields.

There are also two additional options I could enable still if I ever do have issues with Spam. Gravity forms offers integration with Akismet. Which I also recommend installing to handle comment spam. However, I do not have this enabled on the Gravity Forms plugin.

Gravity Forms Akismet Integration

Gravity Forms also has an option to enable the honeypot technique.

Gravity Forms Honeypot

Again I am not using either of those options above at the moment, but it is nice to know I have two more barriers I could enable before putting a captcha back on my web form.

While Gravity Forms isn’t free, the real question is, what would you be willing to pay to get rid of that captcha? I have already seen an increase in conversions in the last three weeks. And over time the plugin will pay for itself.

[alert-note]Update: I have now used this method with 2,500+ web form submissions and have received zero spam.[/alert-note]

Visit Gravity Forms

As always feel free to leave your comments below.

Brian Jackson

I have a passion for crafting actionable content from first-hand experience and performance-driven WordPress development. Connect with me on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter (twice a month, no spam).

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