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Need more control of form layout, suggestions?

  1. I recently recommended WordPress.com to a friend who is taking over a dog rescue organization and am trying to help her get the site up and running. We got the basic framework of the site set up and it seemed to be perfect for what she wants, so she got the Domain, No Ads, and Custom Design upgrades for the site. Then she sent me the four page PDF form that she wanted turned into an online form on the site, and that's where things get sticky.

    It's my understanding, from what I've been able to dig up so far, that on the WordPress.com site you can have only a very limited style of form layout -- basically, a single column with everything stacked on top of each other, and with a button that only allows you to submit the single form's data via email. Is this correct?

    Assuming I'm correct in that, that existing form she has would be simply huge in the current site, so I have to come up with some alternatives. So far, this is what I have come up with:

    • Review the form and trim unnecessary fields and/or combine some fields into a single field. This probably needs to be done regardless, but is not going to be a total solution to the problem.
    • Develop the form pages in a more traditional way and host them separate from the WordPress site. I can put them on my own personal server, but that does leave her in the position of having to have pages hosted somewhere out of her control. They also could not appear directly on the web site, making the thing feel a little clunky to sue. This does not sound like a good alternative.
    • Use some sort of alternative electronic form. PDFs that can be opened on the user's PC and filled in and saved, then emailed back come to mind. Also feels a bit clunky and requires users to have 3rd party software, but does have some advantages since the form is so huge.
    • Move the site from WordPress.com servers to a self-hosted server. This is something I'm reading up on now and trying to learn more about. As I understand it, I could then have access to a much greater level of control, hand-coding those forms the way I want or get one of several plug-ins out there that help with complex forms but are only available to self-hosted WP sites. This seems like the best option, but is really irritating since she just dropped $100 getting things set up on my recommendation.

    Are there other options that I'm not aware of that might work?

    The blog I need help with is gdlcf.org.

  2. from http://en.support.wordpress.com/bundles/#canceling-a-bundle

    We provide a 30-day refund for bundle upgrades except where a bundle contains Domain Registrations. The refund period will end 48 hours after registration of a new domain name linked to the bundle.

  3. My opinion is that it might be better to use a short form, the contact form we can use on wp.com, so she can email the possible client a long form after the initial contact.

  4. If she chose to go the refund route (not my first choice), would that cause problems with the domain name she registered? That is, will the domain be made available for registration again relatively quickly, or is it going to be tied up for a period of time and not available? It looks like she has until tonight to make the 48 hour window on the domain name refund.

  5. We can also use Wufoo Forms on our sites. http://en.support.wordpress.com/wufoo/

    You can request a refund for the bundle but keep the domain registration and then point it elsewhere if that is her choice.

    I'll try to see if I can find earlier forum discussions where there might be more detailed info.

  6. Ouch, $15/month for Wufoo. Don't think I can recommend that to her after all of this.

  7. Still cheaper than a lot of webhosting out there. :) I seem to recall that up to 3 forms was free...

    I can't seem to find the earlier forum thread I was looking for. If you are sure you want to cancel the bundle but retain the domain, just let me know and I'll flag this for staff attention.

  8. FWIW-As far as creating complex forms, I did one using only the WordPress.com contact form, though you can't handle money with it.

  9. Yes, there was a free version of Wufoo, but it only has 10 fields, and if I only needed 10 fields I wouldn't be in this pickle. :D Thanks, though.

  10. Can you tell me how long it will take for the domain she registered to be released back so that it could be re-registered with another service? I'd prefer to keep the whole thing together in a single package.

  11. You don't need to do that and I don't recommend that at all. As If you’ve registered your domain through WordPress.com and now want it to point to a blog or website hosted elsewhere then you can do this by updating the nameservers.
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/domain-management/
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/domain-management/#update-nameservers

    See here re: your question http://en.support.wordpress.com/domains/domain-management/#transfer-to-another-registrar

  12. Yes, but then she'd still be paying $13/year for this. If she moves to a host like Bluehost.com for the WP self-hosting, the domain name is included in the price. Why wouldn't that be better?

  13. Is there anything for Forms at Google Documents?

    DON'T LET THE DOMAIN NAME REVERT TO THE WILD - we see a constant stream of people that let the domain name expire or for some reason let the registration expire and someone else grabbed the domain name out from under them - trying to grab a name going back to the wild does not always work

  14. That's true, one of those sharks probably has software watching and snapping them up as soon as the revert back.

    So, it's probably best to leave the domain registered here for now and transfer it to the new registrar in a few months once we've settled everything into place.

  15. Thanks for all the quick and helpful responses. Much appreciated.

  16. So in the end, do you want to get a refund for the bundle but keep the domain name?

  17. Yes, I had her take care of it from the Dashboard. Thanks again.

  18. Welcome and best of luck with her site.

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