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.