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Create registration forms with free forms plugins

Chances are you’re here because your WordPress site needs a registration form. You’ve got a hot eLearning course, a new webinar, or a guided 30-day challenge and your customers want to sign up.

This means we need to create accounts for people to access your offerings, to keep their data secure, and to track their activities. So, your registration form needs to do at least two things for each subscriber. First, it needs to create a WordPress user. Second, it needs to email a confirmation that includes a way to set up a password.

Registration form options

Unfortunately, you’re finding out that there isn’t a solution that works for you. Maybe there are a couple of plugins or add-ons that seem like a good fit. But, we want to avoid getting yet another plugin that’s locked into only one solution.

Software that can work with one vendor only is called vendor lock-in. Vendor lock-in is like buying a pair of shoes that can only be worn with one outfit in your entire wardrobe. Here are examples using three popular form plugins:

1. Using Caldera Forms, you’ll need to purchase their Users add-on. The add-on might fit your budget, but it can only work with Caldera Forms.

2. Contact Form 7 (CF7) doesn’t support user registrations. There is a plugin called Frontend Registration – Contact Form 7. It hasn’t been updated in six months and will be locked in with a plugin that can only work with CF7.

3. With the Formidable Forms plugin, you’ll need to buy the pro version first. Then you have to install their User Registration plugin. Is this starting to sound familiar?

Instead of being locked in, we’d like to have a solution that is flexible and scalable.

More importantly, switching to a completely different plugin could be a deal-breaker. What if we need to keep the free forms plugin we have now and can’t afford to spend time shopping for something else?

A flexible and scalable plugin solution

What if we could have a plugin that can:

  • Allow you to keep your free contact form plugin but turbocharge it to be a fully functioning registration plugin. Then, you don’t have to shop around for another solution.
  • Or, say you’ve already invested in building Caldera, CF7, Formidable, and even Ninja signup forms. They’re doing the job of taking in user details. But, your registration process isn’t fully automated. Meaning, you’ve got to spend valuable time manually creating WordPress accounts for each sign-up. We want something that can automate our existing registration process.
  • Hang on. What if this plugin could do more than registering a user. Why not have it automatically add a user to an introductory course or to a group forum or even an email campaign?

Well, hold on to your hats. There is such a thing. It’s called Uncanny Automator Pro.

In this article, we’ll show you how to create a registration form with Uncanny Automator Pro using freely available forms plugins. When we’re done, you’ll see how you can leverage your existing form solution instead of replacing it!

Here’s what we will cover:

  1. Creating a registration form using the free version of WPForms called WPForms Lite
  2. Automatically creating a new WordPress user with an Uncanny Automator recipe
  3. Setting up the Uncanny Automator recipe to automatically email a confirmation complete with a reset password link

1. Creating a registration form using WPForms

With more than 3 million installs at the time of writing, WPForms is a heavy favourite on WordPress.org. It’s billed as “the world’s best drag and drop WordPress forms plugin.” Its coveted 5-star rating makes it the best-rated plugin in its class.

Let’s get started. There are two main steps. The first step is to build our form so we can gather the registration input. The second is to make our recipe (triggers and actions) that will register the user in WordPress.

Build the Form

From your /wp-admin/ dashboard, navigate to WPForms > Add New.

Add a new WPForms form

On the Select a Template page, name the form “WPForms – Simple Registration Form”.

Select the Simple Contact Form template.

In the Fields editor pane, delete the Comment or Message field text area. Change the submit button to “Register”.

Your form should look similar to this.

Completed WPForms registration form

Click Save to save your changes.

Now that you have a form, we can add it to a page using the shortcode or the WPForms Gutenberg block. Then, we’ll see something like this:

Posted WPFormS registration form

Nice work! We’re ready to move on to step number 2.

2. Automatically creating a new WordPress user with an Uncanny Automator recipe

Make the Uncanny Automator Recipe

From your /wp-admin/ dashboard, navigate to Uncanny Automator > New Recipe.

Uncanny Automator v2.1.4 add new recipe

Select Anonymous for the recipe type. This needs to be anonymous because we want to create a new WordPress user. Logged-in users cannot create new users. Click Confirm.

Anonymous trigger
Learn more about Anonymous recipes.

Name your recipe “Simple registration form using WPForms”. Select WPForms for the integration. We can only have one trigger for an anonymous recipe.

Uncanny Automator recipe

For the trigger, select A WP Form is submitted.

Creating a trigger for an Uncanny Automator recipe

For the form, choose our WPForms- Simple Registration Form that we made in step 1.

Creating a trigger

Next, select New User.

Anonymous recipe using Uncanny Automator

You should now see a form displaying the standard WordPress user account fields: first name, last name, email, username, display name, password, and roles. We’re only going to fill in the required fields. We’ll grab the email from our WPForms form and we’ll want the username to be the same as the email. Let’s do the email together.

Leave the First name and Last name fields blank. Click on the asterisk icon (*) on the right-hand side of the Email field. This is the token selector. Tokens act like handles to the data in the form. Tokens will get filled in later with actual values when the form is submitted.

Uncanny Automator field token selector

Again, for the Email field for our new user, we want the Email to from our WPForms form. Select WPForms- Simple Registration Form that’s highlighted in blue. From the dropdown menu, click on Email. You’ll see the email token appear in the text field above.

Follow the same steps for the Username field.

Set user data

Leave the Display name blank. For the password, we want the user to reset it before logging in for the first time. We’ll get to that in a bit. Leave the Password field blank too.

Keep the default Subscriber selected for the Roles field. Click No for the Log the new user in? field. Click Do nothing for the What to do if the user already exists field. Click Save.

When you’re done, your new user data form should look like this:

Completed set user data form

3. Setting up the Uncanny Automator recipe to automatically email a confirmation complete with a reset password link

Okay. We created our form, did our trigger, and we just finished defining our new user fields. Now, on to our next ingredient—the confirmation email. Under the Set user data section, click on Add action next to the lightning bolt icon.

Automator add action lightning bolt icon

A set of available integrations will be displayed. We’re going to have WordPress handle this. Select WordPress from the set of integrations.

Automator WordPress action selected

In the dropdown, select Send an email. We’ll get another form to fill out. This time it’s an email template.

Keep the Send an email to at the top and the From and To fields set to their default values. Add your Subject.

For the Body, we get a text editor complete with a token selector icon to work with. That means we can pull in data from WordPress and our WPForms form to compose a personalized message. In my example below, I’m grabbing tokens to personalize the name and the username. Then, I include a reset password link courtesy of WordPress.

Click Save.

Automator WordPress action email completed

Our last step is to make our recipe Live. We’ll need to click on all three Draft toggles displayed on our recipe page. Click on each one to make them live.

The first one is in the Anonymous trigger block at the top. The second one is for our WordPress email towards the bottom of the Actions block. Finally, the third one is for the entire recipe and it’s located in the right sidebar under the Recipe details.

Making an Uncanny Automator recipe go live

Congratulations! You now have a custom registration form that will:

  1. Create a new WordPress account
  2. Send a personalized confirmation
  3. Provide a password reset link

Taking registration forms to the next level

We’ve just scratched the surface of what Uncanny Automator Pro can do. Taking a form and turning it into a registration form that creates users and send emails is already a big win. The real power of Uncanny Automator, however, is connecting lots of things together.

For example, discussion groups or forums have become an integral part of contemporary eLearning applications. What better way to welcome your students than to automatically add them to your course’s BuddyPress discussion group? All we would have to do is tack on a BuddyPress action to our Automator recipe. This new action will automatically add anyone using our registration form to the BuddyPress group. It’s that easy! And, there’s no need to go back and edit our WPForms form. It’s a build once and works with anything approach.

What’s more? With Uncanny Automator’s built-in integration for LearnDash or LifterLMS, our simple registration form can conveniently enroll sign-ups to your courses. Why not add them to a student orientation Events Calendar event while we’re at it? How about updating your employee’s training record in Google Sheets with our webhooks support? Your recipe can include any actions you want, and the list of supported integrations is growing all the time. With Uncanny Automator Pro, you can connect your registration forms to almost anything!

Conclusion

In this article, we looked at why having a custom registration form is important. We explored how we could create a registration form using some of the popular form plugins. Then we walked through creating a registration form using Uncanny Automator with WPForms Lite.

The beauty of having a WordPress site is having thousands of plugins at your disposal. At the time of writing, there are approximately 1,000 form related plugins. Even with all these choices, Uncanny Automator is the only plugin that can take your current forms plugin and add both registration capabilities and connections to dozens of other plugins and thousands of apps.

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