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You may have noticed at the bottom of last week’s posts there was a simple form that said, Share this article with a friend! This is similar to Zillow’s function to share a home listing with someone else.

I was unable to find this functionality in any WordPress plugin, so I created it myself. It seems like a basic feature that everyone would want – if you enjoyed a particular article, rather than having to copy and paste the URL into an email, just remind your readers to send the information to their colleagues or friends right then, and maybe pick up some new subscribers in the process.

This article might seem a little technical, but don’t let that discourage you from reading it. Why? Because all you need to understand is the concept of what is happening, and you can leave the implementation up to us.

Quite simply, this is one of the best ways we’ve found to grow your customer list.

Here’s how it works:

1. Build a Formidable Form

This form asks for your name and email, and the person who you are referring, their name and email. This fields are required. There are also 2 hidden fields: the name of the article or blog post, and the URL of the post so you can send the link. Unfortunately, there is not a built in way to get these two pieces of information, so I had to create a shortcode for each of these that would allow me to populate the hidden form fields with this data. Here is what the form looks like when you are building it.

You can see that I also included a field for a personal note and the reCaptcha field to prevent spam. I also built a small plugin to create the two new shortcodes. You can download the plugin here, or enter the following code into your functions.php file.

2. Next, I created an action for the form that would send an email to the friend’s address. Here is what that looked like.

The fields are identified by a number enclosed in brackets as shown. You might be able to replicate this functionality with a different form builder, but Formidable is my preferred development tool. This allows me to include data from the form, including the hidden fields. This way, regardless of what article I attach this form to, the information about the title and the URL are correct. You can download the Formidable Form here.

3. Using the Formidable shortcode, embed this form into each and every blog post (at the end).

Here is what the form looks like on the page:

4. Now, when a reader wants to send their buddy a link to the article, they simply fill out the form. Here is the email that is received:

This could be expanded to give a reward for referring someone by simply changing the action of the form to re-direct to a new page.

For now, I’ve chosen to have this be organic with a simple Thank You message. This will work for every blog post you write! Pretty cool, huh?

Give it a try, and if you think this would be helpful for your website, call me at 303-688-6560 and I can help you implement it for your blog and newsletter.

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