Care to Share: Allowing You Users to Submit Content on Your WordPress Site

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One of the hallmarks of a great website is creating a dialogue that allows your users and loyal visitors the opportunity to be a part of the conversation. Whether you’re a blogger posting about environmental concerns or political hot-button issues, an e-tailer hawking your goods and services to a niche market or a non-profit organization seeking to spread awareness of a cause and generate revenue for the greater good, getting a back-and-forth dialogue in motion builds trust and spreads—hopefully—goodwill to a larger online community, garnering increased attention and fostering helpful relationships.But have you ever wondered how to go about letting your users post content to your site? Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy, and there are no less than three ways to go about the process. Of course you needn’t worry that people will run rampant across your pages with their own personal posts: you, the admin, will have the ability to moderate comments and content and approve only what you deem appropriate and useful. And those users who choose to submit material will do so directly to your pages, never having to access your sensitive admin information, write any sort of code or otherwise gain any sort of control over your site.

  • The first method works by allowing “front-end” submissions via WPForms without having users register in advance. First install the WPForms plugin (you’ll need the pro version to have access to the post submission addon) and activate the program. Then visit “WPForms, Settings” and enter your license key from your account on the program’s website. Then go to the “Addons” page, locate “Post submissions addon” and click the “Install” button. Now you’re ready to create a post submission form via the “Add New” page which launches the platform. Select a name and a template and the form will automatically load and give you the ability to edit the form fields to your desire. Click on “Settings” and “Post Submissions” and now your users can post into specific categories and add images, all of which will go into a “Drafts” folder for your review. Lastly, create a new page or edit an existing one accordingly depending on where you want the form to appear. Don’t forget to hit “Save,” then the “add form” button from the popup menu, and visit your page to ensure the form is displaying properly.
  • Another method is to accept content from your users with the “User Submitted Posts” plugin. Install the plugin, activate it and visit “Settings, User Submitted to Posts” to configure the program. Within the plugins setting you have the ability to select the specific field you want to display on the post submission form, choose a “default” author for any submitted content or create a new “Guest User” and have all content generated by your visitors ascribed to that name. Then, as with WPForms, you’ll need to create a new page or edit an existing page for where you would like the form to appear, and you’ll be required to enter the shortcode [user-submitted-posts] into the post editor section of your admin area. Then save your changes and visit your page to make sure the form appears as you want.
  • If you aren’t too worried about maintaining strict control over your user-submitted content, you can require visitors to register with your site in order to submit posts. This is essentially having your site run in a multi-author mode, although said users will have very limited capabilities in terms of site administration. First enable user registration by going to “Settings, General” and checking “Any one can register” within the “Membership” option. Here choose “Author” or “Contributor” as their role and click on “Save Changes.” Now anyone who wants to can register on your site by visiting the WordPress login and registration pages, and once registered they can login to your site and submit posts. However, it’s important to note that there are intrinsic pitfalls with using this method: you’ll have to share a password with them and, if you’re using two-step authentication, the login process will be more difficult. Also, any registered users will be able to view other content on your site, some of which you may not want to be published or viewed just yet. So use this course of action for allowing user-generated content to be posted to your site with a bit of caution.

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