One of the best ways to increase community involvement and user engagement on your WordPress site is to create a questions and answers page.
With WordPress this is possible in the most simplest way imaginable, and I want to share with you how you can do this using a very simple plugin.
So I recently started to revamp one of my niche sites, (a parenting website). One of the features a lot of the folks in that community were asking for was a page where they could post questions, so that other users and even the site admin could post answers and comments.
Whilst I’m still configuring this over on my niche site as I’m writing this, I thought it would be a cool idea to create a little tutorial post including a video here on Magnet4Blogging, to show you how you can do the same for your WordPress site, so let’s roll with this.
If you want to skip all of this and check out the tutorial video instead, simply scroll to then end of this post.
OK so the first thing you want to do is head over to the WordPress repository over at WordPress.org and find the DW Question & Answer plugin for WordPress.
Of course you can also access this plugin from your WP dashboard. Install it and then hit the activate plugin button as per normal.
When you activate this plugin, by default two new pages will have been created inside your WordPress site: DWQA Question and DWQA Ask Question.
You can either edit and customise these pages to your liking, or do what I did and create two completely new pages with your own custom page name and URL structure and custom content. I then deleted the default pages that were created by default.
OK so the next thing you need to do is enable user registrations on your WordPress site. This is a very simple procedure.
If you’re not too sure how to do this, simply go to settings > general and check the box that says “anyone can register”. Make sure the “subscriber” membership level is selected.
How To Avoid Spam User Registrations
Now I want to explain something about allowing user registrations on your WordPress site, just to divert off topic slightly.
I was a little sceptical about doing this for my niche site, simply because I get a lot of spammy / bot user registrations everyday single day to that site.
I know there are a lot of other WordPress users out there experiencing the same kind of problem, and of course there are many ways in which to work around this.
I installed a plugin called Rename wp-login.php. This is a lightweight plugin that will enable you to change the permalink structure of the login page in WordPress.
This simply means that anyone trying to access your wp-login.php page, will see a 404-error page instead of the actual login page to your site.
You can name your login page what ever you want, but just be sure to make a note of it somewhere so you don’t forget it yourself.
Consider doing this as adding an extra layer of security for your login page, and it works wonders with the DWQA plugin. After all, you want to attract genuine subscribers wanting to post relevant questions to your site, and not spammers right?
OK so the next process of creating a questions and answers page for your WordPress site is to configure some settings in DWQA.
Configuring the DW Questions & Answers Plugin
So now go to DW Q&A > Settings, you’ll arrive at the general settings page.
I won’t dive into every single setting on this page because most of them are simple to understand and configure. However I want to highlight a few of the essential settings. In DWQA you can assign your “question list page” and your “ask a question page”.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I created two completely new custom “question list” and “ask question” pages to assign to these two settings in this tab.
So next you want to configure settings for outgoing email notifications. These are the email notifications your users are going to receive in their inbox, when someone responds to a question or places a comment.
In DWQA you can configure the settings for new question, new answer, new comment to question, new comment to answer emails and more. When customising your email notifications, you can add your site logo, custom content and even change some of the layout to match your site design.
Do check out the tutorial video below, for more a detailed look at some of the options on this page.
OK so the last tab we have to configure is permissions, and this is very easy to do.
On this page you can choose which membership levels have access to certain privileges.
For instance you can give your site admins and editors full access to posting, reading, editing and deleting questions. Whilst only allowing subscribers or anonymous users to read and post questions. See image below.
You can also add categories into this plugin, very useful for better organisation of your questions and for making it easier for your users to post questions relevant to a specific topic on your site.
In a nutshell that is pretty much it when it comes to configuration. You can test the “ask a question” page to see what it will look like to your site visitors and make what ever changes you want.
I’m still configuring the settings for my niche site “question and answers list” page, so currently I can’t show you what the page will look like as I haven’t received any questions as of yet. Here’s a screen shot of what the “ask a question” page looks like after my configuration however.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short tutorial post. In the short video tutorial I created below, you can see in greater detail how to configure this plugin correctly on your WordPress site.
If you have any questions please leave me a comment below, I’m here to assist you the best I can. Perhaps you’re already using this plugin on your site, if so let me know how you’re getting on with it.
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