Fascinated by the Ask Me Anything capability integrated with those large websites like Tumblr and Reddit? Luckily, you can now add your own Ask Me Anything page on your WordPress site on which visitors can ask any question they want and you, the site admin, are able to moderate and answer those questions as you like.
With such a page, the interactions are enhanced, and you can easily build a relationship with your readers, so better engagement and some more traffic are also expected. If you want to provide advice and share your knowledge with those who need help, enabling the Ask Me Anything feature on your WordPress site is a great idea.
This tutorial will show you the detailed steps to add Ask Me Anything capability to WordPress by using a simple yet very useful plugin named Ask Me Anything.
About the Ask Me Anything Plugin
Though not being widely used, this AMA (Ask Me Anything) plugin makes it super easy to add a form to your WordPress site that allows visitors to ask questions. It uses a shortcode to generate the form, and comes with 20 attributes for customizations. The built-in shortcode generator enables you to configure the shortcode and the attributes easily without acquiring any knowledge about codes.
The questions submitted through the AMA form are saved as comments, so no extra database tables are created, and you can moderate the questions just as you usually do with any WordPress comment.
Another important feature of this AMA plugin is that if not logged in, questions are submitted anonymously. Therefore, those who don’t want to reveal their identity or any personal information should feel safe.
Besides, this AMA plugin is compatible with WordPress multisite and almost any WordPress theme.
To leverage the power of Ask Me Anything, you should first install the plugin through the WordPress dashboard and get it activated.
Create an Ask Me Anything Page
Since the plugin allows you to make an AMA page by using a single shortcode, you only need to create a new post or page and then paste the needed shortcode in it.
After adding the new post/page, access the shortcode generator located in the Tools menu in the WordPress dashboard. In the shortcode field, a shortcode is already there for use. Below this field, 20 options are available with some default values. If you paste this shortcode to the new page, you are telling the plugin to use all the default settings.
However, we will suggest you go through all the options before using the shortcode because this helps guarantee that the AMA form and the questions are displayed in a better way you like. Some changes that you can make with the available options include:
- Use a custom author name for anyone submitting questions anonymously.
- Change the placeholder in the question box if you have specific requirements on the submission.
- Change the verification question.
- Change the text of the submit button.
- Define the number of questions displayed per page.
- Change the avatar image, avatar size or hide the avatar.
Still, there are some other options all of which are easy to deal with. After making a change to any option, you will see an attribute added to the shortcode automatically.
After reviewing all the options, copy the shortcode and paste it to the page created before. Upon publishing, you can see the AMA form in action. This form doesn’t come with its own design, so it just fits in the theme you are using.
Note: To allow visitors to submit questions, comments must be allowed on this page.
Add an Ask Me Anything Form to the Sidebar
To make it easier to submit questions on your WordPress site, you can add an AMA form to a sidebar widget in addition to making a dedicated page for it. However, before doing that, make sure you have followed the tutorial above to create a page because you will need the page ID.
After finding the page ID, visit the shortcode generator and do the following things.
- Select “Sidebar Widget” as the shortcode location.
- Enter the page ID in the text field after “Page/Post ID”.
After configuring all other options, copy the shortcode. Then, go to Appearance > Widgets, add a new text widget to the sidebar, give the widget a title, and paste the shortcode in the content.
Moderate and Reply to Questions
After adding the Ask Me Anything form to your site, you will probably receive some questions after a while. Since all these questions are saved as comments, you can access all of them directly in the “Comments” section.
Depending on your discussion settings, new questions might be held for moderation before they appear on the Ask Me Anything page. In fact, this configuration is suggested because some new visitors usually send test questions without any actual content.
For the new questions you receive, you can approve them, edit them, delete them, or make replies in the same way you deal with any other comment. After moderating the questions, you can visit your Ask Me Anything page to see the questions and answers listed properly below the submission form.