If you are running a gallery site or a blog that accepts guest posts, it’s likely that you will need a frontend post submission form which allows your registered users or even visitors to submit content to your site without accessing the admin area. The submitted content, then, needs the moderation of an admin before being published to the public.
Fortunately, WordPress provides a powerful content publishing platform on which you can do almost whatever you want. Even if a frontend editor is not built in the WordPress core yet, there are many plugins bringing the features you need.
In below, we are going to introduce two popular plugins – User Submitted Posts and Frontend Publishing. They are easy-to-use and function in the similar way, while the difference in feature makes them the choice for different WordPress users. If you want to give any visitor the capability to submit posts on your site without logging in, the former is the better choice. And in the case you only allow registered users for frontend post submission in WordPress, the latter is what you need.
Allow Frontend Post Submission by Using User Submitted Posts
User Submitted Posts is a top choice of its kind. It is simple, and it enables you to place a post submission form at any place you want by using a shortcode or template tag. Images are also allowed.
Configure the plugin
To make full use of User Submitted Posts, you first have to install the plugin on your WordPress site, of course. After proper activation, visit Settings > User Submitted Posts to deal with the plugin configurations.
On the settings page, you can see several tabs including “Options”, “Shortcode & Template Tag” and “Restore Default Options”. Now expand the “Options” tab which includes all the important features of the plugin.
Under “Form Fields”, you can configure what exactly you want to display in the frontend submission form. For any fields available, including username, user email, post URL, post content and images, you get three options:
- Requiring users to finish the field before they can submit a post.
- Making the field optional so that users can choose whether to complete it according to their needs.
- Disabling the field so that it is not displayed in the submission form.
Usually, the username, post title, post URL and post content should be required. However, the choices are completely yours, so you can make your own decision freely. Make sure to think carefully about what you want to collect.
Below the form settings, there are some general options with which you can:
- Choose the form style. If you are not professional in CSS, you can use the default style built in the plugin. However, the plugin also allows you to use your own form template and CSS for customization.
- Select the categories that will be available in the submission form.
- Assign a default author for all the user submitted posts.
- Choose to moderate all posts or allow immediate publishing after posts are submitted. The former is more recommended in order to guarantee the quality of the content on your site.
- Redirect users to a URL after they submit a post successfully.
- Add custom success message and error message.
- Enable shortcodes in WordPress widgets. With this option, you will be able to use the shortcode offered by the plugin in any widget you want and display the submission form in the sidebar.
After dealing with these options, we suggest adding a custom challenge question to prevent spam submissions. The question can be whatever you like, but remember not to make it too complicated.
If you have enabled images in the form fields, you will still need to configure the options for image uploads. You can set a submitted image as the featured image of the post, add a custom upload message, set the minimum/maximum number of images to upload, and decide the width and height of the uploaded images.
At last, save the changes to make them effective.
Display the post submission form on your site
On the plugin settings page, there is a tab for “Shortcode & Template Tag”. If you’d like to display the submission form in a WordPress post or page, simply copy the shortcode in the tab and paste it in any post/page.
Depending on your choices of the form fields, you will see a post submission form which is similar to the following one. Once the post/page is published, your visitors are able to submit posts on your site.
Also, you can use the shortcode in a text widget so as to display the submission form in the sidebar of your site.
Allow Frontend Post Submission by Using Frontend Publishing
Frontend Publishing is also an easy-to-use plugin. As is discussed above, the difference between it and the User Submitted Posts plugin is that it requires users to log in before submitting any content.
Frontend Publishing comes with some simple settings which can be managed in Plugins > FEP Settings. On the settings page, you can add restrictions to the submitted post, such as the length of the title, content and author bio, the number of tags, and the maximum links allowed in the content. You can also require a featured image.
Besides, there are some role settings which allow you to select certain user roles for which admin checks are bypassed and instant publishing is allowed. If “No One” is your option, then all posts need moderations before being published.
Since this plugin uses shortcode too, you can simply add the shortcode [fep_submission_form] in any WordPress post or page to display the submission form. The form includes a fully functional post editor which is highly appreciated. However, the media library is only accessible to users with the “Author” or higher roles.