Submitting content to a WordPress site via the backend admin interface is fairly straightforward. However, in some cases you might not want to give those submitting content to your site access to the backend. This might be because you want to restrict access to the admin dashboard, or simply make submitting content, such as a post, a link, or images, more streamlined and user friendly.
By enabling frontend submissions for your WordPress site, you can allow users to submit content via a familiar web form, rather than the standard WordPress post editor. With most plugins of this type, you get the ability to edit the fields that make up the form, allowing you to remove superfluous fields, or add your own custom fields for capturing specific information, such as URLs, or files.
If you accept guest posts, or links to news items, or file submissions on your site, then adding a frontend submission form is a great way to simplify the process and increase the chances of user interaction on your site. In this post we will take a look at some of the best free and premium frontend content submission plugins for WordPress to help you decide which one is best for your project.
If you are looking for a WordPress frontend post editor then check out our review of the Barley inline content editor.
Front End Upload
If all you want to do is let visitors to your site upload files, rather than submit posts, then this free frontend upload plugin might be just what you are looking for.
Once installed, from the settings you have the option of setting a passcode to prevent those without the code from submitting files, however, this is optional. You can also set the maximum file size limit for uploads, as well as creating a list of accepted file types. The Front End Upload plugin also has the ability to send out email notifications to the site owner when a new file has been submitted.
Displaying the form is just a case of inserting the shortcode into a post or page to make it visible to site visitors. Once published, the form can be used by those accessing your site. The form supports drag and drop and accepts multiple files making it a convenient way for visitors to submit their posts in Word document form, or just send in content for your site.
The appearance of the form can be edited by altering the CSS to make it look a bit more attractive. If you just want files to be uploaded to your site then this is a simple to use, free option.
FV Community News
This free plugin allows visitors to your site to submit links to interesting articles and content that has been posted on other sites. The form does contain a text area field for accompanying information, but it’s not been built to accept post submissions via the frontend.
The submissions are stored as a custom post type making them easy to manage from inside the WordPress admin dashboard. From the settings the submissions can be set to always require admin approval before being published, or they can be auto-published when submitted by previously approved users.
Email notifications can be sent after a form submission, and you can also set the permalink structure for the submitted content. You can easily edit the form field labels to suit the type of links and news stories your readers will be submitting.
Once a link to a story has been submitted, it is added to the Community News section of the site for approval. From there it can be moderated by the site admin.
Once published, the post can be viewed like a regular WordPress post, with the submitted information displayed, including the link to the source article.
The plugin also includes a shortcode for displaying all the user submitted news items on one post or page, making it easy for you to display all these news stores in one place.
This free plugin is a really good option for allowing your readers to submit links to interesting news stores from around the web that you or your other readers will find useful.
User Submitted Posts
This free plugin makes it easy to add frontend user submissions to your site. With User Submitted Posts enabled, visitors to your site can submit posts or upload images to your site, without the need to login to the admin area.
If you run a news site, or crowd source your content, then this simple and free plugin makes it very easy to let your contributors file their reports without getting lost in the WordPress admin dashboard. In the options for this form plugin you can choose to instantly publish submitted content it set its status to draft allowing you to moderate any submissions.
You can even enable auto-publishing for users who have had over a certain number of posts accepted on the site, allowing you to vet contributors before automatically publishing their content. The plugin also supports custom fields so you can easily create these additional fields and add them to the forms, allowing you to capture specific information such as URLs, quotes, or whatever is relevant to the type of content you are working with.
Almost all of the functionality that is available to those posting via the backend is made available to frontend-users with User Submitted Posts. This now includes the WYSIWYG editor, setting featured images and taxonomies. If you do want to use this plugin to enable frontend submission on your site then you will be pleased to know that adding the forms is as easy as inserting the relevant shortcode into your posts or pages, in order to display the form.
To prevent spammers taking advantage of your forms, there are a number of options for weeding out non-human users.
This is a pretty popular free solution for those looking to allow users to submit content without logging into the admin dashboard. There is also a PRO version available should you outgrow the features of the free version.
Flexible Front-End Posting Forms
This is a premium plugin available at Code Canyon, but at just $17 it should be affordable for most site owners looking to implement frontend content submission on their sites.
The plugin allows you to create an unlimited amount of forms so you can setup multiple forms for different purposes such as guest posting, submitting an image, contributing links, or whatever you plan on allowing users to submit to your site.
The frontend forms look great and as well as being fully responsive for use on a range of screen sizes, they blend in well with whichever WordPress theme you are using for your site allowing the submission process to be as intuitive and seamless as possible. Alternatively you can modify the appearance of the forms using your own custom CSS.
When using the frontend submission form users can choose to post using the Visual or the Text editor, just as they would when writing a post via the backend of the site.
Another feature of Flexible Front-End Posting Forms that might be of interest is the ability to charge a fee for accepting a submission. If you are offering a paid guest blogging service or running a directory and would like to charge visitors a fee for adding their content, then you can do so with this plugin.
The forms can include custom fields alongside the standard post title, post content, and category and tag fields. This allows you to ask for more information from those making a submission, and gives you the option of using other types of fields such as checkboxes, dropdown lists, and even file uploads.
Gravity Forms is probably the most well-regarded form plugin for WordPress and it’s not a surprise to learn that is can be used to allow front end post submissions on your site.
Amongst the many with things you can do with this popular WordPress form plugin is the ability to submit content that is saved as a post type. You get plenty of options for building the forms and determining how users interact with them, so whatever the type of content you would like your readers to contribute, Gravity Forms should enable you to collect it.
Allowing frontend submissions for posts and other types of content isn’t something that is necessary for all sites, but if you are running a community website, working with multiple-authors, or accepting guest posts, then they can really make life easier for you and your readers, especially those not familiar with creating content with WordPress.
With plenty of free and premium options to choose from, adding this feature to your site is pretty easy and is a great way to start adding user generated content to your site.
What are you planning to use frontend submissions forms for?