One popular way to engage with your readers and potential customers is to add a question and answer feature to your WordPress site. As usual there are lots of good plugins for adding this functionality to your site. Many of them allow your readers to submit a question, which either you or other readers can then answer. Most of these Q&A plugins also have the ability to control who can submit questions or answers, in order to give you more control over how this part of your site functions.
There are plenty of practical uses for a question and answer feature. These can include creating a mini-forum on your site where visitors can interact with each other and yourself, fielding questions from your readers, running a live Q&A session, creating a FAQ for your service or product, or any other scenario where you want an easy way for the transfer of information.
Question and Answer Plugins for WordPress
The main difference between these question and answer plugins, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) plugins, is that the Q&A options give you more options related to who can post questions and answers and how they are managed on your site.
Typically the FAQ plugins require you to create both the question and the answer though the WordPress backend, usually using a custom post type. The Q&A plugins, however, usually include more user interaction in the process of asking and answering the questions. This can include forms for letting users post questions directly to your site. Some Q&A plugins also include advanced features such as allowing users to vote on the questions and answers submitted on the site.
Question and Answer Forum
This is a handy free plugin which allows users to post questions to your site via a form. Those questions are then published and become visible to all your visitors. You or your visitors can then answer those questions using the integrated forms.
The Questions and Answer Forum plugin is a great choice for anyone wanting to either build a Q&A type site, or just add the ability for your readers to post questions to be answered by your site’s community. It would be ideal for hosting a Q and A type session where you audience can quiz you or your guests on a series of topics.
Once installed, this plugin adds an entry to the settings menu on your site’s dashboard, and also a new post type entitled ‘Questions’. The settings page is easy to navigate and the options are also self-explanatory.
Questions can then be created via the WordPress admin dashboard or posted by visitors to the site via the frontend by embedding a form into a post or page using a shortcode.
The plugin works with any theme and makes use of WordPress custom post types. This means the questions can be created via the backend using the standard post editor. They can also have their own categories and tags that are separate from regular post taxonomies.
Shortcodes can be used to insert the forms into any posts or pages on the site. The shortcodes also make it easy to list all the questions that have been asked so far on a post or page. Beyond simply allowing users to post questions, the plugin can also create user profile pages for those that submit questions or answers on your site. These profile pages can include the content submitted by that particular user as well the best answers they’ve submitted. The plugin also supports optional email notifications for the site admin and for notifying users when an answer to their question has been submitted.
This free question and answer plugin for WordPress is easy to use and has a positive rating at WordPress.org making it a solid choice for adding this sort of functionality to your site.
This plugin has been created by Creative Minds who have made some excellent WordPress plugins. There are two versions of this one: a free and a pro product. This means you can get started with the free version then upgrade if your needs outgrow the less feature-rich free version of CM Answers.
Once installed, this plugin allows you to add a question and answer feature to your site, which closely resembles the style used by the Stack Overflow question and answer site.
Once a question has been asked, it can then be responded to by you or the visitors to your site. Visitors to the site can vote on the questions and answers, by either giving them the thumbs up or thumbs down.
There are many uses for this plugin from creating a question and answer site or section on a site, to building a discussion forum. As the questions don’t have to strictly be questions, this plugin lends itself well to less focussed discussions, which can be responded to with more open answers.
Other features of the CM Answers plugin include moderation powers for admin users, user email notifications, and the ability to sort the questions and answers. The pro version allows users to register using their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts, more shortcodes for embedding the questions into posts, and some sidebar widgets to name just a few of the pro features.
This is a well-designed plugin with plenty of features, which can be expanded by upgrading to the pro version should the need arise.
Q and A FAQ and Knowledge Base for WordPress
This is another free and popular plugin for adding a Q&A features to your site. The plugin has a positive 4.6 out of 5 star rating so it’s safe to assume it’s a good quality option.
Once installed, this plugin will allow you to quickly create a series of frequently asked questions which can then be inserted into your pages using a shortcode. The plugin uses custom post types in WordPress which means creating a new FAQ entry is as easy as adding a new post to your site.
Once you’ve began adding questions and their answers, they can easily be managed from the plugins dashboard page. Your FAQ entries can also be given their own categories which are separate from the regular WordPress post categories, allowing you to manage your entries more effectively.
When it comes to displaying your FAQ entries, this plugin comes with a number of shortcodes. The most basic one simply lists all of the entries on a page. However, the shortcode parameters allow you to display entries from a specific category, or just display a single entry by adding its ID to the shortcode.
The FAQ looks pretty good and matches your theme. The answers are displayed using a simple jQuery animation which prevents the page from having to reload each time a question is clicked on. The plugin also has a good set of options for customising how it works. The useful documentation is also accessible from inside your WordPress site making getting started with the Q and A FAQ and Knowledge Base plugin very easy.
If you need to create a FAQ or a knowledgebase for your product or service then this plugin is a good choice. However, this plugin doesn’t have the ability to allow your users to submit questions and answers like some of the other options featured here.
If you simply need an easy way to manage a FAQ on your site then this one is a good choice. There is also a pro version called Q and A Plus which builds upon the functionality of the free version.
Adding an interactive Q&A section to your site is very easy with these plugins. The feature can serve a real purpose on your site and is an effective way to make yourself more available to your visitors. If they have questions about your service that you would like to answer, and also make that content available to other visitors who might have the same questions, then using one of these plugins are a great solution.
Traditional FAQs also have their place on a website, but by going down the interactive Q&A route, you can make gathering the questions and responding to them a more interactive process between yourself and your visitors.
Do you use any question and answer services? Would you add one to your site?