In the process of creating a new site, I realised that I needed to allow people to submit information from the site and turn that information into a new post, so that it could then be displayed on the site, without me having to manually copy the information from an email into a new post.
I went in search of some solutions and while I had used TDO Mini Forms before, it is no longer in development and was not very user friendly to configure anyway. I was left to decide between Gravity Forms and Formidable Pro. I ultimately decided on Formidable Pro, not least because it was cheaper (and still did everything I wanted) and was recommended by a couple of people. So I bought the plugin and set about configuring it.
Create the form
In this example, I’m going to create a form to allow people to submit stories to be shown on the site under a specific category. So in my case, I created a field for the story title (which will become the post title), the user’s name and email address, and then the story itself. I set all of these to be required fields, to ensure that nothing is omitted.
For the story title field, I selected the Post Field to be Title (which means that the title of the post will be whatever is submitted in that box).
I also need to set which category the post is going to be created in, but since I don’t want people to be able to edit this, I’m going to create a hidden field. I created a Multiple Selection field and then set the Post Field to be Taxonomy and then chose Category as the Taxonomy type. Now if you update the form, it will present a list of your categories. You can now preselect the category that you want the posts to be put in and select Admin Only under Field Type, so that people won’t be shown that field, meaning that your selection of categories will be unchangeable by users.
Then I created the story field, setting the field type to paragraph, to give the user plenty of space to write down their story and also set the post field as Post content, so that everything written in this field will become the main post content.
Now you need to create another hidden field to set the post status. I recommend setting the post status to draft so that you can review everything before it goes live on your site. So create a drop-down field and set the Post Field to Post Status. Once you save the form, it will give you the option to preselect the post status (which should be Draft). Be sure to set the Field Type to Admin Only, so that users can’t change this to published to circumvent your review.
You can now create text fields to collect the user’s name and email address, using validation to confirm that the email address is a valid address.
After you’ve got all of the fields in place, you can set up form notifications, so that once an entry is submitted, you get an email sent to you so that you know to review it on your site. You can also send an autoresponder to the submitter.
Once the form is complete, you can copy the shortcode from the top right-hand corner and paste it into the page where you want the form to appear on your site.
The options for what you can do with Formidable Pro are quite limitless. How have you used forms like this to collect and display information from your readers? I’m always interested to hear your experiences. Let me know in the comments.