Review Of Idea Factory A Front End Submission & Voting System For WordPress
Idea Factory is a relatively new WordPress plugin that adds a front end submission and voting system to your WordPress powered blog. And you all thought I only reviewed premium WordPress plugins for monetary gain. Well f**k you I don’t lol 😉
Installing Idea Factory Plugin
As usual with all my reviews I go through installation step by step for complete clarity. Lets get on and install Idea Factory and see what this plugin can do then shall we?
As you would come to expect as is the norm with WordPress, installing Idea Factory is easy. Simply search for it in the WordPress back end or download it from WordPress.org and do it via FTP. I have decided to install via the search function on a dummy website for review purposes.
Ok so as you can see from the above this is what the plugin will look like when searching for it simply hit install now and you are away.
After hitting install you will notice a new addition to your WordPress admin sidebar see image to the right.
Getting Idea Factory Up & Running
If you click on the settings section of Idea Factory you will be greeted with the Idea Factory Settings section. Here we can set the naming convention (standard install is always ideas) feel free to change it here.
You can set your welcome message and choose whether or not that you want all ideas to be set to pending as opposed to published (advised due to spammers). You can also set a voting threshold. This basically means that you can elect a number of votes before an idea gets moved from approved, declined or open.
The next tab along is for advanced settings. Here we can disable the core CSS, disable emails (you will receive an email everytime a new idea is submitted) and lastly disable archive. Disabling this means you will need to use the shortcode to display the ideas on a page of your choosing.
Personally I recommend adding a shortcode to a page of your choosing. As unfortunately when using the standard method and clicking on the link in the admin section does take you to a page that houses your ideas. However you can not edit this page it technically does not exist in your WordPress back end from an admin perspective.
The downside of course is the loss of control of the page (it ain’t there) so adding the shortcode to a page means you retain control of it from the back end. You can call the page whatever you want then click on the help section in the Ideas Factory menu to get the shortcode. See below.
By adding the shortcode to your chosen page you have a couple of options to choose from. You can hide the submit idea, hide votes and hide voting. The standard shortcode suggestion as show above is:
[idea_factory hide_submit=”off” hide_votes=”off” hide_voting=”off”]
Simply switch the off’s to on’s or tinker to your hearts content to get it how you want. Worth noting that by using the shortcode option as opposed to using the standard method you can in fact in add in text before the shortcode. Which is great for SEO or indeed to offer an explanation of how it voting works etc.
It’s also worth noting that voting is only available to logged in users. So spam is greatly reduced, you are only letting your trusted and approved users submit ideas, not all and sundry. Which is a nice feature and again goes some way to eliminate spam.
The shortcode method as you can see from the above (I’m using the Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme) it’s more favorable to the standard option and can serve to educate people as to what the ideas section is about.
Submitting An Idea To Your Idea Section
Upon clicking submit you are greeted with a lovely animated modal box. Here you can add in your idea and of course a description so you can go to town on your idea. So let’s submit an idea then shall we?
As you will see from above the idea has been submitted. I have it set to publish so it appears immediately. You will also not that the plugin does not support automatic hyperlinks a little test I did in the submission of the idea.
You will see the plus and minus for voting when clicking on either the plus or indeed the minus you will be greeted with a thanks for voting message.
I have upvoted the idea and (as shown above) you will see that the idea now has one vote. As time goes on and your ideas section grows the number of votes shown will help a particular idea gain traction by showing how popular it is.
Administering Ideas From The Back End
Much like a traditional post you can edit ideas in the WordPress back end. Simply clicking on the appropriate link in the Ideas Factory menu and finding the idea in question. You can also add a new idea in the back end for your users to vote on.
This is a great feature. Especially if you want user feedback on a proposed new section for your website or just to spitball a new direction you might be going in. Idea Factory also allows you to reset all votes within your ideas section so if you find that you want to start again from ground zero you can do.
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Idea Factory Review Verdict
Idea Factory is a great plugin for adding in a user feedback and user ideas section. The only shortfall I could find with this plugin was the standard option for showing ideas. You need to use the shortcode.