How to Enable User Submitted Posts and Content with Ninja Forms


The diversity of the world wide web is a huge part of what makes it great. Hundreds of millions of voices from around the world share their thoughts and experiences everyday through WordPress. Did you know that you can expand the power of your WordPress blog to include other voices as well, without ever handing out login information? Using a simple form, you can allow user submitted posts and other content on your website effortlessly. Allow your users to publish posts and pages complete with images and videos, even featured images! You can make it happen with Ninja Forms and Front End Posting, and it’s a breeze. Let’s explore how!

How to Enable User Submitted Posts

This works on your end by enabling Front End Posting with Ninja Forms. That adds an Create Post action to your Ninja Forms which you can switch on for any given form. That form then becomes a channel where your users can create content and submit it to appear on the front end. You can configure the form as you like, allowing for rich text, audio or video files, images, quizzes, and more. You also have full powers of moderation over this content. Choose to let the user publish directly on submission of the form, or save as a draft or in a pending review state. Let’s get into the details of user submitted posts!

What You’ll Need

Getting Started

To begin, you need to install and activate Front End Posting. With that done, open a new form and head straight to the Emails & Actions tab of your form builder. Clicking the blue circle/+ at the bottom right will slide out your actions menu. You’ll see the Create Post action there. Add it to your list of actions with a simple click.

user submitted posts create post action

Once you add the Create Post action, its settings window will slide open. Here you can configure settings and moderation control for the user submitted content. We’ll return to these settings shortly, but for now let’s build out an example form. The settings here require form fields in place to act as post/page title and content, so we need to add some fields!

Building an Example Post Creation Form

At its most basic, you’re going to want to provide your users with a place to put a title and then content. I’ve done that, as you can see below, by adding a Single Line Text field for a title and a Paragraph Text field for content. I’ve also included a File Upload field to allow them to upload media, and a Submit button.

user submitted posts example form

Be sure to open the field settings window of the Paragraph Text field, and under Display toggle on “Show Rich Text Editor”. “Show Media Upload Button” will allow for file uploads without the need for the File Uploads extension, but it uses the WordPress media upload functionality. That means a user must be logged in to use it, and they would be able to access your media library when using it. File Uploads removes the login requirement and does not grant access to your media library.

Now let’s head back to the Post Creation action and configure it for user submitted posts!

Configuring Your Post Creation Form

user submitted posts create post settings windowFirst, choose whether the new content should be a post or a page under “Post Type”. Next we need to map our form fields into the Create Post action.

As you can see, I’ve selected the Single Line Text field, {field:textbox}, as the post title and the Paragraph Text field {field:textarea} and File Upload field {field:file_upload_1} as the post content. The bracketed text you see is the merge tag for the field. Just click the merge tag icon to the right of Post Title and Post Content, then select the fields to have the merge tags appear.

Next, under Terms and Taxonomies, you can also set categories and tags just like you can for a normal WordPress post. With that done we’re ready to move on to the Advanced tab.

Under Advanced,  pay special attention to Post Status. This is your moderation control, if you wish to moderate. Setting this to Published will allow the user to post directly and publicly with no moderation. Draft or Pending Review will require your approval and allow for editing before publication. Private allows for publication visible to only those users you have set to view private posts within WordPress.

Post Format, similar to Format in the WordPress post and page editors, allows for specialized formatting. Options for photo galleries, chat threads, video posts, and more live here. Check it out before you move on. Post excerpt allows a text field from the form to serve as the post excerpt if you choose to include one. Map it to a text field in the form the same as you mapped the post title and content above. Below that you can set/allow custom post meta to be displayed. Finally, if you are using File Uploads, you can set the post’s featured image to be a file upload field.

Make Your Post Creation Form Available to Your Users

The final step in enabling user submitted posts is to quite simply make the form available to your users. There’s nothing that sets this apart from publishing any other form on a post or page. We have a guide through all the available options that you can read if needed.

Once your form has a home, your users will be able to submit fully formatted content through it. That content will then be accessible to you through either posts or pages in the WordPress dashboard just like a post or page you created yourself in the traditional manner.

I’d love to hear how you are planning on or currently using content submitted by your users. Chris Lema wrote a fantastic article on how he uses Front End Posting for his son’s blog– he posts exclusively through Ninja Forms without ever having to enter the WordPress dashboard! So how do you use it or plan on using it? Generate your own user submitted content in the comments below!