Do you want to build an online question and answer community like StackOverflow or Quora? Question and answer websites are fun, highly engaging, and very helpful.
These websites make money from user-generated content which makes them an easy to start online business.
In this article, we will show you how to easily create a question and answers site in WordPress without any programming skills.
You can create a whole site dedicated to Q & A, a single FAQ page, or add a question and answer section to your existing WordPress site.
Gettings Started with Question and Answers Website
To start your own question and answers website, you will need the following items.
- A domain name (This is your website’s address on the internet. Example, wpbeginner.com)
- A web hosting account (This is where your website’s files are stored. All websites need web hosting).
- Question And Answers Add-on for WordPress
A domain name costs around $14.99 / year and web hosting prices start from $7.99 per month (usually paid annually).
Now, this is not a small amount if you are just starting out.
Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users discount on web hosting and a free domain name. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.
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Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.
After you have purchased hosting, they will automatically install WordPress for you. You can also do it yourself, by following our complete WordPress installation tutorial.
Once you have WordPress installed, you can move on to installing a question and answers plugin. WordPress plugins are extensions that allow you to add new features to your website.
That being said, let’s take a look at how to set up questions and answers website in WordPress.
Setting up Your Question and Answers Site
The first thing you need to do is install and activate the DW Question Answers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, the plugin creates two new pages in your WordPress site:
- DWQA Questions – This page will display all questions.
- DWQA Ask Question – This page contains a form where users can ask new questions.
The title and URLs of these pages contain DWQA which looks bad. Let’s change this.
Head over to Pages » All Pages and click Quick Edit link below each page.
This will show page details for quick editing. You can remove the DWQA from page title and slug fields and then click on the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.
The next thing you need to do is to allow user registration on your website. This can be achieved by going to Settings » General page.
Scroll down to the ‘Membership’ section and check the box next to Anyone can register. Make sure that you choose Subscriber as the new user default role.
Now that user registration is enabled, let’s configure the plugin settings.
Start by going to Questions » Settings page. Under the General tab, you can configure the basic plugin settings.
First, you need to choose the page that will display the Ask Question form and another page that will List All Questions. You will notice that the default pages are already selected here.
If you want to display some other pages, then you need to copy and paste the shortcodes shown on the settings page to those pages.
Under the Question settings section, you can select the number of questions you want to be displayed on the questions page. You can also enable ‘Moderation’ by requiring each question to be manually approved.
The plugin also comes with built-in spam protection features. You can enable the Akismet anti-spam feature and provide the Akismet API key.
You can also use reCAPTCHA to protect your question and answer forum from automated spam bots.
Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.
Next, you need to switch to the ‘Email’ tab. From here you can upload your logo and modify the email notifications sent by the plugin.
After that, switch to the ‘Permissions’ tab. From here you can set up user role permissions. By default, the plugin allows administrators and editors to read, post, write and edit all questions and answers.
The plugin also allows anonymous users to ask questions. You can change that from permissions settings.
Once you are satisfied with plugin settings, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save changes’ button to save your changes.
Managing Your Question Answer Site
You can view all questions added to your site by visiting DW Q&A » All Questions page. As an administrator, you can edit or delete any questions submitted by any user on your site.
You can also add Question categories since users do not have permissions to create categories. However, users can add question tags when submitting a question on your site. To understand the difference check out our guide on Categories vs Tags.
The Front End Features of Your Q&A Site
DW Question Answers is designed to work with most WordPress themes. This is how your questions page will look:
Questions can be searched or sorted by status, categories, views, and answers. Your users post questions, submit answers, and add their own comments. Users can also follow questions by clicking on the star icon next to each question.
The user who has asked the question and the site administrator has the ability to mark a question as resolved. Users can also vote for answers, choose the best answer, and add comments to the questions and answers as well. This provides a much deeper interaction platform for your users to engage in discussions around the question topic.
This plugin is free and performs very well during our tests. There are several Question and Answer WordPress themes out there, but those lock you into using that theme forever.
The advantage of using a plugin is that you can switch your theme without losing any data.
We hope this article helped you build your own Q&A community on your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to increase traffic on your new WordPress website.
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