Oli Dale contacted me last week about reviewing his brand new plugin WP-Answers – a new premium WordPress plugin which changes WordPress into a fully functional question and answer site, just like Yahoo Answers.
The plugin comes packaged with it’s own unique theme. 6 colours are available: blue, brown, purple, green, black and red. The theme also has a basic options page which allows you to add your RSS details, about info, Google Analytics tracking code and change your logo and favicon.
The theme is unique and has a clean look, though it does have a ‘WordPress’ feel to it (if you know what I mean!). Just under the header is a large search type bar. This is where users can submit their own questions. If a user is not a member they will be taken to the registration page in order to sign up.
The theme sidebar is widgetized so you can drag and drop a range of WP-Answers related widgets into this area to suit your needs.
WP-Answers boasts a lot of great features which encourage user participation and allow you to grow your site with little effort.
The main features are:
- Points System: The point system is a way of encouraging users to answer questions on a regular basis. Posting a question usually has a negative value (default is -10) whilst answering one will give you points (default is +5). You can also give more points to users who give the best answer, which encourages users to give good answers rather than just answer something for the sake of it.
You can change how points are rewarded and manually change the number of points a user has too, which is useful if you want to run competitions and give points as a reward.
- Advertisement Integration: The plugin has built in 125×125 banner integration which allows you to easily add sponsors to your sidebar. It works well though there are many alternative plugins out there for WordPress which do a better job so if you are looking for something more advanced you should try something else out for your sponsor area.
- Profile Pages: Every registered member gets a profile page which shows the questions and answers they have posted. The user can also upload an avatar.
- Auto Posting: By far one of the biggest features is the ability to pull content from the USA, UK and Canadian Yahoo Answers website into your own. Content can be imported from search tags you specify as often as you like (days & Hours) and placed into specific categories on your site. There is no limit to the number of importing campaigns you can add.
This is not something which should be used long term though it’s a useful feature at the start of a websites life so the site doesn’t look dead.
I’m sure we will see many more websites using the script over the coming months. Question and Answers websites are quite hard to get established though they can be very profitable in the long run if user participation reaches a good level.
The ability to import content from Yahoo Answers is a welcome addition to the script. It won’t bring you much search engine traffic since it is duplicate content, however it does mean people who stumble across your site will not see a blank page.
A single license for WP-Answers retails for $89, a multi license costs $179 whilst a developer license will set you back $249. All purchases come with a 14 day money back guarantee for those who are not 100% happy with the product.
$89 is a fair price for a script of this kind in my opinion. Before purchasing the script though I would do some research into the niche you want to target so that you can see if there are any existing question and answers services for your niche.
I was sent a copy of the plugin for testing purposes so I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about WP-Answers.