Have you ever seen those voting contests where contestants upload an image or video and then the public votes on who has the best entry? They’ve become a pretty popular way for brands to attract user-generated content and get visitors involved.
The plugin I’m reviewing today allows you to add photo contests, video contests, or even Instagram contests directly from your WordPress dashboard. It’s well put together and comes with some incredibly detailed functionality/settings.
So if you’re intrigued by the concept of using WordPress to run user-generated content contests, keep reading my WP Foto Vote Review to learn more about everything this WordPress contest voting plugin has to offer.
WP Foto Vote Review: The Feature List
Ok, so in case you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about when I say “user generated content contests,” here’s an example from a big brand:
Users submit content and other people vote on who has the best content in order to determine a winner. That’s what WP Foto Vote helps you do from directly inside your WordPress dashboard.
To accomplish that, it gives your WordPress site these new powers:
- Create user generated content contests based on images, videos, or Instagram posts
- Users can publicly upload their content via a front-end form
- Submissions are automatically displayed in the order you select
- Users can vote on the best
- You can manage everything from the backend with tons of data
And in order to streamline that process, WP Foto Vote comes with:
- Tons of antifraud measures to ensure people can’t easily game the contest with fake votes
- Tons of different predefined styles for your contests
- A drag and drop form builder so you can customize the entry form
- Optional social login or subscribe before users can vote
- If enabled, you can collect voters’ details to add to your newsletter
- Lightbox galleries so visitors can zoom in on each entry
- Optional countdown timers to add urgency
- Shortcodes to display various parts of your contest wherever you’d like
All in all, it’s a pretty powerful plugin. I was definitely surprised by how detailed it is. While I was familiar with some third-party SaaS that offer similar functionality, those services are usually a fairly hefty monthly fee. So getting all of these features inside a one-time fee WordPress plugin is definitely attractive.
Hands-on With WP Foto Vote
The developer set me up with a test site on his own server, so I can’t speak to the actual install process for the plugin. Instead, I’ll jump straight into the configuration and process of actually creating a photo voting contest.
I’m going to start with creating a new contest because I think it will provide a better context when I show you the Settings tab.
Creating a Photo Contest With WP Foto Vote
To create a new photo contest, you just go to Photo contests → Add New. In the add new page, all you have to do is give it a name. But the plugin can also automatically create a post or page to house your contest, which is a nice time-saving feature:
Then, you’re ready to configure some more details about your contest.
In the Voting settings option, you can configure how long the contest should run as well as your voting type. You can choose between:
- Simple +1 voting
- Star rating
Then, you can also choose your contest security type. This is a really nice feature to help prevent vote fraud from ruining your contests. You can start with basic security like:
- IP + Cookie + Evercookie
- Just cookies (not recommended because people can just open an incognito tab)
And you can also add additional security measures like:
- Social login
- Subscribe form
- WordPress user account
And you can also specify how many votes each person is allowed for a chosen time period:
Scrolling down, you can choose how many winners to pick and how they’re selected:
Below that, in the Upload settings box, you can choose how people upload photos and whether or not those photos require moderation. You can also add limits and redirects here:
And finally, you can also choose your upload form (I’ll show you how to create a custom form in a second) as well as some design settings that cover:
- Social settings
- Whether or not to show a countdown timer
- Which lightbox to use
And then I just want to show you one more thing here. The plugin gives you different shortcodes that you can use to display various parts of your contest at different places on your site:
This is helpful if you want to, say, include the countdown timer in a post (but none of the other content).
How Your Photo Contest Works
Once you finish the configuration, your contest is live! Here’s a quick demo I created:
Users can vote by clicking the heart icon:
And they can upload their own photo using the upload form:
And in case you’re wondering - I did play around with the vote fraud detection. For example, I voted once and then opened an incognito tab to try to vote again. But when I did that, the plugin caught me:
One thing I really like is that the plugin displays the social share buttons after a user votes (as well as below each entry). It’s a good way to get your contest shared on social media because people will want to share their entries with their friends.
Creating a Custom Entry Form
As I said, you can create your own custom entry forms for each contest that you run. These allow you to collect additional information about all of your entrants. To create a new form, you can use the built-in Form Builder by going to Photo contests → Forms builder:
The drag and drop builder makes it super simple to create a unique form.
Vote Logs, Analytics, and Subscriber Lists
Another nice thing about the plugin is that it gives you detailed analytics over all of your voters. In the Votes log, you can see information about each individual vote (good for catching fraud):
And the Votes analytic tab gives you more broad data about which countries and contests are driving the most votes.
Finally, if you require users to subscribe or log in before voting, you can export a .csv of all those users’ data in the Subscribers list tab.
A Super Detailed Settings Panel
Now that I’ve shown you everything else, let me give you a quick peek at the Settings tab. There’s a ton here, so I’m not going to show you everything in detail.
But generally, you can configure...pretty much everything. That means changing up:
- All of the text used on all parts of your custom
- Image size/headings/description, etc.
- Tons of color and design options
- Custom CSS styles
- How to calculate votes
- How to showcase winners
- Upload restrictions
- Email notifications
- Social sharing
- And lots, lots more
All of the options include tooltips on hover, which is a nice usability touch to make it easy to understand what each setting actually does.
The Translations page is especially nice because it allows you to:
- Change the English text to something different (in English)
- Translate WP Foto Vote into any other language you'd like
No need for a third-party solution for translation - it's all in the settings.
Performance Optimizations to Keep Your Site Running Fast
While I’m not sure how to personally test this one, the developer did inform me that WP Foto Vote is specifically coded to optimize database performance and queries. To that end, the plugin:
- Only loads the required assets on contest pages (not sitewide)
- Optimizes the database queries by only making a single query for all attachments (instead of individual queries for each individual attachment)
How Much Does WP Foto Vote Cost?
I think one of the major draws of WP Foto Vote is that it’s a one-time fee, whereas tools like Woobox run $30 per month at a minimum.
While there’s no free version of WP Foto Vote, a single-site license only costs $34 one-time:
The version above only gets you access to photo contests, though. If you want more functionality, there are additional premium add-ons for:
- Video contests ($15)
- Instagram contests ($18)
- Lots more
WP Foto Vote worked brilliantly in my time playing around with it. It includes a huge array of options to really let you customize how your contests look and function. And you can also tell that the devs put real effort into the behind-the-scenes aspects, too:
- The anti-fraud system works
- Votes are lag and glitch free
- It’s optimized to minimize database queries as much as possible
If you want to add any type of user generated voting contest to your WordPress site, you should definitely give it a look.