CM FAQ (CMFAQ) - Use Case - How to Prepare a Comprehensive FAQ Database (+ Shortcodes)


Use Case – How to prepare a comprehensive FAQ database (+shortcodes).

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Note: This guide requires:
  • CM FAQ – This document uses version 1.7.2

Introduction

CM FAQ is a WordPress plugin that allows to build a frequently asked question (FAQs) knowledge base on your WordPress site. This responsive FAQ plugin allows users to create and manage the database by asking questions and voting for the best answer.

The plugin includes an AJAX FAQ search widget with autocomplete or users can search the FAQ by category to help site visitors find exactly what they need.

Use Case Front-End

Use Case Assumptions

In this example we will consider how to prepare a comprehensive FAQ knowledge base, how to configure the plugin and how to use shortcodes.

We assume that you've already bought the plugin, but not installed it yet.

It follows:


Installing The plugin

The process is the same for all CM plugins and add-ons.

  • Download the plugin from your customer dashboard
  • Log in to WordPress and navigate to the WordPress Admin → Plugins settings
  • Click on Add New
  • Activate it and add the license

Learn more: Getting Started - Plugin Overview


Creating Lists

Let's start with creating Lists. Lists allow you to group categories with questions, and the admin can display these lists with categories using a shortcode with an attribute.

Navigate to Admin Dashboard → CM FAQ → Lists

On the left part of the page you can see the form for adding the list. There you need to fill the following fields:

  • Name - The name is how it appears on your site.
  • Description - The description is not prominent by default; however, some themes may show it.
  • CM FAQ Page - The page on which shortcode with this list will be running. This is needed in order to have a link back from each FAQ page to the index page.
  • Order - Terms are usually ordered alphabetically, but you can choose your own order by entering a number (1 for first, etc.) in this field.

When you filled all fields click the Add New List button. After that you will see just created list in right part of the page - in the list of lists.

You can edit, delete or view every list that you've created. We will consider how to display list on the front-end later in the section Extra - Shortcodes

Creating Categories

Next step is to create categories. Categories are needed to classify the questions for specific topics, so it will be much easier for your users to find answers for the questions.

Navigate to  Admin Dashboard → CM FAQ → Categories.

On the left part of the page you can see the form for adding the category. There you need to fill the following fields:

  • Name - Name of the category.
  • Slug - This is a URL-friendly version of the name. It is usually all lowercase and contains only letters, numbers and hyphens. You can leave this field empty and the slug will be generated automatically from the Name.
  • Parent Category - Assign a parent term to create a hierarchy (optionally).
  • Description - Description of the category. It is not prominent by default, however, some themes may show it.

  • Icon - You can set a specific icon for the category. Click the Select button to choose the icon from your Media Library. After that you can Change it or Clear using corresponding buttons.
  • Lists - Choose the List that the category will belong to.
  • Order - Terms are usually ordered alphabetically, but you can choose your own order by entering a number in this field (1 for first, etc.).

When everything is done click the Add New Category button. After that you can see just created category on the right part of the page in the list of created categories. You can edit, delete or view the category, as well as perform bulk actions to all categories. Count "0" that you can see on the screenshot below means that there are no questions in the category at the moment. So let's create a few.

How it looks like on the Front-end:

Adding Questions and Answers

To add Questions and Answers navigate to Admin Dashboard → CM FAQ → Add New Questions or Admin Dashboard → CM FAQ → Questions → Add FAQ Questions.

There you need to write the question in the field Add Title, and write the answer lower.

On the right part of the page you can see metaboxes. There you need to configure a few things:

  • FAQ Categories - Choose the category that the question will belong to - there can be more than one of them.
  • FAQ Tags - Add one or more tags, so it will be easier to navigate between questions using tags.
  • Main category - Specify a main category on this page. Main category will show up on the question breadcrumb. This option is useful when one question belongs to a few categories.

After all of that, don't forget to click the Publish button at the top right. This way you can easily add some more questions and answers.

Options

Next thing you need to do is to configure the plugin - its behavior and appearance. Navigate to  Admin Dashboard → CM FAQ → Options.

There you can see a few different tabs. Let's consider them step by step.

General

First tab is Plugin options, that contains all base settings. There you can find the following options:

  • Default CM FAQ page - Choose the default page for FAQ. When you install the plugin, the page for FAQ is created automatically, but you can locate it on another page using the Shortcode.
  • CM FAQ questions slug - Make your links prettier by changing the slug for FAQ questions.
  • CM FAQ categories slug - Set the slug for FAQ category. 
  • Include category slug in question URL - Include the category taxonomy part in the question URL.
  • Front categories - Select the categories that will be displayed on the start screen of the FAQ page. If you use the shortcode with the list attribute then front categories will be filtered. Learn more how to change the order of categories: CM FAQ (CMFAQ) - Ordering Categories

    How it looks like on the Front-end:

  • Front questions limit - Limit number of questions displayed under categories on the start screen of the FAQ page.
  • Answer word limit - This option limits the amount of words on pages with the questions list. Leave empty or set 0 to remove limit - full content will be shown. Option works when the next one is disabled.
  • Show answer excerpt in QA-list - Enable it to display answer excerpt instead of content on pages with the questions list. (e.g. Category view page).
  • Preserve HTML-tags - Enable it to keep HTML-formatting of content in the QA list view.
  • Show related Questions - Enable it to show related answers under the answer. Related questions are based on Tags. There can be displayed up to 5 related questions.
  • Show tags cloud - Enable it to display tags cloud in the frontend FAQ page.
  • Show search bar - Enable it to display Search bar in the FAQ page.
  • Search suggestion with content - Enable it to show first line of the answer in search suggestions. 
  • Questions order - Choose how the questions should be ordered by in the FAQ page. They can be ordered by ascending or descending way with the following options:
    • Publish date
    • Voting
    • Title
    • Modify Date
  • Categories and Tags noindex - If enabled, meta noindex will be appended to page head on categories and tags pages.
  • Plugin statistics - If enabled, there will be collected statistics about displaying and voting.

At the end click the Save Changes button.

Labels

On the next tab - Labels, you can change the following labels:

  • Categories
  • Tags
  • Tiles show more
  • Breadcrumb home
  • Question tags
  • Related questions
  • Search input placeholder
  • Search / taxonomy no results
  • Search results 

Click the Save Changes button.

Search Widget

Next tab is Search Widget. You can add a floating FAQs search widget to specific pages on your site which can display the available frequently asked questions for a specific keyword. The order or results are determined by votes and relevance. 

Here you can configure the following options:

  • Show on CM FAQ Page - Enable it to display the widget in the FAQ page.
  • Show on Front Page - Enable it to display the widget in the Front page.
  • Show on given post types - Choose the post types where you want to display the widget.
  • Show answer - Enable it to show the first line of the answer in the widget.

You can also define the appearance of the widget by configuring the following options:

  • Open title 
  • Closed title
  • Search placeholder
  • Search no results label
  • Color
  • Placement

Click the Save Changes button.

Voting

Next tab is Voting. The options are:

  • Voting - General option to enable/disable voting. Use this option to disable voting in all places.

The following options work only if general option Voting is enabled:

  • Categories voting - Enable it to show voting in categories and tags.
  • Search results voting - Enable it to show voting in search results.
  • Search suggestion voting - Enable it to show voting in search suggestion.
  • Search Widget voting - Enable it to show voting in Search Widget.

Click the Save Changes button.

Appearance

Next tab is Appearance

Here you can configure color and font size for Frontpage, Breadcrumbs, Question Lists and Questions content. Learn more about it in our guide: CM FAQ (CMFAQ) - Editing Appearance Settings (Colors, Accordion)

Here we will consider more detailed the section called QA list appearance. Instead of usual list of the questions and answers you can show them in Accordion type of displaying. 

How it looks like:

To configure it you can use the following options:

  • Accordion - Check it to enable accordion visual effect.
  • Collapsed panel icon - Choose the icon for the collapsed panel.
  • Expanded panel icon - Choose the icon for the expanded panel.
  • Icon size - Choose the size of the icon.

Click the Save Changes button.

End Result

Now everything is configured. Let's see the result on the Front-end. The FAQ page is created by default and you can find the link to it in the Options.

For our use case we've created in advance some more categories to make it more descriptive.

Use Case Front-End

Extra - Shortcodes

You can also locate your FAQ anywhere else using shortcodes with different parameters. It is useful when you want to make a few different FAQs for specific topics and locate them in different places.

TIP: What Are Shortcodes

Shortcodes add dynamic content to your site via a small piece of code.

Learn more: Shortcodes - How To Use | Finding ID of Post/Page/Other Content

The shortcodes are:

  • [cm_faq]
  • [cm_faq_all]

[cm_faq] is used for showing FAQ. Its attributes:

  • list - the list name.
  • searchbar - show search bar (1 or 0), replaces general "Show search bar" option value.

Example

We added to our list called "FAQ" only two categories - "Pricing" and "General". Let's place this list with disabled searchbar in the page using the following shortcode:

[cm_faq list="FAQ" searchbar="0"]

Result on the Front-end:

Second shortcode [cm_faq_all] is used for showing questions list. Its attributes:

  • category - the category name or slug.
  • orderby - the order of displayed questions.
  • order - the order direction (ascending or descending).
  • number - the limit of displayed questions.
  • accordion - set/unset accordion appearance of FAQ List items.
  • searchbar - show search bar (1 or 0), replaces general "Show search bar" option value.

Example
Let's display the category "General" with only 3 questions ordered by the title, and specify the accordion appearance of the list. The shortcode will look like this:

[cm_faq_all category="General" orderby="title" number="3" accordion="1"]

Result on the Front-end:

Learn more, what can you do using the shortcodes in our detailed guide: CM FAQ (CMFAQ) - Shortcodes


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