How to crowdsource event listings for your WordPress site

Crowdsource local event listings for a “What’s On” page

One of the many interesting ways n0tice can help publishers is by creating a separate open space for freeform community participation which can then be fed into your main web site in a controlled way.

This can be done with on-the-ground eyewitness reports, peer-to-peer classifieds listings, and local upcoming event listings.

The following is a step-by-step guide to creating an open “What’s On” event calendar page on your WordPress web site using contributions from the public on n0tice.com.

You don’t need any coding or even any HTML skills here. But we have assumed that you are running your own hosted version of WordPress and that you can install plugins and that you know how to do that. We’ve also assumed that you either have a noticeboard on n0tice.com or that you have read the “How to create a noticeboard” page.

STEP 1: INSTALL ALL-IN-ONE-CALENDAR ON WORDPRESS

There’s a fantastic WordPress plugin called All-in-one-calendar by a company called Then.ly. It has a tone of great features, including the ability to ingest a calendar feed and populate a calendar page on your WordPress site. That’s the first thing we need to go and get.

  1. Go to your Plugins Panel in WordPress. Select ‘Add New’.
  2. Search for “All-in-one-calendar”. Click the ‘Details’ to make sure you’re looking at the right plugin before you install it.
  3. Click the ‘Install’ button. And then ‘Activate’ the plugin when you are given that option.
  4. You should now see an additional list of things in your left-hand column menu. They are under a new button called ‘Events’.

Next you need to customise it a little for your web site.

  1. Go back to your Plugins Panel in WordPress. Click the ‘Settings’ under the All-in-one-calendar plugin.
  2. Adjust your settings to suit your needs. Set the appropriate timezone, decide which day of the week to begin with, show or hide the ‘Subscribe in Google Calendar’ button, etc.
  3. For this example, don’t allow user submitted posts to your calendar. That’s a great feature, and it may come in handy, but we’re going to use n0tice for that. There’s a real benefit to having an open and public space where users can share and distribute eachother’s events…

STEP 2: GET YOUR EVENTS FEED

We’ve done a step-by-step guide to creating a noticeboard, so that’s the next thing to do. It really only takes 2 or 3 minutes, depending on how fancy you want to make it.

  1. Your noticeboard has an iCal feed for events. You can get to it by clicking on the ‘Events’ header in the right-hand column.
  2. Look for the link to the iCal feed in the right. Copy that URL. You’re going to paste it into the plugin you just installed in WordPress.
  3. The events page for any noticeboard is: http://YOUR-NOTICEBOARD-NAME.n0tice.com/events/all. And the iCal feed for any noticeboard is: http://YOUR-NOTICEBOARD-NAME.n0tice.com/events/calendar
  4. You can also use a custom location, such as http://northerner.n0tice.com/events/calendar?address=Manchester%2C+UK

STEP 3: FEED EVENTS INTO WORDPRESS

We’re nearly there. This last part is really fun. You’re going to paste your iCal feed into the plugin and watch some magic happen.

  1. Go back to WordPress, and look at the left-hand navigation in your Admin Panel. Click on ‘Events’.
  2. Select the ‘Calendar Feeds’ option. This is where you will manage the iCal feeds that you get from n0tice or any other source of events.
  3. Paste the noticeboard event calendar link from Step 2 into the field called “iCalendar/.ics Feed URL”. You may want to add a tag for the type of events you are feeding in here, but that’s optional.
  4. Click ‘Add New Subscription’.
  5. Click ‘Update’ next to your new saved feed.
  6. That’s it! You just imported the feeds from your noticeboard into your WordPress site! Congrats!
  7. Click the ‘All Events’ tab in your ‘Events’ menu in the right-hand navigation. You should see the events from your noticeboard listed as items right there just like normal WordPress blog posts or pages.
You may need to click the ‘Update’ button a few times if it gives you an error saying there are “No events”. It can be slightly fussy, but don’t give up.

Now go to your web site. You’ll see a new page, probably called ‘Calendar‘. There’s your brand new calendar page!

The hard part is done. You can do all sorts of things to make it look and feel the way you want. You can change the name of the page. You can make the events appear in a list. You can make the list appear on other pages on your web site.

If you’re feeling really adventurous have a look at the n0tice API which will give you a ton of flexibility for customising your event listings solutions for exactly your needs.

REFINE YOUR PROJECTS

Here are a handful of suggestions for making this solution really work well for you, including a great way to make money from event listings:

  • Make your noticeboard focused on Events rather than Reports. You can do this in the noticeboard admin panel under ‘Layout’.
  • Remove event posts from users that you don’t like in WordPress rather than on your noticeboard. This will encourage people to think of the noticeboard as an open and public space for sharing with eachother while you can maintain tighter control of what appears on your web site.
  • Sell premium positions for events on your web site. Maybe do the same in print, too. Use your noticeboard as a free-for-all, but only list items on your web site that people have paid for through your own sales team or your own transaction platform.
See Examples

Crowdmapping in practice

The Guardian has been actively applying crowdmapping to a range
of concepts from investigations to advertising campaigns tocommunity participation projects.