10 Ways to Super-Charge Your WordPress Site with the New File Upload Feature

David Lindop   32

Updated on January 18, 2022

Time for some inspiration!

Something to get those creative ideas flowing.

Today, you’ll discover how to:

  • crowdsource amazing blog content
  • reduce hiring costs
  • collect compelling before-and-after client testimonials
  • run online competitions and challenges for your audience

... and so much more using our latest update to Thrive Architect!

Today, we'll explore 10 powerful ways to use Thrive Architect’s new File Upload feature on your own website.


You do know we’ve added a file upload feature to our lead generation and contact forms… don’t you? If you missed that announcement, here’s a quick recap on how to accept file uploads on your website.

Read the big annoucement on this new feature, and learn what it can do for your website.

A step-by-step guide to connecting to your Google Drive or Dropbox, to securely accept file uploads.

Discover which file formats your visitors can upload, and how to restrict them if you choose.

But enough of the how, and more of the why… Ready to give your blog audience another exciting way to interact with your brand?

Let’s get started...

Accept Job Applications from Within WordPress

Let’s start with the most obvious use case for allowing visitors to upload a file… job applications.

With Thrive Architect’s new File Upload feature, there’s no need to use a 3rd party hiring platform anymore.

You can now collect information about potential hires directly on your website.

Use our contact form fields for standard data (name. phone number, location etc.) and our File Upload feature to collect CV’s (resumes), cover letters, critical qualifications, and creative portfolio highlights.

By submitting the contact form, job applicants can be automatically added to your email list to receive email updates on their progress...

  • An initial “Thank you for your application, here’s what to expect” email.
  • A gentle let down if they’re not right for your business.
  • Requests for more information if they get through to the next round of hiring.

By making each field mandatory, you can weed out the low effort applicants and ensure you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

If you’re hiring in a creative field where applicants are required to share recent portfolio highlights, – e.g. web design, photography, modelling, acting – then the File Upload feature really shines!

A simple job application form using a pre-designed template in Thrive Architect

Boost Engagement with Exciting Audience Competitions

Contests, challenges and competitions are a great way to get your audience excited and engaged, not to mention they offer great potential for going viral on social media.

All you need is an idea – photography, sketching, painting, music, woodwork, cross stitching, anything! – and a way to collect submissions.

Here’s some examples…

A writing prompt contest

If you run a creative writing blog, this could be a great way to engage your audience.

Simply set a writing prompt and a deadline, and collect the submissions for an audience-focused post via the File Upload feature later that month.

People will love to see their work featured on your website!

An audience crowdsourced mega mix

Here’s an off the wall idea for music teaching blogs…

Release a basic backing beat track, set the key, and ask your audience to record and submit a single instrument track as an MP3 or OGG file to your website.

Then open your Dropbox or Google Drive folder to find all the community tracks you’ll need to create an epic mix of everyone’s work, giving each person their 15 seconds of fame.

Publish the final mix in a blog post, ping your email list, and let social media do the rest.

I’m thinking about starting a music website just to test this awesome idea!

A photo competition for a gardening blog

Cycle through some different topics to make this a monthly event... wildlife, water features, spring blooms. You get the idea!

Imagine the influx of gorgeous photos you’ll receive that you can share later on a round-up post and social media.

Our form designs can be quickly customized to fix your brand colors. This photo competition uses the same template as the previous example, but with different colors.

Offer Personalized Critiques as a Service, or to Create Crowdsourced Blog Content

Some people are naturals at offering criticism.

Mother-in-laws and ex’s aside, some businesses offer professional critiques, reviews, and constructive feedback on a range of things:

  • CVs / Resumes
  • Photography
  • Writing
  • Acting Demo Reels
  • Public Speaking
  • Website Design

If something is critically important to get right, there’s probably a professional out there offering a review service.

But if you offer a similar service, how do you collect submissions?

That’s right, our File Upload feature!

This isn’t just for paid services either – offering a free review session (such as a homepage review) can create killer blog content that shows off your expertise.

Here’s a quick example I whipped up in just 10 minutes using Thrive Architect...

Using Thrive Architect’s professional template designs to quickly create a manuscript review service form.

Offer Fitness & Health Coach Check-Ins

If you offer personal coaching services for fitness, weight loss, bodybuilding, yoga, or any other health transformation journey, then consider accepting regular check-in submissions from your clients.

This lets you achieve a few things:

  1. Improved accountability to encourage your clients to continue their hard work.
  2. The chance to provide positive feedback and motivation.
  3. The chance to provide constructive criticism e.g. yoga poses, posture.
  4. A way to continue the in-person interaction that fuels a successful client-coach relationship.
  5. A valuable service component that can be used to sell your coaching sessions.

But what does an online check-in look like?

Let’s take a posture coach, for example. An online check-in might include collecting information about clients’ weekly activity levels, physical challenges, aches and pains, and a full-body photo from the front, back and side.

As a client, it’s frustratingly slow to see progress because it happens so gradually.

But as the coach, you can now maintain a weekly or monthly progress log of their improved posture. It will only take a few months before the first and latest images show an impressive transformation… and by extension, how impressive your coaching services are!

Adding a colored content box can help to make your form pop. Remember that the File Upload feature can accept multiple files like in this example.

Accept and Vet Guest Post Submissions

Guest posts are a valuable method of offering new voices on your blog.

I’m not talking about those lame content mills that churn out 250-word trash for questionable backlinks.

No, when I say guest posts, I mean welcoming professionals onto your platform to share value that genuinely helps your audience. The kind of professionals who stick around to chat in the comments and social media afterwards.

Here’s how you can use Thrive Architect’s secure File Upload feature to accept – and vet! – guest post submissions on your WordPress site.

First, create a dedicated page that makes it very clear what type of content you’re looking for: length, tone, topic, voice. Describe your readers and their needs, so writers can align their guest post to your audience.

Then set out the rules. No spam, natural self-promotion, on-point grammar and spelling. Remember, strict rules will only turn away the type of guest posters you want to avoid. Professionals won’t have a problem with an equally professionally run website.

Then use Thrive Architect’s Contact Form element to capture the information you need:

  • Author details
  • Topic pitch
  • Associated websites that will be linked to or promoted
  • Samples of past work

And of course, use Thrive Architect’s new File Upload element to collect both the article and a photo of the author.

Pro Tip: Many guest posts are written in Google Docs, so why not give contributors the option to either provide a Google Docs link or upload a DOC(X) file? You can do this by making both fields optional, but clearly stating that they must use one option.

Another professionally designed form template available in Thrive Architect. This example includes a checkbox to draw attention to the guest post guidelines.

Accept Submissions for Your Publication

Do you run a magazine, journal, comic, book label, editing service, or some other publication?

Then you need a way to accept online submissions for manuscripts, drafts and articles.

Sure, a shared Google Doc link will work for basic web articles, but the industry standard is still DOC(X) or PDF format.

And any publisher will tell you their email inbox is overflowing with submissions to sift through. Wouldn’t it be better to automatically collect written submissions in Google Drive or Dropbox?

And how about forcing all those future Hemingways, Gaimans and Rowlings to fill out their details and pitch in a standardized form beforehand?

Thrive Architect’s File Upload feature can handle all this effortlessly.

But wait, there’s more!

Writers are an impatient and eccentric lot (ask me how I know!) and they often chase up their submissions too early, leading to even more unnecessary emails or calls. You can control the follow-up interaction process by automatically signing submitters up to a special email list, where you can set expectations and share updates in a timely manner.

  • “Thanks for your submission. It can take 3 months to review and reply…”
  • “Just a quick email to let you know we’re still reviewing this month’s submissions…”
  • “We’re sorry to say that your story, while good, doesn’t quite fit with our audience…”
  • “Great news, we’d love to chat about how we can work together to publish your work…”

Pre-write the emails once, and use them for every draft submission thereafter!

This pre-designed template uses a clean, minimalistic design.

Collect Homework from Your Students

Virtual learning is all the rage right now. There’s an overwhelming choice of online learning platforms to choose between, from LMS software to academic portals.

But these big solutions can feel bloated and unnecessary for small scale teaching and coaching.

Sometimes, you just want something a little simpler.

If you use your blog to teach languages, music, extracurricular maths, or just about anything else, and you don’t want to lock yourself into a complex or proprietary solution, then this is where a secure file upload feature can help.

Offer your lesson material on a page or post, set the homework task, and include a form to collect submissions directly to your Dropbox or Google Drive.

The beauty of this solution is that it’s super easy to clone an existing lesson so you don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel for each lesson – everything will already be properly configured.

Plus you’ll get a nifty email notification whenever a student submits their homework!

Sometimes you just need a simple form, like this pre-designed template in Thrive Architect.

Create Powerful Testimonials with Before-and-After Photos

If you’re not showcasing customer testimonials or case studies to promote your product or service, then you’re operating at a huge disadvantage. Sales are made when people feel a connection to real transformation stories from past clients and customers.

Thrive Ovation is a full solution that will help you collect testimonials on autopilot, but sometimes you only need a simple form with… yep, you’ve guessed it… a File Upload feature.

Testimonials are notoriously difficult to get after a client project has concluded, so I advise asking your clients while they’re feeling good about your services, and guiding them with questions in a contact form.

Here’s some examples:

  • What were you struggling with, or trying to achieve?
  • What did you try before, and why didn’t it work?
  • How did you feel supported and informed throughout our work together?
  • Tell us about the great results you achieved.
  • How is your life better now?
  • What have you liked most about working with me?

The resulting answers can be woven together to create a powerful story, but the icing on the cake will be the before-and-after images that you’ll collect with our File Upload feature!

Be clear about the type of photos you need (maybe include examples) and be sure to clearly state that by submitting them, the client grants you the rights to use them in your portfolio and marketing.

A simple testimonial form with a photo upload field. Just 5 minute’s work.

Challenge your Readers and Boost Engagement

Hosting an audience challenge is similar to a competition (in that you set rules and encourage people to submit their work), but it differs in one key respect:

A competition is played to win.

By contrast, a challenge is its own reward. The goal is to grow and learn something about yourself.

From a content creator’s perspective, they’re both used to generate engagement, a sense of community, traffic, and social media buzz.

Here’s some examples of audience challenges...

  • Halloween Spooky Baking Challenge
  • The 7 Day House Cleaning Blitz
  • 10 Day Für Elise Beginner Piano Challenge
  • The Grind: How to Become Amazing at Anything with a 30-Day Challenge

Now not every challenge is conducive to collecting audience submissions – a daily meditation challenge, for example – but for those that can, it’s highly recommended.

First, collecting submissions at certain milestones increases audience accountability, which encourages people to continue with the challenge.

Second, those same submissions can be shown in super-shareable round-up posts to promote your brand and demonstrate just how wonderful your community is.

Here’s how a simple audience challenge looks:

  1. Set the topic and rules in a blog post, and promote it on social media and email.
  2. Capture participant opt-ins via Thrive Architect’s Lead Generation element, or a full list building plugin like Thrive Leads.
  3. Create a separate, standalone check-in page with a simple form and a File Upload feature.
  4. At key milestones, send an email to your participants, asking them to submit their challenge check-in.

Let’s expand our earlier examples with file types...

  • Halloween Spooky Baking Challenge - Submit photos of your fiendish food!
  • The 7 Day House Cleaning Blitz - Submit before-and-after photos of your great cleaning work!
  • 10 Day Für Elise Beginner Piano Challenge - Submit your best Beethoven in a quick video or mobile phone recording!

A few color changes and a friendly custom font can make a big difference.

Quote with Confidence for Custom Commission Work

Do you sell custom commission work?

One-of-a-kind works of art, built to the customer’s specifications?

Maybe tattoos, pet portraits, 3D printing, knives, dolls, jewellery, logos… you get the idea. With so many variables and customizations, how do you accurately quote your clients?

File Upload to the rescue!

Let’s look at tattoo artists as an example…

You can either try to understand your client’s vision on the phone (oh, please no!), or ask them to share some examples via email (more unbilled work!).

Or you can ask them to complete a guided quote form on your website.

  • Customer details
  • Part of body
  • Tattoo dimensions
  • Colors
  • Known allergies or other sensitivities (all to keep on file for your liability)

… and some uploaded images to help you understand the design style and complexity.

Imagine how much easier your job will be when, in the morning... you log into your email to see all this information waiting for you along with a Dropbox/Google Docs folder of supporting images. All collected while you sleep!

Customize any element to create the perfect design for your business.

Over To You

Add a File Upload Feature  to your website with

I’ve shared 10 great ways to use our new File Upload feature on your website, but I feel like I’m only scratching the surface.

I’d love to hear your ideas for how to use this feature in the comments below!

by David Lindop  October 28, 2020


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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Leave a Comment

  • How do you do a file upload to then automatically post to the website?

    We need an image (png,jpeg,jpg,gif) under 800K and certain fields filled out on submit. You’ve got that covered well.

    But then, we want the info to become LIVE on the website. Yes, we understand that this is a spammer’s paradise. But, forget the security issues for now, as we’ve got this covered a number of different ways.

    The info could be a new row on a growing table with different fields filling in the columns.

    Or, the info could be a new post with a feature image and content in the post itself. Then we’d do a POST LIST to catalog all the various entries / posts.

    Flipping the content to automatically display is the rub for me.

    Help welcomed.

    • That’s an interesting use case, Mark.

      Right now we support only uploading from your website to your Google Drive or Dropbox. This keeps everything secure, as the files never touch your web hosting.

      I would recommend searching for user-generated content plugins with auto publishing, if they exist. However this isn’t the intention with our file upload feature.

      Thanks for sharing your application however. It’s interesting to hear these different use cases.

    • Mark, just give them a WordPress user account on your site with the role author or contributor (you also control whether submissions are published, and can later then do what you mentioned about creating a post list etc.).

  • This is an excellent addition to Thrive Architect – and your use case examples are great. I can already see how this will benefit my own customers. Thanks again.

  • Hi David,

    This looks really excellent. Do you have any suggestions on how to guard against malicious or inadvertently dangerous file uploads? Thanks!

    • Great question!

      If you only want to accept a certain file type (PDF for example), then you can block all other formats.

      Google Drive (and possible Dropbox) automatically scans uploaded files for viruses, so this is already baked into the process.

    • The file upload feature is not integrated with Thrive Comments… But you can load it on a page and have comments on that page. What would you like to accomplish, Marc?

      • I would like to give people the option to upload photos along with their comments on a blog post.

      • So an integration between Thrive Comments and Thrive Architect’s file upload feature? That’s a very interesting idea, Marc.

        Can you share more about how you’d use this?

  • Hi,

    another excellent feature!

    But possible room for improvment as well 😉

    1. Does it only support upload to G-Drive and Dropbox?
    –> What about storing stuff directly in a database on the webhosting? Or supporting other cloudstorage places like a selfhosted nextcloud?

    2. How will GDPR be ensured if hosting is e.g. on a free dropbox; dropbox only allows for business / paid accounts to select countries hosting servers. I believe same counts for Google drive.

    I like the feature, but at present it seems I have to continue to use my current solution to manage files uploaded. Looking forward to being able to completly replace it….


    • >Does it only support upload to G-Drive and Dropbox?

      Currently yes.

      >What about storing stuff directly in a database on the webhosting?

      We made the decision to avoid uploading to your web host, as that involves a whole host of complex security implications. At the moment, we don’t have any plans to implement this.

      Or supporting other cloudstorage places like a selfhosted nextcloud?

      We may expand the list of cloud storage providers later if there’s enough demand, but it’s unlikely we’ll integrate with self-hosted solutions.

      How will GDPR be ensured if hosting is e.g. on a free dropbox; dropbox only allows for business / paid accounts to select countries hosting servers. I believe same counts for Google drive.

      A GDPR consent checkbox is easy to add to our forms. Just create a checkbox and forward the confirmation in the admin email… that way you’ll have a copy of the time and date they consented to allowing you process their data.

      If your country’s GDPR policy requires very strict rules on where data must be hosted (regardless of explicit consent) then you’ll require a different solution, including your email service provider, Facebook and other social media, and any other 3rd party system where you interact with your audience. If you legally can’t use market leading solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox, you’ll likely find the problem extends into many areas of your online business.

      • You’re correct on the point “likely find the problem extends into many areeas of your online business.”

        Btw.: A checkbox only captures consent of a user. The business owner still needs to ensure compliance with laws like GDPR.

        I understand that to understand GDPR and to design and provide compliant solutions needs some thoughts.

        The point I want to get across to Thrive is, that with some tweaks Thrive could offer a solution. I don’t know how many customers Thrive does have, which need to be GDPR-compliant. If that’s not a signigicant part of your business, no need to look into.

        For me at present, while I like the new features coming out on Thrive, it seems I need to look into other solutions, due to the likely problems I find in many areas….
        You get my point I guess 😉

        (still a customer waiting to see developments matching EU-based businesses needs)

  • When I saw ‘file upload feature’ I thought.. What’s the big deal. But reading this post I see how amazing it could be, and already a few ways to consider using it! Nice!

    (I also hope you can help – how did you do the images for each item – Are they an icon pack, or just images? Did you customise the colour scheme or did they come like that? Can you direct me to any resource for how to use and customise vector images for brand strategy, thanks!!)

    • The images were created by our very talented designer, Georgiana. She’ll be thrilled to hear her designs are appreciated in the comments – I’ll be sure to let her know!

      If you’re looking for an icon pack of similar images, you can try Envato. Very affordable and a great selection to choose from.

  • Thanks David. Very useful suggestions to make your website interesting and to get traffic or develop a following of a particular niche.
    Great ideas. Well done.

  • Can you connect a calendar for setting appointments with a button at the bottom of the form after asking the relevant questions?

    • Hi Justin,

      Not on the same form, but you can set the URL for where the person should go after submitting the form.

      So you can add your calendar right there, on the “after submission” page.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}