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CASE STUDY: Building an Online Competition Entry System with Gravity Forms

Initial Problem

The scope of the project included rebuilding and redesigning the online entry form for annual poetry competitions held by Strokestown Poetry. Previously there existed a highly inefficient online entry process which involved multiple forms for each competition, each of which required too much unnecessary information from the entrant, contained too many options and was complex to complete. PayPal payments were also inefficient. On the admin side, entries were very difficult to manage in terms of judging and linking judges decisions back to specific poems which created endless hours of admin work.


I suggested a complete rethink and rebuild of the online entry form to reduce unnecessary questions and options, consolidate multiple entry forms into one simplified form for all competitions where the entrant can simply choose their competition. The form layout was redesigned from a  lengthy and off putting vertical form to a 3 step, better labelled horizontal form. We also removed PayPal in favour of Stripe integrated Credit Card processing which has lower fees and is simpler to use. The new form also has the required Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Data Protection requirements as well as anti spam control. The form can now be scheduled to open and close in correlation with competition opening and closing dates and is also integrated with MailChimp to capture entrants into a newsletter list.

On the admin side, all entry poem uploads are now renamed anonymously on submission with unique entry IDs and sent to a specific folder (depending on the competition entered) in a dedicated Strokestown Poetry DropBox account. The DropBox folder for each competition is shared with the relevant judge for that competition so they can automatically access the files/poems when competitions open. They then choose their winners for each competition and relay the winning poem unique IDs for each category/competition back to Strokestown Poetry who match the ID to the winning entrants personal details on the website so they can be notified of their award.


The new online entry form has made it easier and more attractive for poets to enter competitions online and much easier and quicker to manage entries and judging on the admin side saving time and money.

Resources used:

WordPress 5.2.2
Gravity Forms 2.4.10
Gravity Forms DropBox Addon 2.3
Gravity Forms MailChimp Addon 4.6
Gravity Forms Stripe Addon 2.7
Custom Code to rename uploaded files –

See the entry system in action at

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