Reviews affect a lot of the decisions we make in our everyday lives. For example, when you’re thinking of going to the movies, what do you often check first? The reviews, right? Want to try a new restaurant? buy a new book? attend a yoga class? Chances are that you’ll look up reviews and ratings on all those things before you make your decision.
I could keep going on with examples, but I think you get the point: Reviews and ratings can sway the masses – it’s just how things work. But with something as powerful as these reviews, the real question is, can you benefit from displaying reviews and ratings on your own website?
The Benefits Of Displaying Ratings and Reviews On Your WordPress Site
When many people think of rating and review websites, they often picture sites like Yelp! or Amazon. As a result, they tend to believe that the idea of displaying reviews only works for those types of review based sites. However, you don’t need to have a review specific website or blog to benefit from using a rating system and displaying reviews on your site.
No matter what you blog about, chances are that you write a review or two on certain products or services of your choosing. Although your site may not be “review specific” (based solely around reviews) like other well known review sites, there are upsides to using a rating system on the reviews that you do write.
Many of the review and rating plugins that will be on our list will let you create summaries of the reviews you write, and the concentrated version of your review will be displayed somewhere in the vicinity of your post. This is beneficial for many reasons.
For example, did you know that the attention span of people on the internet is about as long as that of a goldfish? Shocking, but true. People have the tendency to simply skim-read a web page, but if nothing really catches their eye, then they’ll often click back to continue their search for information elsewhere. But if you can catch those viewers’ attention, then you’re one step ahead of the game.
Review Summaries are a great way to do just that.
You can create a sort of bite-sized version of your post that outlines the gist of what you’re reviewing – think of it like cliff notes on your post. This little morsel of information can quickly grab a readers attention, prompt them to read the rest of your post, and buy the product you did the review on. In that regard, it’s a win-win situation.
However, bloggers are not the only ones who can benefit from reviews on their site, and the next idea may be one you’ve never thought of before.
Small Business Owners
With big sites like Google Plus taking the lead in promoting reviews, many small business owners have seen the upsides to having great reviews written about their business. But what about displaying reviews on your actual website?
As mentioned earlier, reviews play a large part in decision making, and even though small business owners can take advantage of these big name review sites to drive traffic to their website, they often forget that many visitors to their site come there straight out of a Google search. If you’re not displaying reviews on your website, you could be missing a key component in your sales or conversion funnel.
There are plenty of plugin options that enable your customers to leave reviews on your site about your business, and many of those plugins allow you to moderate things so that only the reviews that you approve will show up on your blog – unlike Google and Yelp! that don’t allow a business owner control over what reviews can be displayed.
No matter what sort of business you run – online or otherwise – displaying reviews and ratings on your site can be a nice touch with many added benefits.
Rating and Review WordPress Plugins
Below you will find a list of rating and review plugins, and all the plugins listed are ones that have been updated in the past two years. Each plugin has slightly different features and functions, however, we felt that by giving you a large variety that you could find exactly what you’re looking for.
Contrary to what the name may sound like, the WordPress Review Site Builder is in fact a WordPress plugin. The plugin comes with its own custom post type and short codes to help you build an aesthetically pleasing review based site.
According to the author, the plugin is compatible with all WordPress themes so you shouldn’t run in to any issues when using it. After you install and activate the plugin, you’ll find a new option in your WordPress Dashboard menu marked, “Reviews”.
To add a new review to your site, you click on “Add New” under the new menu option and add your information in the custom post type area. In this area you can write things as you would a blog post, but you will have a cleaner end result than if you just wrote a review using the post editor alone. (see below)
As you can see, the plugin creates a rather impressive layout with bold colored Call To Action buttons to help increase conversion. It’s simple but bold, and it’s a great option for anyone looking to create reviews on their blog.
With this plugin, you can create unlimited polls and embed reviews from Polldaddy directly inside your WordPress site.
Since Polldaddy was created by the Automattic team, you can rest assured that things will work seamlessly with your WordPress powered blog. Though you do need a Polldaddy or WordPress.com account to use the plugin, the options inside of it is pretty fantastic.
After you activate the Polldaddy Polls & Ratings plugin on your site, you will need to either sign-in or sign-up for Polldaddy to grab your API Key in order to use the plugin. Once you sign up for Polldaddy, copy your API key and go back to your WP Dashboard. Click on “Settings” in your menu, and then scroll down to “Polls” to paste your new key in the correct place and to get the plugin working.
You will now see a new menu option marked “Feedback”. If you click on that, you will find the area to create your first poll or rating. You can add a rating to a blog post and have it displayed under the post title of your blog.
Both the poll and rating features can be nice if you’re looking for a rating system that is simple, but that also allows you to get feedback or opinions from your viewers. If that’s what you’re looking for, then be sure to check this out.
Google Places Reviews – Lite Version
Pretty popular on Google Places and want to strut your stuff on your website? Then this is a plugin that could be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Google Places Reviews plugin pulls your reviews from your Google Places page via aa API key and lets you display them on your WordPress site. You have three color schemes to choose from, and a built-in widget that can be used to display the reviews.
This can be a nice way to display your reviews on your site without asking customers to write another review on your site for others to see.
This plugin was certainly one of the more interesting rating plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Instead of you reviewing something on your blog, this plugin allows your viewers to rate your blog posts through a star rating system.
The plugin has other nice features and that can be rather helpful for driving traffic to your site. For example, the plugin supports Google Rich Snippets. This means that the ratings of your posts will be indexed by Google and can show up in Google Search. (see example below)
The plugin comes with the ability to change the amount of stars used, and you can use the kk Star Ratings Widget that comes with it to display your top rated post in widgetized areas on your site. While the idea of letting others rate your posts can be a little unsettling, it does have its advantages.
This type of rating system can help you see what your viewers like and what they don’t so that you can figure out what to spend your time blogging about. The other benefit is that your ratings can show up in Google Search, and with a high rating, you can help drive more traffic to your site.
Yee-hah to that!
Similar to the idea of the kk Star Ratings plugin, the Author Post Ratings plugin allows you to use the star rating system for your posts. This plugin, however, is different in that it gives the author the power to rate things, instead of the viewers.
Whether you’re writing a review post or you want to personally rate your blog post, you can use Author Post Ratings to do either thing. You can even choose where you would like the star rating to appear:
- In Posts and/or pages
- Top of post
- Bottom of Post
- Using a short code in the post for better control
After you define the settings of the plugin, you will then have a new meta box that appears in your post and page editor that lets you quickly add a rating of 1 to 5 stars. Don’t want control over which post or page your rating will appear? Just skip the step of selecting a rating and no stars will show up.
This plugin has a very simple idea behind it, so it’s pretty light on features. If you’re not looking for something with a ton of features and choices for reviews and ratings, then this could be exactly what you’re looking for.
This plugin does exactly what it sounds like it would do: It lets your customers review things on your blog.
Much like the type of reviews you would find on Amazon.com, WP Custom Reviews allows your viewers to write a star rated review about the products your have on your site, but that’s not all it does.
If you run a local business and you would like to offer your customers the ability to conveniently write a review directly on your site, you can use this plugin to do just that. And since the reviews are moderated, you can be the one who decides what appears on your site and what doesn’t.
The features are powerful and the code is lightweight, which makes it a truly amazing free plugin.
WP Product Review – Lite Version
If you’re looking for a plugin that will easily help you display a product review inside your blog posts without the use of short codes, then the WP Product Review plugin is worth taking a look at.
The plugin gives you the option to write a summary of the review that your post expanded on. You can list Pros and Cons, grade certain features about the product or service, and easily insert an affiliate link with a product price from your post or page.
All of the colors, fonts, and the buy button that is integrated into the plugin are easily customizable in order to complement your site’s colors. It’s also worth mentioning that the plugin supports Google Rich Snippets that can show up in Google Search.
This is one of my favorite review plugins thus far, and I love it even more for being free.
Taqyeem is from CodeCanyon’s Elite Author, TieLabs. And with a near perfect 5 star rating, this review plugin deserved a spot on our list. After taking a closer look at how it works and what it offer, it’s no wonder why so many people love it.
As you can see from the example post above, Taqyeem lets you insert your summarized review directly into your post. You create the review summaries in the same area your write your posts, and you can define where you would like the summary displayed.
It comes with Google Fonts built right in and it easily allows you to change its colors so that you can get the look of the boxes to match your site. On top of that, it comes with its own widgets that can be displayed in your sidebars or footer areas, and supports Google Rich Snippets. It is a premium plugin, but for everything that you get out of it, $16 ain’t half bad.
From the minds of the team behind, MyThemeShop, the WP Review plugin is pretty straightforward in terms of what it does and how to use it.
The plugin comes with 3 review types (stars, percentages, and points), and it has an unlimited color schemes to make the review summary pop in your post. Among other things, it boasts as being the fastest review plugins and also supports Google Rich Snippets – a feature that is becoming increasingly popular.
The area where the summary of your review will by highlighted is easily changed via the plugin’s setting area, and you can use the plugin on a post by post basis. It’s easy to set up and use, which makes it perfect for anyone who wants a powerful rating plugin without the hassle of learning too much.
At just over $20, this has all the good stuff that you would need and expect in a premium review based plugin. It has the regular review capabilities that you would want, like listing pros and cons and rating features on a single product, however, this plugin also comes with the ability to build review comparison charts to help your viewer in the decision making process.
Although the Review WordPress Plugin lets you create your own templates for your reviews, it does come loaded with 9 customizable templates that can help get you started. If you want to create a theme from scratch, you can add a new theme in the “Reviewer” section in the back end of your site. After you’ve defined things to your liking, you can insert the short code anywhere in your page or post via the “Insert Reviews and Tables” option in your post editor menu.
Since the plugin has multiple options, it will take some time to really get the hang of things. The author has a link on their page that lets viewers test out the plugin to get an idea of how it works. Feel free to give it a test-run before you buy it.
This adds a simple but nice touch to the Comments area on your website. Using the plugin, you can add a star rating system that gives your viewers the option to leave a rating along with their comment.
The way it works is simple: If the user rates your post using the star rating system, then it will show up under the text of their comment. If they decide not to rate things, then the stars won’t appear. It’s not a very robust rating system, but this is a nice way to get some feedback from your viewers and get them a little more involved on your site.
Author hReview – Lite Version
Author hReview is yet another great and simple review plugin. It adds AggragateRating and hReview support based on Schema.org guidelines.
The plugin is rather light on features, but it does its job. If you like the feel of the plugin, but you want something a bit more robust, then you’re in luck. The author managed to extend the plugin into a premium version that give you more control, features, and even templates that you can use.
To round off the reviews and rating plugins list, we thought that it would be nice to end it with a niche specific plugin. The Book Review plugin allows you to create simple but rather stunning book reviews in your WordPress site.
You can customize the background and border colors to complement your site, add book information (title, author, format, etc.), a cover photo, and purchase links that will all correspond with the review at hand. If your a book review blogger, or your plan to review books on your WordPress blog, this plugin can seriously come in handy.
If you’re not already using a rating or review plugin, perhaps now is the time to consider one of the options above. The majority of the ones listed are free to use, so you can test out as many as you like until you find the perfect one for you.
Whether you’re a casual or professional blogger, a business owner, or a web designer, there are clear benefits to displaying reviews and ratings in a clean and eye catching way – the biggest upside being that of conversion.
Many of the plugins also promote action from your viewers, and can provide vital feedback that you would otherwise not know about. Simply put, ratings and reviews are great, so why not take advantage of the power of them on your WordPress site?