Review Ratings with WordPress Plugins

After letting others rate your posts and pages last time, today will be devoted to helping you rate what other people produce. These plugins are mostly for use by people that review something, whether music, TV, or movies. If that is what you do on your blog here are a couple of plugins you may find useful.

Rating Others

Xavin’s Review Ratings gives you the ability to place stars (or any other image you want to use) for things you are ratings, like music, books, etc. It uses a shortcode to place the stars in your post, and has a nice selection of options right out of the box for ratings. The defaults for the ratings can be set on the options page, including editing the output templates. Or you can override them using tags on the shortcode when desired.

Using the shortcode is very easy, just place it where you want it, using tags to set the number of stars, how they are displayed, etc. The documentation on the website is nicely laid out, and gives easy to follow examples for most of the tags, including the only one that is close to complicated, multiple ratings for something i.e., Plot, Characters, Art, then add them into an overall score.

I like this plugin. It is simple to install and use, flexible, and has good instructions. The ability to use your own images for ratings means it will fit into any review site easily, and the grouping shortcode is useful for anyone that wants to break down their ratings.

Ratings Shorttags also uses a shortcode to place ratings where you want them in your post. It has the same flexibility of placement as any other shortcode, but it is really flexible in what you can use for ratings.

On the settings page for the plugin, you can input the HTML for the Unicode symbol you want to use, the color of both the filled and unfilled symbols, and the total number of symbols that will show up.  To rate something, you just add the shortcode with the number of symbols you want filled. Using the Unicode symbols means you have a huge variety of symbols available for your reviews, but it is also one of the shortcomings of the plugin.

Because the Unicode symbols are text, they are affected by any settings that affect your text styling. This means they can rather difficult to see sometimes. This can be overcome by some CSS styling, but it is a bit annoying. Another problem with using Unicode is that anyone who visits your page that does not have the proper font installed, will not see what you want them too. The developer does have some CSS on the website that you can use to display images instead of the Unicode symbols, if you are comfortable working with CSS.

A lot of flexibility with this plugin right after installation. There is even more if you are willing to do some additional work with it and your stylesheets. In some ways it is more flexible than Xavin’s plugin, in others it is less so. You can set it up for rating multiple aspects of something, but it is not as easy as the Xavin plugin and it will not determine the overall rating automatically. But a decent option if it fills a need you have on your site.

Final Words

If you are wanting to share your feelings about something on your blog, both of these will do what you want, in slightly different ways. I admit to a preference for the Xavin plugin, but not for any really rational reason. The Ratings Shorttags plugin would function just as well, but I do not think I need the kinds of flexibility it has. It may very well give you exactly what you need.

What neither of these plugins will do is make your reviews entertaining or insightful. If you want to become the next Rotten Tomatoes, that will be up to you and your ability to write.

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3 Responses to Review Ratings with WordPress Plugins

  1. Pingback: Articles about WordPress Plugins as of April 6, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  2. Kristi says:

    You don’t know if this plug in allows user-review ratings as well do you? I tried GD Star Rating to do this but it was just too complicated.

    • Tom B. says:

      When I looked at them, neither of these plugins allowed your readers to rate things. That may have changed in the year since I wrote this article, but I have not kept up with that sort of thing.

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