Picking the right plugin to turn your WordPress site into a review site can be challenging. There are several options out there with competing and similar features. In this article, I’ll explain to you the various features that most review site plugins have. I will also tell you what you could need each feature for.
Ease of Use and Installation
Of course, you need software that’s intuitive to use. You should avoid plugins with badly designed user interfaces. In my reviews, I have tried to measure the usability of the plugins.
Another very important aspect of your buying decision is the ease of the installation: is it straightforward, are there any hacks required, or something like that? Some plugins use encoded source code to prevent other programmers from stealing their code, the problem is that this is known to cause a lot of problems during installation. In reviewing plugins, I rate plugins with encoded source code lower.
Support and Documentation
You don’t want to put your money behind a product that doesn’t provide adequate support or sufficient documentation. It’s true that there are some products that are so intuitive, you don’t need to read the user manual. But these are a few. I rated WordPress review site plugins here based on the support that they provide to their users, and on whether they come with sufficient instructions.
Generating Comparison Tables
Buyers in general love side-by-side comparisons of products and services. If they see this in your website, they’re more likely to value the objectivity of your information and stick around longer. Most WordPress review site plugins have the ability to dynamically produce comparison tables based on reviews you’ve published on your website.
Stylability and Compatibility with Other Themes
Good WordPress themes follow guidelines that were designed by the creators of WordPress to achieve a level of uniformity among the themes. Some reveiw site plugins were designed with these guidelines in mind, so they are able to fit more smoothly into existing WordPress themes than others.
Additionally, WordPress review site plugins will introduce new visual elements to your website. It’s a big problem if you can’t change the look and feel of these visual elements. That’s why the good review site plugins equip their visual elements with CSS classes to allow designers to change their looks.
Enable User-Generated Reviews and Ratings
These WordPress review site plugins add to WordPress’s functionality. They don’t take away from it. So, with all plugins, your users would still have the ability to post comments on a product page, but you might want more than just that. You might want to give your visitors the ability to rate the product based on the evaluation criteria that you specified (i.e. value for money, reliability, usability, etc). Some plugins give you the ability to allow users to submit their own reviews and ratings for products.
Some popular affiliate networks provide affiliates with data feeds in the form of CSV files. If you want to import content from external sources, you need this feature.
But you should be aware that simply importing content, which 100s of other affiliates are using, won’t make your site very valuable. You should do something unique with the content that you’re importing. You should do something that actually adds value to the customer experience on your website. When Google sees that visitors are interacting more with your website (Yes, Google can see that), it puts more weight on your content than others.
If you want to use these plugins to compare and review local stores or places, you’ll need a plugin that has Google Maps support. With this feature, you can easily embed a Google map in your review post.
Review Microformat (hReview)
Even though reviews are written for human users, reviews that follow the hReview microformat can be recognized as a review by non-human readers, such as Google bot. So, when Google visits your website and see that it’s a review site that it follows the hReview microformat, you’ll have an edge. Google will show your rating on the results pages, as you can see for example in these results pages.
Post Sorting Options
By default, WordPress sorts posts chronologically. Human visitors will probably be interested in sorting review posts on your website by other criteria, like by amount of comments a review received or the highest rating. Some WordPress review site plugins have this ability.
Which product is better, the one that was rated 5/5 by one user or the one that has a cumulative rating of 4.5/5 from 1,000s of users? Probably, the second is because it’s a more popular product and has a very high rating. That’s what Bayesian weighting does. It factors in more variables to rate items rather than just relying on the final rating score.
Dummy Comments Generation
With this feature, when you launch a new website, it won’t have to look stale. You can fill it up with automatically generated comments and ratings. But I wanna share with you a few words of caution about this feature.
First, this is probably not the most ethical (or — if you’re under FTC jurisdiction — the smartest) thing you can do with your website. Second, and more importantly, visitors will easily pick up on the scam and they will distrust your website.
Now if you enjoy the spam in your life and want to contribute more to it, fill the web with these fake reviews and comments sites, this feature might help you. But if you’re working on a truly valuable website, you probably don’t care about this feature.
Affiliate Link Management
After you’ve reviewed and rated the products, you’ll want to link to them with your affiliate links, isn’t that the point of it all? Now wouldn’t be nice if the review site plugin offered a little tool to help you with that?
Some of these WordPress review site plugins come equipped with a section to help you manage and cloak your affiliate links.
Even though some plugins play nicely with other WordPress themes, it is sometimes best to use a theme that was specifically made for review sites and for these plugins. Therefore, some WordPress review site plugins come bundled with a bunch of review themes.
Pricing and Licensing
Another feature that you should be aware of is the price and the terms of the license of the plugin that you’re buying. Some licenses restrict the way that you can use the software. For example, they limit the number of installations to a number of websites or prevent you from re-selling the software.
I believe that these types of software should be backed with a solid refund policy because you can’t tell if this is really what you need until you’ve tried it.
So, that’s all. These are the features that you should investigate before you decide which WordPress review site plugin is best for you. On this website, I help you make that decision by delving deep into the software and bring forth the pros and cons, then I make my recommendations to you based on my findings…