The open source WordPress CMS is typically installed to fill the void as a blogging platform. Many webmasters also choose WordPress for handling static pages with a backend interface. But the additional library of free WP plugins can only add to the major publishing platforms which come right out of the box.
In this article I would like to share a few popular choices for adding user voting to your posts and pages. WordPress will allow you to edit the settings in your plugin backend admin. This means you can adjust how the buttons will display on the page and how they behave from user interaction.
I Recommend This
The plugin called I Recommend This is a bit newer yet also has incredible reviews. It has been updated to work with the most current release of WP which is 3.5.2(as of writing this article). According to the original project page we may not see a whole lot of updates in the future.
But this plugin must be one of my favorites. Very easy to install and it looks great on almost any platform. The user interface is modeled similar to Tumblr’s like feature. Bloggers on the social network will know about how this works. You also have access to an internal settings page for customizing the look and styles on the page.
For a more complicated example of user voting check out WP Likes and what it can offer. This plugin allows new visitors to vote on articles which they like the best. All anonymous votes are counted and ranked by IP address to eliminate duplicate voting. There are a series of shortcodes which you should add into the page. They look something like this:
[wp_likes] [wp_likes show="monthly"] [wp_likes show="weekly" count="10"]
Also the plugin can be used as a small widget in your sidebar areas. This will display your top liked posts of all time. It can be organized by a certain date/time and there is lots of potential. But in my opinion this will require a more detailed knowledge of WordPress to install and get running properly. It’s not impossible for a beginner, but just keep trying if you run into a wall.
WTI Like Posts
This plugin comes to us from Web Tech Ideas and it seems to be one of the more popular options on the table. The average rating is a whopping 4.9 out of 5! The reason for this is because WTI has released two separate versions of their script. A simpler open source plugin which you can download from WordPress for free, along with a pro version which costs $25.00 USD.
The list of extra stuff in the pro version is quite daunting. You have the ability to create new post widgets ranking the most popular/unpopular articles. Also the choice of 6 different CSS styles for the voting buttons. I think anybody who is interested should try out the free version first, just to get a sense of the plugin and if you could be using it on your website. WTI Like Posts is definitely one of the more advanced user voting plugins with an exceptional array of possibilities.
If you have been looking for a star rating option then I might suggest WP Postratings. This has an extraordinary backend design which makes handling the plugin very easy on beginners. The user will have a choice of voting on your post from 1 star to 5 stars. Then when users reload the page a new average will be calculated based on the total number of votes.
You will have the ability to change different template tags within the PHP to output various lines of text. The customizations are a lot easier than you might think. I also really like how the plugin will directly show how many votes are on each page, along with the average star rating. This plugin is better suited for general use as it is easy to install, easy to customize, and not much work is required for upkeep.
WP Custom Voting
The brand new open source project named WP Custom Voting is a newcomer into the field. I think the interface is a bit generic and will probably require a few CSS edits. However the functionality is golden and it supports the most currently up-to-date version of WordPress.
The Ajax code is written to check a user’s IP and keep a list of user votes stored in the database. There is not much security required to keep everything running properly. I have not extensively tested this plugin on any of my websites, but after looking over the features it seems to be very straightforward. This is a bare-bones voting plugin for somebody who just needs an easy interface with a quick installation.
KK I Like It
In my own personal opinion the KK I Like It plugins seeks to push the boundaries on WordPress. The admin panel is very well designed, easy to manage, and provides a litany of options such as custom button styles and anonymous vote tracking. You can display Gravatar photos and usernames(if available) for each of the people who votes on your articles.
Webmasters who are running BuddyPress may find a lot more use out of this plugin because it ties directly into the core of WordPress. All the users in your system can share their opinions and it will be displayed right into the post template. Although I haven’t customized much of this plugin, it is not unreasonable to think you could edit the PHP to link back to a user’s profile page. It’s a plugin which is worth testing – but since it is in beta you may not want to use this for a live production environment.
I Blank This
I Blank This is clean, concise, and very straightforward. The backend itself has not been updated for a while and the official plugin website has since gone offline. It is unclear if the developer will return for future updates. However the features are so basic and easy to use that I would not believe it will be difficult to setup your own functionality.
The best way to test out this plugin is by quickly installing and seeing how it looks. The admin panel does not offer a whole slew of options, but you can also go into the plugin editor and directly change PHP codes to display in various styles. The biggest problem is that this plugin was only released as version 1.0 and has not been touched ever since. If you are looking for a solution which will be updated over time, check out some of the other alternatives in this article.
Check out the live demo from the original JS Github entry. The WordPress plugin will work exactly the same, but it also has a custom backend admin panel for rearranging the voting button. Kudos may be worth a try but it is certainly peculiar – in a good way! Test it out and see if it works for your website. But keep in mind there are tons of these voting plugins and you should not stop looking until you find the right one for your project.
Any number of these plugins will help to improve the user experience on your WordPress website. There are situations where it does not make sense to include voting features on your pages, or any posts at all. But accompanied by the right features you may be surprised how much influence can be gained through user voting. If we have missed any great plugins feel free to share in the discussion area below.