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Looking for good user-submitted reviews / ratings plugin for Wordpress Site

Posted on 2014-09-29
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Last Modified: 2014-10-15
I'm looking for a good user-submitted reviews / ratings plugin for a Wordpress Site that I'm developing which serves as an index of Hotels and Restaurants for a popular resort town in the US, -- ideally one that provides a review format that Google prefers and ranks the highest.

I'm clueless as to what Google actually ranks the highest in this context, .. but I'd like for users to be able to post a review (without having to log in) and assign a rating of 1-5 by clicking on little star icons (similar to how they do it on Amazon).  It would also be great if the reviews could be held for moderation when submitted, .. which would require that an administrator manually view and approve/publish the review. Something that plays well with the Askismet Wordpress plugin would also be nice.

I'm thinking that something that leverages the native commenting functionality within Wordpress would make the most sense, .. but I'm open to using something that's entirely separate from that if it does what I need it to.   Does anyone here have any suggestions?

Thanks,
- Yvan
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Question by:egoselfaxis
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40350718
You can do this entirely within the WordPress system.  One very good solution for all review types is MyReview: http://www.myreviewplugin.com/ It's a very feature-rich plugin, but it works well for just about any review use.  There are bunches of others that have more or fewer features but they all sort of work the same way.

A "review" is merely a custom field that the plugin adds to your Posts, custom post types, or Pages and you decide how visible it is to visitors.  As each visitor enters a review, a new postmeta entry is created with that individual score and the plugin simply does a query and averages the scores to produce the overall rating.  The rest of the plugin code usually takes the average rating, rounds it up or down to the nearest .5 and displays the stars to humans and the score to robots.

So that being said, you don't necessarily need a dedicated review plugin to do this.  You can also do it with Advanced Custom Fields, Gravity Forms, Formidable Pro, or even plain old handcoding with custom fields. It's not terribly complicated and there are a bunch of tutorials.

ideally one that provides a review format that Google prefers and ranks the highest. I'm clueless as to what Google actually ranks the highest in this context

Have you looked at the "Structured Data" section of Google Webmasters Tools yet?  If not, now is the time.  A review score is one of the Google "rich snippets" you can set up and if Google accepts it as valid, it will eventually begin showing the stars in its search results.
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Author Comment

by:egoselfaxis
ID: 40360137
Jason - Thanks for your reply.  Is it just my imagination, or does the "MyReview" plugin seem like it's extraordinarily complicated to set up?  My head almost exploded when I watched the demonstration video.  

Does this plugin that you've suggested tie into the native commenting engine in Wordpress, .. and does it at least come with some simple "presets" that I can assign?  Also, .. does configuring it result in a review format that Google prefers and ranks the highest?

Thanks,
- Yvan
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Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 40360226
Does this plugin that you've suggested tie into the native commenting engine in Wordpress,

Yes.  You can set ratings to be independent of or part of comments.

My head almost exploded when I watched the demonstration video.  

It's not quite as complicated as the author makes it sound (although now I have this running through my head, thankyouverymuch).

The plugin does a lot, the video attempts to show how much it can do.  You can set it up for a basic review without too many issues.  There are other, similar plugins out there...just search the wordpress.org repo to get to them.  For instance, this one may be more to your liking:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-review/

Also, .. does configuring it result in a review format that Google prefers and ranks the highest?

Doesn't quite work that way.  It creates a structure that you can then tell Google about but none of these do all of the heavy lifting for you.  Again, you need to read about rich snippets/structured data:

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/99170?hl=en

to gain a better understanding of what Google is looking for and how.  The shortest/quickest way to do this is to load one of your review pages into the Structured Data tool in Google Webmaster Tools and then select the stars and tell Google "this is a review"
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Author Closing Comment

by:egoselfaxis
ID: 40382387
Thanks Jason!  We're still deciding on exactly which plugin to use -- but your input was very helpful.

- Yvan
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