Posted by: yuvan004 | August 19, 2010

Testing Readers: Survey, Polling, Rating, Testing, and Reviewing WordPress Plugins


Theme Test Drive

Theme Test Drive WordPress plugin allows you to safely test drive any theme on your blog as administrator, while visitors still use the default one.

It happens completely transparent and they will not even notice you run a different theme for yourself.

Best part is you can even set the testing theme options (if it has them) in the Admin panel while you are testing the theme.

You can also preview any theme by adding “?theme=xxx” to your blog URL. For example http://www.myblog.com/?theme=Default

WordPress Beta Tester

This plugin provides an easy way to get involved with Beta testing WordPress.

Once installed it will enable you to upgrade your blog to the latest Beta or Release candidate at the click of a button using the built in upgrader.

By default once enabled it switches your blog onto the point release development track.

For the more adventerous there is the option to switch to the bleeding edge of development

Performance Testing

The Performance Testing plugin tests the performance of both PHP and MySQL, if mysqlnd driver is installed, to find overhead in both WordPress and WordPress plugins. The requirements of this plugin is that you use PHP5 and have XDebug installed.

This plugin is not meant for end users, you must know how to install XDebug (http://codex.wordpress.org/Testing_WordPress_Performance) and how to configure it. You must have permissions to enable the extension and access to the php.ini file to configure XDebug. When this is all finished, the plugin will take over the rest and all you will need to do is choose which files you want to process.

This plugin is meant for debugging WordPress and WordPress plugins. If you do not need to debug WordPress or WordPress plugins, then you do not need to use this plugin.

Polls, surveys, ratings, tests, exams, and reviews expand the native interactive nature of blogs with collaboration between the reader and the blogger. They help the blogger to ask specific questions and get a measurable response.

Ratings WordPress Plugins come in two formats. One which allows the reader to rate a post or its content and cast their vote. The other format allows the editor or blogger to rate whatever they are blogging about. If they are reviewing a movie or product, they can offer their own ratings score on their opinion of the subject.

Polling WordPress Plugins ask one question and offers a series of short answers. It is a simple way to get interaction from your readers expressing their opinion on the subject at hand.

Survey WordPress Plugins are more indepth, allowing multiple questions approaching the issue from different perspectives. Questions can be framed to repeat themselves but sound different to help the researchers get a better perspective on what people really think or feel about a subject. I also uncovered a couple of testing and exam WordPress Plugins, which are like surveys but are really tests of the reader’s knowledge rather than questioning their opinions and views.

Similar to polls, user vote WordPress Plugins allow your visitors to cast their vote on a post or the content within. They can also be used to cast a vote in a competition.

There are several review oriented WordPress Plugins which help you review products, services, movies, music, books, cars, whatever you want to review. I found two types of Review WordPress Plugins.

The most common review style is used to turn your blog into a Review blog, offering your opinion on a product, service, or subject. These Plugins may offer the option to add a Ratings Plugin to create a visual score of your opinion on the matter. The most common subjects covered by review blogs are movies, television, books, music, and products and services.

The other form of a review site or blog is one that invites readers to give their review of the matter at hand. Blog comments invite opinion on a subject, but user generated reviews include ratings and scores as well as a comment area to help them let their voice be heard on your blog.

You can add one or more of these rating and user input WordPress Plugins, or use them in combination to create a powerfully interactive blog where your readers’ voice becomes just as important as yours. Maybe more so.

I also did some digging and found some social bookmarking WordPress Plugins that keep “score” of how many diggs your WordPress post has scored, and a way of keeping track of how many times your post has been bookmarked by del.icio.us users. And I found other interesting scoring WordPress Plugins to help you add more interactivity to your WordPress blog.

Note: As with many of these specialized WordPress Plugins, many Plugin authors develop one because they have a need, and then fail to continue supporting the Plugin after the need is gone. Before you upgrade, check to see if the Plugin has been updated to work with the latest version of WordPress. Also, this listing is not a complete list, and you may be using a Plugin not listed here. Please tell us about it in the comments below.

Poll WordPress Plugins

Polls offer your blog the chance to ask your readers for their opinion on a single issue. Questions range from asking who would they vote for in an election to which do they like better: cats or dogs? You can put any kind of question in your poll and give readers two or more choices for their response.

Poll results are offered either in the blog’s sidebar or on a post or Page released immediately or at a specified date, depending upon how the Poll Plugin works.

Democracy AJAX Poll WordPress PluginAndrew Sutherland’s Democracy AJAX Poll is one of the most popular poll Plugins. It allows you the option to display polls in post and/or in the sidebar, as well as within your post archives. It is extremely customizable and easy to implement. Widgetized Democracy offers a Widget version of the Plugin.

PollPress WordPress Plugin also allows voting on a poll for WordPress blogs. After the user votes, the poll results are displayed in a post. It also features an archive of polls so readers can check out the old polls and possibly even continue to vote on them.

WP-Polls WordPress Plugin is another option to add an AJAX poll system to your blog.

Survey WordPress Plugins

Survey WordPress Plugins ask more than one question and are used to get a more indepth collection of data.

Widgix has developed the SurveyGizmo Survey WordPress Plugin. It includes a full featured survey tool with 19 question types, polls, email invites, auto-responders, API data access in and out, and more. The Plugin allows control over the look of the survey and there are many options for reporting and exporting data. Currently, they are have two versions of the WordPress Survey Plugin, one free with some constraints, and another paid version for more serious polling and surveys.

Survey Fly WordPress Plugin allows developing complex, multi-question surveys which store information in your WordPress Database. You can then export the data for further analysis.

Semiologic WordPress Survey Manager WordPress Plugin offers a light weight survey Plugin with easy data extraction to learn more about what your reader’s think.

While not exactly survey WordPress Plugins, the next two Plugins ask questions of your readers in the form of a test, quiz, or exam.

wbQuiz WordPress Plugin creates a quiz of questions to ask of your readers, students, or anyone. You can ask open questions, and use multiple choice with one selection or multiple selections. It offers weighted scoring and multiple rankings, with a lot of other customization features.

wbExam WordPress Plugin is another offering by the wbQuiz author to create a test exam for your WordPress blog, including as many questions as you want, open or multiple choice questions, and anti-cheating support and spoilers turned on or off.

User Votes WordPress Plugins

Need a WordPress Plugin to help your readers score your posts, information, content, images, or vote in a contest? User Votes WordPress Plugins allow the visitor to cast their vote on your blog.

Lester Chan Rating WordPress PluginWP-PostRating WordPress Plugin adds an AJAX rating system to your posts or Pages. It is highly customizable and you can learn more about how it works and how to customize it for your blog from Tips & Tricks For WP-PostRatings.

Votio Voting Box WordPress Plugin adds a little voting box to a post and keeps a running average of the ratings that are voted.

Comment Karma is a different kind of poll. It lets you vote on comments, letting the readers score which comments they like the best.

Review WordPress Plugins

Review WordPress Plugins help you run a review blog or reviews on your blog.

WordPress Movie ratings Plugin review exampleWordPress Movie Ratings WordPress Plugin allows you to rate and review movies with a bookmarklet combined with the (imdb) and AJAX. You can put the output of your recently watched movies anywhere on your WordPress Theme.

The WP Review Stuff WordPress Plugin allows you to review movies, books, or whatever you want and display your rating on your blog post. There is even an optional “Spoiler Warning”.

Book Reviews WordPress Plugin adds the option to create and manage dedicated book reviews on your WordPress blog. You can add a list of books and reviews.

Now Reading WordPress Plugin is another book review and commentary Plugin which incorporates data from Amazon.com.

Last Amazon Review WordPress Plugin showcases your most recent review on Amazon.com. It features customized configuration of the incoming information and is also available as a Widget to work with Widgetized WordPress Themes.

WordPress Spoiler Tags WordPress Plugin allows you to add a <spoiler> tag to text in your post to “hide” spoiler information on book, movie, television, and similar reviews. If your reader doesn’t want to know the end of the story, then cover it with the Spoiler which puts a black bar over the information. To see it, the reader can hover the mouse over it and all is revealed.

Add User Reviews, Ratings, and Opinions to Your WordPress Blog

Review Site Plugin comment form exampleWordPress Review Site Plugin turns your WordPress blog into a review site, but not a blog where your reviews matter. This Plugin creates an interactive element in your blog to allow your readers to review and contribute their opinions about your blog, product or services. It’s a chance for users to have their say.

You can define a wide range of ratings and collect ratings and display them with comments, and help people share their opinions on subjects on your blog or about what you are reviewing. Maybe even give them a chance to review your review!

Review Site Plugin comment form example of reviewThis Plugin works best with blog offering products, services, recommendations, and similar content which invites visitor comments and commentary. The WordPress Review Site Plugin allows customization for which features the visitor can rate, how they rate them, and the option to add their comments to the score card, allowing their voice to be heard.

Rating System WordPress Plugins

Rating system WordPress Plugins give you the blogger or editor the chance to rate what you review. The Review Plugins listed above usually feature a rating system, but you can work with these WordPress Plugins by themselves.

The rating system is typically done on a 0-5 or 1-10 type system and often features stars to indicate the rating level, though some of these WordPress Plugins allow the user to customize the graphic used to display the score.

Star Rating WordPress Plugin exampleFor example, the DS-Rating WordPress Plugin allows assigning a rating to a post via radio Write Post panel. There are also options to configure and customize how you would like the ratings displayed.

Rating system WordPress Plugins include:

Social Bookmarking and Networking Score Cards

Digg This Button exampleAnother method of rating your blog and its content comes from score cards from various social bookmarking and networking services like Digg, del.icio.us, Technorati, and others.

Digg This WordPress Plugin is Digg counter you can add to your WordPress blog. If someone lists a post from your blog on Digg, an incoming link to the post is detected by the Plugin. An email is sent to the blog’s administrator informing them of the “digg”. Then the Digg vote box appears on the post with a link back to the Digg listing of your post, then keeps score of your post’s diggs on your blog.

The Plugin has been around since December of 2005 and the author continues to support and update it. You can customize the Plugin to only include the Digg vote box or add text links and more to customize the look and response of the Digg vote box.

Gregarious WordPress Plugin features a Digg this style icon with automatic Digg detection, but goes further to integrate other social bookmarking services like Reddit. It uses Alex King’s Share This social bookmarking submission sites WordPress Plugin to add more sites to the list. You can add, remove, rearrange, or edit any of the sites.

The Gregarious Plugin is one of the new breed of WordPress Plugins which offers complete Admin Panel interface so you don’t have to edit the template files, though you could if you wanted to. It checks automatically for updates, and allows you fairly sophisticated customization options. It also allows you to choose between a text link or images to ease the pressure on bandwidth limits. A nice feature in case you do get dugg by Digg.

Other similar Digg-related WordPress Plugins are:

I did some digging to find more Plugins that would report a form of score card for various social bookmarking sites to show how many times a post had been featured or bookmarked. I could only find one.

Del.icio.us Rank WordPress Plugin displays how many times the article has been bookmarked by a del.icio.us user under a del.icio.us logo on your blog’s sidebar.

Know of any others?

Testing Your Readers with Polls, Surveys, Tests, Ratings, and Reviews

Do you use a polling, survey, quiz, or ratings on your WordPress blog? What do you like using? How is it working for you?

If you have a review-oriented blog, does it feature only your reviews or is it open for others to participate and share their reviews on your review or subject?

What Plugins are you using to increase the communication and interaction between you and your readers to find out what they are thinking and what their opinion is?

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Responses

  1. What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much.

  2. Great list. Did you stumble upon any plugins that allow the public to rate/review authors? I’m looking for a member/author rating plugin.
    One that allows users to rate other users

    • check with buddy press wired plugin. I think this plugin will satisfy u


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