I spoke to Dan Grossman recently and he was kind enough to send me a copy of his his new WordPress plugin WPReview. WPReview is a commercial product which lets you add ratings to your posts and pages, effectively making your blog a review site. It currently retails for $97 ($199 for a multi site license).
Short Story : What does WP Review do?
WPReview is a plugin which adds a star ratings system to your posts. Ratings are very popular in review sites and using this plugin will let you add this functionality to your blog. It basically allows you to create a WordPress powered user generated content website. These kind of sites are incredibly popular with webmasters because they require little to no maintenence and if done right, can make good money too.
Dan has setup a site to showcase this plugin. The site is called Award Winning Hosts and should quickly illustrate what this plugin can achieve.
Long Story : How good is WP Review?
WP Review is a WordPress plugin in the true sense of the word. You can activate and deactivate it without worrying about adding to the core database tables WordPress generates by default. It is also incredibly easy to install. As is the norm with WP plugins all you have to do is upload the plugin folder, activate it and you’re good to go.
The plugin also comes packaged with two themes. The first one is the one which is used in Award Winning Hosts. The second theme isn’t that much different to be honest but has more traditional blog features like the BlogRoll etc hard coded into the sidebar. Neither of these themes are what you would call top notch designs however they are more than sufficient for a small review site and the template code can easily be copied over to more eye appealing designs.
Once the plugin has been activated, a settings page will be added to your WP control panel. The settings area has 3 main sections :
- Rating Categories Settings
- Auto-Embed Settings
- Other Display Settings
Rating Categories Settings
Adding a category is probably the first thing you will want to do and it’s incredibly easy to do so.
The ability to name your categories is important and will allow you to customize the ratings for the type of review site you are developing. It works well however I do think it’s limited in some respects. I think it would be great if future versions of this plugin allowed different categories for different types of reviews.
Let me explain. As it stands just now you can create the categories which visitors rate products on however these categories are applied throughout your blog. For example, say you want to develop a review site which reviews Games and DVDs. For both Games and DVDs you might want to add the category ‘Value’ as it’s applicable to both types of reviews.
Now, let’s say you want to add a special category for DVDs called ‘DVD Extras’ so that visitors can review the extras which are bundled with the DVD (ie. deleted scenes, alternate ending, trailers etc) and a category for Games called ‘Graphics’. Currently as it stands, both categories would be displayed on all reviews however clearly ‘Graphics’ has nothing to do with DVDs and ‘DVD Extras’ isn’t relevant to video games.
This clearly limits how you can use the plugin ie. it restricts your review site to one type of product. Hopefully in the future Dan can address this issue as I believe it would give users more options on what kind of review site they can build.
The ‘Auto-Embed Settings’ section makes it incredibly easy to change the way ratings are displayed in your posts.
Other Display Settings
Dan has included an option to reorder posts by the average rating of posts. This is a nice feature and one which will suit many types of review sites.
This section also lets you customise the way ratings are displayed. Another welcome feature as too many plugins put the stylesheet for the plugin in some obscure folder and you need to manually edit and reupload the file.
Bonus : Affiliate Links
Also included in the package is an option to replace certain words with links. I don’t think it’s worth the $67 that WP Review claims it costs but it is a nice addition and in practice it works incredibly well.
- The product has an affiliate program through Clix Galore where affiliates can earn 30%.
- The plugin may not enhance some blogs. By that I mean that you will get the best value from this plugin by building a review site from scratch and make the ratings the main focus of the site. For example, I could add a ratings option to posts at BloggingTips but it wouldn’t be very useful. At best it would be an overly complicated post rating system. Not that this is a bad thing as this plugin was meant to be used for review sites and not blogs ie. the plugin simply uses the WordPress backend.
- To be able to rate you need to post a comment. I know that this does mean that scores should be more accurate but it would be good if you had the option to rate a post/product without entering a comment (though I don’t know if this is practical to add considering how this plugin works).
- Overall, very easy to install, use and maintain ie. it makes building a review website childs play!
- Free upgrades for life
WPReview is by no means the perfect script but if you take the time to develop a review site using this plugin the $97 you spend will likely end up being a bargain (particularly if you choose the right niche).
I have a few review ideas in mind which I think would work well with this plugin. I’m going to design one this week and see if I can get the most from it. I’m sure once I develop one it will give me some ideas for more (for example Tyler Cruz suggested a photo rating site). In that respect, potential buyers who plan on developing a few sites with this plugin should buy the multi site license ($199).
If you have a good idea for a review site then I strongly encourage you to check WPReview out. There are many ratings scripts available but this is by far the easiest and most practical to use. Also, remember that since this script uses WordPress, there are hundreds of great plugins which you could use in conjunction to enhance your site.
If you have any questions about the plugin please leave a comment 🙂