Adding Reactions to your WordPress Blog

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Every WordPress author is looking for ways to get more viewers to their site and to get those viewers engaged.  Having a comments section is one way to do this, but not everyone has a comment to add to every post.  You can include a connection to Facebook or social media, but again, not everyone is going to want to share or even like a post.  So with those two major forms of interaction out, what can you do?  One way you can entice users to interact and engage your blog is by reacting to a post.

By reacting, we mean more than simply reading the post and feeling something.  Reactions are small buttons at the end of each post that give users the option to click on how they feel about the content.  These reactions can be customized in whatever way you want.  Some people stick to the basics.  The reaction section might ask, “How helpful was this post?” and users can click on buttons for “Very helpful,” “Somewhat helpful,” “Somewhat unhelpful,” and “Very unhelpful.”  Each button may also show the number of votes cast for that option.  If three people had clicked on “Very helpful,” the button would read “Very helpful (3).”  However, you can hide this if you want.

What does this do for you?  It gets your readers to interact with your blog, and while it is a small interaction, it does get them used to clicking on things.  This can encourage them to comment and explain their rating or may make them more comfortable with clicking on links and other things on the site.  It also gives you feedback on what you’re posting so you can start focusing more on the type of content rated the most helpful (or whatever rating system you use).

How do you go about adding reactions to your WordPress site?  This WordPress tutorial is very simple thanks to the Reaction Buttons plugin.

First, go to the main WordPress site (wordpress.org) and search for Reaction Buttons.  Download this free plugin, install it, and then activate.  Once you’ve done so, you’ll want to go to the Settings, Reaction Buttons screen so you can customize it.

You will see the plugin’s options screen.  It has a number of different customization options:

  • Show Reaction Buttons – Check this box if you want the buttons to appear.
  • Position in the Post – You will see three different boxes here that you can use to determine where your reaction buttons appear. The first and default option is after the post.  The second option is above the post.  The third gives you the option of using code to place the buttons elsewhere.  Most users will probably want to leave this set to the default selection since that makes the most sense.
  • Tagline – This is what will appear above the buttons. “What do you think of this post?” is the standard text.  You can use HTML tags here to make text bold, italicized, etc.
  • Reaction Buttons – Enter the text you want for each button, using a comma to separate the buttons. Spaces in the button text is fine, but the plugin suggests not using exclamation marks or other punctuation.
  • Show results after Vote – Check this box so the total number of times a button has been clicked appears after a user clicks. If it’s not checked, the parenthetical with the number of votes will not appear.

Click save, and then load your site.  You should now see the reaction buttons on each post.

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