Building Review Sites with Star Ratings

While not everyone feels comfortable pumping out a 700 word review of a product, most people feel inclined to rate just about everything. They’ll hop onto Facebook and rate movies using one of the applications. They’ll go to Amazon and have their say with a product that they just purchased. You ever wonder if you can offer the same functionality on a website of your own?

As it turns out, all you need to convert your WordPress blog into a fully functional review site is the appropriately named WP Review Site WordPress plug-in. To make matters slightly more ironic, this is my review of the WP Review Site plug-in. Maybe I should have activated it for this post only?

The Strength of User Generated Content

For the purposes of making money online, the best kinds of websites are those that are able to run themselves. That’s partly why there are so many forums on the ‘net. The owners of those forums don’t really have to do anything, other than hire a couple of moderators and ensure that the site stays up and running.

The same can be said about review sites that are powered by the WP Review Site plug-in. You’ll need to generate some traffic at first, but the idea is that you will soon able to put together the briefest of posts and have the comments come flooding in. Aside from the comments themselves, each user is able to give a “star” rating on a scale of one to five.

In addition to the overall rating, you can also define additional categories for your site visitors to use. If your site reviews computer hardware, for instance, you can set up ratings for performance, build quality, and price/value. These star ratings can either be displayed horizontally or vertically. For more information, check out the features page.

A Look at the Options

Converting your regular WordPress blog into a fully functional review site is as easy as installing a plug-in. When you buy this product, you will be provided with a zip file. Unzip that, find the plug-in folder, and upload as normal. Activate the plug-in in WordPress and then you’ll find the configuration under the Options tab.

There are three sections to the options area:

In the first section, you can add and remove rating categories. If you find that there is demand for an additional category, like “support” or “appearance”, you can add those here.

The second section is for the automatic embedding of the star ratings in your posts, pages, and comments. You can shoose to use either tables or lists for the ratings display. Unfortunately, the plug-in does not allow you to automatically choose whether the ratings only show up in posts and not pages, for example. To do that, you need to edit your theme files.

The final section is for adjusting the CSS of the ratings widgets. You’ll want them to blend in with your site, after all.

Weighted Average Listing

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s much more valuable to see a product in action. Award Winning Hosts is a website that was designed and run by the same people that created the WP Review Site plug-in. The site, as you can imagine, is partly powered by that plug-in.

Along with the individual reviews (and comments) for each of the web hosting companies, you’ll also notice that there is a list of all the web hosts along the right side. This list is not chronological or alphabetical. Instead, the list is based on the user ratings. Better still, this WordPress plug-in uses a weighted average to prevent a single five-star rating from ousting 40 four-star ratings.

Great for Affiliate Links

As you can imagine, WP Review Site was designed with affiliate marketing in mind. For each and every product (or service) reviewed on one of these websites, you can easily integrate some affiliate links. This way, any site visitor that comes to your site for information will get redirected to the vendor via your affiliate link. It’s important to get that “last cookie”, so to speak.

In case you’re wondering, the rating system becomes completely integrated with the comment system on your blog. This means that the ratings can still be moderated, marked as spam, and so on.

Pricing and Bonuses

For all intents and purposes, WP Review Site looks like it could be a valuable addition to any review or shopping site. Allowing users to have their say through star ratings is very appealing. That said, I did find that it was lacking in one major area: You still need to have some basic PHP and CSS knowledge to fully integrate this plug-in. If it’s supposed to be easy (and newbie-friendly), this shouldn’t be the case. You should be able to adjust these basic settings through the control panel.

WP Review Site is currently priced at $97. That includes the plug-in, a “free” review-minded WordPress theme, and some affiliate marketing features.


41 thoughts on “Building Review Sites with Star Ratings”

    1. That’s an interesting concept John Chow. I agree that user generated content is the way to create true passive income stream from websites.

      1. Michael Kwan you mean. 😎

  1. Paul B says:

    There are a couple of very expensive systems out there at the moment that say review comparison is the “new” way of making a killing with affiliate marketing. This looks great.

  2. Jack Rugile says:

    Seems like a very cool plugin. This is exactly what I was looking for a few months ago. My blog has band profiles and I have always wanted a way for readers to rate the bands. Thanks!

    Jack Rugile
    – Metal Denver

  3. Jason says:

    This looks really interesting, I’m picking up a copy for my hotel review site.

  4. Kacper says:

    Hmm… Interesting option to consider.
    Thanks for nice review, Michael.

  5. It was sounding so good, I knew it wasn’t going to be free. Still though, an amazing looking plugin and something I WOULD use if I ever want to build a review site.

  6. Ian Fernando says:

    wow this looks real good for a review landing page for affiliate marketing!!!

  7. nice plugin ..should have been free 😯

    1. lol thats what I was thinking and when I saw the cost after reading through the site, I still think it’s quite cheap! Excellent review!

      1. Purchased 🙂 there is a discount at the DP forum in the buy, sell,trade forum. Hurry!!

  8. I’ve been looking for something like this as well. Very cool! I’ll be purchasing a copy. And like Ian said, it should be great for some landing pages.

  9. steve dowripple says:

    This would be a great plugin if it allowed reviewers to add images to their reviews. Without it I find it sorely lacking for use in any sort of restaurant, hotel, movie, etc review site.

    Can anyone site an example website with this latest version of the plugin in use?

    1. Jason says:

      I’ve never seen an image in a review on or Circuit City or any other site that takes user reviews…

  10. Once again, the great John Chow does it again. Another great blog post! I truly enjoyed it in this review of a landing page for affiliate marketing is phenomenal.

    1. steve dowripple says:

      Firstly, this post wasn’t by John himself. Secondly, I don’t really see what was so great about this post other than to flog some half baked expensive WP plugin. Doing some searching around turns up no real qualities sites using this plugin. This is just passing the turd around for internet $$.

      1. Jason says:

        How would you know a site was using this plugin when you came across it? You would have no way of knowing…

  11. Jerry says:

    I bought this plugin before this review and I have to say it’s a nice plugin.

  12. fas says:

    It is overpriced. Any review rating plugin?

  13. I’ve recently got this plugin as well and it’s GREAT. Super easy to use and you can build some really powerful sites with it.

  14. I’ve been looking into starting a review site for a couple months now, I wish I had seen this two months ago.


  15. Shawn Knight says:

    I’m not so sure I would say this is a forum-style idea where you “set it and forget it”. With a review site, you have to constantly update it with new product reviews for it to remain fresh and with the times. Oh, and you actually have to have writing skills and the drive to write more than five sentences about a product you know little about. It takes a good bit of time to research products you are unfamiliar with, and even more time to test them out thoroughly to report on the good and bad.

    Just a few things to keep in mind before deciding you want to start a review site…

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I can appreciate where you’re coming from, Shawn, seeing how I do a lot of product reviews myself. That said, I have a feeling that this plug-in isn’t for the review sites that you are thinking of. Instead, they’re more geared toward generating user-created reviews, like those snippets that you find on Amazon.

      1. I agree with Michael. This plugin is for user generated content, not for review content that you would be doing yourself.
        Providing a platform for a peer to peer ideas exchange and slapping some ads sounds like a great way to create some passive income..

      2. Shawn Knight says:

        Ahh I see, yeah I wasn’t exactly sure what type of reviews this was geared towards, but you had mentioned computer hardware so figured I would chime in with a quick comment. 🙂

  16. MsTrisBeats says:

    Plugin developers are making it so easy to acheive success and market yourself through wordpress, but it’s post like these that drive folks to get the plug ins ..Thanks I can see this working for several blogs I read, and maybe my own..

  17. Jason says:

    Someone mentioned there is a discount at DP forum, here is the discount link from the post over there, for $18 off:

  18. Very cool, I will bookmark this theme as I am looking into doing some review blogs in the future.

  19. ryan says:

    why pay when u can download similiar one for free. much more better design with user photo and profile and thier reviews. i would not pay for these not even a dollar 🙂

    1. Robert says:

      Why not give links? Point newbs in the right direction. 😉

    2. Jason says:

      I have tried all the review plugins they’re all old and don’t work with WP 2.5 or don’t have star ratings or are impossible install. Plus WordPress already has gravatar photos for comments like this blog and profiles too. You can use other plugins with this. I bought it and installed it on my blog already and it works with the other plugins I use.

  20. From the two reviews that I have seen, both here and at Tyler Cruz, it looks like a solid plugin. However, I may wait a few months, before I pay for this much for this one, as I feel someone, out there, will modify the code and come out with something “maybe” slighly more refined, or better still the same and cheaper.

    Could be a real affiliate earner for most folk though.

  21. den says:

    Thanks Michael…I am going to have some fun playing around with this baby. I can think of a million possibilities with a tool like this…Keep em coming buddy.

  22. od3n says:

    which version u got for the review? i cant find auto-embaded setting anywhere.. ❓

  23. Will wait until it cheaper 🙂

  24. Dan Grossman says:

    Over 100 copies sold in the first two weeks, it won’t be going down in price 🙂

  25. Just stumbled across this tool today. I plan to integrate some review-type material into my site so this could be just the thing.

  26. Nebraska SEO says:

    It looks like a cool plugin but I really wish they’d have links to a couple sites using it.

  27. Tude says:

    Sound good. Anybody tried some?I need to wait for a couple month before decide to buy it 💡

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