Whether you are publishing reviews of products and services you’ve used, or promoting your own offerings for purchase online, an effective way to present that content is to use a dedicated review post template. This helps your reviews to really stand out from the competition and catch the eye of your visitors.
Thankfully as a WordPress user you are in luck as there a number of high quality free and premium review plugins for WordPress that make it very easy to convert your regular blog posts into feature rich review posts.
In this article we will take a look at the best options for publishing professional looking reviews on your WordPress website, without the need to switch themes or alter your existing template.
Why Use a WordPress Review Plugin?
You can post almost any type of content, including reviews, on your WordPress blog with ease. However, if you really want to make your reviews stand out from the other content on your website then using a review plugin is a great way to do so.
As these review plugins include many useful features, including eye catching buttons, rating systems, product summaries, and more, it allows you to publish the relevant information to accompany your review in an easy to read format.
This immediately signals to your visitors that they are reading a review, while also making it easy for them to get an overview of the item you are reviewing, and click through to the product to find out more or make a purchase.
Many professional review websites, such as CNET include a standard set of content on each review they publish. By using one of the following plugins you can achieve the same effect without writing any code or changing your WordPress theme.
The Best Review Plugins for WordPress
When choosing a plugin of this type for your project, it’s important to get an idea of what features are on offer that you could make use of on your website.
Popular features include adding a rating system, publishing a review summary, adding buttons, user reviews, and meta data for adding review-focused rich snippets in the search engine results pages for your site’s listings. Some of the options below even include widgets for displaying your latest reviews in the sidebar of your site, as well as outputting a list of reviews in your posts and pages.
As you weigh up the options, be sure to think about what features you will actually use on your website and which plugin has the look and feel to suit your theme and the type of reviews you will be publishing.
WP Review from MyThemeShop is a free plugin for publishing reviews on a WordPress website. There is also an affordable premium version of this plugin available, but this free version includes a good set of features to help you get started.
Once activated on your site, the WP Review plugin adds a meta box to the post editor screen which allows you to enter the review content. This includes:
- Setting the review type: star, point, or percent
- Custom review rating categories: value for money, performance, etc.
- Review heading
- Review summary
- Enable user reviews
The plugin also includes support for Google Rich Snippets for adding review data to your site’s listing in the search engine results pages.
From the global settings of the plugin you can choose when to display the review content on your posts: before or after the post content, or by using a shortcode. You can also change the colours used by the review box content.
While the features of this plugin are basic, it is a lightweight, free, and easy to use way to add review content to your WordPress blog posts to summarise and rate the products you are covering.
Inline Review is another free option for adding review information to your posts. Again it adds a set of controls to the post editor screen where you can add custom criteria and enter a rating for each of them.
The ratings that you can award each criterion are out of 10 and the review criteria can include items of your choice, such as value for money or ease of use. You can also add a summary and set where the review content is displayed: before, after, or by using the shortcode.
You also get a few colour customisation options through the global settings and you can choose to override these styles and add your own using CSS.
Although this is a pretty basic option, it is a newly released review plugin so should be worth keeping an eye on to see how it develops.
WP Review Bank
Proving that there are many good free options for adding review information to your reviews, WP Review Bank is another no-cost plugin available to you.
Unlike the other options covered so far, WP Review Bank allows you to create your review content outside of the post editor and then insert that content into your posts and pages using a shortcode. The plugin adds a handy button to the WordPress post editor which makes it easy to find and insert the shortcodes.
Through the review editor you can enter the review information and then add your own custom criteria for the review, giving each one a rating using stars, points, or percentages.
Keeping the review content separate from your post content on the back-end has its advantages, such as allowing you to insert one review into many posts and pages on your site. However it can also slow you down when it comes to making changes to your reviews, as you can’t do it from the post editor and must instead identify which review content has been inserted into which post.
Again this another free and basic option but it works well and could be a good choice for your website.
WP Product Review
WP Product Review is a free plugin that can be upgraded with the premium Pro add-on. Like most of the other options here, this plugin adds a set of options to the post editor screen to allow you to add the additional review content.
From the Product Review panel you can add the product name and upload an image to be displayed. You can also set a link for the image, such as to the product you are reviewing, and also add some buttons to the review content.
Other options include being able to list pros and cons of the item being reviewed, entering the product price, and adding your own custom criteria for grading the item. The plugin also includes two widgets: top products and latest products, for displaying reviews in your website’s sidebar and other widget areas.
Through the global settings you can customize the colours of the individual elements of the review box, set the positon of the review box, enable user reviews, and customise the buy buttons.
WP Product Review is certainly the most featured packed and customizable free review plugin for WordPress, so if you like the appearance of the review box, it’s a great choice. The only important feature that is lacking is the ability to add a summary or description to the review box.
This free plugin adds support for the hReview microformat which is used to populate search engine results with additional data from your review, such as star ratings of a range of products and services.
However, that is not all this review plugin does. Like the other options here, it adds a set of fields to the WordPress post editor that allows you to add additional information about the product or item you are reviewing.
This includes the item name, type, review author name, item version, price, review summary, star rating, and a direct link to the item being reviewed. Instead of displaying the review box at the top or bottom of your post content, this plugin inserts the box to the side of your content making it a nice alternative to the other options featured here.
Through the global settings of the plugin you can customise how the review box is displayed, including setting the width, its alignment, and the button colour.
If you don’t want the flashy appearance of the other plugins featured so far, and would prefer a more discrete review box then Author hReivew is a good choice. There is also a premium upgrade available which adds some more useful features to the tool.
WP Product Review Pro Add-on
This is the premium add-on for the free WP Product Review plugin covered earlier. It’s available for $26.95 for use on one site and adds some more useful features to the core plugin.
After installing the pro add-on alongside the free plugin, you can begin adding even more elements to your review posts. This includes support for using custom rating icons, inserting review content using shortcodes, and preloading content from existing reviews plus a few other useful upgrades.
This add-on doesn’t add much to an already feature-rich plugin, but if you want to use your own custom icons to the review content and show your support for the developers, it’s a good option.
WP Rich Snippets
WP Rich Snippets is another review plugin for WordPress from the same developers as the free Author hReview plugin covered earlier. However, the premium WP Rich Snippets plugin is different from the premium upgrade of Author hReview, as well as being different from the premium WP Reviews plugin, also from the same developer.
WP Rich Snippets can be considered the top end product in this family of review plugins. Despite them all being available in the same package, they can’t be used together on the same website. There are also premium add-ons available for the premium WP Rich Snippets plugin.
With that explanation out of the way, WP Rich Snippets is an impressive plugin that includes a wealth of features. Once live on your site, the plugin adds a now familiar meta box to the post editor. This time it includes a lot more options for adding additional content to support your review.
From the control panel you can choose what type of rich snippets to display, add an overall rating, create a summary, and list the pros and cons. Through the custom fields you can also enter the pricing information and add the address if you are reviewing a physical location and its opening hours.
Furthermore you can upload an image, video, or create a gallery of images, before adding the links to the item you are reviewing with custom button text. Finally you can enter the values for the default criteria, or add your own custom criteria just for this review.
Through the global settings for the plugin you can customise nearly all aspects of how WP Rich Snippets works. This includes setting the currency, enabling the review box for custom post types, hiding or displaying elements of the review box, setting colours, adding default review criteria, and some more technical settings that govern how the plugin loads and functions.
WP Rich Snippets is the most feature-rich reviews plugin for WordPress, but with a hefty price tag for the full set of features compared to the competition, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the yearly investment. The add-ons are worth checking out too for the extra things you can do with this plugin.
As you can see there are some great free and premium options for publishing reviews on your WordPress website in an attractive and professional looking format. Of the free options, WP Product Review is the best plugin, while the premium WP Rich Snippets and its add-ons take the crown as the best overall review plugin for WordPress.
Whether you are publishing occasional reviews on your blog, or building an entire review website with WordPress, one of the above plugins should be able to help you present your content in the best possible way.
If you have any questions about publishing reviews on your WordPress website or any of the above plugins, then please leave a comment below.