Feedback is a good thing.
If it’s feedback from a moron, you can laugh in their face (always fun) and ignore it. If it is feedback from someone whose opinion matters, you can use it to improve yourself. It’s a win/win situation.
And do you know what’s great about web 2.0? You can leverage your audience’s feedback to improve whatever it is you are doing. You can effectively turn your readers into a gigantic focus group, at no cost. Anyone who has built up a following of any notable size will have experienced that beautiful moment when you ask a question, and get a swathe of useful replies.
But it is of course how you utilize your audience that determines their usefulness in providing you with feedback and new ideas. That is where today’s plugin comes in.
In a nutshell, WP Idea Stream allows visitors to your WordPress blog to submit ideas, like this:
You may be wondering what this system does that is more beneficial than say, a contact form. Fair question. The short answer is “lots”.
Prepare to be Judged
First of all, other visitors to your blog can rate ideas. Not only can you get the participation of the real creative types, you can also get those who love to judge (i.e. the majority) involved.
The potential benefits of this system are almost endless. Say you’re a plugin developer, and you ask your readers for plugin ideas. Ideas start getting submitted and rated, and before you know it, you have a list of pre-approved ideas. Who better to suggest your next plugin than the very people who will be using it?
The same argument could apply to everyone from information product developers to service providers. Feedback from your audience is never a bad thing.
Widgets and Settings
WP Idea Stream comes with a broad range of settings that give you a good level of control over what is displayed:
Furthermore, there are four different widgets that you can display on your blog as navigational aids:
There is one main problem with this plugin – it is only tested as fully compatible with the Twenty Ten/Twenty Eleven themes.
If you are not using either of those themes (and let’s face it – you’re probably not), you will have to copy the relevant template files into your theme’s folder, then adjust them to suit.
If you know your way around a WordPress theme template file, this is hardly going to phase you, but it is something to bear in mind.
Is it a Good Idea?
Do you see what I did there? I’m always hilarious on a Friday.
Whilst there are of course third party systems that offer this kind of functionality, I always like the idea of keeping things in-house, whenever possible. With that in mind, I give WP Idea Stream the thumbs up.
It may take some time to adjust it to your blog’s design, but it is a solid system for collating ideas. And let’s face it – it at the end of the day, ideas are all that we have…
Creative Commons image courtesy of Caveman Chuck Coker