How to Gauge the Popularity of Your Posts

How to Gauge the Popularity of Your Posts

After spending the past couple of hours carefully crafting a beautiful piece of writing for your blog, an essay about why Louis CK is the funniest comedian ever, you excitedly hit “publish.” The post disappears into the Twitterverse, and is automatically posted to Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Then you wait for the comments to come flooding in. But nothing happens.

Trampoline cat
The interweb loves cats.

The next day, you post a YouTube clip of your cat falling off a trampoline. The post gets 50 comments and 176 “Likes” on Facebook. Go figure.

Published posts that appeal to the masses is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand you may want quality, thought-provoking writing on your site that will stir discussion and encourage visitors to interact. On the other hand, there’s no point posting at all if no one’s visiting your site in the first place, so you want posts that people will actually want to read.

So how do you work out what your visitors actually want?

In this post I’ll show you how to set up Post Voting Plugin, a simple tool that allows visitors to vote on your site’s content.

Allow Your Site’s Visitors to Have Their Say

Post Voting Plugin allows you to display a nifty little voting box so visitors to you site can yay or nay your content.
Post Voting Plugin allows you to display a nifty little voting box so visitors to you site can yay or nay your content.

Post Voting Plugin offers a simple way to gauge the popularity of your posts. Visitors to your site, whether they are logged in or not, can easily click the green thumbs up to vote in favor of a post, or, if they don’t like your content, they can click the red thumbs down.

The plugin is easy to set up and simple to configure. Just install and activate it and then go to Settings > Post Voting.

The Settings page offers some handy customizations. You can specify where on your site you would like the voting box to be placed – before posts, after posts, before and after posts. You can even  manually position the box using shortcode or a text widget. You can also change the look of your voting icons – thumbs up/thumbs down, arrows, plus and minus signs.

By default, visitors can only vote for posts once, but you can toggle this option on and off.

If you would rather your visitors didn’t place negative votes, you can toggle this option, too.

Once you click “Save Changes,” the voting icons will appear on your posts.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Allowing visitors to vote on your content takes the guesswork out of the posting popularity contest. If a post about your holiday to grandma’s house has 7 likes and 70 dislikes, you probably don’t want to post about family holidays again. Whereas 150 likes and 1 dislike on your review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug tells you you’re onto a good thing.

The downside to post voting is that visitors can anonymously give a fairly blunt critique of your content. If you’re a little sensitive about others people’s opinions and you’re about to publish Game of Thrones fan fiction you’ve spent weeks agonizing over, you may want to turn post voting off.

Summing Up

Introducing post voting to your site is a simple and effective way to quickly gauge what your visitors think about your content. Post Voting Plugin offers an easy solution that is no trouble at all to set up.

Check out the Post Voting Plugin project page for more details.

Do you use post voting on your site? Is it helpful? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credits: .reid.treedork.