We have all experienced the proliferation of social buttons that sit at the top or bottom of any article, they let us send signals to our friends and followers that share ‘something’ about the page. The benefits of this to a blog owner can be significant, when a user shares a post it may hit thousands of friends feeds as well as generate important search engine authority via social signals.
Our readers are now used to sharing aspects of our sites to their friends and followers, so now voting widgets are evolving and a gradual shift to other types of functionality is happening. Innovative companies like kohrus.com are now able to build social voting functionality that enables users to vote on aspects of our sites using their social profiles.
The current setup of voting buttons all have one feature in common, they only have one option, a positive verb (like, share, recommend etc..). This is a great experience for those who agree or like our content, but this leaves a huge part of our audience disenfranchised as they have no mechanism to cast their opinion.
A snap reaction would be to say, ‘lets just add the opposite actions to the ones we currently have’ and use phrases similar to like-dislike, love-hate or good-bad. While the positive words are attractive, the negative words would be a very jarring prospect. By nature a part of our audience will find it hard to use negative phrases while other parts might abuse them, needless to say neither of those scenarios is the type of option we want to give to our readers.
So instead of using words to describe single or opposite feelings, we give the user a vote and measure the the feeling with a collective community score. This is important, as the whole of our audience is given a voice, while also giving the blog a safe and positive method to measure this voice.
Initially I introduced the new functionality to my readers, just to bed in the idea that plural voting was now available to use. I have quite a close relationship with a regular group within my readers, so getting the ball rolling was relatively easy. I did adjust how I signed out from my posts for casual visitors, I now prompt readers to let me know how they feel about the topic using both the social voting functionality and via the comments section.
Taking stock on my experience so far, my initial thoughts aren’t worries that some of my readers disagreed with me or that not everyone wanted to vote. My surprise was how dumb I feel for not adding this type of functionality when I setup my blog, of course we should give our readers the ability to vote on posts… it’s essential and a no brainer isn’t it ???? Let me put it this way, if we were to design the perfect method to directly test how our users feel about our content, it would look very similar to social voting.
This guest post was written by Patrick. I’m an avid blogger who writes about web technology and web culture. I’m always looking for the next logical step in my understanding of this thing called the internet.
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