VoodooPress was recently approached by the folks at Kohrus with a new plugin they launched, Kohrus Nero. This is a plugin that allows for readers to vote for your posts. That’s a fairly common thing and many plugins allow for post voting. But this plugin has an interesting twist. It integrates with Twitter and posts and tracks tweets through that mechanism. The intention here seems to be gathering a little grass roots momentum – if you can get folks to spread the word about what you are offering, it is far more likely that you can gather some steam and attract new people to your site. Well, let’s set this plugin up and dig in to see what it offers!
I installed this plugin over on my business site, which I don’t use too much. I plan to grow that site at some time, currently it is a directory for members and products. But it has an associated twitter account which was key to me. I wanted to test this out real world style. Here’s what I found.
The Install and Setup
Setup was pretty straightforward, just install that badboy like any other plugin. Upon activation you immediately get a warning box that informs you of the steps you need to complete to get everything working.The instructions provided were simple, I had no trouble getting it all working. While the warning boxes work perfectly, I feel that this could have a nice layer of polish if the recently added pointers were used.
Twitter App Setup
You first need to register a twitter app to integrate this. I had no trouble following the provided links and instructions. Just a note on terminology, what the plugin calls the twitter key and secret, twitter calls the consumer key and consumer secret. Semantics! I followed the instructions and everything worked, I was able to come back to the Nero panel and verify my app. I ran into one issue after I had the twitter app set up, which I describe soon!
Next up is bit.ly. Again, I followed the links and instructions and was able to verify my bit.ly account. Another terminology thing; what the plugin calls the bit.ly login and bit.ly app key is actually called bitly username and bitly API key on the website. A little sidenote here is the use of bit.ly only. I don’t care for, or need bit.ly. WordPress has wp.me shortlinks. I have vudu.me shortlinks through Yourls which I much prefer. Integrating this plugin with wp.me would also allow for my vudu.me links to work. I don’t expect Yourls specific integration, but wp.me or other choices would be nice. By no means is this a technical shortfall, just something that would be real nice!
Styling the Vote Box
Along with the above setup we have a variety of other options, such as determining style of the voting box, and placement. There are a variety of choices here, from simple thumbs up/down to large graphic boxes, you can make the plugin look good on your site. You can have the voting box autoplaced, or you can use a template tag to fine tune placement directly on your templates. This would be handy to only have the box on certain post types, formats, etc. In fact I plan to take advantage of this. On my personal blog I only have a voting system in place for my music posts. I think it will be far cooler to swap that out for Kohrus Nero and offer ways to get the word out about new music from my artists.
My Only Issue – Plugin Conflict
Once I had everything setup, I hit save – here I ran into a problem. I got a warning box that says I need to authorize my twitter account for the plugin to work. It took me a minute to figure out what to do after clicking the link, which takes me back to the plugin page – the last line in the twitter setup section has a link to authorize the app – which just wouldn’t work for me. Turns out, there is some sort of conflict between this plugin and Simple Twitter Connect (STC). This is not uncommon, I’ve run into the problem with various plugin combos. It seems the oAuth twitter libraries can be quite finicky. But here is the good news. You can simply deactivate all components of the STC plugin and the authorize your twitter account with the Kohrus Nero plugin. Once the authorization is complete, reactivate STC. In my testing this worked, and both plugins function as designed.
Usage and Functionality
Now for the functionality. I tested voting from a couple of my twitter accounts and everything works great. When I vote on a post, it pops up on twitter – by the way, you can completely customize what tweets get sent out from within the settings page, an essential option! I voted on several different posts using several different twitter accounts. I’ll be honest here, I probably enjoyed this a bit too much considering it was just me. Seeing all the ratings add up, and watching the twitter action was a lot of fun.
You have the option of tweeting a verification to the person rating your post (you can turn this off and on). So an individual can rate your post good or bad. When they click to vote, twitter opens up with your suggested wording in there. They send off the tweet and the interaction begins. The site owner receives a tweet letting them know about the rating. The voter also gets a tweet letting them know the vote was counted. I had tweets flying all over the place during my testing! I can see how this might really drive some engagement on your website!
The plugin does a good job of providing the numbers we all crave so much. On the front end, and depending on what style template you selected, your numbers are presented for all to see. The plugin polls out to twitter (on a frequency you establish in the settings) and counts your good and bad votes. These numbers get displayed right there with the voting buttons for everyone to see. Tell me that isn’t incentive to strive for good content.
We also get some cool numbers on the backend. First of all, I’d like to commend the developers on NOT making a top level tab in the admin panel. Far too many plugins do that, until our menus grow out of control! You can find the Kohrus Nero tab tucked away under settings, and within that is all of the settings and the page and user stats. Under the page stats we get a listing of any posts which have received any votes, the total number of votes, and the percentage of those votes which are positive. We also get a link to see what twitter account voted on that post and how they voted. The User Stats page works like what I just mentioned, except it shows an overall list of what twitter accounts voted, what they voted on, and how they voted. This gives you plenty of information to try to work on future content.
So, what’s the verdict from this Voodoo Review? Overall, I like it – quite a bit actually! I went into this review thinking I’d have a bit of fun playing with the plugin, and I’d be done. After all, I only want certain posts to be voted on and I already have my ratings system in place! Well, after playing around with Kohrus Nero, I think I’m going to change out my ratings system. This plugin is just a lot more fun, and I think it might really drive some additional users to my music! I have all of my tweets automatically sent to Facebook, I think that might drive even more attention since the votes will all show up there as well!
The plugin is currently being offered at the Kohrus website for $39. That’s not a bad deal, especially for businesses looking to grow their user engagement. The WordPress economy is growing, we all benefit by getting better products – but the price is creeping up. No worries though! VoodooPress and Kohrus want to get you into this plugin. If you are even considering any sort of voting system on your site, this is a stellar deal!
Here’s a little message and discount from the makers of this cool plugin:
Kohrus has offered voodoo readers an exclusive offer, if you use the promo code ‘VOODOO50’ the first 50 customers using the code will get the plugin for the promotional price of $9.99, don’t wait as this will run out quick
Just a note, because I like honesty on VoodooPress: I had tested and formed my opinion of the plugin prior to any reader discount being offered – with my feedback being provided to the developers. My reviews are always 100% my opinion, never bought or bribed!