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WordPress Visitor Feedback Plugins

A marketing lesson that can’t be repeated too often is that you always need to focus on your customer’s or prospect’s wants and needs. Who are they? What are they looking for? What are their issues? What are their goals? The more insights of this kind you have, the better and more focused you can make your marketing efforts.

In this review, you’ll find a comparison of six different WordPress plugins that are all designed to help you get feedback from your website visitors. The six candidates are: smartFeedback, ninety Feedback Plugin, Creative Feedback Form, Usernoise Pro, Avia Feedback Box and TotalFeedback.

Video Tour

Videos speak louder than words (that’s a saying, right?), so here’s a video tour of all six plugins:

Click to View Video in a Larger Window!

Plugin Details

Here are some details about each of the plugins:

smartFeedback

smartfeedback2The smartFeedback plugin places a “Feedback” tab on the left side of the screen, on every page of your site.

On click, a simple feedback form opens, where users can add comments in any number of categories (e.g. bug-reports, ideas, praise) that you can freely define.

The feedback form is aesthetically pleasing, but not customizable in any way. I also missed any way for customizing the feedback tab created by the plugin. You can neither deactivate it on specific pages, nor change the color, size or position of it.

ninety Feedback Plugin

ninetyfeedback2The feedback plugin created by ninety is quite similar to smartFeedback. It also creates a tab on the left side of the screen, which opens a  modal box, where visitors can leave feedback.

Instead of a selection of different categories of feedback, ninety invites your visitors to communicate their mood, via a selection of emoticons – a feature that I believe was inspired by a similar one found in GetSatisfaction.

A potential problem with this plugin is that the feedback tab is gray and not eye-catching at all. While you can customize the text, you can’t change the color. If your site has a grey or other light background, many visitors might simply not notice the feedback tab at all.

Creative Feedback Form

creativefeedback2Like it’s competitors, Creative Feedback Form adds a feedback tab to your site, but it takes the concept one step further by adding a small community element. Whenever a user opens the feedback form and selects a category, they will see previous entries made to that category, by other users. The existing suggestions can even be voted on.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to comment on the existing suggestions.

The feedback tab as well as the form itself is very customizable. You can choose between different color themes (none of which are particularly appealing) and you can choose the position of the tab. You can also change the wording or even entirely translate all of the text elements into a different language.

Usernoise Pro

usernoise-pro2Usernoise is a free WordPress plugin, which adds a feedback form, similar to smartFeedback, to you site. Usernoise Pro is an update, which adds a community element to this feedback form.

The community feature is better implemented in Usernoise Pro than in the Creative Feedback plugin, since it not only allows voting on topics, but also allows comments. In terms of design and usability, it’s also ahead of it’s direct competitor.

The community features are so well done that I wish there were a way to display them on a page, on your WordPress site. The fact that they are confined to the small modal window is their only drawback.

Avia Feedback Box

avia-2Avia Feedback Box is the plugin I use for the recently introduced Votebox on IM Impact.

Avia creates something like a hybrid between a feedback form and a forum. In contrast to the other plugins reviewed here, this one is placed on a specific page and it doesn’t create a feedback tab that is shown on all of your pages. The advantage of this is that it’s not constrained to a small box and thanks to it’s voting, commenting and annotation features, it encourages community interaction more effectively than the other plugins.

Avia Feedback Box comes with a light, a dark and a “blank” skin, to choose from. One issue I’ve noticed is that it seems to lose all previous entries and settings whenever it’s deactivated and then reactivated.

TotalFeedback

totalfeedback2TotalFeedback offers a different and potentially much more focused way to get feedback from your visitors. Instead of displaying a form that users can fill out with any ideas, suggestions or complaints they may have, TotalFeedback pops up a small box with a mini-survey consisting of one question and a limited set of possible answers.

Theoretically, it’s possible to just use it as a feedback form with a question like “tell us your thoughts” and a custom text field, but used as a surveying tool, it has a lot more potential.

Using TotalFeedback, you can have different polls showing on different pages of your site and you can even have them triggered by different actions, such as a visitor scrolling down 50% of the page. Unfortunately, the visual style can not be changed, so if the form happens to be a similar color to the background on your site, you’re out of luck.

Conclusion

Most of the plugins in this roundup do their job well, but some have a better job-description than others. Simply having a feedback form on your site can be useful in many ways, but if all you do is invite open feedback, how many replies do you need before you can make a smart decision based on them?

In terms of being useful for marketing, the winners of this roundup are Avia Feedback and TotalFeedback.

Avia has a strong focus on community and instead of just gathering everyone’s random thoughts, it helps you find the most in-demand ideas, suggestions and questions, via it’s voting system. And it does so without limiting the possible range of suggestions you’ll get.

TotalFeedback is for laser-focused research. You can pinpoint users who spend a specific amount of time looking at a specific page, for example. A tool like TotalFeedback is extremely valuable on a sales-page, as it gives you an opportunity to ask your prospects about their buying decisions (or lack thereof) directly. In addition, it does great reporting on on all the feedback it collects.

If, for some reason, you want something closer to a “normal” feedback form, my recommendation goes to Usernoise Pro.

Shane's Signature

Shane
 

I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Liz - March 4, 2012

Hi Shane – Thanks for your post. I do worry about the growing number of actions now available to a user when they visit a site. I mean we have to have G+ buttons, FB buttons, Tweet and Stumble buttons to mention just a few, not to mention the old form comment box and the site’s contact form. I certainly get feedback via my comment boxes and contact form. Do I need a feedback plugin too I wonder? I guess it does give you the opportunity to deliberately solicit feedback whereas the other methods I mentioned are more passive.

Liz

Reply
    Shane - March 5, 2012

    Thanks for your comment!

    I think that’s a very good point, you make. On a typical blog, with comments and social media integration, I’d say having a feedback tab in addition to everything else would be overkill.
    On the other hand, on a more sales-focused site, where there might not be a blog or comments at all, it can be very useful.

    Even with the votebox here, I’m thinking of only keeping it open temporarily, rather than having it open indefinitely. That way, I can send all my readers to it in one big push, assess the results and get to work. I can then reopen it later, to get new input, once the feedback from the first round has been processed.

    Reply
      Liz - March 19, 2012

      Very good point. I didn’t even think of that – that not all pages are the same so there may be a time and a place for it. Liz

      Reply
M... - March 9, 2012

Hi Shane,

I liked your post for the information it provided, but as to whether I will go ahead and implement any of those remains to be seen. As Liz very rightly mentioned, visitors have too many actions to take as it is. Yet another one – unless absolutely relevant/essential, will only do more bad than good in terms of conversions…

Thanks again for the information though – it certainly has given me something to think about :)

Cheers!
M…

Reply
Clave - July 11, 2012

There are other uses as well. For example, on our site we have a weekly column named “Ask Nash.” I plan to implement one of these options to deeper the engagement with our current column.

Obviously, I need one where the tab’s name can be changed form “Feedback” to “Ask Nash”

Reply
Rajesh - October 29, 2012

Hi,

Thnx for useful post, I hav an requirement with floating form not with fixed position form.

Could you please help me by giving any post which suits to my requirement.
Please go through the plugin below for reference, this plugin is not working due to some reasons.

Floating Comments Form Fixed Scroll Position plugin ( wordpress.org)

Reply
Sean - October 30, 2014

It seems like the Avia Feedback Box isn’t available anymore.

Reply
    Shane - November 5, 2014

    Unfortunately that’s correct. It was the one I used the most as well. Under the Thrive Themes brand, we have plans to release a voting plugin that will be a worthy replacement, though (more than just that, actually). :)

    Reply

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