Editor’s Note:Andreas Krohn runs the web hosting comparison site WebHostNinja.com and is blogging on digitalistic.com and on the swedish blog mashup.se.
There are many scripts that makes it possible to add polls, reviews and ratings to your web site relatively easily. Many of them do require a lot of configuration, uploading various files to the server and maybe even some programming to get them to work. Lately I wanted to add polls and reviews to my web hosting comparison site, but I did not have much time to spend on it, so complicated scripts where not an option. Thanks to js-kit I managed to add both a poll and hosting provider reviews in a matter of minutes. It didn’t require any programming and most of the configuration was done directly in the browser. It took me more time to style the poll and the reviews than it took to get them included in my site and working, and I suspect that most Six Revision readers are much better with CSS than I ever will be.
With JS-Kit you can add comments, ratings, reviews and polls to your website, you can even use their navigator service to highlight the most popular content on your site. All this is added simply by including a few lines of HTML to your site. The configuration is done directly in the browser, or for some components also partly in the HTML you include on your site. This code is used to add a poll for example:
<div class="js-kit-poll" style="width:350px"></div> <script src="http://js-kit.com/polls.js"></script>
Once you have included the code in on one of your web pages you simply go to your the page and configure the poll from there. You do not even have to register at JS-Kit first, instead JS-Kit identifies you by cookies they set on your computer. That way they know that you are the administrator of this poll and only shows it to you until you have finished configuring it. During the configuration you can define the options of the poll, decide the color of the result bar and much more. The nice thing is that JS-Kit takes care of all backend things, so there is no programming involved and no database scripts to worry about.
If you later want to edit the poll you do that in the same place as you first configured it, that is directly in your browser. Since the poll is styled by CSS you can override the classes it uses to style the poll perfectly to your own site.
Reviews are a little more complex than Polls, so let’s take a look how you can add reviews like the one below to your site in minutes without writing any code. A JS-Kit review is actually a mix of two other JS-Kit components – ratings and comments. For a review you want users to both rate something and motivate the rating. If you just want comments or ratings you can of course add those individually as well.
1. Copy the HTML code you find at js-kit’s review page and paste it into your own HTML pages at the place you want the review to be shown.
<div class="js-kit-rating"></div> <div class="js-kit-comments"></div> <script src="http://js-kit.com/ratings.js"></script>
2. Once the page is uploaded to your web sever you just go to your web page and you can start reviewing! Note that if you run your web site locally during development you will not see the review (or any other JS-Kit component), it needs to be on a publicly available domain. This is an example from WebHostNinja of how such a review looks:
There are a lot of options to configure the review. It is easy to change the color of the stars used, or to use a thumbs up/down image instead of stars. To do this you need to add attributes to the JS-Kit div tag that you have included in your HTML page.
This code shows a thumbs up/down rating (note the view="score"):
<div class="js-kit-rating" view="score"></div> <div class="js-kit-comments"></div> <script src="http://js-kit.com/ratings.js"></script>
Check out the JS-Kit site for all the available customization options.
Getting the polls, ratings and reviews into your site is only half the project. You also need to be able to administrate them and get some statistics how popular they are, fortunately JS-Kit makes this very straight forward as well.
Got to js-kit.com/settings to handle the administration of your sites and your js-kit components. Here you can approve new comments and invite others to moderate new comments with you. You can also configure and personalize the components you are using.
To track how popular your newly added polls and reviews are you can go to the JS-Kit dashboard. Here the popularity of all your JS-Kit components for the last year are shown in helpful graphs.
JS-Kit identifies you as the administrator of the JS-Kit components you have added by using cookies. So if you use a different browser or computer, or if you have cleaned out your cookies JS-Kit will not know who you are. If that is the case you need to identify yourself to JS-Kit by either upload a file with a specific name to your site or add some data to the header of your web pages. Go to js-kit.com/settings, enter the URL of your site and then follow the instructions.
JS-Kit have done a great implementation of easy to use components that are very useful for most kind of sites. It is just a matter of some copying and pasting to get a poll into any site. The only negatives are that you do not have full control over the data since it is hosted on the JS-Kit servers and that JS-Kit will start showing advertising sometimes in the future. Still there are no available details how this advertising will work, but it is worth keeping an eye on the JS-Kit blog if you are starting to use their components.