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How to Engage Readers with Post Reactions in WordPress

Are you looking to increase the user engagement of your site? Post reactions are an easy way for your readers to leave feedback on your blog without leaving a comment. In this article, we will show you how to add post reactions in WordPress.

Post Reaction Buttons

Reactions is a feature in the Blogger platform that allowed your visitors an easy and anonymous way to provide feedback on your posts without leaving a comment. When one of our users switched from Blogger to WordPress, they asked us if there was a way to replicate that functionality in WordPress.

Luckily there is a plugin for that.

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First thing you need to do is install and activate the Reaction Buttons plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Reaction Buttons to configure the plugin settings.

Configuring the reaction buttons

The first option on the screen is to show reaction buttons, and you want to make sure that it is checked. If you leave it unchecked, then reaction buttons will not be displayed on your site even if the plugin is active.

Next, you have the option to choose where you want the buttons to appear. The default option is below the posts.

You can also customize the text that would appear before the buttons along with the button labels. The default buttons are Awesome, Interesting, Useful, Boring, Sucks.

Among other settings, you can decide which WordPress pages the button appears on, restrict one vote per user, exclude categories, and more.

Customizing The Appearance of Reaction Buttons

Even though these buttons are pre-styled, it may not match your site’s color scheme. If you want to customize their appearance, then first you must disable the plugin’s default CSS.

You can do that on the plugin’s settings page.

Disable loading plugin's stylesheet

Below the checkbox, you will see the link to the plugin’s reaction_buttons.css stylesheet. Click on that link to copy the elements you have to customize.

Next all you have to do is copy and paste your customized CSS in to your theme or child theme’s stylesheet.

Here is a sample CSS that we used to add custom background color to the buttons.

/* the reaction buttons region */
    margin-top: 20px;
    font-size: 0.8em;
    text-align: left;

/* a single button */
div.reaction_buttons .reaction_button {
    line-height: 3.2em;
    padding: 5px;
    margin: 0 3px;
    margin-bottom: 25px;
    cursor: pointer;

/* the button while hovering over it */
div.reaction_buttons > .reaction_button:hover {
    background-color: #0F6;

/* the button after voting 
div.reaction_buttons > .voted, div.reaction_buttons > .voted:hover {

/* number of votes including parantheses.
.reaction_buttons .reaction_button .count {

/* number of votes in between the parantheses.
.reaction_buttons .reaction_button .count_number {
#sidebar div.widget_reaction_buttons h3 {
	margin: 0;
	margin-top: 4px;
	font-size: 1.1em;

#sidebar div.widget_reaction_buttons ol {
	margin-left: 25px;

This is how the buttons looked on our test site:

Post Reaction Buttons

We hope this article helped you learn how to add post reactions in your WordPress blog to boost your engagement.

You may also want to check out this tutorial on how to notify users when their comment is approved in WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

10 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. This is something that interests me. This might help to increase the user engagement on my website and hopefully it would drive more traffic eventually. Thank you for sharing! I’ll check it out!

  2. Lacks specific instruction for downloading Post Reaction. I found it, clicked Download and then opened the downloaded material. Nothing in the folder executes an install. There are instructions telling you where to install it but I couldn’t get that far. Help?

  3. On contrary, writing comments takes more time, and sometimes users feel they simply don’t have anything to add to the post and move on to next activity.

    Post reactions allow them to provide feedback without going into the discussion mode. People who have something to say will say it because reactions simply doesn’t cover what they have to say. Basically it will increase the overall user engagement on your site.

  4. Would’nt reaction buttons reduce the number of comments on a blog..?? People might just decide to click a button instead of writing something..

    • I don’t think it does. This is a small independent developed plugin and Google and other search engines are not likely to index this interactions as a key indicator of the quality of the content. Maybe the Facebook Like button at the end of the post would be considered as a engagement measure by Google.

  5. It’s a bit ironic that this post does not include reaction buttons to get feedback for the author. :-)

  6. Definitely something worth considering. I was thinking of introducing the same reactions and engagement but through simple form embedment at the end of the post.

    Thanks for sharing the info. I will have a look at it.

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