Crowdsignal Blocks

When I opened the admin panel, I saw a message over in the sidebar that read:

Start collecting feedback from your visitors to improve your WordPress site. Get started.

That opened up a demo page with various Crowdsignal blocks already populated, as an aid to designing a page with Crowdsignal blocks.

I don’t have any desperate desire or need to use the blocks but I thought – why not show everyone what the demo page itself looks like. So here it is, and everything after this sentence is the demo page



Welcome to this little demo page! We would love to introduce you to our set of Crowdsignal blocks and created this post for you, so that you can test and play with all of them right inside of your editor.

Preview this post if you would like to test the Crowdsignal blocks from your visitors perspective. Oh and please feel free to delete this draft post anytime, it was only created for demo purposes.

Overview

Let’s start with a quick overview of all our current blocks available in your WordPress editor. You can find all these blocks inside your block library via searching for their name or simply by searching “Crowdsignal”.

If you want to learn more about Crowdsignal please go to crowdsignal.com and join our little community all about feedback here.

Polls

We all have opinions! Curious about the opinion of your audience? Start asking with our poll block. It makes creating a poll as fast and simple as listing bullet points.

 You can choose between a button or a list style for your answer options, and you can fully customize the styling of the block.  By default the poll block will support your theme styling, but it’s up to you if you want to keep it. You can customize the style how you want, from font-family to border colours.

Just click in the poll below and start editing.

And everything else you expect from a Crowdsignal poll is also available — such as setting “single answer” or “multiple answer” choices, a customised confirmation message, poll timeframe, and avoidance of double voting.

Feedback Button

You might have spotted it already, in the bottom left corner of this page: Our Feedback button.

This is a floating button that lives above your site’s content. Always visible this button makes giving feedback easy! User can send you a message and provide their email address so you could can get back to them. Needless to say that you can fully customize the design and text, including the label of the button itself. Feel free to make it a “Contact me” or “Say hello” button or anything you like.

And yes, you can change its placement! You can put the button in any corner of your site. Just try it! Click in the feedback and start editing. (I’ve done that.)

Don’t miss out on your customers’ feedback. Keep your door open anytime and place a feedback button on all your pages.

Voting

Sometimes we need just quick and fast feedback from our audience. A quick voting button might be all you need. Fully customizable of course.

There is already a “like” button at the end of a WordPress post that you can click to express satisfaction or agreement. But what if you want to ask readers their opinion on a subject in the middle of a post? Or what if you want to present several ideas and find out which one is the most popular? Wouldn’t it be great to ask readers what they think without having to leave the editor or switch to another service or plugin?

That’s what we thought! Say hello to our Voting Block:

It’s a simple block that adds two voting buttons—thumbs up, thumbs down—to your post wherever you want to place them. Customize the block in different sizes and colors, with or without a border, and with or without a visible vote counter. Put several in a single post, next to different ideas, to see how they stack up for readers. Make the block your own!

Applause

The Applause block is a simpler and more playful version of our Voting block. The main differences are users only being able to give positive feedback and encouraging users to “make as much noise as they want”. Meaning this block does not only allow repeated voting, but even encourages it.

Let your audience make some noise with a big round of applause.

Preview this post and try clapping yourself! It’s fun.

The block currently comes in three different sizes, and can be customised with a button-like styling, including a border, border radius and some colour customisation options.

Embed Surveys & Forms

So far we only talked about quick and fast ways to collect feedback or opinions from your audience. But what if you have many questions or want to create simple forms? You can do this with Crowdsignal, too! Create a survey or form on app.crowdsignal.com and embed it into your WordPress post or site. Similar like here:

The Crowdsignal survey above was embedded using our “Single question per page mode.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: In this mode, no matter how many questions your survey has, your respondents will always see one question at a time. Single Mode shines when you embed a survey into your website or blog post. Surveys with multiple questions can take up a lot of space, overwhelming your site. If you’re not sure whether your readers will take the survey at all, it disrupts the reading experience. With Single Mode, a survey  uses the same amount of space as an image, even a really long survey.

Once they provide an answer (or skip the question),  the next question loads. It has a playful  feel, like flipping through a slide show. Every answered question feels like progress.

You can choose between several transition options, and decide whether the questions should move from top to bottom, or from left to right.

Ready to create one? Here’s how:

– Go to app.crowdsignal.com (we will log you in with your WordPress.com account – magic ;)) .

– Create a new survey.

– In the Editor, choose “Single Mode” at the top left.

– Then create as many questions as you like and style your theme.

– When you are ready click on Sharing and copy the URL of your survey.

– Go back to your WordPress editor and paste the URL of your survey into your post

– Done! Your survey will appear in your post.

A Cheap Web Host In The UK

This is addressed to you if you are based in the UK. That is not an absolute, and I am sure this cheap UK web hosts accepts customers from anywhere. But if you are thinking of setting up your own self-hosted site, then it pays to be where your visitors are.

If your visitors are based, for example, in the USA, then it makes sense to use a web host that has servers located in the USA.

I know that with modern web architecture, the round trip halfway around the world is very quick. But it is still probably better to choose a server near your visitors. Those fractions of a second add up. And we’ve all heard how impatient web visitors are.

Edward de Bono

Of course, impatience is a feeling. Edward de Bono knew that when he solved the problem of impatient guests at an old established hotel in one of the major cities in the USA.

Guests were impatient because the lifts were old and slow. The owners of the hotel hated the idea of ripping out the old lifts to install big, fast ones that would have ruined the charm of the hotel.

They hired Edward de Bono because he was known for thinking laterally around a problem. And he did. He stood in the lobby and the lift areas on the various floors, and he found a solution.

He had big mirrors installed on every floor.

Complaints stopped because everyone was busy watching everyone else in the mirror.

Impatience is a feeling.

With that said, I came across a website by Ross Wintle, a WordPress developer. His main site is hosted with Kualo, (affiliate link) where I have some sites hosted.

He had links to some of his other sites. One of them is his Beyond WP website, a site “that aims to help WordPress developers by introducing them to resources and tools from outside the WordPress space”.

And I noticed it was hosted with FreeThought Hosting.

So I went to investigate. The link to FreeThought is now an affiliate link because I set up a site of my own with FreeThought to test them. They are based in the UK and their data centres are located in London and Manchester.

I am in the UK, so it makes sense to use a UK host. Or rather, it makes sense to use a web host that has data centres in the locale where your customers/readers/visitors are. For example, on Flying Twigs we only sell within the UK. We host the site with a web host located in the USA, but they have servers in various locations around the globe.And when you sign up you can specify the location of the server.

That said, it was really the price of hosting on FreeThought that piqued my interest.

If you want just one site on shared hosting with a free SSL certificate and cPanel access, it is £15 per year. That is very good value.

Want to host multiple sites? That’s £30 per year. That is extraordinarily good value.

I bought the £30 ‘Bronze’ and set up a WordPress site. I already had the domain name, so I pointed the name servers to FreeThought and went to bed to give it time to point to the right place. Then I set up the site running on the GeneratePress theme and posted a couple of short articles about my local experiences with nature.

Here is the GTMetrix performance report, and bear in mind that the site is being tested from Vancouver in Canada (that is where GTMetrix is located). So when looking at the speed test bear in mind that GTMetrix had to ping the web host from across the Atlantic, and get a response.

GT Metrix report for Nature Note on FreeThought hosting

Looking at the report, TBT tells you how much time is blocked by scripts during your page loading process. A good rule of thumb is that for a good user experience, one should aim for a TBT of 150 milliseconds or less. Well zero milliseconds is definitely quick. The time for LCP (the largest content element) to render is partly down to how big that element is. My site is just text, so it isn’t going to hold up the process. If I had a big hero image on the site, that could slow down the response time.

The performance figure took at hit because the First Contentful Paint, as it is called, took 1 second. GTMetrix is set up to regard 0.9s or less as a good user experience.

I could improve on this by hooking the site up to Cloudflare CDN, which would cache the static content in different locations worldwide. But for now it is fine as it is.

So a thumbs up for a very good value web host in the UK.