Goodreads is pretty much the default place to review and discuss books, so it makes sense to import the reviews your readers leave on Goodreads to your personal site. This will allow your readers to get a feel for your book and gain the perspective of others without having to leave your website.
The good news is this is not particularly difficult to do if you’re running WordPress. There are two main ways to get Goodreads reviews on your site, and I’ll go through them here. First, how to use the goodreads widget. (Skip to the end for a video)
Method 1: Use the Goodreads Widget
This is definitely the easiest method of getting the goodreads reviews of your book on your website.
Step 1: Go to the reviews widget web page
You can find the reviews widget here: http://www.goodreads.com/api/reviews_demo_widget_iframe
At the top of the page, you will find a form to fill in with information the ISBN number of your book and several customization options:
One thing to note is this widget only accepts ISBNs, so if your book has a goodreads ID but not an ISBN, you will need to use the plugin method I will go over next.
Step 2: Customize the appearance of your widget
If you know CSS and would like to create a stylesheet for this widget, you can add it at the bottom. Otherwise you get basic customization options including the height, width, and various colors. You can help integrate the look of this by using a color picker on your website to match the accent colors of your site.
Another thing to be aware of is minimum star rating. Since this is your site and you most likely want to feature positive reviews of your book, I would set that to 4, so only 4 and 5 star ratings are shown. Readers will be able to read negative reviews on goodreads, but only positive reviews will show up on your site.
Each time you make changes, you can hit submit and a preview of the widget will appear beneath the form and code block.
Once you are happy with how the widget looks, copy the code from the box below the form. Make sure you copy all of the code. If you plan to use reviews in multiple places on your site, you can paste the code in a text document to save it for future use.
Step 3: Figure out where you want to put the widget
The code you’ve copied can be put anywhere on your site. Most often, it is put in a widget, which are usually placed in side bars or a footer at the bottom of your site. You can do this by accessing your widgets.
On the WordPress dashboard go to Appearance -> Widgets
Under the “available widgets” find the one that says, “Custom HTML” and click on it. A set of available locations should appear. Click the one you want and click “Add Widget”.
On the right side of the screen, your custom HTML widget should be visible. Click the arrow to expand the widget and you will see a space for a title and an empty text box where you can paste the code you copied from the goodreads site.
Step 4: Select Visibility
By clicking “visibility” you can make the widget visible on only some pages and not others. For example, if you want it on your home page but not your blog, you can choose that. Similarly, if you have created a static page for your book, it can be visible only on that page. You can have multiple requirements regarding visibility.
Save your changes and you should be good to go.
Step 5: Using the HTML directly on a page
You don’t have to use the widgets to use the HTML. If you want to insert it directly onto a page, you can do so easily. If you are running Gutenberg, you can find the “Custom HTML” block in the “Formatting” section. This allows you to place the review widget anywhere you can place a Gutenberg block.
If you are still using the classic editor, when you get to the spot where you would like to put the widget, you click over to the “Text” tab and paste the code (Note: pasting code into the visual editor will not work). Once the code has been pasted in the text tab, you can click back to the visual editor and continue writing your content.
Confused about anything I said? Check out this YouTube video and I’ll walk you through it.
If you don’t have an ISBN or want to put reviews for multiple books on your site, you’re better off with a plugin such as Good Reviews, which I’ll talk about in my next post.