If you have an online business, you’ve probably thought about using a website review platform. After all, reviews are widely trusted—88% of people say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. What’s more, they’re widely used. Almost 7 in 10 people read more than four reviews before forming an opinion about a business.
And because of their ubiquity and appeal among shoppers, they also increase sales. According to a study by faculty at the Harvard Business School, a one-star increase in your Yelp star rating can increase revenue by up to 9%. And another study found that products with reviews had a 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without.
But which is the best reviews app for your business?
There’s a lot of them out there, and it can be hard to sort through all the features and options. Which do you need? Which are unnecessary? In this post, we’re going to explore the seven things to keep an eye out for when looking for a website reviews app.
Here’s what to look out for:
1. Can you contact previous customers?
TrustedSite gives you unlimited review requests—to old customers or new.
If you’re new to collecting reviews, the first thing you want to do is quickly gather and display as many as you can. This will help you build an immediate baseline of trust that will help convert new customers, getting you more reviews, and leading to a virtuous cycle for your business.
Practically, this means contacting your old customers and asking them to leave reviews for their past purchases and—here’s the kicker—having those old reviews appear on your new platform.
Some website review platforms don’t make manual review collection simple, meaning your review base takes longer to build, so make sure you choose one that lets you send unlimited manual review requests to past customers.
2. How many review requests can you send for free?
The basic feature of all website reviews platforms is automatically sending your customers a request for a review when they make a purchase. This streamlines the process and makes collecting reviews a cinch.
Unfortunately, some platforms limit the amount of requests they’ll send for free users. If you’re a small business just trying to figure out which review platform is best, this can be a bit of a pain.
For example, Yotpo only lets you send 50 review request per month, and TrustPilot only gives you 100. After that, you have to pay—and it can cost hundreds of dollars per month.
That’s why it’s better to choose a platform that gives you unlimited free reviews requests, like TrustedSite—especially as you’re starting out.
3. What amount of moderation control do you have?
It happens. You’re going to get a bad review, or worse, a fake one. This is just the nature of putting yourself out there online.
But what matters when choosing a website review platform is your ability to respond. Remember, a website review platform is all about controlling and strengthening your brand. If you can’t do that, you may as well not have one.
Some platforms require you to upgrade to moderate your reviews, but bad and fake reviews are going to happen whether you’re paying or not. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you can respond to reviews on the free platform.
4. How much does the website review platform cost to upgrade?
As we mentioned above, some platforms require upgrades to perform basic services, and oftentimes those upgrades can be very, very pricey. How pricey?
Take the example of TrustPilot. If you want to upgrade—which lets you send just 300 review requests per month (still not unlimited)—you have to pay $299 per month. And that’s just the first tier!
TrustedSite’s first paid tier, by comparison, costs just $9 per month, and the next tier costs just $19.
5. What display options do you have?
While we tend to think of reviews as just star ratings and the words of your customers, there’s more to it than that. The way you present them can be tremendously important for customers.
That’s why most review platforms offer you display options to highlight your very best reviews. They often look like this:
But that’s not the only type of display option you should consider. Because we live in an increasingly image-based world, it’s important to allow reviews to include pictures and video.
Be sure to look for a platform that supports images, as words are increasingly not enough.
6. Will the website review platform help your SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often viewed as something of a black box for website owners. It seems complex, technical, and a bit anxiety-inducing to think too much about.
But getting your site to perform better in Google and other search engines is not so much of a dark art as it is getting external links to your pages from other highly viewed pages.
That’s why TrustedSite sets you up with your own reviews page hosted on trustedsite.com. This page gives you links to your site, improving your search ranking.
7. Do you get Q&A?
Question and Answers (Q&A) are often included with review platforms as a supplementary feature. They let customers ask questions that might not be answered in the product description, and let you (or other customers) provides valuable answers.
You’re going to want this for two reasons. One, it helps customers get the info they need to make a purchase. Two, it makes your business seem more open and accessible—especially if you’re the one answering the questions.
Think about a brick-and-mortar business. Any shopkeeper worth their salt will talk to customers and answer questions in the hope that make a purchase. An online business owner doesn’t have that luxury, and is left guessing what their customers want to know—unless they let customers ask.
Think carefully before you choose an website review platform. What you need now may not be what you need in six months, so make sure you have the platform that’s best for you long term!