How to Write a Review of a Website

Updated on February 8, 2018
Source

Different from a Product Review

As a blogger, I've been approached to write dozens of product reviews. More rarely I am approached to write a review of a website. Because of my particular niche, the websites I am requested to review are educational ones for children.

After writing so many product and curriculum reviews, I thought it would be a piece of cake to write a website review. However, as I started work on the project, I discovered that reviewing an online service requires a somewhat modified approach than a product review.

Here are my tips based on what I have learned.

Tips for Writing a Website Review

Screenshots

Any online article or blog post is enhanced with photos. For a website review, your images are going to be screenshots. If you don't know how to grab screenshots, now is the time to learn. I use the Ctrl+Alt+Print Screen combination which copies the screen into the clipboard. Then I open Paint and paste it in, crop it, etc. There is plenty of screenshot freeware out there. Do a little hunting and see what works best for you.

When adding screenshot images to your review post, be sure to use the alt tag to add the name of the website you are reviewing. This makes your images SEO friendly.

Choose your screenshots wisely. Pick ones with vibrant colors and large text or images. If necessary, edit your screenshots with explanatory notes. (I use Paint to do this.)

The only problem with screenshots would be if the website owner desires to keep certain aspects of his website underwraps. This is particularly important if the website is a membership only site. So be sure to check with the client before publishing images. Alternatively, the company may have screenshots available for your use.

Overview

Give an overall idea of what this website is. What does it do? What does it offer the user? How does it work, in general terms? Give the big picture before getting into the nitty gritty details.

Ease of Use

Emphasize the ease of use. Most people today are incredibly computer savvy, but sometimes that works against us when learning a new site. We are accustomed to breezing through our favorite sites, intuitively clicking just where we need to and rarely stopping to hunt for particular things. When we are faced with a new site, our reactions slow dramatically. We have to think deliberately about how to do the things we want to do. We have to learn new terminology. That can lead to frustration.

Reassure your review readers that the website is easy to use. Highlight the primary features of the site while leaving some things to be discovered. If you're struggling for ideas, see the chart below for features to explore in your review.

Website Features to Discuss

Overall
Helps
Financial
visual appeal
search function
guarantee
loading speed
help/FAQ
secure shopping
ads or ad free?
 
payment methods
safe environment
 
 
requires plug-ins or software
 
 

Applications & Benefits

Help your readers see how this product would work for them. One of the cardinal rules of a review is to share benefits not features.

The reader wants to know how this online service will be to his advantage.

Obviously, you will have to share features too. But make sure to drive home how those features benefit the user. One tip I have here is the "So what?" tip. I ask myself this a lot when writing a review. State a feature, and then ask yourself "So what?" to help yourself come up with the benefit of that feature.

Personalize Your Review for Your Niche

The company asked you to do a product review because of your personal writing voice and your audience reach. So make your review unique by applying your own personal spin to it. For example, I am a homeschooling mom to one child. I look at everything educational through the lens of homeschooling. It's only natural for me to include that aspect in my review. An added bonus is that my readers, mostly homeschool moms, will also be seeing through that same lens. My review becomes more helpful to them when I put my personal spin on the review. It also makes my review stand out from those of any other bloggers who review the product.

Source

How to Deal With Negatives

If you are being paid for your review, dealing with negatives can be awkward. Obviously you want to present an honest review. No amount of money is worth violating the trust of your readers. But your client also expects a favorable report. How can you reconcile these two?

Ignore

You can simply choose not to address them at all. Most readers realize that no online service is perfect. There are certainly going to be negatives, and a potential customer will expect that even if you don't explicitly express them.

Spin

The way I like to deal with negatives is to put a spin on them. An easy way to do this is to use the headings This Website Won't Work For You If....

In that way, your statements are not so much negative as simply describing whom the website would be a good fit for. It also puts the negative aspect on the shoulders of the user rather than the website.

If this seems deceptive, it's really not. As the saying goes, "One man's junk is another man's treasure." Just because I see a feature of the website as a negative doesn't mean that every other user will feel that way. Couching your negative assessments in this way is really fairer to the client than an outright criticism.

Get Feedback

If you are concerned, you may want to send your client a draft of your review, explaining why you feel it necessary to point out a few negative facets. Highlight your credibility with your audience. This is part of what the client is paying you for.

If there are spots the company is especially worried about, you can negotiate revisions. Of course, your honest opinion needs to come through clearly in the review, but if you are worried about alienating your client, just ask.

Nix the Project

If after using the online service you feel that you cannot honestly recommend the website, be upfront about it with your client. If you've already received payment, send it back. As a courtesy to the client, send a brief list of the problems you see with their service. Maybe the company will make the recommended changes and pursue you later for a review you can stand behind.

Paid Reviews or Free Reviews?

Should a blogger be paid for writing a review of a website or online service?

See results

About Paid Reviews

Some purists maintain that being paid for a review automatically makes the writer biased. I can respect that stance even though I don't hold it. Obviously, a paid blogger will be more careful about saying negative things, but I do believe that a paid review can be honest and helpful. Why?

1. As a writer, I know how to craft my review so that it is both honest and positive.

2. As a writer, I know how to word the negatives to lessen their impact while still showing that I see the service objectively for its pros and cons.

3. A paid review must be clearly indicated with a statement of disclosure. A blog reader will realize the potential for a (not necessarily actual) conflict of interest and will read accordingly.

I have written plenty of product reviews, curriculum reviews, and website reviews. They are very time intensive if you do a good job. I appreciate when companies reward my time with a courtesy payment.


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Legese 8 months ago

        I want to know how to make a review on a website. Does a website has a special place for a review? I have a website and If i want to make a review how do I do it?

        many thanks

      • profile image

        Anton Lyubenov 10 months ago

        Can anyone help me to write a review of one italian website which sells fake fragrances?

      • profile image

        Iyoryisa Terzurum Stephen 10 months ago

        Thank you for the tips.

      • profile image

        Lol 18 months ago

        I didn't understand anything because I'm stupid Russian boy

      • profile image

        Maniona 21 months ago

        I never realized that giving a review is also paid. Are there any particuler websites that pay and where we can give reviews . Are these also available for service provided.

        Like i am a service provider of online contest votes. Do i get reviews published anywhere for my services.

      • profile image

        Francesca Rollins 2 years ago

        I want to write a scathing review of my dealings with Hotels.com. Where do you suggest I post such a thing?

      • profile image

        want to review dollarwp.com 2 years ago

        of giving this out a try since I am thinking of migrating multiple websites to Wordpress. But I am on the dashboard panel and for some reason, i just cannot access the admin page of the supposedly trial wordpress site. Now, what's my response? To go to the supposedly helpful chat support.

        When I reached out, I asked if he (specifically a guy/girl named SANDERS) could check out my account since the email would give you everything. He still asked for the domain of the site and I gave it to him, even though e could have just looked it up.

        Next thing, I initially told him that I have no idea what happened to the admin page, since this is the 2nd time I will be accessing the wordpress. Then he babbled on some technical linggo even after telling him I did not know what happened to the site.

        I told him I would not know what he was talking about and he responded with some mumbo jumbo again.

        Here's the convo:

        Sanders: You need to remove www rule from the code

        →yeah so how am i supposed to end the site from the admin page if i cannot eeven access the admin page

        Sanders: That is what I mentioned... you need to modify the code

        →im not even sure how it got a www code

        Sanders: the Script

        ===

        Again, I already emphasized I would not know anything about the script. I basically just logged in an out and boom, this is what happened. So the obviously inexperienced tech guy already said I was "abusing" him, while not determining the fact that he was unable to actually help me.

        ==

        I told him about my disappointment in his service and told him i would be writing a bad review. His response as a GOOD tech support? SURE! Why the hell not!

        ==

        Lesson (especially if you are starting out and you do not really have any reputation yet): Treat your customers like gold. Understand what they need and NEVER EVER ACCUSE THEM OF ABUSING YOU (like seriously? We're chatting. How is that abuse?!??!)

        Lastly, he was the one who ended the chat even before the customer ended it.

        ====

        Clearly, the management and the entire company do not have defined measures for success. I really hope and pray this company rots.

        These people do not know what they are doing. They are probably just using a reseller server to host all your plans. The cheap prices are very attractive, but you will also experience a CHEAP SUPPORT and cheap tech. The dashboard is just crappy and the tech are not even helpful.

      • profile image

        dick 4 years ago

        trololololol

      • profile image

        Farzana 4 years ago

        Love all the great pictures of your home and deihss. I've been a follower for close to two years I think. I have blue willow too. Did a thanksgiving post but my style is not cottage. I enjoy looking at yours though and tried to do one bedroom in my house in that style, but no one else who lives in my home would hear of it My question today is have you done a recent post about a new kitchen rug. Someone I follow did and I can't for the life of me find it again. BTW, love your new look too.

      • profile image

        Entony 4 years ago

        Thanks for mentioning the soy! I renlctey started on a soy lecithin mixture, and have wondered if my sudden added 2-3 pounds were related. I will now be looking for sunflower lecithin to replace the soy.I had trouble with the coconut oil making me nauseated at first. But I've learned that if I put the coconut oil in hot tea or coffee or soup anything hot and liquid I have no nausea, and can even handle a heaping half tablespoon at a time. I can also eat it in oatmeal or other hot cereal. And yes, I cook everything in it, and have done that for years. But if I'm eating something cold with it, it will be a problem. Thought it might help you or someone else to try it in a hot drink.And by the way, for anyone dealing with Alzheimer's, dementia, or even failing memory coconut oil can make a big difference. There are lots of good stories about it (do an online search), but from a personal perspective, what a difference it has made for my husband's thinking! I was afraid I was beginning to lose him, but now he's back. Just be sure to get 3-5 doses daily, as it wears off quickly.

      • JimmieWriter profile image
        Author

        Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

        Thanks, Rabecker. Yes, you can. If you are approached to do a review, be sure to ask for compensation. Of course, you need to disclose that in your blog post.

      • rabecker profile image

        rabecker 6 years ago

        Thank you on for the tips on reviewing a web site. I hadn't realized that you could be paid to review a web site or product.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)