Why collect customer reviews?
Customer reviews and ratings have become completely ubiquitous in online businesses and stores. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any reputable business site without them. Today, they are even included in most search results for these kind of sites, with Amazon as the biggest example.
These are without a doubt the three most important reasons why businesses collect customer reviews and rankings:
- Search engine ranking: Having reviews or ratings on your site plays a big role in your search engine results ranking, making up to 10% of your total score.
- Constant improvement: Customer reviews and ratings are a very digestible way to gather customer feedback. You should always use them to improve your products or services.
- Consumer trust: Using reviews and ratings and displaying them openly shows users that you are not all flowery marketing language. You are actually committed to consumer transparency and allowing visitors to make good buying decisions based on unbiased feedback.
We hope that you fully understand the importance of implementing customer reviews and rankings on your website, online store or business. Today, we want to introduce you to one of the most effective ways to do this on your site: through the use of widgets.
What is a widget?
Let’s first start off with a widget itself. Although they are tempting, and easy, to confuse with other software terms such as plugins, it’s important to understand the differences that make widgets unique so that you can use them to your full advantage.
It might surprise you to know that you have probably, knowingly or unknowingly, have interacted with widgets many times before. If you are a regular internet user, you probably see or use them on a daily basis.
In a broad sense, a widget is a small part of the interface you are working with that performs a specific function or displays specific information. This could be some element on your desktop, on your phone or even inside an application.
Maybe the best way to illustrate what a widget is to talk about some common widgets:
We all know this one. These widgets are often a small block on the screen that displays recent and upcoming weather conditions in an easy to digest way.
These widgets usually display the running time and date and might allow you to quickly make notes or entries at specific times.
Many instant messaging programs have chat widgets that allow you to quickly and easily reply or get notifications without moving from what you are currently busy with.
This type of widget is probably tied with weather widgets as the most common type of widget. News feeds are frequently updated with the latest news and present a link to the full story with a title and short description.
Knowing about these types of widgets are important if you fully want to understand the concept of a widget. Usually, widgets are updated with information from a central server. If you use a widget, you aren’t in control of the information displayed (unless you are the owner) but instead “sign up” to receive information from a particular source and have it displayed on your site to be viewed and interacted with by users.
Widgets can also be used to get information from users or visitors from time to time. This can be in the form of a small poll or simple question. A great example of how widgets have been used for this purpose is those typical star-rating or multiple-question surveys found on social media sites.
Most sites, web page templates or WordPress themes have dedicated widget areas, usually in the form of a widget sidebar. This has made widgets pretty standardized and easier to use (even expected) by most users or visitors.
Why widgets perfect for customer reviews and ratings?
For the tech-savvy among you, customer review widgets should already be well-known or you might have already figured them out through our discussion of widgets. Customer reviews and ratings are a great candidate to be used as a widget because they are generally so simple and straightforward.
Most customer reviews and ratings consist of either a star-rating to give the product or service a score out of 5, a small description or both. It could even be as simple as asking a customer how likely they are to buy from you again or how likely they are to recommend you to a friend or colleague.
All of this can be perfectly captured, easily disseminated, and responded to via a widget. Today's internet surfers are quick to ignore or skip over anything they don’t understand, they think will take long or they aren’t familiar with. A widget overcomes all these challenges to give you a better conversion rate.
How to get and use customer review widgets?
When it comes to having your own customer review and ratings you basically have two options: Sign up with an online customer review and rating service or install customer review software on your site that comes with widget functionality.
Usually, these systems are completely independent of the type of website so you don’t have to worry about any compatibility issues. It also means that you are able to display the widget wherever you like. If you are using WordPress, it will be even easier as most themes come with standardized widget areas.
If you go with external services, there are a lot of freemium options available that allow you to test out the system (or use it for free) within certain bounds. If you have a WordPress site, you should check the customer review plugins available whether they offer widgets and what is possible with them.
Most customer review and rating systems will come with widget functionality. You will be able to spread your widget to other sites by asking their owners to host it or just add them to pages on your own site. The system that you use should collect every user interaction with the widget and send that data to a central place where it is collected.
You will then be able to view this information to make business decisions based on the customer feedback.