Local Resolutions Part 20 of 29
This is the twentieth in a series of 29 ways to help your local community online in 2010. If you missed it, you may wish to read the introductory post.
In this post, I suggest that reviewing local restaurants and businesses is a great way to help strengthen your community while you’re online. This series has included recent posts about shopping local on Etsy, sharing certain photos, and staying in touch with your legislators.
This is probably the most obvious post in this series.
If you want to be of service to others who visit or live in your community, tell them what’s good and what to avoid.
Resolve this year to review businesses, restaurants, and service providers online. This is different from my earlier suggested resolution of playing the critic, because while that was about helping others appreciate works of art, this is about sharing the positives and negatives of your experiences as a customer.
In order, here is my short list of places worth your time writing reviews:
Businesses don’t pay to support Angie’s List; consumers do. That means that yes, you have to pay to write reviews. It also means that you get really high quality information. When it comes to contractors, service providers, and even health care providers, I’ve yet to find an online service that holds a candle to Angie’s List. By requiring a paid subscription, Angie’s List has not only solved the problem of a review site relying on money from the businesses being reviewed, it has also solved the problem of confirming the identity of reviewers while keeping their reviews anonymous.
Around two-thirds of searches online take place on a Google property. Local results are becoming increasingly important, and when it comes to local results, the number of quality of reviews are a huge factor. I like Angie’s list for providers of services where a major expense is involved. I like Google reviews for most other businesses.
Yelp is a place full of reviews on places to make everyday purchases–restaurants, bars, salons, boutique stores. It has a couple nice mobile apps.
When you need a restaurant idea, Urban Spoon is the place to turn. It’s more complete and accurate in major cities than it is on Lancaster restaurants, but I already see that changing.
I’ll also mention two other review services: CitySearch, which I don’t think much of, and ChowHound, which has selective, subjective, substantive reviews of dining but doesn’t aim to be comprehensive.
Business owners: Where would you most like to see your patrons leaving reviews?
Consumers: Where are your preferred places to share your experiences?