As we have already explained in our article about why testimonials are important people buy from people, which is why review sites are becoming so important to businesses of all sizes and industries.

In an online study in 2012 the Local Consumer Review Survey showed that there had been a positve shift in the trust and appreciation of online reviews by the consumers with approximately 72% of the 2,862 people that were involved in the survey said that they trust online reviews and personal recommendations, and 52% said that positive online reviews would make them more likely to use a local business.

They found that there is a significant jump in the number of people that are using the internet to find a local business when they require one, with only 15% of people saying that they had not used the internet to find a local business compared to 21% in 2010.

The survey determined that the availability of clear and easy to access consumer reviews/star-rating content will become even more important to people and an extremely valuable tool for local business owners.

But what makes a good review site?

The best review sites are of course those that the public trust, these tend to be independantly run review sites that aren’t affiliated at all with the products/services that are being reviewed on the website. This isn’t to say that sites that aren’t independant can’t be trusted, they can although they may have to “work harder” to gain public trust.

There are several types of review site, the traditional sites where people leave feedback about their experiences with a product or service (eg TripAdvisor) or sites where they read all the available review sites and use technology to corrolate the data into a ranking system (eg uk-ecig-reviews).

If you look at many of the highly trusted review sites for example Tripadvisor the reviews are left by people that have used a product or service, and although the product/service provider has the ability to answer any negative reviews, they do not have the power to remove them. This is one reason independant review sites can be more trusted then ones that are affiliated with a product/service provider.

So how can sites that are managed by the people providing the product/service gain the trust of their potiential clients?

Although the natural reaction to seeing a bad or negative review on your site would be to delete it, this can often be one of the worse ways of handling it. If a review site seems “too good to be true” and only has positive reviews then there may be an inclination by the general public to be suspitious. It is far better to leave the negative review in place but answer it calmly and professionally, and do what you can to solve the problem.

By doing this it is showing that you have acknowledged the issue, confronted the problem and offered a solution – this process is the best way to build up trust in your business.

By understanding how people use review sites, and knowing what helps people decide to trust them, you can make better judgements on which sort of review site to use, and wheither to host it yourself or use an industry independent review site.