HostJury’s review section is an important part of the website. After all, reporting the news only goes so far. The best way to get a perspective on a hosting solution is to see what its customers think. To that end, we always appreciate your thoughts on the companies that work for you, and the ones that don’t.
But, as with all community-driven content, there are some informal rules of conduct that will make your contributions much more valuable to others. Below is a list of the top three rules that will prepare you to gather your thoughts and make the biggest possible impact with your additions.
1. Civility trumps hostility.
Let’s take a look at the intro of a negative review about (often maligned) provider Mochahost.
“Garbage. You search garbage on "www.Wikipedia.org" and you have mochahost as the poster child for this word.”
For starters, this is simply inaccurate. Searching Garbage on Wikipedia actually takes you to the page for 90s alt-rock sensation Garbage. More importantly, it doesn’t really tell us anything about your experience with Mochahost. We understand that your experience was poor, but that’s communicated well enough by the star system. The point of writing a review is to pinpoint the positive and negative aspects of your experience. Which leads us to point number 2:
2. Be specific!
An excerpt from a very well-written review of Fused Network’s highly-rated services:
“In the past when we started to race to our bandwidth limits, (a mute issue now they are unmetered) the guys not only warned us of the path we were on, they took the time to discuss our options one on one in simple terms, they are real people, and real nice people.
The Fused control panels are the best I've seen. If I can work my way around them with ease I'm sure you can! The services and tools they provide are plentiful and leave you a bit spoiled for choice (not a bad thing).”
Clear, direct, and specific. This tells you what the site offers and why that’s so great.
The more precise your review is, the more powerful and authentic it will become. At their best, reviews impart critical insight into the totality of your experience with a company. (At their worst, they include a lot of anatomical references) This is what makes them so useful. Take the reader through the important bits of your perspective. Don’t just think about what you want to say, consider what you’d like to know if you were considering this company for yourself.
It can be very difficult to write in this way. After all, you’re generally reviewing because of a direct encounter with the company/provider, but you’re trying to write for someone who, ostensibly, has absolutely no clue what they’re like. Keep that in mind when you write your review, and the finished product will be a lot more useful to everyone.
3. Stay on target.
From a review on LunarPages:
“If they check these user opinion websites to see what people are writing about them you would think they would make right and offer a decent web hosting service. Heck I even saw one blog totally dedicated to how much Lunarpages suck...and now I see why.”
This is tangentially related, sure, but what does it tell us about your experience? What are we learning here? Other than that there’s a very angry blogger out there with a little too much time on his hands.
Often reviews sort of morph into more general discussion about issues that extend beyond your experience and how it translates to the experiences of others. This is a mistake. Ranting and raving lends itself to a weak, hard to follow review.
Stick to what really matters in a review. What you expected, what you received, and what you recommend others do in a similar position.
Of course, you don’t have to follow any of these rules. Sometimes you just have to rant, and sometimes, well, sometimes you just can’t control the nasty. That’s fine. But the key to writing anything is that you have to know the rules- and then you can break them.