How to Seamlessly Add Product Reviews to Your WordPress Website
WordPress websites that act as the digital “salesperson” for a company need to d0 more than just talk about how awesome the business or product is. Consumers are demanding to hear from real-life customers who have been in their shoes. They want to know what they thought of the product, how it delivered on what the website promised, and whether or not they think it’s a worthwhile purchase.
A Local Consumer Review Survey from 2017 found that online reviews hold just as much weight as personal recommendations do with 85% of customers.
If you’re looking for a way to add more credibility to your WordPress site, customer reviews are the solution.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may find that testimonials are the more appropriate option. Testimonials are best if you have a service you offer to clients. These put the spotlight on an individual (usually the CEO or manager of a company) who then shares a brief “story” about how working with a business changed their life for the better.
Products, on the other hand, are more effectively reviewed with ratings and commenting systems. Because you want products to be bought on a large scale (as opposed to a service provider that has a finite amount of time to dedicate to customers), product reviews are more about a numbers game. Getting as many satisfied customers as possible to leave a review is important as is driving up that rating score.
This post covers the importance of adding product reviews to your WordPress site, plugins you can use to do this, and then I’ll give you a brief tutorial on how to get started.
The Importance of Adding Product Reviews to Your WordPress Website
#7 of the 13 things every e-commerce product page needs for more conversions is ratings and reviews. That’s not surprising considering what recent studies show about the importance of reviews in the decision-making process for customers.
Of course, there’s always a concern that product reviews could work against your website if 1) no one leaves any reviews or 2) the ratings are bad. But that’s why you design WordPress sites and products that consumers can’t help but love. And when you secure that fandom by providing a top-notch experience, your customers’ positive words about it are what help others still on the fence decide to take the leap.
Here are some reasons why you should add product reviews to your WordPress site:
You want to show people pondering a purchase that there’s good reason to trust their instincts and pull the trigger. Using high-quality images is one way to do that. Providing succinct yet relatable descriptions is another. But using product reviews can help a lot too–especially if you already have a large base of customers happy with your product.
With 68% of consumers needing to read at least four positive reviews about a business or product before they’re willing to trust it, giving them the information to confirm that feeling will get them to conversion much more quickly.
Social proof is always a good thing, even if the occasional negative review finds its way in there. And that’s because it gives customers the chance to review the facts from the customer’s standpoint. Any concerns they have, any specific circumstances that apply to them, they can make a more informed decision by reading what others have had to say about it. It also plays into mob mentality: if 400+ people gave the product five stars, then it must be good!
One of the problems with allowing platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business to handle the intake of your business reviews is the matter of control. Even if you (or your client) claimed the corresponding business or product page on those sites, your ability to collect and monitor for reviews is limited. Allowing customers to review products on your site enables you to have more control over the conversation.
Opportunity for Engagement
On a related note, product reviews give you the chance to converse or engage with customers. In the Bright Local survey mentioned earlier, 30% of consumers actually said they want to see brands respond to reviews left on their products. It demonstrates that you’re listening to your customers and are willing to take the time to, at the very least, acknowledge that. If you can do more–like ask questions, work with them on remedying a problem, etc.–even better.
Giving customers too many choices to pick from is problematic. Many e-commerce websites are built around selling large amounts of inventory. There’s nothing you can do to reduce the amount of choice there, save for implementing a system of breadcrumbs so they can filter down the amount of products in view at once.
But product reviews can help with this as well. Reviews put a spotlight on your most popular and well-received products. This way, people can narrow down the number of products they look at by searching for ones that are top-rated.
Enabling reviews and ratings on your WordPress site can give you an edge over the competition. When pitted against a website that doesn’t include product reviews, it can make yours seem more transparent about what’s being sold. When pitted against a website that does include review, it gives your customers a chance to do a side-by-side comparison to more clearly which products are better received.
Sometimes, product reviews can work in your favor for SEO purposes. This will depend on a couple things.
To start, the search ranking of your WordPress site can help get those product reviews to show up at the top of search results. If you already have the authority with Google, then the product pages–and their corresponding ratings–will follow.
Secondly, if your customers reference the same keywords over and over again in their reviews (hopefully, including the product name, too), your product pages may start to rank better for those keywords. You may even decide to update your own on-page SEO to cater to the keywording your customers prefer.
Product reviews aren’t just a good thing to have in WordPress because of the enhancements in perception they can lend to a brand. If you pay close enough attention to what customers are writing about–what they like, what they don’t like, as well as their suggestions for improvement–this information can be really valuable. You may find that enough feedback inspires a new course of revisions in order to improve the product.
6 Best Product Reviews Plugins for WordPress
eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads already come with review integration. However, if you want more control over product reviews than just the basics, you’ll need the assistance of a WordPress plugin.
If you’re using WooCommerce or another store builder in WordPress, there are a number of high-quality extensions and plugins to choose from.
This e-commerce marketing dashboard plugin is recommended by WooCommerce, but can realistically be used to enhance any e-commerce shop. The goal of this plugin is to give users the best tools to boost conversions, which includes a widget for soliciting, moderating, and publishing product reviews on your e-commerce site.
If you use a third-party review solution like Yotpo or Judge.me, then you should give this WooCommerce extension a look. In general, what this plugin does is push real-time notifications to visitors that inspire curiosity about the (currently) most popular items in your store. If you use this with a third-party review service, you can share notifications about hot items, most recently reviewed products, and so on.
Let’s say your business or products have already made a huge splash in Google. However, the website is brand new or maybe it was recently rebranded and so you’re having to start over again to build the reputation anew. Until you’re able to generate serious traction with reviews on your site, you can pull them in from Google.
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When a site is brand new, it can be a struggle getting people to be willing to take a leap of faith and buy a product from an unknown. To get things moving more quickly until you generate a steady stream of customers and reviews, you can motivate people to do so by offering a discount with this WooCommerce extension.
If your store is powered by WooCommerce, start by checking out this premium extension first. It gives you the ability to collect robust product reviews and display and filter them on your site in a way that rivals Amazon. You can also collect user-generated photos and videos, which will add a whole new level of quality to product reviews on your website.
This free WordPress plugin offers a number of options for equipping your site with customer reviews. You can create an entire page dedicated to collecting and publishing customer reviews (which you can also moderate). You can enable reviews of your posts, which would be helpful if the blog is popular and you want to point readers to the most well-reviewed content (kind of like what Medium). Or you can enable reviews of your products.
How to Seamlessly Add Product Reviews to Your WordPress Site
Now that you have a list of tools that allow you to do more with reviews–like upload photos and videos, incentivize visitors to leave a review, pull reviews in from external sources, etc.–let’s look at how to seamlessly add product reviews to your WordPress site.
Step 1: Install an eCommerce Plugin
For the purposes of this example, I’ll be using WooCommerce to power my products and reviews. Install this as you would any other plugin from the WordPress repository.
Step 2: Enable Reviews
Plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads already come equipped with the ability to turn on product review functionality. So, let’s do that in this next step.
Go to the WooCommerce menu in WordPress. Click on Settings and go to the Products tab.
Enable reviews and set permissions if you only want verified customers to leave a response. Do the same if you want customers to be able to rate your products.
Step 3: Install a Review Plugin
Next, if you’re going to use a review plugin to enhance what you do with product reviews on the site, install it. For this example, I am using the WP Customer Reviews plugin.
Install and activate it.
Step 4: Configure Your Reviews Plugin
If you go to the reviews form settings, you’ll find that it asks you to configure a number of fields. You can also add your own custom fields.
This is helpful to have as you’d otherwise have to pay for a premium WooCommerce plugin in order to create more robust review forms.
Once that’s set, check out the display settings. In this screen, you can choose the maximum number of reviews to display underneath the product.
Too many reviews per page could slow down loading times, so set this to a reasonable amount.
Step 5: Enable Reviews on Your Product Pages
As I mentioned above, you can use this particular plugin in a number of ways. If you’d rather not relegate all reviews to a single page on your site (which probably doesn’t make much sense for individual product reviews anyway), enable this feature on each product page.
Open up any of your product pages. Scroll down to the WP Customer Reviews section.
By checking this box, you’re configuring this section to appear at the bottom of the product page.
As the plugin developer noted, however, you can place reviews and ratings anywhere on the page. You’ll just need to use the special shortcodes provided.
Save the changes to your page when you’re done.
Step 6: Moderate Reviews
If you’ve chosen review moderation, you’ll need to pay attention to reviews as they come through for each of your products. You’ll find these under the Reviews menu in WordPress.
As you can see, product reviews come in as “Pending”. To push it to the site, open the review, verify that everything looks okay, and then hit the Publish button. You can also add an admin response to the reviews here as well (in case you want to thank them for the glowing recommendation or apologize for an issue they experienced).
Once you do this, the review will go live.
And that’s it. If you decide you want more functionality and control over your product reviews, you can use one of the premium plugins or extensions suggested above.
Just make sure you’re asking your customers to leave a review. You can automate this by creating email reminders that go out after a purchase has been made. You can also create a CTA or widget for your website that encourages them to do so. The sight of rating stars and a “Leave a comment” prompt might be enough as well. Just do what you can to get customers’ attention.
With a little prodding, you might be able to generate more feedback and discourse around your products, which, in turn, will boost confidence in other shoppers and lead more of them to convert.