Established websites and online shops have been doing this for a long time now, and they know they got it right. User commenting is a hugely effective way to get customers involved and directly contributing to the amount of (hopefully) relevant content on your website. This in turn has many benefits, some are obvious and some are not.
What Are User Comments
Whether your site promotes or sells products, provides timely news or is a brochure for your business, you may want to allow visitors to leave their feedback and messages for everyone to see. An easy example of this is allowing customers who purchase a particular product to post a rating or a short review about the item for the next buyer to see.
Now that we are familiar with the basic idea, let us have a look at what user comments can help achieve and some tips to get it right.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is an ongoing exercise in creating and optimizing relevant content on your website. This, in turn, improves your site ranking, eventually increasing overall traffic to your site. SEO is very dependant on the volume and freshness of your content – which directly benefits from frequent and relevant posts by your customers. In effect, comments posted are boosting your SEO and your site ranking without any effort from your side. Of course, not all posts are relevant, and a moderator must clean out and maintain comments regularly.
Nearly any comments from users are good comments (I said nearly!). By this we mean that giving the opportunity to customers to vent their thoughts, ideas or even complaints can provide a stream of valuable and credible information to your business. In some cases, you may even learn things about your own product that you never knew. On the other hand, handling customer feedback (complaints in particular) is a skill that needs to be sharpened, but once harnessed can be a great asset for your organisation that can translate into great customer service. Even more, the credibility of a site that publishes “negative” user comments is very strong. You may see this in action in many large online shops such as Amazon, where customers now expect to read the occasional moan from unsatisfied customers, but then go on and form their own opinion.
A report published recently by Nielsen (www.nielsen.com) suggests that over 90% of users will trust recommendations from other users over other sources.
Whilst it is a concern that user comments may generate negative feedback, however this does not seem to affect sales. Quite the opposite, negative feedback, if well managed, can actually boost the confidence of customers in the knowledge that your organisation takes note and responds well to such cases.
Spark New Interest
An open discussion on your website can be a great way to spark new life into your products or topics. You may use the facility to ask a question or make a statement inviting users for their thoughts. You may also do this strategically to promote slow moving items by linking them to popular ones and so on. I think you get the idea.
User comments are an extremely effective addition to any website, particularly one that aims to cause a reaction / conversion from customers. Most commonly, a conversion would be a sale, and comments from other people will reinforce the trust and confidence of a new comer to press the buy button.
A sales strategy based on open user commenting and reviews empowers your own customers to sell your products to others. The power of “word of mouth” at the speed of click!
Webcraft develops websites and online shops that take advantage of user comments to create customer loyalty and boost traffic.