The public have long been using review and rating websites to share their opinions on restaurants, hotels, retail premises and other local businesses.
As a local business with a web presence, maybe its time you take advantage of the benefits that reviews and ratings websites can offer.
There is little doubt that retail and restaurant businesses are well served by Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google Places/Google + and other review websites, but as a local business, even if you operate outside of the food and retail sectors, these websites offer several benefits over just listing your own reviews on your website for the following reasons
Yelp is a review, rating a recommendation website that has been around since 2004 and receives in the range of 120 million unique views every month.
Yelp provides business owners an opportunity to create a free listing, on which the public can then leave reviews and ratings based on their experience of your products and/or services. It is very easy to create your listing (just look for the red 'Sign Up' button) and add a few details about your business, then you just need to share it with your clients and customers.
It is super easy for people to leave a review and the benefit of encouraging your visitors to spend 5 minutes adding a review/rating is that it powerfully supports your brand, and also creates inpointing links to your website- something that we are always looking for- so long as it is done in an organic way. The more positive reviews you have the more credible and reliable your business appears (and ofcourse it is in reality too!)
If you have worked with Anyhoodles in the past we invite you to spend 2 minutes writing us a review on Yelp - just look for the red 'Write a Review' tab at the top of the page.
Creating a Google Places listing will mean your business will show up when people do a search in your general area. The location and details of your business will show up in a bubble on a map- and people can then contact you.
We have a full article on Google Places if you want to learn more about creating a listing which is free and simple.
An another way to improve your visibility using Google services is with a Google Plus page - this is more like setting up a Facebook page for your business- so takes a little bit of time to add posts and build a 'following'. Once you start getting reviews on your page- they show up whenever your listing appears, and a listing with stars looks much better than one without. See the result below which shows both Google Places results (on the right hand map) and Google Plus reviews, showing under the listings on the left hand side.
Leaving a review on Google+ pages requires that the reviewer also has a G+ profile. Although we recommend you building a profile and recommendations on G+ (as they are backed by Google afterall!) but if you don't think your clients/customers are using G+, and you do not want a G+ profile then you may be better served to direct them to Yelp.
If you are a G+ user you are more than welcome to leave a review of Anyhoodles on our Google+ page.