Online marketplaces are teeming with customers. The deals are often better, the shopping can be done at home and retailers like them because they involve significantly less overhead costs than a traditional store. Part of the beauty of online shopping is the ability of the consumer to share opinions and experiences of a product to encourage others to buy it or warn them not to waste their money. Writing online product reviews is a skill, and if done properly, can be a very effective consumer tool.
Use your real name if possible. An effective review has credibility, and it's easier to believe "Bill Johnson" than it is "spidermanfan461." Also, many sites offer their reviewers a way to hear from visitors to the sites (an email link, for example). If there is one available, use it.
In any event, try not to leave an anonymous review, especially if you didn't like the product.
Open strong. Make sure the first sentence summarizes your thoughts on the product: "This is great and I use it every day," or "This works fine, but I was expecting a little more." Use the first sentence to set the tone of the review. Make a general statement, then embellish with specifics later on.
Mind the details. This will depend largely on the type of product you are reviewing. Before you sit down to write, identify the key characteristics of the product and note how your product addresses each. If it is a floor fan, for example, does it keep the room cool? Does it oscillate? Is it adjustable? How many speeds does it have? Is the power cable long enough?
Also, make sure to include a statement about the quality of the product in relation to the price. "It works fine, but I was expecting a little more for the heavy price tag," or "This thing is a steal" will do.
Write in good, simple English. Many people are afraid of writing. They think it is a special language that only certain people can speak. Writing, as the professionals say, is merely thinking on paper. Get your thoughts in order, use simple, clear words and you'll be fine.
If you feel particularly strongly about a product, you may be compelled to use multiple exclamation points or to type in all capital letters. Resist the temptation. While no one will hold it against you for punctuating and writing in a traditional and proper way, some will question the credibility of a reviewer whose SENTENCES LOOK LIKE THIS!?!?!?
Use a rating system. Along with the first sentence of your review, the clearest way to state your opinion of the product is to use a rating system (usually a five-star scale or something of the like). If a product is poor, give it 0 stars or one star. If it's OK, give it two or three. If you rather like it, give it four, and if it is superb, give it five.
Write often and write well. If you're really into consumer advocacy, writing reviews is a great way to help people make smart choices with their money. Many sites like Amazon.com recognize their top reviewers. These are people who write frequently and whose reviews are known to be helpful to visitors to the site. Strive to become a top reviewer.