How To Build a Two-Sided Review Site with Webflow

Robert Jett
November 14, 2023
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In this post we'll cover everything from building a two-sided review site with templates as well as tips and strategies to growing!

Building a two-sided review site with Webflow

In the digital age, consumers heavily rely on online reviews to make informed decisions before purchasing products or hiring services. Review sites play a pivotal role in this consumer behavior, offering a platform for users to share their experiences and opinions on various products or services. By building a review site, you not only provide valuable information to consumers but also create a community around a particular niche or industry.

A review site is a platform where individuals can post reviews and rate products, services, or even businesses based on their experiences. They serve as a trusted source of information for potential customers, significantly influencing buying decisions. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, up from 81% in 2019. This upward trend reflects the growing importance and reliance on review sites in the consumer purchase journey. Hence, building a review site is not just a venture in community building, but also a potential avenue for generating revenue through advertisements, affiliate marketing, and premium memberships.

Before the Build

Embarking on the journey of building a review site necessitates a clear understanding of the niche you want to focus on. The chosen niche should resonate with your interests or expertise while also having a substantial audience to generate traffic. Analyzing market trends and identifying gaps in existing review platforms can provide insights into potentially profitable niches. Business use cases might include providing a platform for reviews in emerging tech products, local eateries, or specialized service providers like plumbers or electricians. For instance, a review site could serve as an avenue for tech enthusiasts to share and read reviews on the latest gadgets, a platform for food lovers to discover and rate nearby eateries, or a hub for homeowners to find and review local service providers.

For a Tech Gadgets niche: A detailed review and rating system allowing for in-depth analysis of various tech gadgets is crucial. A comparison feature enabling users to compare different gadgets based on various criteria can provide added value. Search and filter functionality are essential for easy navigation, facilitated by Webflow's CMS and Memberstack’s user-centric features. An interactive community forum for discussions on the latest tech trends and gadgets could foster a tech-savvy community on your platform.

In the case of Local Restaurants niche: User-generated reviews and ratings with the ability to upload images of the food and ambiance are pivotal. A geo-location feature to display nearby restaurants, made simple with Webflow’s integration capabilities, could enhance user experience. A reservation system to book tables directly through the review site might provide convenience to users. Featured listings for restaurants to promote themselves on the platform can also be an attractive feature for restaurant owners.

Regarding the Home Service Providers niche: Verified reviews and ratings ensure authentic feedback from genuine customers which is vital in this sector. A booking system for users to schedule services directly on the platform might offer an added layer of convenience. A robust search and filter system to help users find the right service providers based on location, services offered, and ratings is necessary. A direct messaging feature for users to communicate with service providers, which can be facilitated through Memberstack’s user management capabilities, might streamline the process of hiring a service provider.

The combination of Webflow and Memberstack provides a strong foundation to build a review site tailored to the unique needs of your chosen niche, with customizable design options, user management, and membership functionalities.

Choosing a Platform

When it comes to selecting a platform for building your review site, several viable options exist, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix are known for their simplicity and a variety of design templates, which could make it a good choice for those new to web design. However, it may lack in advanced features and flexibility that more experienced developers might seek.

Among these, Webflow emerges as a preferred choice for building a review site due to its balance of ease of use, robust customization options, and solid framework for a scalable, high-performance site. Its intuitive design interface is user-friendly, while still offering a depth of customization that allows your review site to stand out. Moreover, the integration with Memberstack enhances the user management and membership functionalities, making it a prime choice for a seamless and professional review site building experience.

Building a Review Site with Webflow - starting with a Template

Check out our review site template here.

Setting up Webflow with a Template

Starting with a template can significantly accelerate the development process of your review site. Memberstack provides a suitable template for review sites, which is tailored to work seamlessly with Webflow. Utilizing this template can give you a structured starting point, making the setup quicker and more efficient. The pre-designed layouts and elements can save time and ensure that your site has a professional appearance right from the start.

Customizing Design

Adopting a user-centric design is paramount for review sites. A well-thought-out design facilitates easy navigation, quick access to recent reviews, and a simple yet effective review submission process. Utilizing Webflow's robust design customization tools, you can tweak the template to align with your brand’s colors, typography, and overall aesthetic. Moreover, considering a responsive design will ensure your review site is accessible and usable across various devices, which is essential in today’s multi-device world. The goal should be to create a design that embodies the essence of your brand while ensuring a seamless user experience.

Features

An effective review site requires key features to ensure user satisfaction and trust. For a site where people can submit businesses and provide reviews, a smooth process for submitting reviews and businesses is essential. It's crucial to offer users a seamless experience, from registration to writing and reading reviews. Furthermore, a reliable analytics system is vital to understand user behavior, allowing site administrators to make improvements based on user feedback. Different access levels for users, such as premium reviewers or verified businesses, can enhance the user experience and offer a personalized touch. Moreover, ensuring a secure authentication process for users, along with a friendly welcome, is paramount for maintaining user trust and engagement.

In the context of a review platform, "two-sided" refers to a system that involves two primary user groups: those who submit items for review (e.g., businesses, products, or services) and those who provide reviews or feedback on those items. These two groups interact with each other through the platform, creating a dynamic ecosystem.

For example:

  1. Business Side: This group includes businesses, service providers, or individuals who list their offerings on the platform, hoping to gain visibility, customers, and feedback. They benefit from the platform by getting exposure to a broader audience and receiving constructive feedback to improve their offerings.
  2. Reviewer Side: These are the users who actively provide feedback, ratings, or reviews for the listed items. They benefit from the platform by sharing their experiences, helping others make informed decisions, and often getting a platform to voice their opinions, praises, or concerns.

The success of a two-sided review platform often hinges on achieving a balance between these two groups. A healthy number of businesses or items to review attracts more reviewers, and in turn, a robust reviewer community attracts more businesses or individuals to list their offerings. The platform acts as a mediator, ensuring trust, authenticity, and quality interactions between both sides.

Review System

The "Submit Review" process is managed primarily through our Review System, utilizing an intricate integration of webhooks, storage solutions, in-house tools, and platform integrations. In essence, when a user submits a review or image (through a designated form on the platform), it generates a document in a shared Google Drive directory, links the review/image to a user profile in our membership system, configures the necessary parameters for platform integration, and then displays the review on the main feed. While the procedure might seem intricate, the video tutorial provided on the template site offers a comprehensive guide to understanding it.

Conclusion

Embarking on the venture of creating a review site is a strategic move in a digital ecosystem where opinions and reviews significantly sway consumer decisions. Choosing Webflow as your building platform is a wise decision due to its user-friendly interface, robust customization options, and reliable performance. The initial steps involve defining your niche, planning your site structure, and selecting a template that aligns with your vision. A template from Memberstack designed for review sites can provide a solid foundation, saving you time and ensuring a professional appearance from the outset.

With these tools at your disposal, you are well-equipped to create a review site that can serve as a valuable resource for consumers and a community hub for sharing experiences and opinions in your chosen niche. The journey from conceptualization to launching your review site is made significantly smoother, allowing you to focus on nurturing a community and monetizing your platform effectively.