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Managing customer reviews
An easy way to add content with minimal paintenance
donovanh




msg:1583499
 11:06 pm on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

One of the sites I run is a product based site, and I feel that in the last year the ability for users to add reviews has helped maintain it's good search engine positioning.

Managing customer reviews can be a time consuming activity, especially without some kind of automation.

I have found that using the following method I can add tens of reviews in a matter of minutes, with no copying or pasting, all the while ensuring that inappropriate content does not get onto the pages.

The following steps may seem obvious, there's not a lot to it really, but it has helped make my work time much more efficient.

Without going into platform specific code, the procedure is along these lines:

Adding the review

There is a link placed prominantly near the reviews, which the user can click to add their review. This opens, in my case, a new window in which they can rate and add their text. I did not include user authentication as all reviews are pre-moderated.

When the visitor submits the review, the content is cleaned to remove any HTML code or mask any naughty words. It is then stored in a database, one of their fields of which is an "authorised" field, set to 0 (false).

Moderating the Review

The content of the review is sent at the same time to my e-mail address. The e-mail also contains a link to a script set up to simply change the authorised flag from 0 to 1. The URL includes a query string containing the ID of the review in question.

When the link is selected, the review immediately becomes visible on the site, and no further work is necessary. If the review is inappropriate, I simply delete the e-mail.

And that's basically it.

While it is sometimes necessary to manually edit a review if I feel it contains decent content but needs just a few fixes, this happens rarely.

Since the reviews are stored in the database, they can then be used in other ways, for example, I might feature the latest review on the home page, or create a page that lists the latest reviews. These may bring more visitors as the pages would tend to contain a lot of fresh content and add to the site's reach in search engines.

 

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