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  1. #1
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    Please Review: www.SmartRatings.com

    I would appreciate to get some feedback on my site:

    http://www.SmartRatings.com

    Here are some points for which I would like to get feedback:

    1. Do you understand what is the site about?
    2. Do you think it is a useful service?
    3. How would you promote a site like this?
    4. Any SEO tips?

    Thank you very much for participating in this thread.

    Francisco

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast calash's Avatar
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    I really like the logo, nice and simple but with enough brand recognition to set it apart. It also fits in very well with the color scheme and layout of the site. Visually you have done a great job with it


    To address your specific questions.

    1 - From the front page I am guessing it is a product review and price research site. This took a few moments to figure out, but became clearer after reading the "What we do" bit. You may want to repeat the word "Products" in the #1 statement (ie "Expert Product Reviews"), but I do not think it is necessary.

    2 - In general review sites are useful, though it can be a bit of a saturated market. It seems that you are focusing on gathering information from other sources into one place, so that may be the hook you need to get going.

    3 - You will want to make yourself visible in the electronic and photography markets. A PR release (prweb.com), or getting included in some popular magazines/web sites would go a long way.

    4 - SEO looks good so far. I can not think of much to change at this point, the URL layout and navigation is very well done.


    Overall you have a great start on the site. Good Job

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the feedback calash. The logo and the site were designed at the same time taking into consideration the site concept. I am glad that you liked it.

    You are right about the fact that SmartRatings.com is not writting its own reviews. It's more of an added value review aggregator. We normalize expert reviews since some sources may rate products on a scale of 1-5, others may do it from 1-10 and some others on a scale from 1-100. We chose the 1-100 to have more room. Sites that use the scale of 1-5 some times have to round products that would look very different on a larger scale. A 3.25 and a 3.75 would look the same when one is better than the other. Anyways, thank you for the feedback.

  4. #4
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    I like mirror effects, logo, navigation bar. The main page is very nice. However, "Select category" area on the second-level pages looks poor. I think you should add something there, probably some images next to each category name and additional section like "what we do" section on the main page. The same about third-level pages.

  5. #5
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    I agree totally with you ilyalyu. The pages you mention are the ones I am the least happy with. They don't look that great. I know I want to change them but I am not sure how. I don't want to slow the site by adding images just for the sake of making things pretty. I would like to add something that adds value too. I will keep thinking about how to change them.

  6. #6
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    I like the idea, I guess one thing that confused me was how you got the score. Are you doing anything unique to come up with the score?

    Either way, I think it be good to differentiate yourself clearly from other similar sites.

  7. #7
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    The scores are just the average of all expert reviews. Since some expert reviews are on different scale, we first normalize the ratings to convert them into a 1-100 scale. Then we just average all the expert reviews for each product. There is no magic. It is just a transparent calculation.

  8. #8
    winter is around the corner Tomer's Avatar
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    Looks very professional to me. I see you are using the PriceGrabber engine there. You may see me listed there soon

    Again - very nice, looks established. Maybe a bit empty. Like in the Price Comparison area, you only list 1 price, it would be better to write the price ranges and how many stores...

  9. #9
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    Nice site

    I really like your site and I think its a great addition to add the expert ranking. One thing I suggest to even more carve out your niche of "smart rating" expertise niche, is have a featured rater in each section, this could be someone who is a reviewer, professional, etc. with a small bio. about them and possibly in exchange for you using their small photo and feature reviewer you can link to their site or blog.

  10. #10
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    JROOBX, thanks for the feedback. I really like the idea of having a section with profiles of the people writing the reviews. This would explain why they are experts. Once I am finishing implementing the next features I will work on this. I just want to make sure that I get enough interest so that this section doesn't look empty.

    Tomer, thanks you for your comments. I am using the pricing information from PriceGrabber. I actually worked there for about 6 years. I agree that price ranges would add value. The site does display the number of merchants for each product. Regarding the product with only one store, this is more of an issue with PriceGrabber. For some reason they didn't have that many merchant listings for that particular product.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict FizixRichard's Avatar
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    Hi there.

    Firstly to answer your questions:

    1. Do you understand what is the site about?
    Yes, its fairly self explanitory, the what we do explains nicely. However it doesn't really tell us how the "expert rating" works because who are the experts, where exactly is the information from, because we all know the internet is full of misinformation. I recognise some review sources but not all of them.


    2. Do you think it is a useful service?
    Yes, it is a useful service if it has up to date reviews that are valid and honest.


    3. How would you promote a site like this?
    Probably try to get in with a computer magazine (or magazine website) to give it some exposure. You could try TV/Magazine advertising, comparison sites are popular so this could be too.

    Other than that, traditional methods such as good SEO and word of mouth.


    4. Any SEO tips?
    Your SEO looks alright to me, I cannot think of anything to say, Although I know a fair bit about SEO I'm not an SEO expert so I'm not going to throw anything out there.


    Now for design comments:

    1. I like the logo but think there should be a little more space between the bottom of the logo and the start of the content.


    2. The menu and navigation structure is good but I'm not sure about the green highlight. I understand WHY you have used green but I'm not sure if it works in that context.


    3. The what we do is nice, I wouldn't change it, I like it


    4. I really like the sliders on the listing page and how it auto-updates. Great idea, really functional and speeds things up a great deal. Awesome idea, kudos, good job


    5. I understand its an American site but it would be nice to have an international comparative, if its available in say Europe and where you can get it from. There is nothing more annoying than coming across a product, get your heart set on it, only to find its not out in your country.
    FIZIX - Full Service Digital Agency - Engaging websites, apps and games.
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  12. #12
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    Hi FizixRichard,

    Thank you very much for the excellent feedback. I agree with almost all your suggestion. The only one I am not so sure is the one about the space between the logo and the site. I am of the idea of trying to have most as much content as possible above the fold. Having empty space would just push things down. I will try to see how it looks in other monitors to see if in some configurations it looks bad. In my own computers I think it looks just fine.

    I also think the sliders make the selection criteria easier and fun. It took a long time to make this work but I am very happy with the results. I want to add more technical filters in this section using the same concept. For example, you will have a slider to select the "Megapixels" or the "Screen Size". I think it would be very cool.

    A couple of people have mentioned that they don't like the dark green for the active category in the main navigation bar. I guess I need to play with more color combinations to change that.

    I guess I need to expand the methodology section to explain what is the selection criteria for the reviews. For every product you can sort the list of expert reviews based on the number of reviews that expert has in that category. That way you can see first the ratings/reviews of those people with most experience within the category. Click here for an example.

    In terms of promotion, I think it is too early for my company to do any print or off-line advertising. I think I will try mostly online promotion, starting with SEM.

    The pricing information comes to me from a third-party (PriceGrabber.com). I will try to see if eventually I can implement pricing information for people in other countries. I think this may take some time.

  13. #13
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    Nice Work!

    Wow what a great site.
    Your Questions:
    1 - Yes its very clear what it does (although i am familiar with such sites)
    2 - Very useful service indeed, it can take forever to find 'Reliable' reviews of products.

    I think the design and layout works really well. It looks like a site I would 'trust'.

    Althogh the 'Select a Catorgory' section, looks very plain and basic compared to the rest of the site.

    Also the black vertical dividers between the top buttons aren't quite centered, can be seen when one button is highlighted next to another. Probably just me but it doesn't look quite right.

  14. #14
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    Hi Buchow and thank you for the feedback. I agree with you about the "Select a Category" pages. They look inferior compared to the rest of the site. That is one of the first pages I intend to fix. It may take me some time as I have some current projects in the pipeline that need to be finished first. You can see in the feedback above and ilyalyu also pointed out the same issue.

    I am glad that you get the feeling that this is a site that inspires "trust" since that was one of the goals.

    thanks again,

    Francisco

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist bradical1379's Avatar
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    Just a quick thought on the SEO.

    I see your url structure looks like this: http://www.smartratings.com/review/e...d_players/1578

    If that came through in a search engine, a users would not know what '1578' is. Why not try this:

    Code:
    http://www.smartratings.com/review/electronics/dvd_players/1578-Philips-DVP314037-DVD-Player
    So when searching, a user does not get an ambiguous number, but the title of the product that is to be reviewed.

  16. #16
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    I really like the layout

    I thought your logo design looked good, the color scheme looks good, and the page layout looks very sharp.

    When you look at the products in detail, the scores aren't centered in the box.

    I do wonder though if you're entering a saturated market.
    semEsocial.com - Turn your email into an active social network

  17. #17
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    Hi bradical1379, thanks for the feedback. I like shorter URLs. When you put in product names they can extend to the point that they are not practical. Some product names can have more than 7 words. I would rather keep the URLs shorter so users can actually copy them and send them to a friend.

    Hi TagCollect, thank you also for your comments. I will look into the ratings to see if they are centered. They look OK to me but I would need to check for this using other monitors.

    I agree that there are a few companies doing similar things. I see the fact that there are other companies (some with decent VC funding) as a sign that there is a future in this niche. I think the market is big enough for a few players in this space. I was arround employee number 10 at PriceGrabber.com. When PriceGrabber was just starting there were some very established palyers already in the shopping comparison space. DealTime.com (now Shopping.com) was already having billboards and big advertising campaings, Cnet bought MySimon for close to $800 million, BizRate had a big presence too. Beyond these few big players, there were a few smallers competitors as well. I think most of them have turned out to be good businesses, even with all the competition. I am not saying that you shouldn't be concerned but competition just drives you to improve your service constantly.

    thanks,

    Francisco
    SmartRatings.com Expert Product Reviews and Ratings

  18. #18
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    Nice site. But you need many reviews for it to work. Also, make sure you update it often especially in technology sections. The domain name is really nice, i am surprised it wasn't taken.

  19. #19
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    Hi john5171, thanks for the feedback. We are adding hundreds of reviews every day. We now that we need to be up to date in order to be relevant. In regard to the domain, I bought it from another person so it wasn't available. I really liked it because it matched the concept for my site perfectly. So, if I was going to invest a lot of time and effort I wanted to build upon a good domain. I am glad you liked it too.
    SmartRatings.com Expert Product Reviews and Ratings

  20. #20
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    Hi,

    I like your site it seems to have a nice web 2.0 efect to it, I like the glassy effect and it is executed well. What I do find thought it that there is alot going on in the homepage which I find off-putting in alot of sites. Too much information at the start can create a negative felling in my view. Perhaps a tag line somewhere expalining what the site does exactly.

    Apart from that the site looks really good

    Regards

  21. #21
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    Hi gokeeffe, thanks for the feedback. We have a tag line about the top right but I have considered moving it closer next to the logo so they two are place together.

    The home page had two purposes:

    1) Get people quick to the category they want to go.
    2) Explain what the site is about.

    Probably once a lot of people know the site we could take some of the examples away. However, this may take a long long time.

    thanks again for the feedback,

    Francisco
    SmartRatings.com Expert Product Reviews and Ratings

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartratings View Post
    Hi john5171, thanks for the feedback. We are adding hundreds of reviews every day. We now that we need to be up to date in order to be relevant. In regard to the domain, I bought it from another person so it wasn't available. I really liked it because it matched the concept for my site perfectly. So, if I was going to invest a lot of time and effort I wanted to build upon a good domain. I am glad you liked it too.
    In my particular case, I am interested in sony's latest (aug) touch-screen digital camera (dsc-t200 i believe), but i couldn't find it on your site.

  23. #23
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    This site is very well done! You've found an excellent domain name as well, very memorable. Now onto your questions:

    1. Do you understand what is the site about?
    Your "What We Do" section explains the purpose of your site pretty well, although some 'examples' would further educate your costumers which will cause those lazy surfers to stay and keep on surfing.

    2. Do you think it is a useful service?
    It's a useful service, yes. But there is tons of sites which are established in this niche and it might be tough to break through.

    3. How would you promote a site like this?
    For a site of this nature, I would spend a lot of time on gathering Press Releases and heavy use of AdWords.

    4. Any SEO tips?
    Your links are well done and META tags are set. I would recommend trying to get incoming links for your site on related sites to increase rankings and maybe even create a BLOG!

    Overall, it is a very nice site, but it can still use some touching up and brightening . More colors and css effects. Good Luck!

  24. #24
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    Hi john5171, thanks for the feedback. I just looked for the camera you were looking for and it is there:

    http://www.smartratings.com/review/p...l_cameras/1905

    Probably it was just added to the live site recently.

    DanielOkula.com, thank you for your comments. I know there are many players but there is a big market and all you need is a tiny fraction of the attention to build a viable business.

    thanks,

    Francisco
    SmartRatings.com Expert Product Reviews and Ratings

  25. #25
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    I love the domain name...gosh surprising it wasnt registered before u did...
    but the reviews needs to be more technical?


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