How To Build A Review Site In WordPress

May 31, 2021

Creating online reviews is an excellent way to drive additional traffic to your website and potentially – earn some money along the way. You can have a dedicated reviews website where adding reviews is the primary component or add a reviews section to your existing website. 

So what exactly are online reviews? Online reviews exist to help people make buying decisions on products they are interested in. For example, you can review a specific coffee machine product, and if people are satisfied with your experience and conclusion – they’re more inclined to buy it. Reviewers place referral links (to Amazon, for example) in their review articles that help them make money. Whenever a person purchases a product using the referral link – you get your affiliate commission. 

If you’re like us – the first thing you do before purchasing a product is to Google it and see what other people say about it. If so, you can see how lucrative having a review website can be 🙂 For example, TripAdvisor is one of the biggest review websites around, and currently, it’s worth around eight billion dollars. While you’re not getting there anytime soon – we know people who earn up to a couple of thousands of dollars per month with their niche review website. 

To make a successful reviews website, you’ll need to find the right niche for you. It must be smaller, so you don’t clash with the big guys, but it needs to be something you’re passionate about. 

Here’s a couple of points you need to think about:

  • Are there advertisers in your niche (people ready to pay for promoting their products)?
  • Is there a big competition in your niche?
  • Are affiliate programs available in your niche?
  • Can you invest some funds to build the starting traffic to your reviews website?

We recommend using Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ahrefs to help with your initial research.

Let’s start!

Install The WP Product Review Lite Plugin

There are two methods to build your reviews website: a dedicated WordPress reviews theme or a specific WordPress reviews plugin. Review themes usually offer complete review-site functionality and are packed with different plugins and features that may sound enticing. We recommend avoiding those as they’re typically bloated, don’t work well, and will essentially lock you into using them forever. 

On the other hand, plugins allow you to work with any theme of your choosing, and you can usually easily replace them if they’re not up to par or you don’t like the features.

For this article, we decided to use the free WP Product Review Lite plugin that allows you to add SEO friendly reviews easily:

Log in to your WordPress Dashboard, head to Plugins > Add New, fill in WP Product Review Lite in the top-right search bar, and click Install Now:

Once installed, click Activate to activate the plugin:

That’s it! Now you’ll notice the new menu item on the left – Product Review.

Setup The WP Product Review Lite Plugin

Head to Product Review > Product Review in your WordPress Dashboard to find the settings for the plugin. As you can see, settings are divided into tabs/sections:

General settings tab

Let’s start by selecting where we want to place the review box on our page. There are two options – before and after the content. We recommend putting it after the content as it looks neat.

Next, choose if you want to allow your readers to add their own reviews as comments via the Show review comment option. If you decide to enable this, you will also have to set up the Visitor Review Influence option below to determine how much influence user reviews have on your review.

Next, configure the Rating scale option – here, you can choose between 1-5 and 1-10 options. We recommend using the 5 point system. Additionally, you can configure the Comment rating style and use either slider or the voting method.

Next, you need to determine the numbers of options, pros, and cons you want to display. By default, the plugin allows you to add 5 of each.

We recommend leaving Content width, Disable Lightbox images, and Enable Rich Snippets options with their default values.

Lastly, you need to decide if you want to enable the review post type option. This option allows you to convert any WordPress post or page into a review. It’s pretty handy, but if you want to keep reviews separate from your blog – then leave it disabled.

Rating colors tab

In this section, you can define the default colors WP Product Review uses for ratings. It has different colors for weak, not bad, good, and very good ratings.

Additionally, you can choose colors for the rating and rating charts. Go ahead and pick colors that match your theme in this section.

Typography tab

This section allows you to change the font colors, pros and cons text colors, adjust the review box border, and change the pros and cons text.

Buy button tab

The last section allows you to configure the buy button, including the button icon, colors, border, background, and hover options. Since the buy button contains your affiliate link – we recommend making it stand out to entice more users to click on it.

Add A Review

As we mentioned previously, there are two ways to add a review using the WP Product Review plugin:

  • As a standalone review post type
  • Add it to any existing WordPress post or a page

Adding reviews is quite easy, and it’s the same procedure for each of these options.

If you previously enabled the reviews post type, head to Reviews > Add New option to add your review.

You can also convert your existing posts or pages to reviews or create a new post or a page. Go ahead and create a new post, and under the post block on the right, you’ll see the Is this post a review? option:

Go ahead and enable this option to see the product review options.

First, fill in the product name, upload the product image, choose the affiliate button text and paste your affiliate link, and set a product price:

Next, expand the Product Options tab and fill in product options with your respective grades on their features:

Next, go ahead and expand and fill in the Pro Features and Con Features:

You can add as many options as you want.

Once ready, go ahead and publish your post to see your review box in action. Here’s our example:

Tip: If you’re still using the Classic editor in WordPress, you can find the WP Product Review meta box below the post editor field.

Display Reviews In Your Website Sidebar

WP Product Review plugin also allows you to display the review box in your website sidebars. Head to Appearance > Widgets, click + to add a new widget, and choose between the Latest Reviews Widget or Top Review Widget.

You can choose the number of products you want to display, product title, style, and image display settings.

Configure the widget options and click Update when ready to save changes. 

Here’s how it looks on our website:

Final Words

Now that you’ve successfully configured your website to show your reviews and have a bunch of them added – it’s time to think about how to monetize your work. There are a couple of methods that can help you earn money:

  • Paid reviews – You can reach out to businesses and have them send you their products so you can test and review them. This method requires you to spend more time on contacting and negotiating with companies, though.
  • Advertisements – This is a set-and-forget method that allows you to earn money when visitors click on ads on your website or via ad impressions. You can use advertising networks, sell ads directly to advertisers or most commonly – use Google AdSense and gain access to thousands of advertisers.
  • Affiliate links – This is by far the most lucrative method, and it has a direct connection to your reviews. You earn money when your audience clicks on your affiliate link and buys the product you reviewed. We recommend joining the large affiliate network because they have the most extensive number of products available (Amazon Associates, for example).