Writing a Website Review

websites 2

Websites

A website is a set of related web pages. All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web (WWW) was created in 1990 by CERN* physicist Tim Berners-Lee.

Websites have many functions and can be used in various fashions; a website can be a personal website, a commercial website, a government website or a nonprofit organization website. Websites can be the work of an individual, a business or other organization, and are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose.

Websites can be divided into two broad categories – static and interactive. Interactive sites are part of the Web 2.0 community of sites, and allow for interactivity between the site owner and site visitors. Static sites serve or capture information but do not allow engagement with the audience directly.

There are many varieties of websites, each specializing in a particular type of content or use.

*Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research)

Writing a Review

In this lesson we are going to practice writing website reviews. A review is a text in which we evaluate a publication, a product, a service, or a company.

In addition to a critical evaluation, the review’s author may assign the work a rating to indicate its relative merit.

Look at the following examples:

                                        1   ATP

14.00

ATP Tennis Professional Tennis Circuit

ATPWorldTour.com

Whether you are a mad about your tennis, or just a casual spectator who likes a few strawberries at Wimbledon once a year, the ATP Tennis website clearly presents all the latest tennis news and player information you could want.

The homepage gives you the latest up to date news, results and the main rankings. Delving in a bit further there is a full news round-up and results section, player profiles and full rankings information for the men’s singles & doubles.

Live Scores is one of the best features to highlight, giving you scores as they happen, organised by location. This live web feed is a great way to keep up to speed in the office or if you don’t happen to have the luxury of a subscription to Sky television! Minute by minute action can be followed via the updates on the live system.

There is a full calendar of tournaments, and event profiles, as well as the usual player profiles. A full listing of both men’s and women’s sites is also provided, although ATPWorldTour.com does focus on the men’s game throughout.

                                        2 RedHot Sunglasses

Fashion Focused Sunglasses

RedHotSunglasses.co.uk

Red Hot Sunglasses is a site for style conscious men and women who like to look good in the latest styles. Following the trends, the company aims to deliver a fashion led selection of the coolest brands and sharpest shades.

A relative newcomer to the scene, the business was founded in 2010. The website is packed with dozens of different brands of sunglasses, in over 20 distinct styles. The product images are set on white backgrounds and are crystal clear, conveying the feel of the glasses well.

In a nice touch, hovering over the preview image turns the sun glasses from 45 degrees to face on. You can drill down to a very high quality image with zoom, and most products have multiple photos including the all important case.

Red Hot Sunglasses are very focused on the big fashionable brands, so prices are not cheap. That said, two to three hundred pounds for a pair of high fashion Bottega Veneta is not bad, and there is a sunglasses outlet area with some cheaper deals on the likes of Dolce & Gabana, Fendi and Lacoste.

                                         3 Twitter

Twitter Stay in Touch with Web & SMS

Twitter.com

Twitter enables you to keep in touch with groups of friends or family by entering messaging via Twitter.com which is sent out to your contact groups or followers. These mini updates of up to 140 characters are sent out for free by the Twitter website.

Posting on the twitter system, known as micro-blogging, supports other channels like instant messanger and blogs, but the most useful part of the system seems to be the ability to quickly reach many followers both online and on mobile devices. This is typed only once, and quickly entered online rather than by the predictive text on your phone.

The uses are readily apparent, you could just be keeping in touch with friends, or could be keeping business colleagues informed of what’s happening, particularly if you are managing a group of geographically dispersed staff, for example in sales. If you’re on holiday you may want to send a message to all of your family rather than writing postcards!

You can send as many messages from the Twitter website as you like, and you can follow as many other Twitter members as you like. Twitter has become one of the major social networking websites, and has found favour amongst celebrities.

If you send messages from your mobile phone, or via the web with Twitter it is free. A nice way to quickly keep people in touch with what’s going on with short bitesize updates.

The website puts it very nicely: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”. Whether it’s just letting Mum know where you are, or your partner know how your day is going this is a novel service that’s catching on fast as the mobile generation of the social networking boom.

One final point to mention is that you can set all important quiet times on your twitter account, so that you are not disturbed by everyone bombarding you.

                                         4 Organic Dark Chocolate

Organic Dark Chocolate

OrganicDarkChocolate.co.uk

Chocolate lovers will certainly enjoy the web site OrganicDarkChocolate.co.uk. It is full of information relating to organic dark chocolate, with advice on the health benefits of this delicious product as well as some great tips on where to buy.

Organic dark chocolate differs from other forms of dark chocolate in that it is made using natural methods and ingredients. That means no artificial additives, and no fertilisers or pesticides. Organic food has become extremely popular in recent years, and organic dark chocolate is definitely no exception to this trend.

OrganicDarkChocolate.co.uk features some really interesting facts about the beans that are used to make organic dark chocolate, as well as some brilliant tips on how to eat this top quality product – it seems that there is a real technique that needs to be applied in order to enjoy the full effect!

On a more serious note, the site does make reference to the potential health benefits that this type of chocolate offers – it is argued that the antioxidants contained in the product help protect the body from heart disease, for example. Obviously this is based on eating it in moderation, which is something the website clearly points out.

The Where Best to Buy section lists a number of recommended products that can be purchased from a number of different merchants. Heading the list is Green and Blacks, the company responsible for the first organic dark chocolate ever produced, with other popular sellers including Montezumas and the Chocolate Trading Company.

The choice of organic dark chocolate products now available is impressive. Aside from the traditional chocolate bar, you can purchase wedding favours, truffles, Easter eggs, after dinner mints, even drinking chocolate.

The web site also features answers to commonly asked questions, ensuring that everything you ever wanted to know about organic dark chocolate is covered. Check this great site out – it is bound to get your mouth watering in anticipation.

                                                     5 PickaBook

Online Bookshop PickABook Books

PickABook.com

Are you an avid reader? Or looking for the chance to learn about something new? Or perhaps you would like to improve your cooking skills with a new cook book? PickAbook.com is the online bookshop for you.

PickABook.com is a great site which offers you the chance to pick your reading matter from literally thousands of book titles. The site is quite easy to navigate around and displays a list of all the possible book categories on its home page.

Click on a category and you are immediately offered the option of making your choice more specific. If you know exactly what you are looking for, just type the title of the book into the search engine and PickABook.com will do the hard work for you

And another great thing about PickABook.com is that you can do all your book shopping from the comfort of your own home. Pick A Book offer free delivery on orders over £15 and discounted prices as well on most of their stock. Time to take advantage of some great prices on your reading matter!

And if you are looking for something different, PickABook.com may well stock it too. DVDs, videos, sticker books and pop-up books for the children, even wallcharts, posters and maps have their place in the online bookshop. Just click on the special items link at the top of the homepage and start browsing.

PickABook.com is a great starting point for finding books about travel, maths or gardening. Presents for everyone are well covered by this site as well – no more trawling the shops for those last-minute Christmas gifts!

It’s a fantastic place to look for children’s books at very reasonable prices. Malory Towers boxsets for under £12 – why look anywhere else?  Often their prices are well below the level you would find in the high street shops.

Get searching and you may be surprised by what PickABook.com has to offer – and get some new book ideas and inspiration into the bargain. A huge bookshop online with plenty of choice.

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How to write a website review

Before you write your review spend some time considering the following questions:

  • Is the site attractive to you? Why/why not?
  • Is it easy to use? Can you find what you’re looking for?
  • Do you understand what the site is about?
  • If this site is offering a product or service, would you sign up or buy it?
  • If you were interested in this site’s content, would you come back? Why/why not? If the site has a forum community, would you sign up and post? Why/why not?
  • Is the content good? Do you understand what the text is saying? Do you notice any spelling/grammar mistakes?

The elements your review should cover are the following:

  • Design – The first thing that you see when looking at a website is its design. Is the design pleasing to the eye? Is the site cluttered or difficult to navigate? Are there any glaring design flaws or glitches, or is the site a work of art?    
  • Focus – What is the focus of the site? If you can’t figure it out, then the author is doing something wrong. Focus should be apparent without hunting around too much. Typically by using design elements, or simple headlines or sub-headlines a site must convey its focus.
  • Content – The most obvious element to cover in your review is the site’s content. Does the content of the site match its focus? If not, there is a problem! Is the content easily readable? Does it make sense? What are some of the highlights? Is there a page, article or section of the site that really stands out as being fantastic?
  • Writing Style – Writing style is one element that many people often ignore. Does the author share his/her voice? Do you find yourself relating to what you read? Is the style professional or does the author blab on about their dying goldfish in every post?
  • Message Effectiveness – Overall, do you find that the site is effective in putting out its message?

Task

Now it’s your turn to surf the web, choose a website of your taste and write a review of it. (between 130 and 180 words)

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