In 2021, if you need any kind of service, you need look no further than a simple Google search. You can search for “grocery services near me”, for example, and you will find a whole host of options. Unfortunately, this comes with a significant downside. Since everyone can list themselves online, it is difficult to differentiate the good from the bad.
This is made worse by the advertising models used by search engines. Whoever pays for the privilege can come up as one of the top results, which immediately makes them look legitimate. We’ve all had bad experiences with companies that have marketed themselves better than any others.
Of course, you can look at online reviews. But many companies pay professional writers to write positive reviews. Also, reviews are generally written by those whose experiences were either very good or very bad. The weighted nature of reviews makes it tough to get an objective, middle-of-the-road sense of a service.
The good news is that there are resources to help you choose the best online services. Try the following before settling on the best service available.
Top10.com is a resource specifically designed for this purpose. The extensive website provides the top 10 online services in various categories. It has everything from dating apps, to meal delivery plans, to home alarm systems.
The difference between Top10.com and regular online reviews is that its lists are curated by people who have done extensive research into the topic. They break down each service, exploring what it offers, what it lacks, how customers have reacted, and all the pros and cons.
By handily comparing services in these ways, it gives you all the tools to make the right decision. You don’t have to choose their top option, as you may just find that the pros of another option outweigh its cons.
Depending on what type of service you are looking for, you will always find independent blogs written by people who have already tried a few options. Some of these bloggers will receive commissions on certain products, but they will tell you if they are writing about affiliate advertisers.
A personal example of this type of resource is musician blogs. I often go in search of plugins for my music production software. While there are many reviews of the various plugins, the best advice always comes from musicians who themselves have used trial and error to settle on the best option.
When you’re looking at an expert’s blog, you can see examples of the service in action. Musicians who have bought a production package show how it works in videos while creating their own music. The same is true for passionate video editors or even YouTube vloggers.
Find bloggers who you relate to and see what they have to say. If they seem trustworthy and relatable, consider their advice seriously. While it is prudent to take notice of any sponsorships they have been given, many serious bloggers will only take sponsorships if they like the product, especially if they are going to have to end up using it in their own work.
Use free trials
If you really can’t find any trustworthy reviews for a service or product you need, consider trying free trials. These can be seven or thirty day trials or moneyback guarantees. Of course, this is not relevant to every service, but when it is possible, this is a good idea even if you have seen good reviews.
With free trials, you get to make up your own mind. You can use the time period to test out any features you might end up using. Try a number of options and decide on which suits you best.
Worried about forgetting to cancel your free trial before your credit card is charged? Most services today allow you to cancel renewal immediately, allowing you to use the service until the trial is over even though you have already cancelled. If you find that the service is exactly what you want, you can easily start your subscription again, happy in the knowledge that you are paying for something worthwhile.
Be careful with online reviews. The kind of reviews aggregated on sites like Amazon are generally difficult to trust. Use the above resources to find products and services that are going to be truly valuable.