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Recently, I decided to set up a home digital studio for typical audio and video podcasts. Previously, I would go round asking people I perceived should know what to do – sometimes, I even asked those who had little or no clue about what I needed. After making lots of unnecessary purchases, I realized that the major way to get information was by going through the reviews of people that have bought and used the products.

To determine what to use for my podcasts, I first did research by reading what techy bloggers suggested – I also listened to audio podcasts and watched loads of YouTube videos. After determining the equipment required for my studio, I noticed that for each equipment, there are lots of brands. The next problem was which brands do I buy. In addition to various brands, it occurred to me that even in specific brands, there are standardizations. Standardizations in terms of having different features – the number of features determined the selling price. This made it more confusing to me, but as I read articles, listened to audio and watched video podcasts, I plainly began to see the relevance of reading buyers and users reviews. Some of the things I learned, I have opted to share with you so that as you make purchase decisions, you will conspicuously see the reasons for reading product reviews before putting your money on any item.

1. To know if the product does what it says: some brands do exaggerate by blowing out of proportion, their abilities. Until you read the reviews of those that have bought and used them, you won’t be able to determine their true strength. Even when a buyer gives 5 Stars, I still want to know why it was given. Every product has a reason it was made, and for that reason, you’re buying it. To know if it actually does what it’s design says, read what those that have used it said. Except you’ve used it in the past, don’t buy it without reading its product reviews.

2. You might spend less buying same features: big brands with big names sell at higher prices compared to less known brands with same features. A camera with ten features from a big brand is more expensive than a camera with same ten features from a less popular brand. Why on earth should you pay more for a brand with same features when you can buy it for less. You must not be brand crazy; go for functionality.

By reading product reviews, reviewers will tell you how good a brand is in spite of it being virtually known. When I buy laptops, for instance, I compare features and look at what other people have said – by looking at what others have said, I pay less for what I need. What I need isn’t the name; it is what I need it to do. Please note that this isn’t always the case because some high price products may actually be far better, but in some cases, that may not apply.

3. To see if it actually has what you need: I researched on studio microphones and discovered that there are loads of them, and I also realized that each does the basic things that studio microphones should do. And on those basic things, some do them far better. Some microphones are omnidirectional, some are bidirectional, and others are unidirectional. If you want to buy a unidirectional microphone, and you are ignorant of the basic factors, you will think all studio microphones are the same, until your omnidirectional purchase begins to pick up sounds from every direction. How did I find out? I listened to podcasts, read articles and read buyers’ reviews.

4. To see if existing products have been updated: everyday, digital products and other forms of items are being updated, and looking at product reviews will inform you on the new features and their real added values. With such information, you will be able to make decisions whether its worth putting additional money to buy the latest versions or stick to the old ones. Sometimes, the updates may not be what you need – if you buy it, you may be wasting the money you can put into purchasing needed products.

5. To get ideas of how products can be best utilized: I used to think that in video recording, camera was everything, until I started reading reviews – then I realized that a quality video depends on great audio and lighting. Your smartphone can do wonders if you know how to combine different factors in video production. In addition to knowing how to best optimize your product, reviews will teach you how to compliment it. On some of the reviews I read, I was told how to add a few apps and cost effective equipment to my intended purchase in order to achieve better results. And I tell you, it worked! Again, please do understand that this point isn’t only applicable to digital products – it applies to all.

6. To determine if seller delivers items on said dates: there are certain sellers you can’t buy from because it takes forever for them to deliver your items, as they don’t keep to their delivery dates. If you fall into the hands of such sellers, you’ll be frustrated. As you read product reviews, you should also read sellers’ reviews – if you don’t, you will have yourself to blame. In 2009, I ordered a laptop on EBay, and for weeks, I didn’t get my product until I asked for refund; my money was eventually refunded. It was after that incident I read the seller’s review and saw loads of people complaining about how he delays before delivering purchased items.

7. It helps you identify rogue sellers: there are many online rogue sellers in spite of all the stringent rules to stop them. Some sellers put up items they don’t have, and don’t intend to have. By reading sellers’ reviews, you will learn from those that have been victims and be wise enough to avoid the idiots who are there to con. I have been conned in the past – I have paid for items that were never delivered, and I have also returned items that monies were never refunded.

8. To determine the best brands: take it or leave it, there are best brands for any product. Let me make it categorically clear, best brands are more expensive and will always be more expensive. If you need the very best, you must pay for the very best. Despite saying that, there may be two or more best brands per item, but reading product reviews lets you know the very very best. But don’t be fooled; opinions are rife when it comes to knowing the best. So, know what you need, and what you need will determine what will be best for you.

9. It helps you compare prices amongst a number of sellers: for a specific product and even brand, different sellers have different prices. With sellers’ and products reviews, you’re able to determine the different prices for different sellers, and buy from the one with the least price.

10. You get peace of mind over your purchase: when you go through reviews, even before delivery, after purchase, there is this unusual peace of mind you have because you know what to expect. But when you don’t know, you’re in doubts over your purchase. Reading reviews reassures you that you made a good buying decision.

When next you want to buy an item, don’t rush into it – read reviews on that product. If you don’t know why you should, read this article again.


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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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