Are reviews really that important?


By: Julie Wild, Graphic Designer / geek & creative @ wisnet

Yes. The answer is yes, they are very important.

Here are some quick statistics from Invesp (2017-2018).
– 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
– 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
– 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
– 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.

Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools. And in this digital age, online reviews are the equivalent of stepping up to the podium and making an announcement for all to hear. And where there is someone speaking out you can bet there are people listening. That’s why it’s important for you to gain as many honest positive reviews as you can, as well as addressing any negative reviews that may come in.

Online reviews lead to increased sales.

The quality and quantity of reviews is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO when searching on Google. When a person scans Google’s search results for a local product or service, the business listings that include customer reviews offer greater credibility and, naturally, receive more clicks.

Reviews create brand loyalty.

A person who takes the time to leave a positive review is more likely to come back for more business. They are also more likely to share their opinions on social media.

How do I get positive reviews?

One method for getting reviews would be to add the request to any correspondence that you have with your customers, especially right after they have made a purchase.

Another method is to ask your customer outright for a review. But the timing is important here. The best time to ask your customer for a review is after they have offered unsolicited praise. At that time, express your appreciation and ask if they would consider writing something online. Let them know how much that would mean to you and your business if they would share their positive feedback.

Where should my customers leave their reviews?

Google is a great place to leave reviews but it doesn’t matter which website is used by your customer. Reviews at Yelp, Trip Advisor, Amazon, Facebook, Yellowpages, Angie’s List, and others will be utilized by Google’s algorithms. Stars are displayed by search result listings to show review averages.

What can I do if I receive a negative review?

As mentioned in the stats at the beginning of this article, many people hesitate to purchase from a business that has a negative review. But there are ways to smooth over the jagged edges a negative review can leave behind.

1. Respond promptly. Be personable and genuine — write like a person, not a corporation.
2. Be honest and admit your mistakes, but at the same time correct any inaccuracies.
3. Offer restitution if it’s warranted, but take it offline when you delve into the details.
4. Highlight your strengths and offer your understanding.
5. Be consistent. Make sure you are checking your reviews often. A negative review without a proper response will leave readers wondering if you actually care about your customers.

What can you learn?

You can learn a lot from the reviews you receive. They can provide a clearer picture of what your customers expect from you and the products you provide. They can provide keys to creating better products and offering new services that your customers want to purchase.

wisnet Fun Fact


Can we let you in on a little secret? wisnet is intentionally spelled using a lowercase “w.”

No matter how big we get, we’ll always be small

We’ve always had the mindset that great ideas can come from anywhere – and ours come from Fond du Lac. We like to think of each of our clients as another team member and we’re proud of our community while also encouraging involvement within it. The lowercase “w” reminds us to stay humble and approachable.. We want others to know, that while we may not be large in number, we still have the people and talent to deliver what our clients are looking for (and more). The values and beliefs that have helped to define our culture are:

  • Be yourself
  • But, be humble
  • Keep it simple
  • Everything is figureoutable
  • Try new things
  • Be smart about business
  • Build & support community
  • Share idea; collaborate with many
  • Don’t take yourself or your work too seriously
  • Celebrate wins – no matter how small

We don’t take ourselves too seriously

If you ever walked into our office, you’ll be greeted with bright colors, cardboard cartoon cutouts, toys (lots and lots of toys), and plenty of good humor. We love what we do and want our clients to feel at home and comfortable when they come to our office.

All of this, combined with the lowercase “w,” has helped shape wisnet into what it is today. We’ve grown a lot since 1996, but our drive and pride for our work and community have stayed the same. We look forward to continuing to share more about wisnet and our culture with you.

Connecting Culture: wisnet featured in Insight magazine


What follows is a write-up about a video that was shot during interviews for the “Connecting Culture” cover story in the October issue of Insight on Business

Watch this interview with our founder, Rick Kolstad, for a behind-the-scenes look at our wisnet culture and perks of being a Geek&Creative.

“We encourage people to think differently.”

Today, wisnet provides website application development, branding services, and website hosting for our customers. Over the past 22+ years, some of those services and offerings have evolved over time as technology and processes evolve. Because of that, our primary focus on customers and team members since day one has been vital. “Our company culture and our drive has stayed pretty consistent. We’ve always been customer-focused and employee-focused,” says Kolstad.

Developing the whole person is another facet of what Rick wants for each team member. In addition to general training and constant skill set growth, Rick talks about the community involvement that he has helped to foster across the entire company. “We encourage our team to find organizations they have a lot of interest in and get involved.” Including the work done with, “some of the universities and area high schools to help encourage and inspire the next generation of programmers and branders to work in this environment.”

As for what’s next at wisnet, Rick shares the excitement the team has for our bright future. “We’re focusing on a lot of our own products as we go forward,” says Kolstad. “We’ve got a digital sign product that we’re working on. And we also have a corporate fitness program and applications that we’re working on to help spread the culture we’ve developed here to other companies.”

All in all, as with any great culture, Rick explains that it’s all about the team. “A lot of our ideas come from our team. We always look forward to new ideas and we encourage people to think differently,” says Kolstad. “So we can take those ideas and apply them, try them out, and if they work, great! If not, then we try something different.”

After you’re done checking out the video, be sure to read the entire Connecting Culture cover story from the October Insight on Business magazine.

Carving Ducks: Thinking Differently about Challenges


By: Rick Kolstad / geek & creative @ wisnet

As we grow through life, we often have mentors and teachers who have a great impact on how we approach the way we live and challenges we face. The key is taking the time to know and listen to them. Sometimes the greatest advice comes when you are not looking for it – or they are not providing it.

Thinking differently about it.

In high school, I like to think that I was a good student, just bored, frustrated at times (like many kids). I had a geometry teacher, Tom Strauss, who saw that and invited me to take one of his algebra classes at the same time I was taking geometry – now I was challenged. I enjoyed his process of thinking and solving challenges so much that I would spend my lunch hours in his classroom going through more projects, challenges, etc. He made problem-solving fun.

Tom was an exceptional artist, he loved to carve ducks out of wood. He spent many hours during lunch making some amazing creations from a plain block of wood. One day I asked him how he learned to carve ducks. He told me, “carving ducks is easy, you just cut away everything that does not look like a duck.” I can still hear him say that with his little chuckle and smile.

Tom passed away October 2017 after losing a 4-year fight with cancer. At his funeral, I was telling this story to his wife (who was also one of my favorite teachers), and it hit me that what I thought was a joke about carving ducks is really what he had been teaching all along. Don’t directly attack the challenge, define your goals, remove the clutter around that challenge, simplify as much as possible, let the challenge optimize itself, think differently! It is a great philosophy for optimizing life and creating a strong culture around you.

I realized that I have used that approach in many elements of my life – making decisions, raising a family, the way we attack website programming projects. Remove the noise, optimize, and focus on what is important. This philosophy has been a big part in the evolution of the culture here at wisnet. Thanks, Tom! You are greatly missed…

I am very grateful to have had many people like this in my life who provide little nudges & nuggets of advice (sometimes without knowing it) that have a great impact on my life.  

Who has given you little nudges & nuggets that have impacted your life?