Methodology: How We Review Brands, Products, and Software
Accurate, reliable reviews help small businesses succeed with the best digital products and services. Digital.com industry experts share reviews you can trust using extensive hands-on testing and research on product quality and user sentiment.
When you learn about products on Digital.com, you’ll find out what’s good — or not — about the product, with reviews around key performance areas, first-hand experiences, and a range of investigative techniques to truly understand the brand. You’ll get a recommendation for whether a product is right for you, whether you’re researching digital products for a hobby, small business, or major enterprise.
How Digital.com Reviews the Best Products
Digital.com rates providers in five major categories:
Providers on each category page are considered best in class based on Digital.com product reviews.
However, our industry experts use a unique methodology for each type of product. Below, you’ll see a a breakdown of how we review software in different categories.
How We Review Website Builders
- Customization options: Can you change the look and feel of a template or add your own code?
- Ease of use: Is the navigation intuitive with built-in tools, such as an in-app photo editor?
- Value: Can you get a free plan or trial to give the builder a test drive? Are there extensive features on paid plans that justify the cost?
- Security: What does the website builder do to keep your site and your customers’ data safe?
- Templates: Are the templates attractive, updated, and generally high quality? Can you find many to choose from?
- Support: Can you get help when needed, whether it’s from a human or support center articles?
- Recent improvements: Has the builder done anything lately to step up its offerings?
How We Review Web Hosting Providers
- Plan value: What plans are available, and do they offer a good value?
- Ease of use: Is the dashboard easy to navigate?
- Support: How fast can you get help when needed, and is support genuinely helpful?
- Features: What features does the host offer, and how do they compare to similar competitors?
- Security: Does the host offer SSL certificates, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack protection, backup services, and scans for viruses and malware?
- Speed and uptime: Does the provider offer a fast, stable environment for your website? How does it perform in tests, and what kind of servers does the hosting company use?
- Recent improvements: What has the host done lately to update its technology and services?
How We Review Ecommerce Platforms
- Value: What do you get for each plan — and does it hit that sweet spot of cost ratio to features?
- Ease of use: Is it simple to use the platform with intuitive tools, familiar interfaces, and supportive tutorials or tours?
- Features: Does the platform offer tools that support your business, including marketing integrations, plug-ins, reporting, and management? How effective are the features?
- Security: Which measures does the platform take to protect your business? Does it offer Payment card industry (PCI) compliance and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates?
- Support and improvements: How well does the platform help when you need it? And will it continue to grow with your needs?
How We Review Sales and Marketing Software
- Sale management: Does the platform offer sales tools to help with lead management and closing deals? What are its features?
- Ease of use: Is the platform simple to set up and use?
- Customization and automation: Can you tailor the software to your business needs?
- Integrations and analytics: Does this software integrate easily with other business tools, and will its reporting features fit your needs?
- The support provided: How easy is it to get help?
- Free trial: Is a no-cost trial or demo offered?
How We Review Business Communication Tools
- Standard and advanced features: videoconferencing, voicemail, business text messaging or SMS (short message service), virtual receptionists, seamless call transfer between devices, call forwarding, automatic call forwarding, as well as a desktop and/or mobile app.
- Customer support: provider’s communication channels, business contact hours, and helpfulness, and noted any positive reviews about their customer support
- Third-party integrations: third-party integrations sync with tools that you use frequently, like a CRM, ERP, SMS and fax, cloud storage, and more.
- Security and privacy: redundancy architecture, high-level encryption, advanced account management, multiple servers and data centers in different locations, data center audits, and multi-factor authentication
- Uptime percentage: unplanned outages, technical or infrastructural issues, and other challenges may interrupt the service, leading to delays and differences in uptime.
- Demo or free trial: free trials or demos allow a company to test run a service before committing to it.
- Overall cost: various fees, the availability of free trials or plans, discounts, and monthly versus annual pricing differences, price per installation, or cost per user.
A Note on User Sentiment
While our experts perform extensive hands-on testing, it’s unfair to base product recommendations entirely on our experience. In addition to testing, Digital.com may use user ratings, reviews, and direct feedback from readers to evaluate products.